Since I’m not an Iowa native, I didn’t grow up visiting the State of Iowa Historical Building or the Iowa Capitol on countless school trips, and for one reason or another, I’d never gotten around to going. That is, until recently.
Now that I’ve lived in Des Moines for a little over five years (woah), I figured it was time to put together a list of some of my favorite places around the city. From my favorite place to get a gorgeously made latte to some of the best places to spend a free afternoon, you can find it all here.
I’ve been dying to take a letterpress class for quite some time now. So when a friend and I spotted a listing for a two-day class at the Des Moines Art Center last month, we jumped at the chance to spend a weekend learning about letterpress.
And the experience was nothing short of amazing. Continue Reading…
It may be March, but here in Des Moines we’ve been plunged into another deep freeze (what’s up, -25° wind chills). And if you’re anything like me, the cold weather has probably makes you want to curl up under a pile of blankets, do some serious Netflix binging and avoid leaving your apartment until things thaw.
On the chillest days there are few things that will tempt me to venture out of the skywalk—Lunch Unplugged is one of them. For only $5, the wonderful people at Des Moines Performing Arts have put together a great slate of lunchtime performers at the Temple of the Performing Arts that’s hard to pass up.Continue Reading…
Growing up one of my favorite holiday traditions was piling in the back of my mom’s station wagon to drive around snowy neighborhoods and admire the Christmas light displays. Every year my brother and I would get into our pajamas and pile into the backseat with blankets, armed with thermoses of hot chocolate and freshly popped popcorn, and ready to spend a good hour admiring the holiday lights.
While it’s a tradition we haven’t taken part in for some time, I was feeling nostalgic over the weekend when some friends and I ventured to Water Works Park for Jolly Holiday Lights, a holiday light display put on by Iowa’s branch of the Make a Wish Foundation. Admission is only $10 per car and the display spans over the park’s 3.5 mile trail, ending with Santa’s Workshop where little ones can meet the big man himself and munch on cookies. As twenty-somethings we had a great time, but this event would absolutely be a lot of fun for families with smaller children.
Jolly Holiday Lights, Water Works Park in Des Moines, 5:30-10 p.m. through Jan. 1
This year more than ever I’ve realized how quickly the holiday season can slip away—case in point, it’s already December 3rd. So in an effort to take a deep breath every once in awhile and remember to enjoy this time of year, I’ve compiled a holiday to do list, complete with some of my favorite winter activities.
- Go ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza
- Bake & decorate Christmas cookies
- Host a movie marathon to watch “Elf,” “White Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” & other classics
- Shop for families in need through the toy drive organized through my office
- Eat lots of candy canes
- Pack some hot chocolate & drive around looking at Christmas lights
- Make homemade marshmallows
- Visit the Christkindlmarket in Chicago
- Try to make as many DIY holiday gifts as possible
- Take a drive through Jolly Holiday Lights in Water Works Park.
For a smaller size city, Des Moines knows how to throw a good street festival. Come fall one of the biggest—and one of my favorites—is the World Food & Music Festival.
For one weekend in mid-September, Locust Street at the base of the Iowa State Capitol is transformed into a bustling collection of food tents and musicians. A bit like Des Moines’ version of Taste of Chicago—only a whole lot cheaper—the World Food Festival offers a variety of cuisines from around the world.Continue Reading…
A few weeks ago our intern informed me that he had a new ice cream place I just had to try. While I should have been embarrassed that my love for frozen treats is obviously apparent at work, I was immensely excited to act on his recommendation.
Before cooler weather hit a friend and I made the trip to Classic Frozen Custard with high hopes. And let me tell you, we were far from disappointed. I ordered a “regular”—the smallest size offered—black raspberry custard and tried not to let my jaw hit the floor when my order appeared at the window.
For roughly the same price (under $3.50) as a take-home pint, the “regular” is just about the same amount of custard. Not that I’m complaining by any means—just know what you’re getting yourself into. While Classic Frozen Custard isn’t open year-round, there’s probably a few more days of frozen goodness to be had. I know that I’ll be trying the pumpkin custard next time I visit.
Classic Frozen Custard, 4000 SE 14th Street in Des Moines
Last Friday evening I grabbed a picnic blanket, some chocolate covered pretzels and a friend and headed to Des Moines’ Salisbury House for the organization’s annual Shakespeare on the Lawn event.
And it just so happened that this year’s selection was one of my Shakespeare favorites–”A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Performed by a spectacular cast from the Repertory Theater of Iowa, this whimsical show was perfectly set against the wooded backdrop of the Salisbury gardens. Not only was it delightfully easy to believe that Puck might leap from behind a tree at any given moment, but the warm summer air made you truly want to be transported to Athens.
Shakespeare on the Lawn may be over for the year, but I would highly recommend checking out RTI’s schedule for the rest of the season. You’ll probably find me at Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest” later this year.
Salisbury House, 4025 Tonawanda Drive in Des Moines
When I was younger, my parents were hard-pressed to drag me off of my trusty banana bike. Fully outfitted with neon wheel beads and a glittery basket, there were few places I didn’t peddle off to during the warm summer months. Now that I’m older (and in the market for a new bike – mine was a garage sale pick and a major clunker), I don’t get on my bike nearly as much as I should.
But during a rare glimpse of sunlight this past Sunday I decided it was high time for a ride and peddled off to one of my favorite Des Moines neighborhoods. Though the “hill” part of Sherman Hill isn’t as appealing, I love riding past all of the old houses and gardens spilling with blooming summer flowers.