Des Moines, I Love You

1// Classic skyline view from the steps of the Capitol building //

2// A new cityscape I found from the back side of Principal Park and the river (it’s even prettier at night, but these clouds are to die for neat) //

img_2122// I was pulling out of my parking spot from the Farmer’s Market and saw this gem of a view //

img_22575// My new favorite corner of downtown–right after walking out of Horizon Line Coffee //

Des Moines, Des Moines. What a radical place. After being named the top city for young professionals (thanks, Forbes), it keeps expanding and deepening its cultural roots.As the city girl that I am, I loved every minute of growing up in this place. Des Moines was most definitely the best place to be raised (I’m not biased, at all–can’t you tell?!). It’s been so cool to see the city grow over the course of my lifetime. According to the elderly folk, downtown DSM was not the place to be twenty or so years ago. But now–it’s hoppin’. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

I always joke with friends that “I could draw a map of downtown Des Moines without looking at Google Maps or using any resources,” and that I could produce an accurate, detailed picture of the city with only a piece of paper, a pen, and my brain. After saying this for months, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and finally sketch it. Even though the first draft wasn’t drawn to scale and I fudged up a few streets, I knew a lot more than even I thought I did. I guess my brain just works in one way streets, high rises, and coffee shops. I’ll share the final product after I draft a more legit picture, but it is most definitely in the works (and as of right now, six pages of paper).

Anywho, after visiting Dallas, aka my future home–and a much, much larger city than Des Moines–I got countless surprised looks and raised eyebrows when I shared that I’m from Iowa. “Soooo, aren’t you guys known for corn?” Why yes, yes we are! I’m glad you didn’t confuse us with Ohio. But on the real, we are the corn state, and we produce darn good corn on the cob #iowapride. But that’s not where I’m from; as much as I’d like to say that I have farm and agricultural skills, I don’t. Instead, I could show you around downtown Des Moines with a blindfold on.

I’ve tried to soak up as much of the city as possible this summer before leaving it behind for a while. In my pursuit, I’ve explored new coffee shops, boutiques, and corners of downtown while mixing in my favorite go-to’s. Here are a few of my DSM favorites:

Horizon Line Coffee: The chicest space, the coolest & kindest baristas, and overall, one of the top coffee experiences I’ve had downtown. Every time I’m in there I want to pull out a book or journal and hang out for the rest of the day. It’ll take a lot to beat this place; it’s just all around fantastic. They’re winning the coffee shop game for sure.
Scenic Route Bakery: A spacious, sleek coffee shop and bakery with a killer chicken salad sandwich. I could spend hours in this place, and I love the natural light from all the windows.
Pink Paper Co: For a stationery nerd like me, this place is heaven. There are countless cards, envelopes, journals, pens, and notepads to keep you preoccupied and daydreaming for weeks. And the employees are friendly and inviting.
Centro: I think this will always be my favorite, favorite, favorite downtown destination. Nothing tops a Caesar salad, margarita pizza or marshmallow sundae from this place. Plus, they have a killer patio.
Black Cat Ice Cream: All jokes aside, this is the best ice cream that. I. Have. Ever. Had. In. My. Whole. Life. EVER. Coming from an ice cream connoisseur, that’s saying a lot. This is most definitely worth the calories and the trip to their window (they don’t have a traditional store; you walk up to the window to get your delicacy).

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