September 2017 Travel

24 Hours in Des Moines, Iowa

We’ve lived here for juuuuust about two years…

& this is the longest we’ve stayed put… To be real though, if I’m not sitting in my office at work, I’m sitting at home without pants on. I’m not one to “adventure” much, because being a homebody is 1,000% more fun than getting dressed up. If you were though, to adventure around our little city, I could give you a few places to go. Now, like I said before, we’re newbies in this place and we haven’t really found the kitschy, different, interesting places that Des Moines has to offer. I do though, know how to have some fun.

If you have 24 hours around Des Moines, here’s what you need to do

Coffee at DSM Brew
Located at 300 W Martin Luther King Pkwy, Des Moines

This is like a coffee shop, on crack. It’s a nitro brew coffee shop, that has the most beautiful aesthetics that will make your coffee taste better. (Not sure if that’s scientifically proven…) It’s filled with the aroma of both light and dark roasts, espresso, tea, and even gelato. Hello, GELATO. Coffee shop goals.

Go For A Walk 
Locations: Grays Lake Park on Fleur Drive, Des Moines
Locations: Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines
Locations: The East Village of Des Moines

The views of Des Moines are pretty spectacular. This is coming from someone who lived in both the Minneapolis-metro, and in Lincoln, Nebraska. You see, Des Moines has the “home” feel of safety and security, but also has things to look at. Des Moines’ East Village is filled with street art, and an eclectic vibe that speaks to millennials. Downtown is safe and there’s enough city, that you can look at buildings on your walk. Downtown also has the Asian Gardens, which is a pretty awesome walk through that puts you right in a space of zen. Then there’s Gray’s Lake (which is like a smaller version of Lake Calhoun), which gives you a nice walk around a lake for that “outdoorsy” feel. Ellie and I go for a lot of walks in Des Moines!

Grab Some Lunch at Hessen Haus
Location: 101 SW 4th Street, Des Moines

Hessen Haus might be my favorite part of Des Moines, and I can see all past Iowa residents rolling in their graves. This place is a German bar known for it’s boot of beer. To be completely honest though, this place is actually known for it’s terrible service. You only go when you know you have a couple hours to spare, and you never go if it’s after 9pm on a Saturday, because you’re not getting a table. You will order the nachos, the cheese sticks, and the giant pretzel, because that shit is good. Listen, I could go on and on about it all day long, but this place has amazing food, the most fun atmosphere, and the worst service ever. Go there, you’ll love it.

Grab a Beer at Fox Brewing or Tour Exile Brewery
Location: 103 S. 11th Street, West Des Moines
Location: 1514 Walnut Street, Des Moines

My dad likes breweries, so it became a thing to visit them when he was here. Fox brewing was the cutest little brewery that I’ve ever been in. It looked a little bit country,  with a lot of eclectic flavor. Plus, it had hundreds of board games, so you could go on in, grab a table and hang out with your friends and family for hours. We also toured Exile Brewery, which is the coolest brewery ever. I didn’t take any pictures there, because I was drowning myself in beer, but the owner took us on the tour and that alone makes me want to suggest it to you. Any place where the owner shows their pride in their work, is a great place in my book.

Walk through Papajohn Scultpure Park
Location: 1330 Grand Ave in Des Moines

This place is just kinda cool. It’s like the Sculpture Garden we’ve got in Minneapolis, but different. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, other than there’s plenty of places to get a good Instagram, and there’s a sculpture that looks like a penis, so….

Get Dinner at Fuzzy’s Tacos, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, or just go back to Hessen Haus…
Location: 300 Martin Luther King Pkwy, Des Moines
Location: 6800 Fleur Drive, Des Moines
Location: 101 SW 4th Street, Des Moines

Fuzzy’s Tacos is my ultimate Des Moines restaurant. Their chips and queso can not be beat (hello, Fuzzy dust). They also have delicious brisket tacos, which will make you cry of happiness, and like one hundred other great things on the menu. I will always suggest at least trying the chips and queso, even if it’s not your normal fiesta go-to, and I promise you- if you ever come here to visit us, we’re eating here. Then there’s Johnny’s, which is a fancy steakhouse that makes Dylan and Nick cry tears of joy. You’re probably going to end up back at Hessen Haus, just like we do every single weekend, because let’s be honest- it was that good. 

End The Night Playing Games at Up Down
Location: 500 East Locust Street, Des Moines

There are Up Down locations around the country and maybe even near where you live, but you guys- why wouldn’t you want to go use old school tokens, play old school games, and drink really cheap beer? It’s located in The East Village, and this place is a blast. I’m the reigning champion in our group of friends at Ms. Pac Man, Tony gets all sweaty trying to play that track and field game, and Nick and Dylan always scream at NCAA football. This place also has giant connect four AND skee ball. Can I just move in?

Honorable Mentions:
Food: Eat at Zombie Burger (those shakes are worth it)
Food: Eat at Bubba (that atmosphere almost makes up for the price)
Do: Visit an Iowa Wild Game (it’s the a mini-Minnesota Wild)
Do: Come in August and judge the Iowa State Fair (Totally not the Minnesota State Fair)

Thanks for visitng Des Moines!

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