Terrace Hill

2300 Grand Ave
Des Moines IA 50312
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The home for Iowa's governor, just west of downtown Des Moines, is considered a fine example of Second Empire architecture and is a National Historic Landmark. The mansion was built in the late 1860s for one of early Des Moines' leading families and features an ornate exterior crowned with a 90-foot tower. While the third floor is the governor's private residence, the first and second levels are open to the public and have been restored to reflect upper-class life in the late 1800s.

Parking and public transportation to Terrace Hill
Space is available on the grounds and along adjacent neighborhood streets. The local transit service has routes that stop along Ingersoll Avenue, just one block north of Grand.

Best times to go to Terrace Hill
Several events throughout the year offer additional attractions and activities along with views of the stately mansion. Halloween parties, teas, book signings and holiday events are on the schedule.

Admission to Terrace Hill
Tours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, March through December, except on major holidays. Walks begin at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Adult admission is $5 with discounts for children. Groups of 10 or more need to make reservations.

Must see/do at Terrace Hill
An intricate stained-glass window on the landing of the main staircase is a centerpiece in the home, which is filled with antiques and art. Outside, look for a restored pool bathhouse and a kitchen garden planted with heritage vegetable varieties.

Other places to visit near Terrace Hill
Take in the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in the nearby Western Gateway Park. Head west on Grand Avenue to the Des Moines Art Center, then make a stop at another historic home, the Salisbury House.

Insider tip for visitors to Terrace Hill
The mansion's location lives up to its name. Look for the sweeping views of nearby downtown Des Moines that are visible from the mansion's windows and grounds.

Author's bio: Melanie Lageschulte is a freelancer writer and editor. She is a native Iowan and has lived in Des Moines for 15 years.