Des Moines, Iowaaaa
July 11, 2005 9:17 PM   Subscribe

Anything going on in Des Moines, Iowa on the cultural scene? Art museums, galleries, music, best kept secrets, restaurants, even shopping etc. Spending 3 days in August...yikes.
posted by lois1950 to Travel & Transportation around Des Moines, IA (10 answers total)
Not sure, but I was in downtown Des Moines once on Saturday night at 8pm, and the only place with anything happening was some bar with what looked like a wedding party or baby shower or something.

I also ate at this Thai restaurant, and it was positively awful. The sweet & sour tasted like my armpit.

This kind of soured me on Des Moines. If you can, visit the capital building(s), though. They're pretty cool. At least from what I remember from high school trips.

The words 'culture' and 'Des Moines' should never be the same paragraph.
posted by angry modem at 10:25 PM on July 11, 2005

Des Moines is in the center of North America. That's about all.
posted by panoptican at 10:53 PM on July 11, 2005

Actually, that's not true. It's always entertaining to walk around and call it Dess Moynes to everyone on the street.
posted by panoptican at 10:55 PM on July 11, 2005

The organic layer of the soil there is exceptionally deep--up to six feet deep. A prime example of the wonders of the grass root.
posted by FakeOutdoorsman at 11:23 PM on July 11, 2005

I'll not stand idly by while you besmirch my hometown!
...all right, it's not that great. (and panoptican, the proper pronunciation to annoy folks is Dezz Moynezz)

As far as events in August, though: various events in August(covers food, art, and music), and the Art Center events schedule. All the secrets are being kept from me, so no help there. Looks like the opera is done by August and the Symphony hasn't started, so if your tastes run that way, you're out of luck.
posted by sysinfo at 12:05 AM on July 12, 2005

Additional link: Metro Arts Alliance. I'd link to the page I found listing Des Moines nightlife to counter angry modem's claims, but a) I'm not the guy to ask about the best bars/clubs, and b) the site design made my eyes bleed.
posted by sysinfo at 12:09 AM on July 12, 2005

Downtown: The Royal Mile is good if you like nice British/Irish beers. There is an upstairs addition specializing in Belgian brews, but I'm not sure when it's open (I think its hours are goofy). There's the Hessian House (Haus maybe? It's at 101 Fourth St.) with German stuff. I hear at the High Life Lounge, you can pretend you're an actual NYC hipster. It's at 200 Market Street. All three of these are within easy walking distance. There are also other bars that specialize in dance music/appletinis/heavily made-up people, but I'm not really one of them and so can't comment on their quality.

Java Joes is a coffee place (you knew that) right next to the Mile that has free wifi and occaisional shows. You might also catch something interesting at the Vaudeville Mews (ie, Ted Leo a couple weeks ago, local/touring improv, etc).

August is fair month in Iowa. Go to one. The State Fair is Aug. 11-21.

If you want to shop, as in mall shop, head out to Clive (yes, horrible name for a town, why not Carl or Ted?) and the Jordan Creek mall. Brand new. Big by Iowa standards. If you're looking for something else, the area east of the river up to the capitol has some interesting shops. You might like to check out the farmers market if you're in town on a Saturday (it's downtown, I'm not sure it runs when the fair is going on... all the farmers are busy then).

You should get a pizza from Flelix and Oscar's if you're into good deep dish.

Museumwise, check out the DM Art Center if you're in to that. The Guv's Mansion and the Capitol are good stops. If you want to dig deep, there's always the State Historical Society.

The AAA Iowa Cubs make for a fun night out. Not the same as the Major Leagues, but short lines for peanuts and crackerjacks and it costs $6 ($8 if you want a good seat). Looks like Memphis is in town in the later part of the month.

Madison County (of "Bridges of..." fame) is only about 30 minutes from downtown. It's a fun drive to see some real Iowa countryside.

People seem to love slagging Iowa (8pm on a Saturday is early even in Des Moines, AngryM) and the midwest at large, but we're not so uncool, just more spread out than the rest of you.

Sorry if I went a little long... Hope some of this helps keep you busy.
posted by jaysus chris at 1:41 AM on July 12, 2005

During the primary, the big city reporters all congregate at only two restaurants: 801 Grand Steakhouse and Centro. (Read: better chow and atmosphere than your average eatery, but also pricier.)
Also, the old time bar at the Hotel Fort Des Moines is positively steeped in political history. This is where so many hopes and dreams are hashed out by sodden political operatives every four years, most of them later dashed. But every major pol has been in that joint going back decades.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:37 AM on July 12, 2005

Why are you spening three days in Iowa if you're such a Midwest-o-phobe?
posted by keswick at 8:16 AM on July 12, 2005

Response by poster: the Grand Nationals for Cadillac/LaSalle..a lot of old cars. My partner has a 39 LaSalle that he's driving to Iowa from the west coast (with his brother as co-driver...I just fly in) Whole thing is too geeky for me but FUN will be had! Thanks for all the info
posted by lois1950 at 8:57 AM on July 12, 2005

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