Business and pleasure unite in Des Moines to form inspiring art and meeting venues.
Visitors to Des Moines witness a strong team effort between the private and the public sectors that has greatly contributed to the artistic and community vibes of the town, according to Vicki Comegys, vice president of sales, sports and services at the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“The companies here are very much in tune with the quality of life of their employees, and they invest a lot into the arts and cultural scene and the beauty of the community,” Comegys said.
The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is one such attraction and only a part of Des Moines’ large arts scene, which features public art, galleries and exhibits, live music, theater and opera around every corner.
Other attractions include the Science Center of Iowa and Blank Imax Dome Theater, a new facility that brings in traveling exhibits and offers hands-on experiences such as mixology classes. The Blank Park Zoo offers programs for all ages, including Zoo Brew for adults, with its live music and beverage samples. Living History Farms, an open-air museum that illustrates the life of early Iowans from Native Americans to the present, is another favorite attraction. The trail system is extensive throughout central Iowa, and many visitors walk and bike through the scenic valley and urban areas, often stopping at watering holes along the way. The Des Moines Farmers Market is one of the largest in the country; around 40,000 people attend every weekend, and much of the local produce is used for restaurants and farm-to-table dining.
Off-site venues include Temple Theater in the historic Temple for the Performing Arts, which is within walking distance of metro area dining and attractions. The Des Moines Social Club is a new space housed in the former Des Moines Fire Station with space for meetings and classes and a black-box theater where the fire trucks used to be housed. The Holiday Inn Airport and Conference Center is adding 20,000 square feet of space and has ample meeting space. The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates is a museum and event space in a historic, renovated library.
“It’s absolutely magnificent,” Comegys said. “Meeting planners from across the country say it’s their favorite building, and everybody wants to use it.”
Spotlight on Des Moines
Primary meeting facilities:
Iowa Events Center
Other meeting properties:
Iowa State Fair Grounds, Hotel Pattee
Largest meeting space:
Iowa Events Center at 226,000 square feet
Total hotel rooms: