We know we should probably be extra-jaded by now, that Iowa, and Des Moines, and the East Village in particular, keep getting singled out for praise by national and international publications.
Apparently, everybody thinks we are a great place for living and working and being a young professional or a lover of good food, or for buying a house, and, also, now, for spending a three-day weekend, according to Travel and Leisure Magazine.
Make sure to visit Raygun, a T-shirt shop specializing in quirky (and incredibly local) sayings; Hill Vintage & Knits, the perfect spot for thrifted outfits; Domestica, a one-stop souvenir shop with handmade goods from locals; Porch Light Antiques; Moxie, a great stop for adding to your art collection; and Aimee, just in case you’re looking for a show-stopping outfit. For a break from shopping, visit the Exile Brewing Company (tours run every Saturday from 3:15 to 4 p.m.)
Stick around the East Village for dinner—there’s a restaurant for every taste. If you feel like sushi, head to Miyabi 9. In dire need of a burger? Zombie Burger + Drink Lab is one for the memory books—each menu item is inspired by a zombie film, with phrases like “mac and cheese bun,” “two grilled-cheese-sandwich bun,” and “green chile + cheese croquette” dotting the menu. Lucca, owned by three-time James Beard Award nominee Stephen Logsdon, is a little piece of Italy in downtown Des Moines, featuring contemporary takes on traditional Italian dishes (read: great pizza). For dinner with a view, Alba is a mix of 1950’s Art Moderne and rustic-chic interiors. A palette of colorful wooden doors hangs from the ceiling in the dining room, and each wall is covered in artwork—great for a date night when you’ve got a hankering for solid American dishes.
Head to Up/Down—an underground barcade—for a post-dinner pick-me-up with a side of giant Jenga. The bar is a mix of vintage arcade games, board games, and a couch area for video-game playing. When you’re all gamed out, check out Wooly’s for some live music. They have acts most nights of the week, ranging from local favorites (The Maytags, Annalibera, Max Jury) to national acts like Sleigh Bells, Pink Floyd tribute bands, Eric Hutchinson, Sick Puppies, and Taking Back Sunday (there’s a throwback!).
Nice to see that the East Village rates a full afternoon and most of the evening of that three-day getaway.
You can read the whole travelogue on the Travel and Leisure website.