Other Places to Visit in Iowa

The Iowa Events Center in Des Moines is the place to be for the conference, but there is much more to see and do around the city and state!

Des Moines attractions are just steps away, including the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines Art Route, Botanical Gardens, Iowa State Capitol, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, plus scores of restaurants and bars. If you’re up for the commute, plan a visit to the Blank Park Zoo, Jordan Creek Mall, or one of the many parks, hiking and biking trails that surround the city. The famous Iowa State Fair runs Aug. 10-20 on the east side of Des Moines. A full list of local attractions is available from Catch Des Moines – the city’s tourism and outreach organization.

Iowa State Fair crowd, by the Iowa Tourism Office.

Iowa State Fair crowd (Photo courtesy of Iowa Tourism Office).

There will also be time to visit Iowa attractions across the state, whether that’s during one of the many conference-related tours, or on your personal time.

Dream big and make a trip to the Field of Dreams in northeast Iowa. This historic town is home to the iconic baseball field used during the filming of the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta. A nearby field was also the host site for Iowa’s first Major League Baseball game, in 2021.

If you’re into the outdoors, there are scores of lakes, rivers and public parks. For options close to Des Moines, consider a visit to Gray’s Lake near Fleur Drive, Saylorville Lake or neighboring Big Creek State Park. Both attractions offer opportunities for scenic hiking, biking, fishing and birdwatching.

If you’re up for a drive, consider visiting the parks and attractions in Decorah, Iowa. Known for its famous trout streams, this area is also part of the “Driftless Area,” untouched by glaciers and rich with hills, valleys, lakes and exposed bedrock.

One of Iowa's many bike trails (Photo courtesty of the Iowa Tourism Office).

One of Iowa’s many bike trails (Photo courtesy of Iowa Tourism Office).

For a visit to northwest Iowa, consider a stop in Okoboji – the centerpiece of Iowa’s Great Lakes region. Other notable lakes include Storm Lake (an hour south of Okoboji), and Clear Lake (two hours east of Okoboji), home to the Buddy Holly crash site and a beautiful lake community.

If you want to learn more about Iowa’s agricultural heritage, dating back to the 1800s and earlier, consider a visit to Living History Farms in nearby Urbandale. Other attractions include Rusty Stars Alpacas, Honey Creek Creamery and Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy.

Learn about Iowa’s leadership in agricultural machinery with a visit to the John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum in Waterloo, or if you’re into small-scale tractors and farm equipment, visit the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville.

These are just a few of the many great places to see and experience in Iowa. For a comprehensive list, visit Travel Iowa online.