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2 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


Contents FOOD.......................................8 Nightlife.........................18 ENtERTAINMENT.........25 ARTS & CULTURE..........42 Outdoors .....................54 SHOP.....................................67

Editor’s Letter

Editor Tim Paluch

Admission: It took me a while to warm up to Des Moines and central Iowa.

Designer Amanda Holladay

I’m not a native Iowan, but I’ve lived here for more than a decade. And with each year I find new surprises, new restaurants, new favorite spots around the metro. I was once a skeptic. I’m now an advocate of this fine city.

Copy Editor Charles Flesher

I don’t need to be convinced any more. And after flipping through the pages of our annual Ultimate Guide to Des Moines, you hopefully won’t either. Consider this an essential guide to everything you need to experience what central Iowa has to offer – from the great outdoors to the arts to the live music that plays each night of the week in venues all over the metro. Let’s run through just a few of the hundreds of highlights in central Iowa, shall we? An art museum filled with works by heavyweights like Matisse and Picasso, and home (temporarily) to one of the most important and valuable paintings in America? Check. See page 42. A foodie expert’s take on the 50 restaurants you can’t miss? Page 8. An exploration of the area’s many recreational trails and outdoor/ rec options? Turn to page 54 and be shocked at what’s available to you. One of the nation’s best outdoor public sculpture parks? Page 44. Want to plan your summer and fall social calendar? Flip to 25 and start penciling in festival and event dates. That’s just a small sample. Explore Des Moines – for the first time, or all over again – through the pages of the Register’s Ultimate Guide. Then head to for even more. Tim Paluch Editor, Lifestyles & Entertainment The Des Moines Register Contact me:; 515-286-2564

4 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines

Staff contributors Jessica Knight, Joe Lawler, Michael Morain, Tim Paluch Contributors Sophia Ahmad, Wini Moranville, Erin Randolph

The Des Moines Register Vice President, Content Rick Green Vice President, Advertising Mark Wurzer President and Publisher Laura Hollingsworth These materials are the sole and exclusive property of the Des Moines Register & Tribune Co. and are not to be used without its written permission. © 2012 Des Moines Register & Tribune Co.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


happy hour

v s F O O D

daily in our newly expanded lounge

$5 small plates 2 for 1 oysters $5 cocktails $5 martinis mon-sat

lC ha Your Neighborhood Sports Bar


see no





303 locust downtown des moines @splashseafood 515.244.5686


el’ sM




Serving Iowa’s Best Brunch every Saturday & Sunday from 9:30-2:00



3100 Forest Ave. 515.279.3300

2601 Adventureland Dr. 515.957.9727

6 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


9350 University Ave. 515.987.8686


The Mercy Family of Hospitals and Clinics:

The excellence you deserve, the name you trust. When it comes to finding a health care provider, nothing is more important than trust. You need to feel confident you’re selecting the most qualified physicians and nurses. You also must know the facilities they practice in are technologically advanced, the procedures they perform are state-of-the-art, the care they provide is second-to-none and the organization they work for has a reputation for excellence.

You’ll find all of that when you trust your care to the Mercy Family of hospitals and clinics. With an acclaimed medical staff, leading-edge technology and a wide array of specialty services unique to Des Moines and to Iowa, Mercy is consistently ranked as a top performing hospital in the country. And with six Urgent Care clinics and more than 50 family practice and specialty clinics located throughout the Des Moines metro area, Mercy ensures outpatient care is convenient and readily accessible. Whether you’re looking for a pediatrician for your new baby, a board-certified specialist for yourself or a medical home for your entire family, you’re sure to find the right blend of compassion and care at Mercy.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Des Moines dining:

then and now

Central Iowa has come a long way, developing a sophisticated, diverse culinary scene by Wini Moranville, special to the des moines register


n 1991, I returned to Des Moines after living 10 years in New York City, England and elsewhere. Missing my daily a.m. cappuccino, I mentioned to a small-business consultant that someone in town really needed to open up a coffeehouse that served espresso drinks. He said, “It’ll never fly. You’ll never get Iowans to pay more than a buck for a cup of coffee.”

Wini Moranville was the Des Moines Register’s restaurant reviewer from 1997 to April 2012. Join her on Facebook at: All Things Food DSM-Wini Moranville, where she continues to cover items of interest to cooks and food lovers in Iowa.

Thank heavens that visionaries like Julie McGuire, who opened the ever-thriving Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure in 1993, didn’t listen to the naysayers.

chefs, restaurateurs and food purveyors combine inspiration, risk and hard work to forge new ground on the food scene.

Throughout the 14 1/2 years I served as The Des Moines Register’s Datebook Diner restaurant critic, I witnessed

And they’ve done so in spite of plenty of people who likely told them (as many people told me): Des Moines is

Meat and cheese plate with ciabatta bread at The Cheese Shop located in the Shops at Roosevelt.

8 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines

Register file photos

Roasted pork banh mi at Pho 888.

a pile-it-on, meat-and-potato/red-sauce-spaghetti kind of town, and that would never change. While I hope that the wonderful steak and pasta joints we grew up with never go away, I’m glad that — in spite of the cynics — the scene has also evolved over the years. During the decade and a half of my tenure, here are some of the greater trends that developed, and stuck, on the scene: The Chef emerged as a force: Before 1997, it was rare that patrons knew a restaurant’s chef by name. Perhaps that’s because many served the same tried-and-true items: prime rib, steak, shrimp scampi, pasta, etc. By 2000, we saw a number of American bistros open up, with chefs plating inventive dishes you could only find at their one-of-a-kind venues. At our better restaurants today, most food-lovers now know who’s heading up the kitchen, and we crave their signature plates, from Jason Simon’s porcini-dusted halibut cheeks at Alba, to Andrew Meek’s scallops on cauliflower puree at Sbrocco, to David Baruthio’s lamb belly with cumin-carrot mousseline at Baru 66. Small plates shook things up: Let’s face it: In some ways, Des Moines remains a pile-it-on town, with plenty of patrons who still favor heft over finesse. When they order an entree, they want to take half home for lunch tomorrow. One way restaurateurs have been able to serve more refined food while getting around the “more is better” ethos is by offering small plates — priced and portioned to allow diners to enjoy thoughful bites of this and that without eating (and spending) more than they wanted to. Southeast Asian venues took off: In the mid-‘90s, we thought our handful of Southeast Asian restaurants

were pretty good. Truth was, we hadn’t seen anything yet. In 2002, Thai Flavors burst onto the scene, showing us fresher, more vivid and stirring Thai food. Soon, other great Thai spots followed, and Vietnamese restaurants flourished all over as well, introducing us to the likes of pho and banh mi sandwiches, and showing us that you don’t have to always pay top dollar for food that was market fresh and fabulous. We got choosier about cheese: Who would have ever thought, in 1997, that Des Moines would support shops where artisanal cheeses go for as high as $25 a pound? Over the years we learned that a small amount of a wonderful cheese does more to satisfy and enthrall than a windfall of something ordinary. And so the cheese counter at Gateway Market and The Cheese Shop of Des Moines have loyal followings. Meanwhile, Baru 66 and Proof have both unveiled the cheese trolley as a dashing part of the dining experience. Diners got savvier: These days, the do-it-yourself movement has seen young food lovers embracing everything from home pickling and canning, to beekeeping. Meanwhile, people of all ages are strengthening their commitment to buying fresh, local and artisanal ingredients and knowing where their food comes from. As we flock to the farmers markets to buy the best ingredients, and look around the world for ideas and inspiration to trigger our own culinary imaginations, we expect our city’s better chefs to do the same. A community gets the restaurants it supports — and hence, the restaurants we deserve. Over 14 ½ years, I saw standards steadily rise on the Des Moines dining scene — and chefs and restaurateurs continue to raise the bar accordingly.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



50 restaurants

you can’t miss in central Iowa Hundreds of dining spots dot the landscape. Here are Moranville’s picks for 50 to cross off your list Chef-driven restaurants Don’t look for spinach-artichoke dip or chicken Caesar salad at these venues. What comes from the kitchen is inventive, original food that melds seasonal ingredients — locally purveyed, when possible — with the chef’s creative vision. • Alba (524 E. Sixth St.; 244-0261): Chef Jason Simon consistently crosses deep, rich flavors with the sparkle of something fresh, and he does so at admirably moderate prices. • Baru 66 (6582 University Ave., Windsor Heights; 277-6627): In this town’s Michelinstar-worthy restaurant, French born chef David Baruthio serves imaginative

multi-ingredient cuisine, prepared with painstakingly purveyed ingredients. • Proof (1301 Locust St.; 244-0655): On Friday and Saturday nights, Chef Sean Wilson plates progressive Midwestern cuisine, while the front of the house pours exotic, mostly unknown wines from around the world. Top ethnic joints You know what I mean when I say “joint”: In most cases, the functional, make-do atmosphere at these spots may preclude them from being special-occasion-worthy, but you can generally bet on finding fresh food at admirable prices: • A Dong (1511 High St.; 284-5632): Find fabulously fresh plates of flavor. Great choices include items with yu-choy (a sparkling Asian green). • Aroy-Dee (2128 Indianola Ave.; 5288009): I can’t get enough of the bun (vermicelli noodles) with roasted pork and chopped eggrolls at this cute hideaway. • Cafe Fuzion (1240 E. 14th St.; 262-8488): Look for Thai, Lao, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cuisine at this charmingly simple spot.

Register file photoa

Green curry chicken from Cafe Fuzion.

• Fawn’s Asian Cuisine (1107 E. University Ave.; 266-0664): Though the owner is from Laos, her Chinese food ranks among the best, and her Southeast Asian cuisine hits the spot, too. • Los Laureles (1518 E. Grand Ave.; 2652200): Fresh and simple open-face tacos, along with burritos the size of the plate, snag the Mexican food lover’s attention. • Mariana’s (1200 13th St.; 288-1499): Enjoy great gorditas and taco-truck-style tacos in a cute, colorful, casual ambiance. • Mi Patria (1410 22nd St., West Des Moines; 222-2755): Enjoy a taste of Ecuador here, including luscious hornados (roasted pork). • Pho 888 (1521 Second Ave.; 288-1595): This is the place to score great banh mi (Vietnamese sub sandwiches) as well other Vietnamese specialties. • Taqueria Sonora (800 First St., West Des Moines; 277-7071): Look for fresh open-face tacos, filling gorditas and fascinating salsas.

Bacon and Peach Stuffed Texas Quail, served at Alba’s Restaurant

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 10

• Thai Flavors (1254 E. 14th St.; 262-4658): More spiffy than the usual joint (but just as well priced), this spot packs in regulars for classic Thai food.

Ethnic with atmosphere Here’s where you can enjoy diverse dining, and a little ambiance, too. • Cool Basil (8801 University Ave., Clive; 225-8111): Score all the sweet-fiery-saltynutty intrigue you love about Thai food, in an upbeat, airy and bright ambiance. • The Mandarin Grill (1250 N.W. 128th St., Clive; 327-5988): This sleek and contemporary spot serves sushi, well-crafted Chinese food and a few Korean dishes. • Mi Mexico (11407 Forest Ave., Clive; 2226933): The color-splashed furnishings, brick arches and tiled tables (not to mention the exemplary “Originale” margaritas) make this one fun spot. The main dining area at Mi Mexico.


2712 Beaver Ave • 279-2067

Voted Best of Des Moines 21 years straight ass ic

Orlondo’s is the perfect pizza stop on the Great Western Bike Trail. Drop in while biking today!



