What to do and see in West Des Moines, United States: The Best Places and Tips

December 16, 2017 Merry Kessler

West Des Moines is a city in Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 56,609. West Des Moines is the second-largest city in the Des Moines metropolitan area and the tenth-largest city in Iowa. It ranked 94th in Money magazine's list of the "100 Best Places to Live and Launch" in 2008, 77th and 57th on the 100 Best Places to Live in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and 18th on the Hipster Cities of 2015.
Restaurants in West Des Moines

1. Living History Farms

11121 Hickman Rd, Urbandale, IA 50322-3741 +1 515-278-5286
Excellent
66%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 184 reviews

Living History Farms

Living History Farms is located in the western suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa in Urbandale and is conveniently located right off Interstates 35/80. It is an interactive outdoor museum which educates, entertains and connects people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences. 300 years of agricultural history are represented including a 1700 Ioway Indian Farm, 1850 Pioneer Farm, 1900 Horse-Powered Farm and an 1875 town. Tours are self guided and historic interpreters are at each farm site are dressed in clothing from each era to explain what it would have been like to live in that time. The general touring season is May 1 through October 14th. Many special events and historic dinners take place in the off-season. Visit the website for details.

Reviewed By ladyme1 - Portland, Maine

This was like traveling back in time and so fun and informative. The Blacksmith was super informative and friendly.Really enjoyed listening to him explain what he does. All the other flks were wonderful too. Definitely worth the admission price. Dog friendly!!! Fantastic place.

2. Valley Junction

217 5th St, West Des Moines, IA 50265-4719 +1 515-222-3642
Excellent
53%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 171 reviews

Valley Junction

Reviewed By chicago90Phoenix - phoenix

The best part of Valley Junction is you are supporting your local West Des Moines economy. These are hard working owners that are trying to make a difference. Very friendly indeed.

3. Capitol Building

1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319-1001 +1 515-281-5591
Excellent
78%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 680 reviews

Capitol Building

Reviewed By ksyentes - Des Moines, Iowa

Worked at the Capitol during the Legislative season for a decade. During that time, the building was painstakingly restored to its original beauty. The Victorian detail which had been painted over was rediscovered and replicated. I never drive by, approach, or enter the Capitol building without immense appreciation for its beauty and stateliness. Be sure to take the official tour to learn the history, unique attributes, and especially the trip to the dome. Don't miss the fabulous law library, and take time to read the many quotes on walls throughout the building.
For historical/educational purposes, visit during the Legislative session (January-April). For Capitol beauty, music and panoramic sunsets, other times to enjoy the view are 1. Music Under the Stars (Sunday PM June-July), and 2. Yankee Doodle Pops near the 4th of July. I would rate Yankee Doodle Pops one of the Top Ten things to do in Iowa!

4. 515 Brewing Company

7700 University Ave, Clive, IA 50325-1271 +1 515-661-4615
Excellent
60%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 32 reviews

515 Brewing Company

Reviewed By MMM_and_MPM - Bettendorf, Iowa

We were looking for a late night craft brew and food on a Saturday night. This was surprisingly difficult to do in Clive but we decided to go to 515 Brewery hoping to find food nearby. We arrived before last call and decided on the OJ IPA (American Pale Wheat, 5.5% APV) and a couple of snack trays that they cater in for customers. We enjoyed the Cheese Shop Tray and the Mediterranean Tray with tzatziki sauce, hummus, and baba ganoush with pita wedges. The staff was very accommodating though it was clear they were in process of closing down. On our way out we aromatically explored a display of hops used in brewing which was fun and informative. We heard enough about the brewery (open 3 years) and the beer which we thoroughly enjoyed that this is on our list for return visits.

5. Downtown Farmers Market

555 Walnut St, Des Moines, IA 50314 +1 515-286-4928
Excellent
78%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 327 reviews

Downtown Farmers Market

Reviewed By redmesastudio - Santa Fe, New Mexico

One of the nicest downtown settings for a farmers market. Located near the river and is the middle of everything. This market shows off the beauty of this midwest city and the vendors are excellent. There is also live entertainment and prepared food so you can snack and be entertained as you check out the vendor booths. All terrific Iowa produce and some excellent ethnic vendors as well.

6. Buccaneer Arena

7201 Hickman Rd, Urbandale, IA 50322-4736 +1 515-278-2827
Excellent
40%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 26 reviews

Buccaneer Arena

Reviewed By lckstr99 - Urbandale, Iowa

I have taken my kids to a couple of games at Buccaneer Arena. The hockey is always fast paced and fun to watch. It is one of the most reasonable sporting events for the family to attend. The tickets are fairly priced and the food and drink is very reasonable. I always try to get seats close to the glass, so I do not need to worry about errant pucks.

7. Clive Aquatic Center

1801 NW 114th St, Clive, IA 50235 +1 515-440-0599
Excellent
38%
Good
57%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 18 reviews

Clive Aquatic Center

Reviewed By Coachjwolf

Our 6 year old went to the princess/mermaid thing and had a blast. As a dad it was slightly weird being there but it was cool seeing my daughter face when she waved at the mermaids. The pool was very clean.

8. Raccoon River Park

2500 Grand Ave, West Des Moines, IA 50265-5719 +1 515-222-3444
Excellent
68%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 25 reviews

Raccoon River Park

Reviewed By init4keeps - Des Moines, Iowa

Kids, adults, older people, this place has walking and biking paths, playgrounds, shelters, baseball fields and beach for all!!! We went to a get together here and it rocked! Family friendly and Marcydiner tantrum scale of 5/5-no screaming kids. Only ones having fun.

9. Rangemasters Training Center

10520 Hickman Rd, Clive, IA 50325-3710 +1 515-661-4866
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 6 reviews

Rangemasters Training Center

Reviewed By COLKDM - Johnston, Iowa

The staff is awesome - knowledgeable and helpful. You can rent guns to use on their range, so great for someone new to shooting or for anyone wanting to try out a different type of weapon. They have a well maintained indoor range and a ladies night discount on Wednesdays from 4pm to 7pm.

10. Jordan Creek Town Center

101 Jordan Creek Pkwy, West Des Moines, IA 50266-8181 +1 515-440-6255
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 27 reviews

Jordan Creek Town Center

Reviewed By Thundrdawg - Olathe, Kansas

Girls trip at the end of October. This mall is nice, actually didn’t realize Jordan Creek had a ‘mall’. Being from JoCo, KS we have a lot of shopping options. If anything this mall could use some seriously better parking. Inside was nice and the stores we visited were nice.

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