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Best hotel for quick Iowa State Fair visit? Please help if you know

Best hotel for quick Iowa State Fair visit? Please help if you know

Old Jul 14th, 2022, 07:16 AM
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Best hotel for quick Iowa State Fair visit? Please help if you know

I'm making a less-than-24-hour visit to Iowa and need to choose a hotel that will easily let me get from the Des Moines airport to visit the Iowa State Fair that evening, then back to the airport the next day, all without a car. It is taking surprisingly long for me to nail down which hotel that should be so I'm appealing to Fodors folks hoping there are some who are familiar with Des Moines and quick visits to the Iowa State Fair.

Fodors recommends the Renaissance Des Moines Savery for a stay in Des Moines, which is a Marriott and I'm a member so I called to speak to their concierge, who said NOT to stay there for a Fair visit but to stay in Altoona. There's a Marriott Fairfield in Altoona but it looks like that is even farther away from the fairgrounds than the Savery is. The official Fair website is no help because they clearly don't want to choose favorites when it comes to lodging.

I've been plowing through various websites but can't find the sort of knowledgeable, "insider" information that makes Fodors so valuable in planning a trip to an unfamiliar location, so I'm asking here. I made flight reservations yesterday but if I can't find a suitable lodging solution I'll cancel the flight reservation before the 24 hour deadline.

My ideal quick trip would be to fly into the Des Moines airport, take Uber to the right hotel, check in and take Uber to the right gate at the Fairground to see what I can in my limited time -- maybe 5:30 p.m. to close -- and then Uber back to the hotel, spend the night and back to the airport the next day. I don't care about riding rides or seeing shows, I'll be solo, I'd like to see the butter cow and some animals, food on a stick, take the sky tram to view the whole fairgrounds and whatever else is iconic that I can see in my limited time.

If you've been and think it's crazy to try to navigate this plan without my own car, please tell me! I'll cancel and wait for another year when I can spend a little longer and take more time.

Thanks!
bakerstreet is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2022, 06:59 PM
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I stayed at the Savery some years ago while working the DM arts festival. I don't know what time the fair shuts down for the night, but the Savery is in a good location for later evening activity afterwards. If you're so inclined. It's only about a10 minute or so drive to the fairgrounds. After work traffic may add a few minutes. But it's not far. There is also an Econo Lodge right outside one of the gates.
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Old Jul 14th, 2022, 07:58 PM
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AFAIK the only nearby hotel is the Econo Lodge baldone mentions. All the other usual suspect chain hotels (many) are close to each other downtown and within 10-ish minutes of the fairgrounds by uber or taxi.
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Old Jul 15th, 2022, 05:33 AM
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There is a fair shuttle (DART PARK & RIDE) that comes close to the downtown Hilton (or the downtown Marriott for that matter), https://www.iowastatefair.org/visit/...dart-park-ride

The sculpture park gets good reviews https://desmoinesartcenter.org/visit...culpture-park/

Iowa is a craft beer center.

Altoona has free hotel parking, not sure that there is any other advantage to staying there.

Note: There are economically stagnant or declining cities and towns across the US, but Des Moines is not one of them.

Last edited by tom_mn; Jul 15th, 2022 at 05:35 AM.
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