Cont em p

Stop in for Pizza on the Trail

Barbeque Bacon Cheddar Burger -includes onions and pickles-

All You Can A Eat Ribs Every Monday!

ary r o

2205 SE Delaware Ave, Ankeny, IA • (515) 963-1928 3635 8th St. SW, Altoona, IA • (515) 967-8788

M-Th: 11am – 10pm or later Patio: 4pm - 10pm or later Fri: 11am – midnight or later Sat: 9am - midnight or later Patio: 9am - midnight or later Sun – 9am – 3pm

1500 East Euclid Ave, Des Moines, IA • (515) 262-8825 4820 SE 14th St, Des Moines, IA• (515)256-8908

Mon 4PM- 2AM • Tues - Sun 11AM- 2AM

4337 Park Ave • 244-3637 DM-9000337033

1105 73rd St, Windsor Heights, IA • (515) 279-5757 4565 86th St, Urbandale, IA • (515)334-0727 1112 S Duff Ave, Ames, IA • (515) 233-5678 DM-9000337446

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Thoughtful lunches For lunches you’ll look forward to all morning (without regretting all afternoon), head to these fine venues: • Art Center Restaurant (4700 Grand Ave.; 271-0332): Chef Lisa Lavalle specializes in fresh, seasonal lunches, often showcasing good-for-you veggies and grains in irresistible ways. • Flarah’s (2815 Beaver Ave.; 277-1935): Find some of the city’s most creative salads, as well as sandwiches, soups and quiche, in a modern, multi-windowed Beaverdale spot. • Grounds for Celebration (Three locations: 6601 University Ave., 271-5022; 2709 Beaver Ave., 255-4863; and 50th Street and Mills Civic Parkway, 309-0760): Tuck into a limited but thoughtful selection of quiche, salads, sandwiches and pasta, generally plated with lovely fresh-fruit flourishes. Register file photo

Luna Bistro’s Porchetta: slow-roasted pork , grilled bread, braised fennel and sauce puttanesca, served open-faced.

• Luna Bistro: (621 Des Moines St.; 2889849): The chef-inspired salads, sandwiches,

Fat Tuesday brings the “Taste of the Big Easy” to Des Moines. “Authenticity” and “flavor” are the biggest comments that customers have mad about Fat Tuesday! • Gumbo • Red Beans & Rice • Jambalaya • Po’ Boy Sandwiches • Alligator • Frog Legs • Sweet Potato Pie and more... Monday-Saturday, 11:00 am - 9:00 pm Sundays 11:00 am - 6:00 pm. Call for large reservations or orders to go!

1261 8th Street West Des Moines, IA 515.422.7802

6112 SW 9th • 515-285-3552 1 ½ blocks north of Army Post Road

BUY 1 MEAL GET $2 OFF THE SECOND MEAL One coupon per table 6112 SW 9th St. Des Moines 515-285-3552

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 12


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- Flour Tacos - Enchiladas - Fajitas - Grandpa Margaritas - Chile con Queso

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entrees and small plates transcend the ordinary by featuring ingredients like duck confit, pork cheeks and La Quercia pancetta. • Wine Experience at Jordan Creek (101 Jordan Creek Parkway; 457-8577): Tucked into Younkers is this dashing, colorful spot serving handsomely plated, vividly flavored food. Food with a scene

• Sbrocco (208 Court Ave.; 282-3663): Smack-dab on party central (that is, Court Avenue) and close to the Civic Center, this fun wine bar serves a chef-driven small plates menu. • Star Bar(2811 Ingersoll Ave.; 244-0790): Thanks to a kitchen that serves bar food — with polish — this Ingersoll hotspot attracts a sophisticated crowd, while keeping an easygoing vibe intact.

Head here on those nights when you’re not only craving good food, but also the great vibe and energy of a see-and-be-seen spot. • Centro (1007 Locust St.; 248-1780): With everyone from 20-somethings splitting a pizza to political types glad-handing the room before tucking into some lamb chops, this downtown favorite swells with energy, night after night. • Django (210 10th St.; 288-0268): Look for French food — Iowa style (that is, more about abundance than finesse). The nocorkage-fee policy keeps the place hopping.

Woo-worthy spots When you’re ready to take the relationship to the next level, let your date know it’s getting serious with a dinner at one of these romantic spots: • Bistro Montage (2724 Ingersoll Ave.; 5571924): This Ingersoll venue specializes in a cute, corner-bistro ambiance and classic-tomodern French bistro cuisine. • Splash (303 Locust St.; 244-5686): If the mesmerizing aquariums and tall, dreamy murals don’t seduce, the fresh and dynamic fish and shellfish will.

We fly fresh seafood in from around the world

Best Bets for a Steak Many places in central Iowa do good steaks. These spots do great steaks. • 801 Grand Steak and Chop House (801 Grand Ave.; 288-6000): When your pockets are deep or your expense account is generously endowed, head to this grand Edwardian-esque dining room for some of the most opulent beef around. • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse (150 South Jordan Creek Parkway; West Des Moines; 457-2916): Though the main menu can veer into expense-account territory, pay attention to the bar menu and small plates choices — that’s where you’ll snag some great meat at more moderate prices. • Jesse’s Embers (3301 Ingersoll Ave.; 2556011): This dark and cozy cubbyhole of a steakhouse has been bringing in red meat lovers since the early 60s.


Coney Island

Since 1971

3700 SW 9th St. 243-9608

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10-9 Sat. 10:30-9, Closed Sunday

Restaurant • Seafood Market • Sushi Bar Voted best seafood for 23 years straight West Des Moines


2900 University Avenue

2414 Southeast Tones Drive

(515) 223-5106

(515) 963-1940



Coney Island ($2.75 Value) with purchase of any sandwich basket Limit one coupon per party, per visit. Coupons may not be combined with any other offers.

’s JimConey


2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



A chef grills up chicken spiedini, a house specialty at Latin King.

Register file photos

Des Moines’s Best Italian-American Spots These tried-and-true spots are anything but trendy, yet they always deliver. • Christopher’s (2816 Beaver Ave.; 2743694): Whether you’re in the mood for a good-old spaghetti and meatballs — or something more up to date, like olive chicken — this classic Beaverdale venue hits the spot. • Noah’s (2400 Ingersoll; 288-2246): Go for great pizza and spaghetti and meatballs and grove to the comfort and tradition of one of Des Moines’ most time-honored ItalianAmerican spots. Good late-night choice, too. • Gino’s (2809 Sixth Avenue; 282-4029): Head to this old-side-of-town steak and red-sauce joint for great steaks and a handcrafted chicken Parmesan. Before dinner, enjoy a cocktail in the retro midcentury lounge, complete with aqua swivel chairs. • Latin King (2200 Hubbell Ave.; 266-4466): This ever-popular east-side venue serves arguably the best steak de burgo in town. Chicken spiedini (rolled, breaded, and grilled chicken in a garlicky sauce) is also a specialty.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 14

• Sam & Gabe’s (8631 Hickman Road, Urbandale; 271-9200): With its handcrafted food and lively jazz in the lounge, this spot brings the supper-club into the 21st century. Pizza Time Whether you like your crust thick or thin, and whether you seek toppings that are classic or contemporary, you’ll likely find your kind of pie somewhere in this town. • Bordenaro’s (6108 S.W. Ninth St.; 2871607): Pizza lovers from all over town flock to this super-casual south-side spot for classic pies featuring an enticing Des Moines-style crust (yielding both crispness and yeasty density) and a take-a-stand spicy sauce. • Chuck’s (3610 Sixth Ave.; 244-4104): This is where you head when only thin-crust pies will do. The decor combines old-school charm with contemporary rich, bold colors. • Fong’s (1220 Locust St.; 288-2935): This quirky Fourth Street spot specializes in admirable China-meets-Italy takes on pizza (Fongolian Beef Pizza, anyone?), and serves them up in a purposefully goofy Tiki bar. • Gusto (1905 Ingersoll Ave., 244-8786): Inventive specialty pies here include the delightful Figaro (pears, fig, blue cheese

and prosciutto) and the Duke (with smoked brisket, barbecue sauce and Colby-Jack cheese). • Wig and Pen Pizza Pub (2005 S. Ankeny Blvd., Suite 300, Ankeny; 963-9777): Get a great version of pan pizza here, with a thick, dense and chewy crust that’s artfully layered — cheese first, followed by toppings, then the bright and tangy red sauce. Barbecue City This list of the great barbecue spots could be much longer, but when pressed, I’d have to put these at the top: • Cactus Bob’s BBQ Corral (5955 Merle Hay Road, Johnston; 331-0057): Baby back ribs and piled-high brisket sandwiches are go-to options here. And just try staying away from the restaurant’s famous homemade barbecue kettle chips. • Findlay’s (1951 Indianola Ave.; 284-1212): Smoked chicken and baby-back ribs stand out, as do the homemade sides (including mac and cheese). It’s all served in a cute (but not cloying) country-store ambiance. • Flying Mango (4345 Hickman Road; 2554111): I especially recommend the brisket and ribs, but they also serve an admirable selection of fish and southern specialties,

such as Cajun catfish and chicken Creole. • Jethro’s (Jethro’s BBQ; 3100 Forest Ave.; 279-3300): At this always-hopping Drake-area spot, the wings and the fried cheese are exemplary, but you can’t go wrong with the smoked meats, either. • Woody’s Smoke Shack (2511 Cottage Grove Ave.; 277-0005): Find great ribs and admirably smoky-and-moist pulled pork, along with homemade cornbread and pie. In summer, enjoy it all on one of the city’s best patios. Best coffeehouses These days, you can get good espresso drinks in many places, but these one-ofa-kind venues serve up neighborhood charisma to go with your sips. • Mars Cafe (2318 University Ave.; 3696277) This Drake-area favorite is one of the few coffeehouses in town where you don’t have to choose between a glass of wine and a cup of espresso — they serve both, as well as good breakfasts and casual lunch/dinner items. • Ritual Cafe (1301 Locust St.; 2884872): An earthy, offbeat charm pervades this committed coffeehouse, which serves well-made coffee drinks, smoothies and a casual all-vegetarian menu. • Zanzibar’s (2723 Ingersoll Ave.; 2447694): One of our city’s first coffeehouses endures as one of our best, with houseroasted coffee, fine pastries, fluffy eggs (steamed on the espresso machine) and an unmistakable sense of camaraderie that only the best neighborhood venues exude. Sushi: You can hardly throw a (figurative) rock without hitting a sushi restaurant in this town, and many are quite good. These two, however, stand out: • Miyabi 9 (512 E. Grand Ave.; 2888885): In his edgy East Village venue, chef/owner Mike Miyabi consistently turns out sparklingly fresh and artfully presented sushi as well as crisp, featherlight tempura. • Sakari (2605 Ingersoll Ave.; 2883381): This lively spot—complete with an onslaught of flat-screen TVs—is the choice when you want a casual bar-grill scene, but don’t want to eat bar-grill food.

Tempura shrimp and vegetables, mussels sushi and a spicy scallops roll at Miyabi 9.

Tasty Tacos ®

Ankeny-2401 SE Delaware • 964-2400 2900 E. Euclid

• 262-1100

1418 E. Grand

• 266-4242

8549 Hickman

• 331-2000

5847 SE 14th St.

• 285-1946 Join us on Facebook DM-9000337557

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Where chefs eat

We asked three local chefs to tell us about their favorite restaurants (besides their own spots, of course). Sean Wilson Chef/owner at Proof (1301 Locust St.; 244-0655) • Luna Bistro (621 Des Moines St.; 288-9849): “This small, intimate spot is one of the best-kept secrets in Des Moines.” • Los Laureles (1518 E. Grand Ave.; 265-2200): “My go-to late-night spot for tacos, carne asada and a beer.” • Taqueria Guadalajara (East Penn and University Avenue): “This little taco truck serves great pork tortas (Mexican sandwiches) with ridiculously spicy but not palate-destroying pork.” • The Cafe in Ames (2616 Northridge Parkway; 515-292-0100): “I go here at least twice a month. They have one of the best brunches in the area. I enjoy their savory French toast.” • Cafe di Scala (644 18th St.; 244-1353): “I love the ambiance here, and they have one of the deepest Italian wine lists in town.”

The goat tacos with a side of hot sauce at Le Pena.

Register file photos

George Formaro Chef/partner for the Orchestrate Management group of restaurants, which includes Centro and Django • Flying Mango (4345 Hickman Rd.; 255-4111): “The brisket is as good as any place I have had anywhere — if it were located outside Atlanta, it would be on every road guide in the country.” • La Pena (2010 Indianola Ave.; 288-3226): “Any time you see a big bowl of fresh Masa next to a griddle you should take notice. I love the freshly pressed tortillas and gorditas, and the goat tacos are wonderful.” • Chuck’s (3610 Sixth Ave.; 244-4104): “A trip back in time with the old-school red sauce classics and thin-crust pizza that seems to be unique to the Midwest. My go-to dish is the fried chicken livers.” • Alba (524 E. Sixth St.; 244-0261): “I think about the food here all day. I take burgers very seriously, and they serve one of my favorites. The chorizo fries are to die for.” • Café di Scala (644 18th St.; 244-1353): “The hand-made pastas have old-world roots and are brought into the 21st century with style, using fresh, seasonal and sustainable ingredients.” Smoked trout mousse crostini with raddish and dill over mixed greens, center, and tiramisu, right, at Cafe di Scala

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 16

 David Baruthio Chef/Owner for Baru 66 (6582 University Ave., Windsor Heights; 277-6627)  • Lucca (420 E. Locust St.; 243-1115): “I enjoy lunch here for the homemade pasta and the atmosphere.â€? • Noah’s Ark (2400 Ingersoll Ave.; 288-2246): “Great for late-night dining. I sneak in here after work for a relaxing, cozy dinner. The manager is always friendly and professional.â€? • The Cheese Shop (833 42nd St.; 528-8181): “Good for a cheese fix and a light snack. The selection of cheeses help when I miss France.â€? • Red China Bistro (2925 Ingersoll Ave.; 274-0097): “I head here for the special treatment. Owner Su [Nong] and Chef Zhan always prepare something ‘off menu’ for me, as I don’t eat rice.â€? • Snookie’s Malt Shop (1810 Beaver Ave.; 255-0638): “This is my guilty pleasure. Plus, I can walk here with my dog for his puppy cone.â€? 

Spicy wing dings from Red China Bistro






Belly up

Central Iowa is home to hundreds of neighborhood dives, watering holes, sports hangouts, dance clubs and Classy cocktail joints. Finding a place for a cold beer or fancy cocktail is easy. Here’s a look at a few of the area’s nightlife districts. by Sophia Ahmad, special to The Des Moines Register

Court Avenue The Court Avenue District dates back to the 1800s as an entertainment destination. Nowadays, it’s one of the hippest places to kick back after work or celebrate the weekend with live music and drinks. Newcomer The Standard (208 Third St.) serves classic and modern martinis, tapas and hosts live music acts. Pints Party Pub and Patio (319 Court Ave.) has completely reinvigorated the former Surf Shack, stripping off the bright, beachy colors and leaving more earthy, natural tones. But, don’t worry – it’s still a great place to party. This area has its fair share of spots to catch an evening concert – the Vaudeville Mews (212 Fourth St.) is the go-to place to hear indie bands. People’s Court (216 Court Ave.) hosts a wide range of groups, from Kevin 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 18

Costner’s band Modern West to alt-rockers Phoenix. When the Black Eyed Peas performed a concert in town, members of the group dropped by the Liars Club, the always-packed party bar in Court Center (216 Court Ave.). Plus, don’t forget the niche spots. Dine on Chinese and pizza, then wash it all down with Polynesian drinks at Fong’s Pizza (223 Fourth St.). Step back in time with old school beers and comfort food at High Life Lounge (200 S.W. Second Street), and explore around 120 bottled beers and more than 115 single malt scotches at The Royal Mile and upstairs Belgian beer bar Red Monk (210 Fourth St.). Plus, try one of the delicious house-made beers at Court Avenue Brewing Company (309 Court Ave.) or some margaritas at Dos Rios (316 Court Ave.).


Find it: Hessen Haus, 101 Fourth St. Info: 288-2520, Cost: $19. Stop by during happy hour weekdays from 11 a.m.2 p.m. for $10 boots or 3-6 p.m. weekdays for $15 boots. This boot is made for drinking, and that’s just what you’ll do if you order this 64-ounce glass boot filled with the draft of your choice. A bier this big comes with some haus, er, house rules. No fewer than three people can drink it, for example. And, if you break the boot, or if it “goes missing,” it’ll set you back $50. On the bright side, the drink comes with its own game: Passing The Boot. Everyone in your party passes around the behemoth beer and takes a swig before handing it off to his/ her neighbor. If you don’t abide by the rules, you’ll have to drink another sip. So, you see, losing might actually be better than winning in this game.

Register file photos

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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Register file photos

The scene at the Gas Lamp

Western Gateway This newer developed area of Des Moines, anchored by the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, continues to grow with more places to hang out during the day and night. Stop by Americana (1312 Locust St.) for its Nightcap event 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights and enjoy dancing, live music and no cover. Centro (1003 Locust St.) is the perfect place to finish an evening with a glass of wine or specialty cocktail, like George Formaro’s take on the Limoncello. You’ll feel uptown browsing through the restaurant’s drink menu on an iPad, too. Django (210 10th St.) offers French fare and no corkage fee, so bring your favorite bottle and enjoy an after-dinner cheese flight or one of its mouth-watering desserts, like the lemon mascarpone cheesecake. Stop by Raccoon River Brewing Company (200 10th St.) for live music, special events and hand-crafted ales. Be sure to ask your waiter or bartender about the vanilla cream ale. It’s a brew that originally started as a summertime beer and became such a hit that it’s been added to the house beer rotation. Ritual Café (1301 Locust St.) has an extensive vegetarian café menu and hosts national and local live music acts, plus monthly poetry slams and open mic nights. And, the Gas Lamp (1501 Grand Ave.) anchors Western Gateway’s west side and not only has a rockin’ bar, but it also books folk, blues and rock acts nightly.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 20

SIGNATURE DRINK: Cucumber Stiletto

Find it: Coda, 401 Locust Street Info: 244-2151, Cost: $10 Cucumber cocktails are on trend, and this cool drink hits the mark for balance and freshness. Absolut Citron, cucumber, lime and simple syrup are mixed together and meet with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, created from hand-picked elderflower blossoms. The result is a delicate, nuanced cocktail that echoes the vibe of Coda, the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel’s chic, new upscale lounge.

East Village The East Village has a plethora of places to hang out when the sun goes down. Sip a mod martini (likely with a quirky title) and hear tunes spun by a live DJ at Lime Lounge (435 E. Grand Ave.). Enjoy small plates and tapas at The Continental (428 E. Locust St.). Or kick back and take in a beer at local watering hole Beechwood Lounge (416 E. Walnut St.), or one of the city’s oldest bars, The Locust Tap (434 E. Locust St.) Located in the basement of the Teachout Building, The Underground (500 E. Locust St.) boasts live music and drinks, plus a stained glass window containing iconic images of Des Moines by renowned artist E. Motley. Catch a drag show at The Blazing Saddle (416 E. Fifth St.) and The Garden nightclub (112 SE Fourth St.) And if you’re dying for a late-night meal, don’t miss Zombie Burger (300 E. Grand Ave.) where the kitchen is open until midnight. Pair your grub with drinks (including spiked shakes), which are served until 2 a.m.

SIGNATURE DRINK: Black Thai Affair

Find it: Cosmopolitan Lounge, 800 Locust St. Info: 288-5800, 800locust. com/lounge Cost: $8 This martini’s name is a double entendre – it hints at its elegant and sophisticated balance of flavors and the Thai-inspired mixture of basil, ginger and fresh citrus. Absolut Citron vodka is shaken with simple syrup, freshly-chopped basil, ginger and freshly-squeezed lemon juice. This mixture is delicious on its own, but it’s topped off with champagne, which gives it a nice bubbly fizz. Prime seats at The Continental are by the front window.

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The scene inside Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop

West Glen This West Des Moines shopping area’s plethora of bars makes it a one-stop place for a great night out. Bonus: There’s plenty of parking. Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar and Bistro (5485 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines) anchors the nightlife, with an extensive menu and entertainment that ranges from dueling pianos to trivia nights. Enjoy the nightclub scene at 515 Ultra Lounge (5535 Mills Civic Parkway). LED lights, a VIP room plus bottle service gives this place a Las Vegas vibe. If you’re looking for a laugh, stop by the Funny Bone Comedy Club (560 S. Prairie View Drive) and choose from a full food and drink menu while enjoying appearances by national comedy acts. Wellman’s Pub and Rooftop (597 Market St.) is always buzzing – stop by for delicious food and drinks and also one of the coolest rooftop patios in town. Gino’s West Glen (5513 Mills Civic Parkway) offers a great bar menu and a taste of its legendary Italian food in a ‘burb-friendly locale. Be sure not to miss Cabaret West Glen (560 Prairie View Drive) for daily drink specials, a great outdoor patio, VIP rooms, plus an extensive free food buffet on Friday nights.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 22

Register file photo

Ingersoll Avenue There’s so much to see on this one Des Moines street. Stop by Zimm’s Food & Spirits (3124 Ingersoll Ave.) for a game of shuffleboard and a few cold ones. Plus, you choose the tunes on one of two jukeboxes. Star Bar (2811 Ingersoll Ave.) is the place to take out-of-town guests for a terrific burger and a drink or so, without a rowdy crowd. Take your biker friends to motorcycle-themed bar GT Lounge (3013 Ingersoll Ave.). The Alpine Tap (2720 Ingersoll Ave.) has been around for about 80 years and is the go-to dive for a cheap drink and a good conversation with one of the friendly bartenders. The bar that Esquire magazine named one of America’s best is also one of Des Moines’ oldest: Greenwood Lounge (3707 Ingersoll Ave.) was founded in 1933 and has been serving up drinks ever since. It also features some pretty sweet murals of poker-playing pooches. Don’t miss the patio at Wellman’s Pub (2920 Ingersoll Ave.). Or, for the best-kept secret on Ingersoll, order some chocolate and wine, and sit on the patio just west of Chocolaterie Stam (2814 Ingersoll Ave.), where you can expect live music most weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It’s a perfect summertime escape and no doubt the most romantic spot on the block.


Find it: Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar, 5485 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines Info: 564-7300, Cost: $24 The Fishbowl is an electric blue concoction best suited for multiple drinkers. Here’s why: It’s literally served in a one-gallon fishbowl. So, yes. This drink fills a container large enough for a fish to live in. First, the bowl is loaded to the top with ice. The bartender fills it one third full with equal parts cherry vodka, blue curacao and UV Blue for color. The rest is filled with lemonade and Sprite. Word is that the drink is a hit with bachelorette parties. You know the wedding saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something (electric) blue.”

86th Street A slew of bars in close proximity makes 86th Street an awesome area for a bar crawl or a fun night out. Try Ducktail Lounge (1809 N.W. 86th St., Clive) for classy martinis made from highend ingredients. The Garage (8517 Hickman Road, Urbandale) is a cozy neighborhood bar that literally looks like its namesake, with all sorts of signs and quirky antiques hanging from the ceiling. Find eclectic decor and crazy eats at the rock-heavy Bombay Bicycle Club (8410 Hickman Road, Clive) or head over to Hangar 86 (1871 N.W. 86th St., Clive to meet up with some friends. Follow the bar on Twitter (@Hangar86) for drink specials on already reasonably-priced options. Down Under Bar & Grill (8350 Hickman Road, Clive) is a popular Aussie-themed sports bar with great specials and events. Mickey’s Irish Pub (1800 N.W. 86th St., Clive) may be in a strip mall, but inside, it has lot of character, from the dark wood accents to the good-natured bartenders. Become a regular and you may have your name plated in metal on one of the bar stools. Lastly, step back in time at Denny Arthur’s (2400 86th St., No. 7, Urbandale) for dancing. The crowd skews older, ‘80s tunes definitely get their fair share of play time, and the place is fun.

Register file photo

The Garage provides a great place for happy hour.

