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Des Moines, Iowa
The state capitol of Iowa, it was incorporated in 1851 as Fort Des Moines. An important city for politics, home to the first caucuses of the presidential primary cycle, causes many presidential candidates to set up campaign headquarters here. Des Moines is a growing hub for art and tech enthusiasts, people move here from all over the country to pursue the arts. Right outside the main city is a lot of open land and small town areas. One very interesting thing that locals and travelers a like enjoy doing, is to drive around the Amish country. Iowa still has a large Amish population, and it’s not uncommon to see a buggie on a main roadway.
Arriving at Des Moines Airport
The way that the Des Moines International Airport is laid out makes it very easy to navigate.
The first floor is dedicated to check in and ticket counters, restaurants and gift shops, baggage claims, and car rentals. The second floor houses the security checks, more restaurants, and all the terminals.
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Should you be unable to obtain a vehicle the airport does have taxis, public transport, and shuttles available.
Driving in Des Moines
The city of Des Moines can be very busy and hectic, these tips will help you get around.
- Always drive defensively, people will cut you off all the time.
- Pay close attention to cars parked along the road, people often open their doors without looking.
- Look twice when driving through a crosswalk, people cross at random times.
- There are a lot of one way streets, so be vigilant and make sure you know what direction to turn.
- You get a free right on red, if no oncoming traffic is approaching.
- Keep right except to pass.
- Stay with the flow of traffic.
Tips for driving in winter
Winters in Iowa are notoriously bad, especially the last two years where record level lows put the entire state in a deep freeze.
- Have all weather/snow tires.
- If you don’t have all weather/snow tires and the roads are bad, use chains.
- If you don’t have chains, get chains.
- Don’t brake if you slide, turn the steering wheel in the direction you want to go.
- If you see ice, slow down.
- Start slowing down earlier before stop signs.
- Put your turn signal on earlier.
- Always have food, water, and blankets in the car in case of a blizzard.
- If you let you vehicle sit, raise the window wipers so they don’t freeze on the windshield.
Things to do in Des Moines
- Capitol Building– A historical gem, the Capitol Building has magnificent architecture. Everyone who visits should take a tour of this place. You can go inside the court room, down the beautifully designed halls, and in the over-sized library.
- Iowa State Fairgrounds– If you come at the right time during the summer you’ll get to enjoy the Iowa State Fair. Probably the largest event that happens all year, the fair has something to offer for everyone. There is a large variety of rides to go on, from a relaxing swing, to a multiple loop roller coaster. Save your appetite for the fair, because there are a lot of delicious stands to try.
- Des Moines Art Center– Support the growing art movement by wandering around the art center and gazing at pieces of local art. Many of the local artist are quite talented and you will get to experience many different art styles here.
Places to eat in Des Moines
- The Cheese Shop– 833 42nd Street, Suite B, Des Moines, IA. A favorite to locals and out of town travelers. The Cheese Shop has great food that will satisfy all your cheese cravings.
- Smokey D’s BBQ– 5055 NW 2nd Street, Des Moines, IA. The Midwest is famous for it’s BBQ, and this restaurant has been a local favorite for years. If you have never tried BBQ in the Midwest or South then you need to eat here. They have all the traditional BBQ eats and the sides that go with them.
- Patton’s– 1552 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA. Nothing but raving reviews of this place, the food is exquisite. Large portions of southern comfort food, for a great price.