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What Makes Me Happy: 7 Things I Love About Des Moines

When I was growing up, I would daydream of moving out of Iowa. To a big city or a foreign country. Somewhere exciting where there would always be something to do, but I grew to appreciate Iowa. I stayed in state and went to college. I bought my home in Des Moines. I work downtown where food trucks sell their delicacies and music festivals take place just across the street. 

Farmer's Market

Downtown Farmers Market

Des Moines is the perfect size to live in. I don’t know if I’d call it a big town or a small city but it’s affordable and trendy. It’s a hidden gem in the Midwest that is not annoyingly full of traffic and full of culture. I love this city and all that it has to offer, here are my Top 7 Things I Love About Des Moines. 

Summertime.

Summertime in Des Moines is fantastic. I love the patio bars at Dos Rios, Zombie Burge & Drink Lab, El Bait Shop, Star Bar, Exile Brewery… I could go on and on. A cold beer, a crisp cocktail on a warm summer night people watching. That is heaven. There are also so many outdoor concerts, 80/35, 515 Alive, Jazz in July, Music Under the Stars. There is so much to do during a Des Moines summer.

Celebrating cultures is always happening downtown.

You’ve got CelebrAsian, Latino Heritage, Greek Food Fair, Jewish Food Fair, FestaItalia, the World Food Festival are all cultural celebrations I’ve been to or sulked about because I had to miss it. I love that Des Moines embraces all of these unique cultures. For a girl who daydreamed about moving to a foreign country, this is a way to get there without robbing a bank.

Des Moines has a love of art that flows out of the city.

The Des Moines Art Festival is a staple of the summer and showcases so much local talent. There are murals on the side of the Metro Waste Authority Building, RoCA, and a Des Moines Street apartment building that bring a beauty to what could be described as mundane. The 48 Hour Film Festival takes place at Fleur Cinema & Café every year with a premise of creating a movie in 48 hours and showing it to the world. I love how much the city loves art.

The Iowa Cubs are a great team to have locally.

Go to a weeknight game and unwinding after work. Go to a Friday night game and enjoy the fireworks after the game. Go on a Saturday and enjoy a cold drink. Whenever you go, get a pic with Cubbie. You’re never too old for a pic with Cubbie.

We can’t talk about Des Moines without talking about the State Fair.

I love the fair. Side List: Top 7 Things I Love About the Iowa State Fair:

People watch.

All food on a stick.

Grandstand concerts.

Varied Industries Building.

Lemonade and Funnel Cakes

Sky Ride & Ye Old Mill

Animal barns

Downtown Farmer’s Market is the best thing I love about Des Moines. It’s a great place to people watch. I always get a coffee and a pupusa. I love the community that gathers for the market. It’s a great place to catch up with friends and make some new ones.

I didn’t immediately love Des Moines but I’ve grown to love it, as this list shows. I’m glad I’ve made this town my home base, my touchstone. I hope everybody comes to see the wonder that Des Moines has to offer.