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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 24


Ready, set,

mark your calendar


o those who think there’s nothing to do in Des Moines: Clearly you’re not looking hard enough. The region is home to everything from venues offering central Iowans live music every day of the week, to events and festivals focused on entertainment and food, to eccentric festivals themed around bacon, wine, covered bridges and beer, to events from the burbs and beyond that celebrate community. With events covering almost every weekend of the summer and beyond, it’s hard to be bored. And those options continue to grow. After booking for years at People’s, Vaudeville Mews, Simon Estes

Amphitheater, the Val Air Ballroom and more, entrepreneur and music lover Sam Summers brought Des Moines the venue it didn’t know it needed. But it’s clear that Summers is filling a niche with Wooly’s in the East Village, bringing in acts like “Jar of Hearts” singer Christina Perri, whose draw is too big to book at the smaller venues, and too small to book at the larger venues. The entertainment scene is evolving and adapting. Still think there’s nothing to do? Flip through this list and be proven wrong. – Erin Randolph, special to The Des Moines Register

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



12 months of events From the 80/35 Music Festival to the Festival of Trees and Lights, central Iowa offers annual and special events throughout the year. Ankeny Summerfest A four-day, family friendly event featuring cardboard boat races, a parade and a karaoke event to crown an Ankeny Idol. July 12-15 at 212 S. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny; 9640685; Ankeny Unplugged

Festival-goers fill Western Gateway Park during the 2011 80/35 Music Festival

80/35 Music Festival The fifth annual 80/35 Music Festival is July 6-7 in downtown Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. The festival is organized by the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition, a local nonprofit that aims to build a larger and more diverse local music scene in central Iowa. The organization uses a network of volunteers to put on 80/35 and other shows.

Register file photos

But 80/35 is the crown jewel. The festival brings dozens of performers to downtown Des Moines on two free stages and one main stage. Past headliners include The Flaming Lips, The Roots, Spoon, Girl Talk and Ben Harper. But it’s not just the big bands, as the free stages become a who’s who of local heroes and up-and-coming indie, hip-hop and jam bands.

Visit this neighborhood of historic brick houses as its residents host their annual family friendly festival of food, fireworks, entertainment and a parade. Sept. 14-15 in Beaverdale; Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival

Where: Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park and surrounding streets Tickets: Go to


The lineup: This year’s headliners are The Avett Brothers (July 6) and Death Cab for Cutie (July 7), with main stage acts that include Dinosaur Jr., Freddie Gibbs and Useful Jenkins (July 6), and Leftover Salmon and Atmosphere (July 7). And 30-plus other bands, too.

The state’s largest cultural festival celebrating Asian culture, food, traditions and entertainment. Held annually in May, Iowa state Capitol complex; 282-8192;

When: July 6-7

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 26

Beaverdale Fall Festival

If you think everything’s better with bacon, the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival will become your new religion. Bacon reigns supreme at this annual event featuring, well, bacon. Tickets have sold out in mere minutes each year, even as the size of the fest continues to double. Plans are in motion for the February/March event, so be ready to book your tickets early. blueribbonbaconfestival. com

2012 80/35

Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros moves from the stage into the crowd.

Relatively new to the music fest game, this month of weekly concerts has an impressive array of talent for its shows, every Saturday in June in Wagner Park, 401 W. First St., Ankeny. From the 2012 lineup: Parlours, Caroline Smith, Mint, Christopher the Conquered, Patrick Tape Fleming, Fierce Bad Rabbit and more. And it’s cheap, just $3 a show. Go to for more details.

Festival of Trees and Lights

Italian-American Heritage Festival

In its 28-year history, the Festival of Trees and Lights has provided more than $6.2 million in financial aid for special programs and projects to serve the unique needs of children as well as with important diagnostic tools and equipment for children and their families. Approximately 725,000 visitors have enjoyed the beautiful trees and dazzling light displays. Held each November;

Live music is only one aspect of the ItalianAmerican Heritage Festival, but a band name can’t get more Italian than the Sausage and Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, an nod to the Beatles. The band plays everything from the Temptations to Stevie Wonder and even Wilco. Of course the festival would not be complete without an Italian cultural center, including the opportunity to search for information on family members on a computer, as well as food options from locals like Gusto Pizza. July 27-28, downtown Des Moines;

Gatsby Gala This annual event features a roaring ’20s theme, with Prohibition-era cocktails, food, wine, live music and elaborate costumes. Sept. 7, Salisbury House and Gardens; 2441777;

The Gatsby Gala, held each year at Salisbury House.

appearance from Ted Dibiase, also known as “The Million Dollar Man.� June 7-9, Grimes;

Grimes Governors Days


Carnival rides, bingo, craft and food vendors, a beer garden and more will make their way to Grimes to celebrate Governors Days. But those who get all geeky over professional wrestling will appreciate the

A fall festival of light with hot air balloon rides, carnival rides, paddle boats and more at the West Des Moines City School Campus, 4200 Mills Civic Parkway. Held in September,

Johnston Green Days When it started in 1996, Johnston Green Days focused on the suburb’s agricultural and horticultural tradition. It has expanded over the years to include a parade, carnival, children’s activities, entertainment in the beverage garden, a rib cook-off contest, a talent search, a classic car show, a 5k and more. June 14-17;





Find us on Facebook for details and to win tickets. 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


entertainment Latino Heritage Festival To celebrate its 10th year, the Latino Heritage Festival is moving back to where it all started: the bridges of downtown Des Moines. The festival attracts thousands yearly, making it the largest cultural event in the state. Sept. 15-16 on the downtown bridges; Lazerfest This annual rock and metal music event moved its operation from Indianola to Boone for better parking options and room

to grow. Some of rock and metal’s biggest heavyweights have graced the Lazerfest stages, including Buckcherry, Sebastian Bach and Five Finger Death Punch this May. Central Iowa Expo in Boone; Oktoberfest “Roll out the barrel” as another Oktoberfest takes to the streets of Des Moines. Enjoy tented beer gardens, polka bands, authentic German food, contests and more. Sept. 28-29, Fourth Street and Court Avenue;

Pleasant Hill Summerfest Inflatables, fireworks, parade and a car show will mark Pleasant Hill’s annual celebration of summer. Entertainment options will include Beau Nystrom Band and Wild Colonia Bhoys. July 28, Pleasant Hill. Renaissance Festival Hark! It’s time to brush up on thy renaissance speak. For when you enter gates of Sleepy Hollow Sports Park in September, you’ll will be transported back to an era when royalty ruled and knights jousted. There will be more than 50 specialty shops demonstrations by glass blowers, blacksmiths, potters, wood carvers and painters. The first three weekends in September, Sleepy Hollow Sports Park, 4051 Dean Ave.; 262-4100; Winefest Iowa’s premiere wine-tasting event turns 10 in 2012. Besides years of wine tasting, prima dinners, wine flights and lawn parties, Winefest has raised approximately $350,000 for local charities and cultural organizations. A week’s worth of events starts June 2, culminating in the June 8 YPfocused Sips & the City and June 9 Grand Tasting. Downtown Des Moines; 244-0746; World Food Festival This festival focuses on the culinary traditions of the world and how they tie into Iowa. Samples are available for $1, and full meals for a few bucks more. Sept. 2123, East Village; Yankee Doodle Pops Have a picnic on the Iowa state Capitol grounds while the Des Moines Symphony, led by Maestro Joseph Guinta, performs patriotic favorites. The night is capped with fireworks popping above the downtown skyline. July 3, Iowa state Capitol west terrace;

D’anne Dzon and her daughters Samantha and Taylor of Des Moines watch the fireworks during the 16th annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert. Register file photo

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 28

Capital City Pride What it is: Each year Des Moines’ lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community strives to forward the goal of equality and acceptance by hosting PrideFest, a multi-day celebration led by volunteers and organized by Capital City Pride. It’s intended to promote acceptance, tolerance and understanding of the LGBT community through education, programming and visibility. Close to 20,000 people attended the 2011 PrideFest event in Des Moines, up 5,000 from the previous year, evidence of the growing acceptance and realization of the mission of the festival.

When it is: PrideFest is held annually over the second weekend in June. The 2012 event, “Changing Minds Together,” is scheduled for June 8-11. Can’t Miss Events: Events include: A street party at the intersection of East Fifth and Locust streets in the East Village with plenty of dancing and live entertainment options

organizations like the Polk County Health Department and chiropractors churches’ LGBT nightclubs; and food and drink vendors A scavenger hunt in which participants team up and search for clues in the East Village An ongoing volleyball tournament at Sands Volleyball

A parade route that meanders through the East Village A fair that’s traditionally included booths from local LGBT groups, including the gay men’s chorus; health

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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Two Arts festivals, one weekend


he John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park already houses some of Des Moines’ most interesting art in the form of its large-scale sculptural installations. So it seems as good a place as any for a pop-up art museum showcasing hundreds of artists from Iowa and beyond for a weekend every June. The Des Moines Arts Festival, winner of the Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals and Events Association, draws more than 200,000 people annually to the city’s Western Gateway to view and purchase visual arts, participate in interactive arts-related activities, enjoy live music, see the Interrobang Film Festival and witness performing arts. The panel of judges for the Arts Festival sifted through more than 1,000 submissions and whittled them down to a few hundred chosen artists, some of which are Iowans. The festival will also have an area for student art and emerging Iowa artists, as well as make-and-take projects for kids.

Register file photo

Visitors fill Western Gateway streets at last year’s Des Moines Arts Festival.

But don’t spend all your money at the downtown event. Across town, ArtFest Midwest, referred to as “The Other Art Show,” will turn 10. ArtFest touts itself as

My Des Moines Top 5: Places to Catch Live Music By Justin Schoen, board president of Des Moines Music Coalition 1. Vaudeville Mews. With touring bands every night, you can always catch a show (or two) at the Mews. Head upstairs to the balcony for a great view and kick back in the large booths (remnants from the old Babe’s Restaurant). 2. Val Air Ballroom. Hundreds of shows have passed through the Val Air since 1939. New management has recently reinvigorated this Des Moines classic (while dealing with a few cranky neighbors). 3, Gas Lamp. With its high ceilings and vintage decor, the club plays host to everything from blues to punk. On nice days they open the garage doors and you can lounge in the patio room. 4. People’s. Good bar, great sound and with a packed crowed, you can feel the floor shaking. 5. Wooly’s. New in the game, this is sure to be one of the hottest venues for years to come. Owner Sam Summers is the best thing to happen to Des Moines music since Ozzy bit the head off a bat. 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 30

Des Moines Arts Festival Find it: Western Gateway Park, Grand Avenue and Locust Street between 12th and 15th streets When: June 22-24 Info:

ArtFest Midwest Find it: Varied Industries Building, Iowa State Fairgrounds When: June 23-24 Info: being an alternative, affordable art show that complements the Des Moines Arts Festival, but perhaps the most convenient part about it is the free shuttle that runs back and forth from the Fairgrounds to Western Gateway Park, allowing residents and visitors to travel to both without having to fight traffic and find parking. The juried fine art event features more than 220 artists from Iowa and the Midwest and is held in the air-conditioned Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, allowing visitors to cool off after a day outside at the Des Moines Arts Festival. In addition to the abundance of art, the festival will provide children’s entertainment in the form of make-and-take art projects. – Michael Morain

My Des Moines Top 5: Festivals By Michelle Schlicher, marketing manager, Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau 1. Winefest, June 7-9, 2012. A signature event in Des Moines, Winefest celebrates fine wine while also raising money for local charities. Wine flights, workshops and prima dinners kick off a week of wine festivities and Sips and the City and The Grand Tasting round out the event with high-end wines and delicious hors d’oeurves. 2. Des Moines Arts Festival, June 2224, 2012. Set among the 27 sculptures in the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, the Des Moines Arts Festival features the best artists in the

country. The three-day event is also a chance to see 22 emerging Iowa artists in a variety of mediums. Live music and street theater have become a big part of the Des Moines Arts Festival, with acts such as Gavin DeGraw and local talent Katelyn Epperly taking part in the past. Public film screenings take place throughout the weekend as part of the Interrobang Film Festival, with cash prizes awarded by a panel of jurors. 3. 80/35 Music Festival, July 6-7, 2012. Now in its fifth year, 80/35 continues to bring big-name national bands to Des Moines and attract more than 30,000 fans. Acts continue to be announced, but this year’s lineup already boasts The Avett Brothers, Death Cab for Cutie, Mumford’s and more. Music fans can also get a taste of

regional and local bands at the event. 4. Iowa State Fair, August 9-19, 2012. The Iowa State Fair is the state’s largest event and repeatedly ranked as one of the top events in the country. With more foods-on-a-stick than you can eat in one visit, grandstand shows that will have you on your feet and one of the major agricultural exhibitions in the country, the Iowa State Fair is something everyone should experience – Nothing Compares. 5. World Food Festival, September 21-23, 2012. The Historic East Village is home to one of Des Moines’ best culinary events: the World Food Festival. Enjoy $1 samples, different flavors from around the world, live music and more at this fall festival.


