My Des Moines Top 5

I had to bid Des Moines farewell, but I thought I’d tip my hat to what I believe is a vastly underestimated city by giving you my Des Moines Top 5 (once upon a time a feature I put together for Juice magazine).

1. The East Village. OK, so maybe it’s cheating to make a whole neighborhood one item, but I really do think this part of town has become the heartbeat of the city. All of the independent business owners that adopted this neighborhood have made it into an extraordinary place to shop, eat, and socialize. I appreciate all the shops that carry local handmade goodies (Ephemera, Vitae, Domestica, Porch Light Antiques…), I’ve always loved the sights and smells at Eden, and I am definitely rocking my Raygun T-shirts here on the west coast.

2. A Dong. Mike and I probably ate at this Vietnamese restaurant more than we ate anywhere else in the city. Mostly because of the vegetarian options (yummy noodle soups and crispy egg rolls), but we grew to have a soft spot for the servers like Thai and Neal.

3. The crafty community. Thinking about the people I met in Des Moines through my crafty endeavors and won’t see everyday is probably the thing that gets me the most teary about leaving Iowa. I was just blown away by the talent in Des Moines and the drive that locals had to create events like Craft Saturday and Market Day. Creativity is so important to the growth of a community, and Des Moines has it in spades.

4. Beaverdale. I’m so glad I got to spend the last four years of my time in Des Moines in this great neighborhood. The brick houses, quiet streets and friendly neighbors are like something out of a movie, but it really exists. I will truly miss those Snookies’ ice cream cones in the summertime.

5. My yogis. It sounds totally cliche, but it’s totally true — Yoga changed my life. If I hadn’t met Sandi Hoover from The Family Tree back when she was teaching at Firehouse (now Harmony), I don’t know where I’d be. Both of those studios are alive and well, and you should definitely check them out if you haven’t yet.

Fall in Beaverdale.


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    Hey Cara-
    Loved the post! I also posted a DSM roundup before I left the city back in August ( surprisingly the EV made both of our lists!
    Anyway, I totally agree with you about how underestimated Des Moines is. I came to DSM from CO for school, and am now living in Spain teaching English and I am absolutely shocked by how much I truly miss Des Moines. That city really changed me and will forever hold a special place in my heart.
    Hope you find the same charm in Cali!