Top 4 Places to see Des Moines Arts

Photo by David Huck on Unsplash

Award-winning architecture, a world-class art museum, loads of free music, local musicians performing in live bars—the Des Moines arts scene is rich, even if a little unknown. If you’re stumped on where to go, start with these 4 places.

Places to See Des Moines Arts

1. Des Moines Art Center

The Des Moines Art Center is a no-brainer when it comes to art museums. It’s a renowned institution, displaying both contemporary artworks and classic pieces. The best part—the entrance is free of charge. There art and pottery classes available, artist lectures, and a cafe to relax at in between your perusal. The buildings were designed by three award-winning architects. Walk in today if you need something to do.

  • Open hours: Monday – Closed, Tuesday and Wednesday – 10am to 4pm, Thursday and Friday – 10am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday – 10am to 5pm
  • Address: 4700 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312
  • Link to website here.

2. xBk Live

Unassuming on the outside, it’s easy to walk straight past this live music bar with no obvious label. It’s an 250-capacity independent music venue owned by Tobi Parks, and every week they host both local and nationwide musicians—some free of charge, and some paid. There’s a bar to top it off, so you can enjoy some beer alongside the music. They have a website where you can purchase tickets to their shows, and any events they host.

  • Open hours: adjusts according to shows (check website).
  • Address: 1159 24th St, Des Moines, IA 50311
  • Link to website here.

3. Des Moines Playhouse

The heart of performing arts lives right here. The Civic Center breathes Des Moines arts, with local plays, musicals and children’s theater. They’ve just announced the 2024 to ’25 season. Performances of Dracula, Jersey Boys, and Waitress—world-class stories—are all coming to the stage. The Des Moines Community Playhouse houses a theater that isn’t too small, but not too large, for an intimate experience with the stellar actors.

  • Open hours: adjusts according to shows (check website).
  • Address: 831 42nd St, Des Moines, IA 50312
  • Link to website here.

4. Mainframe Studios

If you’re an artists in need of a platform or a workspace, Mainframe Studios is the place to go. It’s a non-profit that focuses on equity and opportunity, giving all artists a safe space to create and display their works. You can rent out a space, get tours through their facilities and workshops, or you can check their website for up and coming arts events. You can also host events, and include the works of their resident artists.

  • Open hours: Monday to Friday – 8am to 6:30pm, Saturday and Sunday – 10am to 5pm
  • Address:  900 Keosauqua Way, Des Moines, IA 50309
  • Link to website here.

Top 5 Food Places in Des Moines

A slice of cake from one of Des Moines many great restaurants!

Des Moines is home to hundreds of restaurants and bars. There are plenty of interesting spots and areas to explore such as Ingersoll, the East Village, and Drake Dogtown. Walking around the beautiful downtown you’ll notice many restaurants and lovely views. However, there are many gems hidden in plain sight that are local secrets! This definitive ranking list is here to help those non-locals find some of our favorite gems. 

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Des Moines Crime Rates and Safety

Planning on moving to Des Moines? Des Moines is generally a safe place to live, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind. There are some statistics that you definitely don’t want to ignore to make sure that you and people you care about are safe. Des Moines’ overall crime rate is 107% higher than the national average. That being said, you may wany to be careful when choosing to explore the Des Moines area.

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