2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Iowa State Fair 10 Things to Do at the Fair

1. Try 25 Foods on a Stick. There are nearly 200 food stands and more than 50 foods on a stick, including the gutbusting fried butter on a stick.

4. Take a Ride on the Ye Old Mill. The Ye Old Mill has been a favorite ride for dating couples at the fair since 1921. This 1,500-foot-long canal offers riders a relaxing, and often dark, boat ride.

7. Visit the Largest Boar or Pig. A visit to the fair would not be complete without a gander at gargantuan farm animals.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 32

Iowa State Fair When: August 9-19 Where: Iowa State Fairgrounds Info:

2. See a Show at the Grandstand. The fair traditionally hosts country music stars and stars of yesteryear. This year is no exception, with The Band Perry, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, Journey and Miranda Lambert.

3. check out the Butter Cow. Each year 600 pounds of low-moisture, pure cream Iowa butter is sculpted into a gigantic cow that sits alongside other butter creations; past incarnations have included Elvis and Harry Potter.

5. Visit the Varied Industries

6. Yard Parking. The fair has its own parking lot, but there’s nothing like handing over $5 to leave your car in a stranger’s front- or backyard.

Building. Not only does the building offer an air-conditioned reprieve to Iowa’s August humidity, but it also hosts booths from a variety of vendors selling products and services from cookware and footwear to grand pianos and hot tubs.

8. Annual Mullet Competition. There will be plenty of competitors at the fair, but few as entertaining as the yearly celebration of the mullet.

9. East Side Night. The first Friday of the fair is always a reunion of sorts for the people from east side of Des Moines. And it’s choice people-watching for the rest of us.

10. Take a Trip to the Midway. From a double Ferris wheel to the kiddie rides and the challenging games of skill, no trip to the fair is complete without a trip through the Midway.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Madison County

Covered Bridge Festival Covered Bridge Festival Where: Winterset When: Oct. 13-14, 2012 Info: (515) 462-1185;


f the extent of your exposure to the covered bridges of Madison County is vicariously through Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep in the 1995 film “The Bridges of Madison County,” perhaps this is the year to branch out and explore Madison County for yourself. Though the bridges are open to the public and small group and personal tours May through October, each year the residents of Madison County and beyond gather in Winterset on the second full weekend of October to celebrate the historic covered bridges among the vibrant hues of autumn. This celebration includes food, antique and craft vendors, music and entertainment, artisans demonstrating old-fashioned ways, a quilt show, car show, antique vehicle parade, guided bus tours of the bridges and more.

Jennifer Harman of Bondurant looks on as Jeremy Faeth of Ankeny writes in the visitor’s journal at the Hogback Bridge during the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival.

Though Madison County originally had 19 covered bridges, only six remain today and all are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They were usually named for the resident who lived closest, and

were covered by order of the county board of supervisors to help preserve the large flooring timbers, which were expensive to replace. The covered bridge prominently featured in the novel “The Bridges of Madison County” and its film adaptation, built in 1883 over the Middle River, was renovated in 1992 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It’s also known as the “haunted bridge,” because it’s the site where two sheriffs trapped a county jail escapee in 1892, only to have him rise up through the roof and disappear; the escapee was never found. The theme for this year’s Covered Bridge Festival is “The Stories of Madison County.” Visitors and residents are encouraged to share memories or stories about the bridges or the county. Stories can be submitted by emailing Rich Mills at rich@ with the subject line “Stories of Madison County!” or by calling 515-4688500. – Erin Randolph, special to The Des Moines Register

Register file photos

The Roseman Covered Bridge is paired by an early morning reflection in pooled water of the Middle River in Madison County. 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 34

A packed theater at Fleur Cinema for the showings of the 2011 48 Hour Film Project.

Register file photo

Catch a flick at indie theaters Fleur Cinema & Café The Fleur Cinema and Café is where you go for the most intelligent Hollywood films, the critically acclaimed indie and international movies, even the occasional local production. Combine that with modern decor, a diverse menu of concessions and reasonable prices — in a refurbished space that once was occupied by a run-of-the-mill multiplex. If you’re looking to see the films that will garner Oscar buzz and win all the Spirit awards, head to the Fleur. 4545 Fleur Drive; 287-4545; The Varsity Theatre Only one film plays at a time at Dogtown’s Varsity, which highlights art-house films in a deep historical theater space that feels pulled from another generation. This is also the most

economical option around, with cheap ticket prices and a small smattering of concessions that are the cheapest around. This unchanging theater has long been a haven for those craving a bit of culture with their films. One of the few places in town to catch a subtitled foreign film or domestic indie.

Copper Creek 9: East University Avenue and Copper Creek Drive, Pleasant Hill; 266-2676

1207 25th St.; 277-0404;

Paramount 7: 105 S. First St., Indianola; 961-2661

More area theaters:

Blank SCI IMAX Dome Theater; 401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway; 2744629

Century 20 Jordan Creek: 101 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines (Jordan Creek Town Center); 440-6255 Cinemark Movies 12: 1317 Buckeye Ave., Ames; (800) 326-3246, code 1207 Cinemark North Grand 5: 2801 Grand Ave.; Ames; (800) 326-3246, code 1225 Cobblestone 9: 8501 Hickman Road, Urbandale; 225-0986

Merle Hay Cinema: 3800 Merle Hay Road (in the mall); 52-0804 Nova 10 Cinemas: 4353 Merle Hay Road; 270-8221

Southridge 12: Southeast 14th Street and Army Post Road; 331-3456 Springwood 9: 2829 Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny; 964-5500 Wynnsong 16: Northeast 86th Street and Interstate Highway 35/80; 331-0500

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Entertainment venues Val Air Ballroom Built in 1939, the Val Air Ballroom used to be a place to see big bands and enjoy a sock hop. Now it’s just a place to see bigname bands and artists like Snoop Dogg, Marilyn Manson and Dropkick Murphys. 301 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines; 223-6152; Hoyt Sherman Place Hoyt Sherman Place was the first public museum in the city of Des Moines in the early 1900s. Now the ornate historical theater hosts concerts, art exhibits, comedians and speakers. 1501 Woodland Ave.; 244-0507; 7 Flags Event Center This 24,000-square-foot suburban venue is as diverse as they come, having played host to bands ranging from Goo Goo Dolls to Great White, and events ranging from mixed martial arts fighting to women’s pro roller derby. 2100 N.W. 100th St., Clive; 276-7003; Wells Fargo Arena

Jimmy Buffett on stage at his sold-out show this spring at Wells Fargo Arena.



Season subscription packages are on sale now and start at just $144. The time is now— join us! Be a part of something truly special and guarantee the best seats for this season of celebration. Visit or call 515.280.4011.


2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 36

Register file photo

The Iowa Energy D-League basketball team and the Iowa Barnstormers arena football team both consider Wells Fargo Arena to be home. But many sporting, music and motivational events have visited over the years, including Jimmy Buffett and Tony Hawk’s Boom Boom Huck Jam. Carrie Underwood is coming back this year, and

legends like Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney have filled the seats.

in Ames got, plus up-and-comer indie and buzz bands like Phoenix and Santigold.

730 Third St., 564-8000; iowaeventscenter. com

216 Court Ave., 244-0038; peoplesdsm. com

Vaudeville Mews

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and

One of the city’s most eclectic music venues, Vaudeville Mews hosts concerts by local acts and emerging and established regional and national acts. The bar has no set hours, usually opening about an hour before scheduled shows. If you’re a fan of indie tunes, get to know this club.


212 Fourth St., 243-3270; vaudevillemews. com House of Bricks The House of Bricks is a popular location for both local and touring acts. Fall Out Boy, Afroman, Five Finger Death Punch, The Academy Is ... and countless Des Moines bands have played the venue. 525 E. Grand Ave.; (515) 727-437; People’s Court People’s is the place to go to relive the ISU days, catch a show in the “Backstage Bar ” or hang out with your Des Moines friends. This 900-person live music venue gets the same type of acts that the original People’s

Des Moines’ lone racetrack and casino underwent a dramatic transformation this year as it added a hotel. But it’s also bringing in premiere concerts like ZZ Top, REO Speedwagon and B.B. King.

Grand Funk Railroad at Prairie Meadows.

1 Prairie Meadows Drive, Altoona; 9671200;

hip musical playlist set to random.

Simon Estes Riverfront

8410 Hickman Road, Clive; (515) 2706274;

Amphitheater This outdoor amphitheater and neighbor to the Des Moines River has priceless views of downtown Des Moines and plays host to popular concert series like Nitefall on the River, whose lineup this summer includes Bruce Hornsby, Andrew Bird, Grace Potter and the Yonder Mountain String Band. Robert D. Ray Drive and Locust Street; Bombay Bicycle Club A rock ’n’ roll bar with a vintage vibe, BBC serves its alcohol with live music from both local and touring acts, and otherwise has its

Gas Lamp When the Gas Lamp opened in the former Blues on Grand last April, it quickly became a favorite Western Gateway hangout as well as venue for local and touring bands of the blues, punk and rock varieties. 1501 Grand Ave.; 280-3778; The Maintenance Shop The Smashing Pumpkins once graced the stage at this intimate venue on Iowa State University’s campus. The venue hosts improv comedy, open mic nights, theater performances, dances and more than 60 musical performances while classes are in session. 2229 Lincoln Way, Ames; (515) 294-3847; DG’s Tap House A craft brew bar on Ames’ Main Street that offers up more than 150 taps and bottles, DG’s welcomes live music on the weekends. 125 Main St., Ames; (515) 233-8084; Java Joe’s This Fourth Street hangout is best known for its coffee, but it also hosts live entertainment most Friday and Saturday nights with regular events such as an Irish

Decoy was playing at the Bombay Bicycle Club.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


entertainment Jam, a Poetry Slam and a Jazz Jam. 214 Fourth St.; (515) 288-5282; Funny Bone The Funny Bone is a comedy club and restaurant that hosts a variety of touring acts, including Pauly Shore, Jim Breuer and Jimmy Roulette, just to name a few. Grab a table with some friends and have a laugh. 560 S. Prairie View Drive, West Des Moines; 270-2100; Woolys This East Village venue may be the new kid in town, but longtime Des Moines booker and venue owner Sam Summers has already pulled some big name acts, including Hellyeah, Clutch and Christina Perri. 504 E. Locust St.; 244-0550; www. Matisyahu performs on stage at Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater

Register file photo







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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 38

Sports in central Iowa Iowa Cubs Who they are: The triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. When they play: Season runs parallel to Major League Baseball, from spring to early fall. Why you should go: Cubs fan or not, a day at the ballpark is a rite of spring and summer. The I-Cubs feature cheap tickets and fun promotions and giveaways (like bobblehead giveaways, 2-for-1 ticket games, $1 concessions and take-your-dogto-the-game days, along with many more). Where they play: Principal Park, considered one of the top minor league parks in the land. 1 Line Drive ( just south of downtown); 243-6111; Des Moines Buccaneers Who they are: A member of the United States Hockey League, the top junior hockey organization in the United States. When they play: October through April. Why you should go: The under-20 hockey league features players who will move on to the pros, and let’s face it: Live hockey is great to watch no matter who’s on the ice. The Bucs also have cheap prices and great specials, like Buc ($1, get it?) Beer Nights. Where they play: Buccaneer Arena, 7201 Hickman Road, Urbandale; 278-2827; Iowa Barnstormers Who they are: A member of the Arena Football League, a bona fide pro league. When they play: Spring and summer. Why you should go: Because when the NFL is off, you still want to watch football. And the high-scoring fast-paced Arena Football League delivers action. The Barnstormers squad is full of former ISU, Iowa and local talent, as well. Chicago Cub star Alfonso Soriano gets ready to bat at Principal Park during a rehab stint with the I-Cubs.

