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Sharing experiences both far away and right at home

Summer in Des Moines

Summer in Des Moines

It's almost officially fall in Iowa.  Of course, true to form, we have all been talking about the fall in the air feeling for the last month and a half. Really after the last heat wave ended in July...

Zach and I have gotten to travel SO MUCH this year, and I have loved it. I appreciate our creaky apartment for giving us a few extra bucks in our budget to travel on. But, we spent a lot of June and July and August weekends here in Des Moines. And it's so fun!! Other than kids being out of school, I am not sure why summer is when most Midwesterners travel and take vacations. I think the summer months in any city or town are the best ever, so why lose those by going out of state or country? 

I have appreciated the growing amount of new events here in Des Moines! I have also finally done quite a few Des Moines summer staples that I hadn't yet until this summer. And found my favorite things about living and working here. 

Here are some of our Des Moines summer highlights from this year:

A daytime iCubs game (thanks work!) and a nighttime game with best friends


Des Moines is almost fully connected by miles and miles of paved bike trails (550 miles worth!). May is Bike Month so I finally faced my nervousness and rode my bike to work TWICE! I have a single speed so it was a lot of work, but the trails are beautiful and the people are so happy to be out there.


Also weeknight bike rides. So good.


The opening of St. Kilda!!! The most incredible place to walk and get weekend food. Alex is incredibly nice and is killing it in Des Moines.


PATIOS FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER. Des Moines people love their patio beers, and more and more new bars and restaurants are popping up with huge patios. Lucky for them, midwesterners will squeeze out 3/4 of the 12 months on those things. Never give up.

My favorite walking distance patios are: El Bait Shop, Malo, Eatery A and Exile.


After-work or Saturday morning trail runs. It's a dream and the miles go so fast. I get to watch the seasons change so much running through here. The associations do a great job maintaining these. 


I finally went to Jasper Winery on a live music Thursday! Holy moly. So many more people than I imagined come and picnic every Thursday.

Gray's Lake is ALIVE on Saturday mornings. So many people sailing, riding bikes, running. That's only if there isn't a race going through the park. 

We paddleboarded one morning :) She's pumped that I dragged her along.


There is something amazing to me about walking in the city on a warm night. I have always loved it. In college and in Florence, and now in Des Moines. So when he agrees to it, Zach and I walk to patio beers or dinner downtown and wind our way back home. 


I walked my first ever 9 holes of disc golf. I did not play. But I did drank a beer and trailed behind Zach. He's good! I picked up bottles and cans that people just throw on the ground (SO RUDE). These courses are amazing! You see a little of everyone out there.


The opening of Horizon Line!! It's beautiful and simple and in a great location to walk with friends to. The coffee (and matcha) is greeeeatttttt. We supplied our apartment coffee a few weeks with their bagged coffee.


 Water Works Park and Arboritum still intrigues me. I have biked, walked, ran, fished, played frisbee, and hammocked there so many times. But, the different parts of the park are so fun to re-explore.


We have warmly embraced the new Hyvee downtown. So close to our apartment and gives us great feels. We make a stop every Sunday afternoon and zip around the little stands and get our weekly goods.


The best place to unwind on a Saturday is Saylorville Lake. It's beautiful and big enough to have a lot of people on the water but you can choose about any little stretch of beach and feel secluded.


I went to the Fleur Cinema for the 2nd and 3rd times ever this summer. This place has the best theater snacks and drinks of all time. 

We saw The Big Sick and Dunkirk on Sunday nights here. Both were great summer movies (in different ways...)


I spent a lot of lunch breaks laying in a park near my office building. It's an amazing way to spend an hour on a weekday. I appreciate the number of little parks that Des Moines (and West Des Moines) has. 


Des Moines is booking great shows! We went to see Gregory Alan Iskov and Blind Pilot. It was scheduled at Simon Estes (the perfect summer venue), but was moved to Wooly's due to rain. 


The Downtown loop is still adding great restaurants and bars, despite the other neighborhoods growing. I walk to the library many evenings to check in and out books :)

They do a great job hosting so many summer events. We like to walk through the Arts Festival, and 80/35 each summer. There are a ton more festivals that we haven't gotten to yet. 

And wayyyyy outside of the Downtown loop, we also fully experienced Hinterland! More on that here.


We went to the State Fair! Since we only go once and we cruise through in a few hours, we usually get a couple of foods and find a new element that we haven't experienced before. The first year I went, food and food alone was that element. The second year, it was the traveling Renaissance tent that captured me. This year, we found our friends and actually played carnival games at the Midway.


CLASSIC DES MOINES STAPLE: Saturday Farmer's Market

I take this for granted. I love that it's walkable or bikable from our apartment. The smells, dogs, babies, burritos, and drinks are worth it every time. It's growing and growing and you have to get their earlier and earlier each year it seems. 

I try and go once or twice each summer. This summer, I only got there once. But it was wonderful.


The reason we don't get there as often is because summer Saturday mornings in Sherman Hill are my actual chart topper favorite thing about living here. Our solarium is full of greens in the summer and I open the windows after we make breakfast. I love sitting here with coffee 


In college, I didn't think I would end up in Des Moines. I don' think any of my friends did. But, it's wonderful. I hope to always be able to find enjoyment and appreciation for the city and the neighborhood that I live in. But, Des Moines is doing great things! I think the people that are here are here because they want to be and because they love the old staples and are excited about the growth and the new opportunities that come with it. 

Summer in the Midwest is so good! And fall will be too :)

From Pleasant Street with a full heart,


Welcome to DSM, West Elm

Welcome to DSM, West Elm

Make: Summer Pesto Pizza

Make: Summer Pesto Pizza