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Overview

Established at the fork of the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers in 1843, this grand city might still be known today as Fort Raccoon but officials decided that the name Des Moines seemed better. The waterway was called La Riviere des Moines or River of the Monks by French voyageurs. Capital of Iowa, Des Moines is a cultural and sports center and an important city in the United States presidential election. The Iowa caucuses have been the first major electoral event in nominating the president since 1972 and many presidential candidates set up headquarters in the city. Des Moines is also a popular walking city with over 100 miles of trails, ...

Established at the fork of the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers in 1843, this grand city might still be known today as Fort Raccoon but officials decided that the name Des Moines seemed better. The waterway was called La Riviere des Moines or River of the Monks by French voyageurs. Capital of Iowa, Des Moines is a cultural and sports center and an important city in the United States presidential election. The Iowa caucuses have been the first major electoral event in nominating the president since 1972 and many presidential candidates set up headquarters in the city. Des Moines is also a popular walking city with over 100 miles of trails, perfect for running, walking and biking. For a great way to see the city, try the Principal Riverwalk in downtown Des Moines that features a 1.2 mile recreational trail connecting the east and west sides of downtown and a new pedestrian bridge. For the comfort of walking in 72 degrees year round, enjoy the 4-mile skywalk system that connects hotels, shopping, restaurants, entertainment and meeting facilities. It is the largest per capita skywalk in the world. For those who would rather ride, hop on the D-Line, a free downtown shuttle bus.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Mid-August for the Iowa State Fair