Where they play: Wells Fargo Arena, 730 Third St.; 633-2255; theiowabarnstormers. com.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


Ben Strong of the Iowa Energy

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 40


Iowa Energy Who they are: The 2010-11 NBA D-League champions. Why you should go: To see amazing athletes compete at a level just below that of the NBA. The atmosphere and activities at games are very kid-friendly, too. Where they play: Wells Fargo Arena, 730 Third St.; 462-2849; Roller Derby Des Moines was ahead of the trend with regards to women’s roller derby. Both the Des Moines Derby Dames and the Mid Iowa Rollers are sanctioned teams now, and compete across the region, as do their affiliate teams and even a men’s team. For more info, check out dmderbydames. com and

Register file photos

Des Moines Buccaneer player Justin Hussar chases after the puck in a game against Waterloo.

When You Come to Des Moines...Make it a Memorable

FamilyVacation AtPrincipalPark!

Remaining 2012 Home Schedule


7-10 vs. Nashville 11-13 vs. Omaha 14-17 vs. Albuquerque 23-26 vs. Round Rock 27-29 vs. Okla. City


4-8 vs. Omaha 16-19 vs. New Orleans


1-4 vs. Colorado Springs 5-8 vs. Reno 18-21 vs. Memphis 22-26 vs. Okla. City

Downloadthe IowaCubsApp! FollowtheIowaCubsonFacebookandTwitter!



toorderyourticketstoday. 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


arts & culture

World-class art

in Des Moines

The Des Moines Art Center is home to Pollock, Picasso, Matisse and more of the world’s most revered contemporary artists


hrough mid-June, a painting widely considered one of the most important works of American art will fill a wall at the Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Ave. And “fill a wall” is not hyperbole. Jackson Pollock’s “Mural,” created in 1943 after famed New York City art dealer Peggy Guggenheim commissioned him to paint a mural for her Manhattan townhouse, is an epic swirl of paint measuring about 8 feet tall and 20 feet across. Experts estimate it could fetch more than $140 million at auction, placing it among the most valuable paintings in the world.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 42

Guggenheim gifted the painting to the University of Iowa in 1951, as the university’s art department became well-known for its support of modern art. Flooding in Iowa City in 2008 led to the Pollock being moved to Davenport’s Figge, where it remained until its short stay in Des Moines, which ends July 15. The painting’s presence at the Des Moines Art Center is another feather in the cap for the museum, which boasts a permanent collection of contemporary art that includes works by Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and others. The museum also rotates exhibitions

throughout the year, shining a light on the world’s rising artists. Included on the grounds are outdoor sculptures, as well as a large rose garden behind the facility that feeds into recreational trails. Art Noir, the Art Center’s young professional organization, works to get a new generation of central Iowans involved and passionate about the museum, its works and events. Membership in Art Noir has swelled in recent years, and the group hosts popular events like Big Hair Ball, artistthemed parties, sneak peeks at exhibits and special artist dinners and meetand-greets. Go to to join.

My Des Moines Top 5: Pieces of the permanent collection at the Des Moines Art Center


By Jeff Fleming, Director of the Des Moines Art Center

1. Joseph Beuys’ “Energie Plan



for the Westman” (1974). Beuys was a major figure in post-war contemporary art. His work asked big questions such as “How do we create culture?” And, in turn, “How do we destroy culture?” Many German as well as international artists followed his lead in addressing these issues.

2.Tom Friedman’s “Untitled” (2000). Friedman

makes objects through an obsessive, laborious process. This sculpture is a great example of his process. He first made a drawing on paper with a black pen, and then cut out the white paper surrounding the lines of the drawing.

5. 4.

3. Bill Viola’s “Ascension” (2000). Viola is a pioneer in establishing video and film as important components of contemporary art. As seen in this work, he infuses human emotions and subjectivity into works that exhibit a high level of technical virtuosity. 4. Anselm Reyle’s “Untitled” (2010). Reyle is a major figure in contemporary German art. This work is an aluminum cast of a collage of debris from the streets of Berlin. He then coats the metal in bright chrome paint. Reyle re-examines the definitions of taste and high art. 5. Francis Bacon’s “Study after Velásquesz’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X” (1953). This painting is considered one of Bacon’s most important works and, in turn, one of the Art Center’s major pictures. Bacon’s highly charged painting presents a psychologically intense portrait of power.

photos special to the Register

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


arts & culture

Not just another walk through the park

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park has become a centerpiece of the state’s art and culture scene


n fall 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park debuted in downtown Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. The philanthropists and art collectors donated two dozen sculptures to the Des Moines Art Center to fill the green space. The sculptures, valued at some $40 million, are thought to be one of the largest public gifts in state history. The project helped launch the transformation of the western edge of downtown, and three years later the neighborhood bustles with foot traffic between the contemporary art pieces, as art lovers mingle and central Iowans walk between newly built entertainment venues that surround the park like Gas Lamp and Americana. Works by blue-chip artists like Willen de Koonig, Louise Bourgeois and Richard Serra once sat on the South of Grand property of the venture capitalist John Pappajohn and his wife, Mary, who are a pair of the nation’s most revered art collectors. Other works were commissioned and/or purchased specifically for the park by the Pappajohns. It was a gift of epic proportions, and one that helped define Des Moines and Iowa as a place that appreciate the arts. Since opening in 2009, the park’s residents continue to grow, as more sculptures have joined the original fleet, which includes the mammoth “Nomade,” the most recognizable of the park’s works and the one that may become a symbol of Des Moines. “Nomade,” completed in 2007 by Spanish-born Jaume Plensa, stands 27 feet tall and dominates the park’s landscape. The artist envisioned its

Ugo Rondinone’s “MOONRISE” (2006) 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 44

scrambled steel letters as building blocks for words and ideas in the way human cells form tissues and organs. Their white paint appears to glow at night, thanks to spotlights at the base. To the northeast of “Nomade” sits a cluster of works by artists such as Anthony Caro, Louise Bourgeois, Barry Flanagan and Deborah Butterfield. There, two Butterfield bronze horses that appear to be made of wood seem at rest standing in the grass, next to Bourgeois’ “Spider” (a flattering portrait of the artist’s mother, believe it or not) and Flanagan’s “Thinker on a Rock,” a parody of the famed French sculpture that was commissioned specifically for this park. We could go on and on. But only a walk through the park yourself will help you appreciate this gem of art in the heart of downtown.

Debora Butterfield’s “Ancient Forest” (2009)

Ugo Rondinone’s “air gets into everything even nothing” (2006)

Sol Lewitt’s “Modular Piece” (1969)

photos special to the Register

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


arts & culture

Gary Hume’s “Back of a Snowman (White)” and “Back of a Snowman (Black)” (2000)

Barry Flanagan’s “Thinker on a Rock” (1997) 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 46

Jaume Plensa’s “Nomade” (2007)

Register file photos

Louise Bourgeois’ “Spider” (1997)

Tony Cragg’s “Order” (1989)

Gary Hume’s “Post-Balzac” (1990)

Tony Smith’s “Willy” (1962)

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213 13th Street, West End of Downtown Des Moines 2 blocks SE of Papajohn’s Sculpture Garden • Free Parking Across the Street Open Mon-Fri: 8am-4:30pm, Sat: 9:00am - Noon Toll Free: 877-368-2080 515-244-5195

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


arts & culture

DM’s performing arts impresses by Michael Morain


irst-time visitors are often surprised at something locals have known for years: Des Moines offers an incredible range of – and surprising access to – some of the finest performing arts in the world. From the Civic Center’s Broadway series, which hosts hot-ticket national tours often before they visit bigger cities like Omaha and Kansas City, to edgier fare at StageWest and the Des Moines Social Club, this city caters to every taste. If it deserves a spotlight, you’ll find it here. Des Moines Symphony The state’s largest arts employer celebrates its 75th anniversary this year with a schedule that includes both a world premiere and several heavy-hitting classics. Richard Early, the orchestra’s executive director, summed it up earlier this year in The Des Moines Register: “We haven’t had a season with so many blockbusters for some time.” Go to Sept. 29 and 30: The world premiere of the commission inspired by the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, written by the Minneapolis composer Steve Heitzeg. The 20-minute piece will include several individual movements based on particular sculptures

Des Moines Metro Opera performance of “Elixir of Love.”

photos special to The Register

in downtown’s popular 4.4-acre park, with a weaving theme for Louise Bourgeois’ giant bronze spider, edgy brass for Mark di Suvero’s red steel beams and a showy finale for Jaume Plensa’s white-lettered “Nomade.”

guest soloist Benny Kim.

Oct. 27-28: A popular double-whammy, with Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, featuring

Dec. 31: A New Year’s Eve tribute to the Beatles, in collaboration with the tribute group Rain.

Dec. 1-2: Van Cliburn gold medalist Jon Nakamatsu tackles both of Liszt’s dazzling piano concertos.

Feb. 23-24, 2013: World-famous violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg visits for a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor. March 16-17, 2013: A multimedia “Beyond the Score” concert, which unpacks the history behind the creation of Tchaikovsky’s landmark Symphony No. 4. The format, designed for classical newbies and knowit-alls alike, includes narration and video to explain the back-story before a start-to-finish performance of the entire work. April 13-14, 2013: Musicians from Drake University join in for Orff’s adrenaline-charged “Carmina Burana.”

Minneapolis composer Steve Heitzeg.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 48

May 11-12, 2013: Pianist Joyce Yang plays a concerto by Grieg before the orchestra wraps up the season with Mahler’s epic Fifth Symphony. Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.

Civic Center’s Broadway Series

Ugandan village.

Savvy programming and a seasonticketholder base that exceeds a whopping 10,000 enable Des Moines’ 2,700-seat auditorium to attract some of Broadway’s biggest shows as soon as they hit the road. (A handful of national tours have actually launched here.) This year’s series, for example, includes the 2011 Tony Award-winners for both best musical (“Book of Mormon”) and best play (“War Horse”). 221 Walnut St.; 2462300;

March 5-10, 2013: “Jekyll & Hyde” injects new life into the classic thriller of good, evil and medical procedures that would worry the FDA.

