Des Moines has many museums, parks, and other points of interest to explore, with architectural delights and artistic institutions. Check out Blank Park Zoo and Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens to relax and get away from the downtown bustle.
From Des Moines International Airport, it's just a 15-minute car ride up Fleur Drive to Drake University. From there, you can drive to the heart of downtown in fewer than 10 minutes. The campus borders the Des Moines River, with the East Village just across the bridge.
The grand Capitol Building features a stunning and ornate golden domed roof. You can walk around the interior for free and climb almost 300 steps for a look from up high. Check out the Des Moines Art Center, which features works from world-renowned artists such as Matisse and O'Keeffe, and wander through the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens and the nearby Des Moines Botanical Gardens.
The East Village area is the best place to go for international restaurants serving Japanese, French, Italian, and much more. Steak de Burgo, made with beef tenderloin, Italian herbs, and butter, is a local specialty. There are also several cafés and bars here, many with a relaxed vibe where you can grab a drink and sit back.