When it comes to suggestions on living it up in Des Moines, it’s always a good idea to ask a native. Since I’ve lived most of my life in the Des Moines/West Des Moines area, I thought it’d be a good idea to give you the dish on things to do and eat in the Des Moines area. You can trust my advice – I’ve been here in Des Moines longer than most people on campus, and experience oftentimes translates directly into knowledge. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to all of Des Moines, it’s more of a highlight of a few of the places I feel make Des Moines such a great place to live, and I hope it’ll lead to some fun times for whoever reads it!
Let’s start with movies: I love them, so that means everyone else does too. You have several options for the Des Moines-ish area:
- The Fleur Cinema and Cafe – They offer super cheap tickets, which is a great advantage over some theaters. The snacks they offer include a variety of candies and pastries, and the whole place is decorated with murals and old movie posters, which I think is really charming. They even have wine and several types of beer (21 and up, obviously) However, they do show a lot of artsy films, which is only great if you’re a bit of a hipster type and into that sort of thing.
- Century 20 Jordan Creek – This theater shows the largest number of movies, and it’s right in the most popular mall in Iowa. Also, they just put in fancy leather reclining seats in all of their screening areas, and they’re awesome! This giant conglomeration is just a fancy place all around to visit. However, the snacks and admission tickets are expensive as all hell, and you will need to take out a second mortgage to afford this place on a regular basis.
Next, stuff to see and food to eat!
- Pappajohn Sculpture Park – not in any way related to the pizza place. It’s in downtown Des Moines, right next to the Des Moines library. It’s got some cool art, a nice little grassy area, and it’s free to attend. I recommend the giant sculpture made of letters or the multicolored glass pane sculpture. At least two of the sculptures (I’m looking at you, spider-horse creature) look like nightmares though, so be aware of that.
- The Art Center – free to attend, with a nice little cafe in the middle that changes their menu quite often – I recommend the desserts since they’re the only constants. There’s some cool art to look at, and a lot of the architecture for the building itself is really impressive and interesting. However, some of the art is really weird and I guarantee you won’t “get” it, you’ll just be thinking about how you could have done that yourself and made millions.
- Zombie Burger – a themed restaurant down in East Village. They have pretty good food (mostly burgers and fries), and I love the milkshakes they have – I recommend the cake shakes and the brownie shakes. The zombie theme is also pretty fun as well, especially the zombie-themed versions of popular movie posters. Forewarning though, this place is oftentimes very crowded, and the food will make you fat if you eat it too much.
- Miyabi 9 Sushi – also located in East Village. I’ve been coming to this place since I was 12 pretty much weekly, and it’s the best sushi I’ve had in Iowa so far. They have incredibly fresh fish, and lots of rolls to choose from. The restaurant itself can be pretty busy and has a sort of “modern” theme. The only downside to this wonderful place is that it can be expensive, especially for a sushi vacuum like me who can eat 2-3 rolls by myself.
- Sakari Sushi Lounge – located on Ingersoll. They have some really unique sauces for their sushi rolls, and a lot of them can be either spicy, fruity, or some combination of the two. I highly recommend the dessert roll – it’s a bunch of rice crispies wrapped around marshmallows and covered in chocolate sauce. The building is large and has a “hip” feel to it, with an extensive bar area, for those alcoholics out there. This place can also get very crowded, so get there early if you want good seats.
So, hopefully, some of you can find something you like from this list, goodness knows it’s long enough! But in all seriousness, these are just a few of the places that make Des Moines so much fun to live in, and I hope at some point you guys get off campus sometime and see what I’m talking about. Good luck, and happy fun-times hunting!