“Hiking” in the Downtown Des Moines Skywalks

walking the downtown des moines skywalks

In the thick of winter, many of my favorite “indoor nature’ spots feel a little cramped. One of the few places to really let loose and run like you might on a hiking trail is the downtown skywalk system! If you drive downtown, you can see the glass walkways above the road that connect all of the buildings. During the week, they are filled with downtown residents and business people walking to and fro. On the weekends, they are much quieter (and colder!). Also keep in mind that most restaurants in the skywalk are closed on the weekends.

I’d recommend going on the weekends if you’re nervous about getting dirty looks or rolled eyes when your kids are giggling loudly or taking up half the walkway! There were just as many people who chatted my kids up or smiled at their rambunctiousness, and one skywalk vendor even had a little treasure chest of goodies for them to pick through. (I don’t want to misrepresent our dynamic; I definitely try to be respectful of other peoples’ time and space and corral the kids out of the way as quickly as possible if they’re blocking traffic, but I’m of the mind that it is a public space and we are welcome there too.)

It can be a bit intimidating to go check it out for the first time, there are a ton of places to park and enter, so I wanted to share some introductory info all in one post. I’m no expert though – please chime in if you have a route or a note that you think would help other people!

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