"A curious mix of qualities" Top 5 Page for this destination Des Moines by babybird

Des Moines Travel Guide: 117 reviews and 192 photos

Des Moines has grown to a metro of nearly 500,000 people, yet it is a fairly clean pleasant city. It actually looks fairly cosmopolitan with its decent skyline and system of walkways that are heated/air conditioned similar to those in Minneapolis. (Very useful in the wintertime!!!!)

Iowa in general has a reputation for being "dull" or boring. Well, I lived in Des Moines for 2 years and never found that to be very true. Perhaps if I was single, I might sometimes feel that way.

In the 80's I found Des Moines to appear run-down and unimpressive. I lived there from 2000 thru 2002 and it has grown up dramatically in recent years. There is an excellent choice of restaurants for those of us who want variety and are sick of tofu. Although I would not describe the club scene as huge, there are several worth a look. Coconut Joe's and Papa's Planet are fun, even for an old married guy. People are friendly and crime is far lower than many cities this size. The Civic Center hosts many of the traveling productions of musicals and dramas. Summers are filled with
concerts outdoors and Saturday night Street Parties in the Court Avenue District.

NO, Des Moines is NOT CHICAGO, L.A., or NEW YORK in terms of culture. It does boast an impressive
Botanical Center and several historic sites. Yes, the Iowa State Fair is huge here. Des Moines also offers some classy hotels, a major casino where you actually CAN win, a waterpark, and an amusement park. In general, it is typical of a fairly clean midwestern city where people like to work hard and spend time with their families. Perhaps that is boring to some, but some of us decided that we could DO WITHOUT an oppressive slew
of carjackings, muggings, rapes,
and property crimes. Not that it is perfect, but it is a pleasant city
that doesn't try too hard to be something it is not.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice restaurants, Great Steaks, Good People!!!!
  • Cons:Not a lot of College Town Nightlife...Severe Winters on occasion.
  • In a nutshell:Not exactly a tourist mecca, but a very livable city.
  • Last visit to Des Moines: Apr 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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