Like many capital cities, Des Moines is the largest city in Iowa in terms of population. Located on the Des Moines River, the city consists of a six-county metropolitan area.
Des Moines is known as the global center of the insurance industry, housing top businesses like the Principal Financial Group, the Meredith Corporation, TMC Transportation, and many more.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership is a good starting point for general information about employment and employers in the region, and it can also provide a variety of services to businesses considering moving to the metro region.
The Capitol Building (1871-86) was built in the style of the Greek Revival and stands on 67 acres. The State of Iowa Historical Building houses the State Archives and the History Museum. In West Des Moines, historic Valley Junction 135 also houses shops and local businesses, many of which have a lot to offer, including the Iowa State University Museum of Natural History, a museum of local history and culture.
Also within the city is the Heritage Village, which displays more than 100,000 artifacts from the history of the United States and Iowa. Iowa's first live music festival, Iowa City Music Festival, drew more than 25,000 people to its first year of live entertainment. Cultural institutions include the Science Center of Iowa, which houses a Planetarium, the Iowa State University Natural History Museum, and the State Archives.
Each year, more than 100,000 people from across the state and country gather to attend major outdoor events such as the annual Iowa City Music Festival, Iowa County Fair, DesMoines River Festival, and Iowa Music & Arts Festival.
Those arriving in the area will use I-235 to get into Des Moines properly.
The town is named after the Des Moines River, and Fort Des Moines was founded in 1841 to protect the region that was then inhabited by the Sauk and Meskwaki Indians. The meaning of Des Moines itself is not clear, although the local Indians used the term "river mound" because a number of barrows were popular in the area.
Fort Des Moines was settled in 1843 by a group of soldiers led by Captain James Allen. Allen was originally directed by the Department of War to use the name "Fort Des Moines" as a reference to the river, not the city itself.