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December 11, 2007


Cj B

I grew up in Iowa and moved out to Cali 4 years ago... I really miss Des Moines and all it has to offer. For being a "small" town, there's a lot to do, and most of it can be done for fairly cheap!


on our last visit to Iowa (that is where the in-laws live) our flight was canceled because of snow in Chicago. We spent the afternoon at the science museum with our kids, which turned out to be great. Beautiful facility, nice exhibits for the kids, an overall pleasant way to deal with a delay.

Thanks for all the recommendations, we will be visiting again and if we can get the in-laws to watch the kids, I would love to check out some of the shopping and restaurant recommendations!



I'll add to this Des Moines love-fest:

Hessen Haus - German bar and restaurant where you can get beer in a giant glass boot. With complex rules for the game you have to play while drinking it!

The Science Center of Iowa - interesting for the geeky types.

The Des Moines Music Coalition does a lot of great things for local musicians, like putting on the annual Gross Domestic Product showcase.

And the Des Moines Farmers Market! One of the best in the country for sure. Definitely better than the Eastern Market farmers market. Yeah, I said it.

Katie also forgot to mention that you can buy a pickled, hard-boiled egg from a big jar at High Life Lounge. Feels like a marble.

Hell yes indeed.


Here are some downtown updates from Cara Hall, a friend-in-the-know back in Des Moines who writes for the local entertainment publication, Juice (www.dmjuice.com):

In the East Village, Ephemera is a new shop in the live/work lofts selling handmade stationery. East Village Books (it's classy as indie bookstores goes) opened across from Sticks. Pure Paper is moving next to Gong Fu and Eden is renovating a larger space on the other side. Yogis sweat it out at H(om) Yoga directly above the Locust Tap.

Dos Rios is definitely the hot restaurant right now and Court Center is holding a lot of the bigger downtown concerts.

We seriously can't keep up with all the changes. Sometimes I have to choose between 2 or 3 events I want to go to at the same time. We'll never be Chicago, but it's a fun time to be Des Moines.

mary beth

don't forget la mie!! yummmmmy.


Just a few more suggestions from a downtown Des Moines resident:

The Gateway Market is also open for breakfast and dinner, has free wi-fi and $2 glasses of wine or microbrews during their M-F happy hour. Other recommended eateries in downtown would include Ban Thai, Tasty Tacos, Raccoon River Brewery, Noodle Zoo, Legends, and Court Avenue Brew Pub.

The Brenton Skating Plaza is right along the river, 2 blocks from the East Village. http://www.brentonplaza.com/

The Civic Center brings in Broadway plays, muscials, concerts and comedians. http://www.civiccenter.org/ Wells Fargo Arena offers concerts, the Iowa Stars (hockey) and the Iowa Energy (basketball). http://www.iowaeventscenter.com/ In the summer, a night at Principal Park watching the Iowa Cubs is hard to beat.
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t451 Tickets for all of these venues are very reasonable.

The wonderful Science Center also has an IMAX.

As for hotels, Embassy Suites, Renaissance Savery, Marriott, Suites of 800 Locust, and Hotel Fort Des Moines are all in the heart of downtown. And the airport could not be more conveniently close.

And few cities can beat our bike paths, our soon-to-be completed riverwalk and the wonderful Gray's Lake recreation area.

Hmm, what else? It really is hard to keep up with all the development. Oh yes - don't miss Eden in the East Village. It has wonderful bath & body products rarely found elsewhere in the Midwest.


I have lived in Des Moines for 8 years now, and it just keeps getting better and better! I will add to your list The Royal Mile - on 4th Street north of Hessen Haus (same owners). Huge selection of imported beer from around the world, and great English pub food. Upstairs from Royal Mile is The Red Monk, a small bar specializing in Belgian beer. Also, the Grand Piano Bistro opened on Grand Ave, just a few steps to the east of Eden (next to the Olympic Flame, a fantastic Greek restaurant). GPB has great food, and the piano acts they bring in are so much fun!

Tom Osborn

I can't believe that no one has mentioned Splash Seafood Bar & Grill! Also check out the new Splash Raw Oyster Bar and Market.


We really enjoy driving our classic car to Porky's Diner on Saturday nights in the summer. You can always see the best of the old classics and have a big tenderloin too.


Traveled to Des Moines on business... breakfast at the Gateway Market was really great. Huevos Rancheros... Muy Bien!

Olivia Giovetti

I stopped in Des Moines on a road trip from NY to LA and fell in love with the East Village (not to mention the best Thai food I've ever had). Glad it's finally getting its due.

Spencer Abbe

The south-side coffee shop Cup of Kryptonite should also be mentioned. It combines a coffee house atmosphere with comic books--a must for anyone of the nerd persuasion. In addition, it's right next to the classy Fluer Cinema, what more could you want?


I love Iowa.

End of story.


I love Iowa.

End of story.


I love Iowa.

End of story.

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