Oct. 2-7: The 25th anniversary production of “Les Miserables” opens the season with Victor Hugo’s sweeping account of the French Revolution. Nov. 20-25: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” welcomes one and all to be their guest over Thanksgiving weekend. Dec. 11-16: “War Horse” brings to the stage a stable of equine puppets for the tale of a boy and his horse during World War I. Jan. 24-Feb. 3, 2013: The missionaries of “The Book of Mormon” knock on Des Moines’ door to tell their gleefully controversial story about do-gooders in a

March 19-24, 2013: “Million Dollar Quartet” recounts the real-life recording session that took place in 1956 with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. April 26-27, 2013: “Rock of Ages” brings to the stage its fist-pumping ‘80s lovefest. May 28- June 9, 2013: “Jersey Boys” wraps up the series with the now-famous tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Season. Des Moines Metro Opera Every summer more than 200 singers, instrumentalists and behind-the-scenes technicians from across the country flock to Simpson College’s campus in Indianola every summer to present one of the best opera festivals around. Now in its 40th year, the company has built a reputation for spring-boarding up-and-coming talent in a remarkably intimate venue. The recently

renovated Blank Performing Arts Center has a bowl-shaped auditorium with just 466 seats. This year’s festival started June 22 and continues through July 15, with a rotation of: Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” the searing fable of a Spanish playboy’s confrontation with death and the hereafter. Sung in Italian. Puccini’s “La Rondine” (“The Swallow”), the tragic, tangled romance set in 19th century Paris. Sung in Italian. chaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” the epic drama of love and regret based on the Russian novel by Alexander Pushkin. Sung in Russian. (And don’t worry if your Italian and Russian is a little rusty. All performances will be accompanied by English supertitles above the stage.) - Michael Morain is the arts reporter for The Des Moines Register. Read his blog at, follow him on Twitter (@MichaelMorain) and stay up-to-date with the theater scene and more at the Register’s theater page at

The missionaries of “The Book of Mormon” 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


arts & culture

Ballet Des Moines performs a dress rehearsal for “The Wizard of Oz.”

MORE ARTS IN CENTRAL IOWA There’s a common theme on, a user-review website, when searching for information about the Des Moines Art Center. Most reviews are from out-of-staters, and most are bewildered not only by the beautiful and significant architecture that serves as the shell for the artwork inside, but also by the artwork inside. They’re surprised to see noteworthy modern art contributors within the hallowed walls, impressed by the eatery located inside and dumbfounded by the free admission. Though neither Iowa, nor Des Moines, may outwardly appear to boast the kind of vibrant arts scene that defines many larger cities in the United States, this capital city provides a plethora of cultural events for its artists, its art appreciators and, well, everyone else. Here’s a look at some of the events and sites that are committed to the arts and contributing to the vibrancy of Des Moines’ arts and culture scene. Ballet Des Moines This resident professional ballet company is aspiring to inspire young dancers to

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 50

pursue their dreams of dance. As a part of that commitment, the Ballet Des Moines is devoted to hiring a resident company, and is bringing six dancers to Des Moines to live and work in the Fall of 2012 to provide outreach and performance opportunities for young dancers in the metro. 712 E. Second St.; 4401177; Brunnier Art Museum Decorative arts collections and exhibitions – including ceramics, glass, dolls, ivory, enameled metals and more – abound in the state’s only accredited museum emphasizing decorative arts. 290 Scheman Building, Ames; (515) 294-3342; BAMCurExb.htm Civic Music Association Civic Music has presented a continuous concert series which has included such notable performances as Esperanza Spalding, the Vienna Boys Choir and Joshua Bell. Additionally, Civic Music presents a free summer concert series featuring the Belin String Quartet, Fridays at 12:15 p.m. at Nollen Plaza. 1620 Pleasant St., Suite 244; 280-4020;

photos special to The Register

Des Moines Playhouse Many of the Playhouse’s students and volunteers have successfully pursued careers in theater, film and television; perhaps most notable is Des Moines’ own Cloris Leachman. Visit the Playhouse as it helps launch more careers through 12-14 musicals, comedies, dramas and family shows annually. The Playhouse also offers classes year-round for pre-kindergarten through adult. 831 42nd St., Des Moines; 277-6261; Des Moines Social Club A not-for-profit space that embraces pingpong and team trivia as much as it does theater performances and supporting Des Moines’ aspiring circus performers. Without discriminating, the DMSC is committed to giving central Iowans a change to explore and experience the arts. 400 Walnut St., 288-3672; Drake University Anderson Gallery A nonprofit space on the Drake University Campus that exhibits faculty and student work while teaching students museum and gallery procedures. 2505 Carpenter Ave.; 515-2711994;

Preshia Paulding, left, and Randy Burk perform a duet as June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash in “Ring of Fire,” at the Des Moines Community Playhouse.

Heritage Art Gallery The building that houses the Heritage Gallery was built in 1908 and served as the main post office for Des Moines; it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. This multi-purpose space is used for artistic and historical exhibits. 111 Court Ave., 2862242;

OTHER SPOTS TO VISIT Altoona Historical Society Museum

Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center

What was once a hardware store now serves as a place to collect and secure artifacts and historical records representing Altoona and the surrounding area. 104 Second St. S.E., Altoona; 967-4815;

The south-side museum honors the U.S. Army’s first officer candidate class for AfricanAmerican men in 1917, and the establishment of the first Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1942. 75 E. Army Post Road; 282-8060;

Temple for Performing Arts

Carnegie Library Museum

Hoyt Sherman Place

A restored, former Masonic temple that now hosts music and theater performance facilities. The Civic Center often uses the place for more intimate performances such as “Triple Espresso.” 1011 Locust St.; 288-4700;

This Perry building was erected in 1904 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie, initially serving as the town’s public library; it’s been restored to its 1910 appearance and is again a working library with incredible specials collections. 1102 Willis Ave., Perry; 515-465-2518

An ornate mansion built for Hoyt Sherman more than 100 years ago. As a theater, it now hosts concerts, art exhibits, tours, weddings and business affairs. 1501 Woodland Ave.; 244-0507;

Stoner Studio Theater

Farm House Museum

A black-box theater tucked away inside the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. Its regular cast of tenants includes local boundarypushing theater troupe StageWest and improv comedy troupe Comedy XPeriment. 221 Walnut St.; 246-2300;

Built in the 1860s, just 14 years after Iowa became a state, and located on the Iowa State University Campus, the Farm House Museum is a National Historic Landmark. It’s had many residents, including the first president of the college, Adonijah Welch, but the space now houses objects, art and historical information about the Farm House and its past. 515-465-3342; www.museums.

Iowa Gold Star Museum This free museum in Johnston is home to relics of Iowa’s military history from the 1800s to now. 7105 N.W. 70th Ave., Johnston; 2524531; Iowa Hall of Pride This downtown facility features dozens of exhibits highlighting achievements ranging from high school sports stars to movie stars and scientists. 330 Park St.; 280-8969; 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


arts & culture Iowa State Capitol Building

Science Center of Iowa

One of the most striking buildings in the Des Moines skyline is the Iowa state Capital building, whose steel-and-brick dome is gilded with 23-karat gold leaf, making it visible for miles. Built between 1871 and 1876, the inside of the building is equally impressive, featuring marble, works of art, fixtures and carvings in both wood and stone. East 12th Street and Grand Avenue; 281-5591; www.

Open 362 days a year, the 110,000 squarefoot facility in the heart of downtown offers everything from a massive IMAX dome theater to interactive exhibits for kids and adults to special touring exhibits. 401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway; 274-6858;

Salisbury House & Gardens Besides the magnificently maintained gardens outside the property, the Salisbury House collection includes more than 10,000 objects including Native American crafts, rare books and documents, fine and decorative arts and antiques. Among the rare and first edition books are classics by D.H. Lawrence, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway and more. 4025 Tonawanda Drive; 274-4025;

State Historical MUSEUM Get your genealogy on at the State Historical Museum, which features a research library in addition to a store, restaurant and historical exhibits. The museum also serves up a bit of nostalgia, the highlight of which is a display about Floppy and memorability from his creator, Duane Ellett. 600 E. Locust St.; 281-5111; Terrace Hill Terrace Hill is Iowa’s governor’s mansion and one of the state’s most treasured homes. Built in 1889 by Iowa’s first millionaire, the mansion is one of the finest examples of American Victorian Second Empire architecture. 

CONGREGATIONAL DIRECTORY 2012-13 ST. LUKE THE EVANGELIST CATHOLIC CHURCH Office: 2110 W. 1st St, Ankeny 50023 515-964-1278 Fr. Larry Hoffmann - Pastor Weekend Mass Schedule: Sat 4:30 pm at office; Sun 9:00 am at Northview Auditorium (1302 N. Ankeny Blvd)

Daily Mass:

T, W, F 7:45 am, Thu. 5:30 pm at office

Fort Des Moines United Methodist Church Sunday worship at 9:45, followed by Sunday School and Fellowship Time 6205 SW 9th St., Des Moines

Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 52

Renovation and restoration are designed to return the mansion and grounds to their original state of Victorian beauty. Tours of the mansion and grounds are available Tuesday through Saturday at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. March through December. 2300 Grand Avenue; 281-7205; 

All Saints Catholic Church

Gateway Church operates out of the Temple for Performing Arts building downtown

We exist to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ across the street and around the world.

SUNDAY SERVICES at 8:30 & 10:30 AM

Located at the north edge of Des Moines 650 NE 52nd Ave. • Des Moines, Iowa 50313 515-265-5001 •

For complete information visit

Weekday Masses: Tuesday – Friday 8:00 am Weekend Masses: Saturday, 4:00 pm • Sunday, 8:30 and 10:30 am

4200 E 25th Street, Des Moines, IA (515)265-0199

Fr. Robert E. Harris, Pastor

Capitol Hill Lutheran Church Diverse. Urban. Historic.

located in the East Village


Join us this Sunday! Jo 8:15 AM Worship 9:00 AM Breakfast 9:40 9:4 AM Education classes 10:30 AM Worship Visit our website for Music in the East Village concert schedule.


St. Anthony Catholic Church

15 Indianola Rd. Des Moines, Ia 50315 Just south of downtown 244-4709

Msgr. Frank Chiodo, Pastor Fr. Guthrie Dolan, Parochial Vicar Fr. Juan Antonio Hernandez Lozano, Hispanic Chaplain Fr. Adolfo Aban, Assisting Week day Schedule: M, T, Th, F 7am M, T, W, Th, F 8:40am, W 5:30pm Weekend Schedule: Sat 4:30pm; Sun 7, 8:30, 10, 11:30am 1:15pm Spanish Mass High Mass in Latin at 8:30am Lower Church

Joseph Giunta, music director and conductor for the Des Moines Symphony, directs during the 16th annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert at the Iowa state Capitol complex. 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



‘A little RAGBRAI’

on the metro trails If you build it, the beer and the tacos will come. by Todd Erzen

A cyclist rolls past the Flat Tire Lounge along the High Trestle Trail in Madrid.


urns out that ol’ Iowa cornfield magic doesn’t just apply to baseball diamonds. Complete a 25-mile-long, $15 million recreational trail between Woodward and Ankeny after eight years of trying and several new watering holes will pop up out of the local farmland to keep riders — ahem — hydrated along the way. In fact, some bicyclists are already calling the High Trestle Trail — named for the 13-story-high, half-mile-long river bridge that is its most prominent feature — a “little RAGBRAI.” The east-west stretch between Woodward and Slater has embraced that calling in particular, with Madrid’s Flat Tire Lounge getting the ball rolling with a grand opening not long after the trail was completed last spring. Next on the scene, just last month, was the Nite Hawk Bar & Grill in Slater, and this summer the Whisl’n Donkey will open in Woodward on the trail’s west end along with a sixacre campground for weary and/or otherwise impaired

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 54

Register file photos

travelers to rest their heads. Nite Hawk owner Shawn Birdsall said the same kind of passion that led countless RAGBRAI riders to detour off the official route last summer to get a look at the High Trestle bridge has kept cyclists coming through town every month since. “It’s been astronomical,” Birdsall said. “Basically, if there is not snow, they are riding on it and it’s at all hours of the day.” Some may be riding strictly to train for a race. Most, though, seem to be looking for a broader experience that includes equal parts healthy living, the outdoors, good company and that little something extra to make it all go down smoothly. Ankeny’s Bill Young was one of those pedaling through Slater in the spring and found that something extra to be the signature apple pie shots served at the Nite Hawk. “This is what we ride for,” Young said. “We ride to get to

Visit the bars: Nite Hawk Bar & Grill, 105 Greene St., Slater Flat Tire Lounge, 304 S. Madison St., Madrid Cumming Tap, 117 N. 44th St., Cumming Orlondo’s on Park, 4337 Park Ave., Des Moines Whisl’n Donkey, 111 N. Main St., Woodward (opening in July)

