Two-Day Getaway to Des Moines
The ever-changing menu at eclectic Alba keeps lunch on the town interesting.
Sample high-quality microbrews and delicious pork shank in the loftlike setting of Exile Brewing Company.
The small yet luxurious Des Lux Hotel delivers rich furnishings and a solid martini menu at the bar.
The free-admission Des Moines Arts Center contains three wings of top-notch art and an airy venue for gourmet meals.
Pickers hunt for castoffs-turned-treasures at West End Architectural Salvage, which inspired the HGTV series West End Salvage.
Shoppers find items both funky and fancy in Historic Valley Junction in nearby West Des Moines.
More information: Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau; catchdesmoines.com
5 Great Places to Take the Kids
1 Living History Farms Tread boardwalks and dirt paths through three eras of working farms and an 1875 town with a general store, blacksmith and print shop. livinghistoryfarms.org
2 Science Center of Iowa Kids create enormous bubbles, build rockets and marvel at shows about the stars. sciowa.org
3 Adventureland Rent a cabana in the water park at one of Iowa's largest tourist attractions: a theme park with thrill rides, kiddie rides and the state's longest lazy river. Don't pass up the 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel. adventurelandpark.com
4 Iowa Cubs The fan-friendly games of the Chicago Cubs' triple-A affiliate make for fun summer nights in Principal Park, where the capitol shines over the outfield wall. On Fridays, fireworks follow the games. iowacubs.com
5 Blank Park Zoo Catch a seal show, walk among wallabies, and see giraffes and rhinos on the African boardwalk in this midsize zoo. blankparkzoo.com
One Big Party
Of the 200-plus food vendors at the Iowa State Fair, more than 50 hawk foods on a stick. And more than 1 million people attend the August event to see grand spectacles including livestock like the 1,000-pound-plus Big Boar. iowastatefair.org