Des Moines is Iowa's capital city, home of the 275-foot tall gold leafed Capitol dome made famous around the country during first in the nation Presidential Election Caucuses held every four years. Des Moines is a major center for financial services, publishing, and insurance where it ranks with Hartford, Connecticut, and London, England, as home to large insurance companies. Des Moines ranks #2 in Forbes 2012 list of Best City for Jobs. The diverse population includes Native Americans and refugees and immigrants from Viet Nam, Cambodia, Eastern Europe, Sudan, Mexico, and Burma.
Closest major airport: Chicago, Illinois (CHI)
Closest regional/ local airport: Des Moines International Airport (DSM).
The prairie state's rich black soil spurs agriculture sales from Iowa farms estimated at around $30 billion in 2011. Agricultural, business, and scientific research, and development thrive here. For instance, the world’s first computer was developed at Iowa State University, just 30 miles away from Des Moines. The World Food Prize makes its home in a newly renovated Beaux Art style Hall of Laureates, honoring the men and women who feed the world.
Interesting museums include Terrace Hill, the Victorian style Governor's Mansion; Salisbury House and Gardens, a 42-room architectural feat modeled after King's House in Salisbury, England; Living History Farms; Gold Star Museum, recognizing those who serve in the military; the Fort Des Moines Museum, the first in the nation which honors America's black and female soldiers; plus Jordan House, a former stop on the Underground Railroad.
Outstanding art and cultural opportunities include the Des Moines Art Center designed by Eliel Saarinen, I.M. Pei, and Richard Meier; the world-acclaimed Des Moines Metro Opera; Broadway theater and dozen local theatre groups; and Ballet Des Moines. There are musical events to satisfy all tastes including The Des Moines Symphony, the 80-35 Music Festival, Celtic Music Association, Civic Music Association, Nightfall on the River, Bluegrass Tuesdays and Jazz in July. An incomparable $40 million outdoor Sculpture Park anchors the western gateway of Downtown Des Moines. Shopping includes malls featuring nationally known stores; plus Historic Valley Junction, a center for antiques, art, and dining; and the eclectic East Village featuring trendy shops, interesting restaurants and loft living.
Sports abound including Iowa Cubs AA baseball, NCAA events, the Drake Relays, golf, an annual Triathlon attracting participants from around the world, basketball, arena football, hockey, pari-mutuel horse racing (plus casino games), and an extensive network of hiking/biking trails. The Iowa State Fair earns international acclaim and is the source of the book, movie and musical “State Fair”.
Cuisine is as varied as the population with an “Eat Local” theme that is demonstrated by the vendors at the Des Moines Farmers Market and the smaller farmers markets that dot the area. Locally sourced meat and produce are featured at many restaurants and artisan bakeries.
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