Des Moines is much more than a place I happen to live. I have fallen deeply in love with its people, food, neighborhoods and happenings. While I’ve only been here five years, I continue to discover new places, events, parks and interesting people. So this is my home and the place I will continue to invest my time, energy and money into.
Here’s a list of (some) of my favorites:
Greenwood Park: This park is tucked up near the Art Museum grounds and once you walk through the Rose Garden on a beautiful summer day, you can walk around the little pond and reflect. It’s really peaceful and extremely close to the major bike trails that go through Water Works Park.
Gong Fu: This place captivates me every time I’m in there. The tea displays, funky pots and relaxation space in the back is all this girl needs for a little pick me up. I’m not a tea expert, but I enjoy Ancient Happiness and their vanilla chai with whole milk.
Gusto Pizza (as if I haven’t said this enough): I have yet to eat better pizza. My favorites include Buffalo Springfield, The Duke, Vincent Van Goat and the classic Fromage-a-Trois.
La Mie: I go here at least once a week and its sister restaurant, City Bakery in the East Village. You guys, La Mie’s broccoli quiche is the best. I have yet to make my quiche as amazing as theirs, but I will attempt and someday succeed. And if you need good pastries (and tarts) just get yourself in there. Don’t waste another second.
Ephemera: The best cards live here. The best people work here. I am lucky to work right across the street and would probably go there way more often if I didn’t have a budget to maintain. If you need a dose of cuteness and happy smells, this is your place. While you’re at it, peruse the East Village and walk up to the Iowa State Capitol Building.
Gateway Market: This is the place to go to find local, natural, organic products. While I can’t do all of my grocery shopping here, I love going to find unique baking goods or new snacks. The latest was Seaweed Chips. I wasn’t a fan, but I didn’t know until I tried! 🙂 I also go to Gateway for a quick sushi craving. Their packaged rolls are fantastic.
Zanzibar’s: The best mocha is found here. Their “Linda Special” breakfast item was made for dairy lovers. Toast, cream cheese, onions and melted cheese. Like, are you kidding me? YUM. Other than that, I try to get my beans here because they’re roasting them right in front of you and that’s just cool. It gets busy, but when it’s slower, it’s such a great place to bring a book and get cozy.
Power Life Yoga: I’m such a huge fan of this place. I’ve met several new friends and have experienced yoga on a whole new level. I’ve blogged about this more than once because I’m so passionate about it. I work the there as a greeter once a week and get free unlimited yoga for it. Their schedule is expanding and it is designed for people of all yoga levels. I highly encourage anyone and everyone to try the free week.
Sherman Hill Neighborhood: I just moved into the neighborhood, but this isn’t why I love it. I could walk in this neighborhood everyday. It makes me want a dog and makes me want to buy and preserve a historic home. The variety of beautiful houses make for an enjoyable walk. And you can find Smokey Row right off the interstate. I can be found working there as a barista once or twice a week.
RAYGUN: I am a fan of their shirts (who isn’t?). I have four different ones, but have yet to purchase the one below. When I last went in there, I was surprised to see different cards, magnets and other Des Moines related goodies. Get yourself in there, especially if you’re visiting. You’ll learn a lot of witty, interesting things about our city and town just from t-shirts.
CrossFit 8035: Be brave and come in on a Freebie Friday to this place! I am a huge fan. To be honest, I’m still a little scared of lifting large weights, but there are so many different WODs (workout of the day) that anyone is capable of doing. Anyone! I promise. Our coaches care a lot about your workout and will set you up for success. Here’s a link to all the boxes in the metro.
Okay, I could really go on and on. I love this community and all the things I’ve discovered. If you’re just visiting or if you live here, these places are all worth exploring.