Bikes of all shapes and sizes at the Cumming Tap.

places like this.” Of course, it was the grandeur of the celebrated High Trestle bridge that was largely responsible for drawing an average of more than 500 riders per day to the westernmost part of the trail between April and August of 2011, according to Lisa Hein of the Iowa National Heritage Foundation. “It’s blown everybody away with its popularity,” Hein said. “It’s elevated the importance of trails in Iowa so much that all of the area trails want to connect to the High Trestle Trail now.” But keeping the trail a fan favorite year after year will be all the more likely with festive food and drink stops regularly positioned along the way. Patios located within 25 yards of the trail, calling out with their siren song of live music, grilled burgers and adult beverages, are an enticing force to reckon with. Over at the Flat Tire, preparing for a big crowd again in year two of operation has caused the Madrid establishment to up its game bit by bit. The Radish restaurant in Grimes is bringing in its grub every Saturday and Sunday, including breakfast, to a new trail-side deck addition. And the number of beers on tap at the Flat Tire has been increased to 14, many of the premium variety. “We are catering to what the bikers want because they seem to enjoy the finer things,” said Flat Tire manager Karen Mahoney. “They are the nicest people and they bring so much atmosphere.” Thursdays at the Flat Tire also feature Tacopocalypse, biker-chef Sam Auen’s moveable feast that got its start farther south on Tuesday nights at perhaps the

Patrons enjoy a drink at the bar inside the Flat Tire Lounge in Madrid.

granddaddy of central Iowa’s bike trail oases: the Cumming Tap. Bob Moural bought the bar, located adjacent to the Great Western Bike Trail that connects the south side of Des Moines to Martensdale, with his mother after RAGBRAI pedaled through town in 1997. “That’s when we realized there was money to be made from bikers,” Moural said. Auen said his experience up in Madrid last summer was “really amazing” in terms of watching the city and its residents come to embrace its regular stream of spandexclad visitors. The mix of bicyclists and townies at the Flat Tire on any given day makes for a one-of-a-kind experience. “It really has kind of a RAGBRAI vibe,” Auen said. “The (locals) are moving in some cases from tolerating it to enjoying it.” 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



The Great Outdoors


here are several area restaurants that, when visited during warmer weather months, are bound to be overrun with spandex. These eateries are likely located on one of those hundreds of miles of recreational trails that meander through Des Moines, its suburbs, and then connect to small towns and state recreational areas. And it’s the interest in

these trails that have driven the arrival of bicycle lanes on Urbandale and Ingersoll avenues. But it’s not just running, walking and biking that are getting central Iowans out of the house during warmer weather months. Recreational areas and choices abound. Peruse this list and choose your own outdoor adventure.

Bikers take a training ride on the Raccoon River Valley Trail .


We have the right bike for your ride. 307 8th Street SW, Altoona 515-967-4414 • 301 Grand West Des Moines 515-277-2636 •

Accessories • Kid Bikes • Rental • Repair • Bike Fitting 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 56

TRAILS Central Iowa Trails, Grimes Grimes boasts a stretch of trails that joins it to the metro area. Along James Street, nearly two miles of trails link to Urbandale and other points along the network.

Register file photo

suburbs and farmland. It is popular for its proximity to Cumming and the Cumming Tap.

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Stretching for almost 10 miles along the Skunk River in northeast Polk County, the Chichaqua greenbelt offers several established trails ranging from a quarter mile to 2.6 miles. 8700 N.E. 126th Ave., Maxwell; 515-967-2596

Greenwood Park The Center Trail at Greenwood Park, located behind the Des Moines Art Center, provides opportunities for hiking and trail riding within Des Moines’ city limits. 4700 Grand Ave., Des Moines;

Clive Greenbelt Trail Clive has 8.5 miles of winding trails along picturesque Walnut Creek and connecting trails. A good entry point is the Campbell Recreation Area, 12385 Woodlands Parkway, Clive.

The High Trestle Bridge.

High Trestle Trail Features a 13-story, half-mile-long bridge that lights up at night. The 25-mile stretch of trail goes from Ankeny to Slater, where it connects with the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail to the east, and on to Woodward. www.inhf. org/high-trestle-trail-intro.cfm

Great Western Trail The 16.5-mile paved trail runs between southwestern Des Moines and Martendsdale, passing through small towns,

Register file photo

Ledges State Park Considered one of the best hiking spots in central Iowa, Ledges State Park in Boone has 13 miles of hiking trails and leads up and down steep slopes to scenic overlooks. 1515 P Ave., Madrid; 515-432-1852

My Des Moines Top 5: Trails for Cycling By Scott Sumpter, founder of

1. Neal Smith Trail. You can ride this trail all the way from Des Moines to Big Creek. This trail tops the list not because of amenities along the trail, but because of the swooping, rolling nature of the trail the farther you go north. The trail is rough until you get to Northwest 66th Avenue near Johnston (about seven miles), but from there, the trail is brand new and smooth. Be prepared for some hills, curves and quick descents as you follow the Des Moines River and around Saylorville Lake.

2. Center Trails. The best hidden gem in central Iowa. There

are 14-plus miles of off-road, single-track nestled in Greenwood and Water Works parks. Take Hillside from Ashworth pool for an exhilarating ride with steeper rooted climbs and carved descents, or take Squirrel’s Nest for a flat-n-twisty adventure. Signage is not the best, but there is usually one way in and one way out.

3. Bill Riley / Gray’s Lake / Meredith Trails. These three trails make up a great inner-city loop with lots of scenery both on and off the trail. Be sure to ride the Gray’s Lake Bridge at dusk. 4. Great Western Trail. This trail leads to Cumming and Martensdale and is probably one of the most popular trails in central Iowa. It is 16.5 miles from Des Moines to Martensdale, but many get side-tracked at the Cumming Tap as their halfway point. 5. Clive Greenbelt to Raccoon River Trail. Go west. Ride the curvy wooded Clive Greenbelt Trail to get to the Raccoon River Trail. There is a nice long incline up Hickman Road to Waukee, but once you hit the countryside, the trail and all the connecting towns along the way are top-notch. Better yet, enjoy a staycation. Ride to Jefferson, spend the night and ride back the next morning.

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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


outdoors Raccoon River Valley Trail

Brown’s Woods

Water Works Park

A 56-mile bike trail starts in Clive and meanders through Greene, Guthrie and Dallas counties. Starts on Highway 6 in Clive; 515 386-5488;

Iowa’s largest urban forest preserve offers more than two miles of hiking trails. The 484-acre forest features a canopy of oak and hickory trees with rolling hills and small streams. Southwest 63rd Street, West Des Moines; 285-7612

Nearly 1,500 acres of open wooded areas located within city limits. Biking, jogging, picnicking, fishing and hiking are available, in addition to large open areas that are often used for team sports. 410 Fleur Drive; (515) 283-8772;

Makoke Trail More than 300 species of birds live within a 30-mile radius of Des Moines, and the Makoke Trail provides a guide to the best bird-watching sites in the area. Download a map at Urbandale Trails Urbandale boasts 36 miles of trails on which to walk, jog or bike. 278-3963. For a map visit

Sleepy Hollow Sports Park Offering year-round recreational activities, Sleepy Hollow provides cold-weather skiing and tubing and warm-weather mini-golfing and go-karting. The East Side locale also hosts Halloween haunted houses and the annual renaissance faire. 4051 Dean Ave., 262-4100; Walnut Woods State Park

PARKS Blank Park Zoo The only accredited zoo in the state of Iowa. The Blank Park Zoo is home to more than 800 furry, finned and feathered creatures. 7401 S.W. Ninth St.; 285-4722;

The Raccoon River intersects this 260acre park, providing fishing and canoeing opportunities. The park also has a limestone lodge built in the 1930s, a campground and picnic areas. 3155 Walnut Woods Drive, West Des Moines; 285-4502

CAMPING, LAKES AND RIVERS Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park Once a coal mine site, Banner Lakes offers 12 miles of bike trails that connect to Indianola and Carlisle. It also offers fishing and boating, a shooting range and picnicking sites with fire grills and picnic tables. 13084 Elkhorn St., Indianola; 9617101 Big Creek State Park Big Creek State Park, offers swimming, boating and fishing areas, and the adjoining

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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 58

3200 Grand Avenue


Des Moines, Iowa




Easter Lake Five picnic shelters and two playgrounds overlook a 172-acre lake that’s stocked with walleye, bass and catfish. A swimming beach and boat rentals are available seasonally. The southern lake shore offers a stroll through the Owens covered bridge, the only covered bridge in Polk County. 2830 Easter Lake Drive; 285-7612 Gray’s Lake A lighted, two-mile trail encircles Gray’s Lake, connected by a quarter-mile pedestrian bridge. A rental facility at the southwest corner of the lake loans paddleboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks and hydro bicycles. Sign up for a nighttime moon float, fish and do yoga on the grass. 1700 Fleur Drive; 2371386; A canoe on the calm water of Big Creek Lake.

public hunting areas provide recreation for all ages. In addition, a 26-mile paved multi-use trail travels from the beach south through the Saylorville Lake area all the way to Des Moines. Eleven miles of snowmobile trails provide winter recreational opportunities. 12397 N.W. 89th Court, Polk City; (515) 984-6473 Copper Creek Lake Park A lighted 1.22-mile trail surrounds a 40-acre lake filled with a diverse selection of

Register file photo

Lake Ahquabi

plants and wildlife. Cyclists and walkers will appreciate the Four Mile Creek Greenway Trail system which connects Pleasant Hill to several other communities in Des Moines. Four Mile Creek, 4390 E. University Ave., Pleasant Hill

“Ahquabi” is a Sauk and Fox word meaning “resting place,” and it is a fitting name for this scenic 770-acre park that offers everything from hiking, camping, kayaking, picnicking and swimming. 1650 118th Ave., Indianola

Des Moines River Water Trail

Ledges had 95 camp sites, 13 miles of hiking trails and a 91-mile bike route which connects it to Springbrook State Park. The park is named for its 100-foot-tall sandstone ledges. 1515 P Ave., Madrid; (515) 432-1852

The 19-mile stretch of the Des Moines River from the Cottonwood access north of the city to Yellow Banks County Park provides scenic, historic and natural sites for paddlers.

Ledges State Park

My Des Moines Top 5: Disc Golf Courses Mike Marcovis, disc golf enthusiast who works for G&L Clothing, which sponsors the annual G&L Clothing disc golf competition

1. Walnut Ridge. Located in Johnston, this has a good mix of both open and wooded holes and plays around a state park that’s maintained very well. Includes holes with tight tree-tunnel fairways, big downhill bombs, blind tee shots and tucked-away baskets. It has both short and long holes and is rarely busy. Two- to three-hour rounds.

the hilly land behind the high school. This course is the perfect length. It has a great variety of shots and uses the land very well. Lots of elevation change and baskets placed near the creek make for challenging shots. Only 20 minutes from Des Moines. One-and-a-half- to two-hour rounds.

2. Pickard Park. Located in Indianola, it’s the hardest course

4. Ewing Park. The gem of south side Des Moines is a long course that demands accuracy. It has both technical, wooded holes and big downhill bombs. Large mature trees come into play on almost all holes and guard a lot of the baskets. The woods on the west side of park like to eat discs. Must play if you like bigger courses. Two- to three-hour rounds.

3. Lewis Club Park.

5. Big Creek State Park. Located in Polk City, this is the area’s tight wooded technical course. It also has length and some open holes as well. Hole 11 is 800-plus feet of tight wooded fairway that goes uphill and downhill. Water comes into play on a few holes and it takes accurate straight shots to even think about shooting well. Very well taken care of by members of the Des Moines Disc Golf Club. Two- to three-hour rounds.

in the area with long holes and a nasty thicket if your shots stray into the woods. It also has a pond and a creek that come into play that love to eat discs. Farmland-type setting with rolling hills and mowed fairways through tall grass and wooded holes as well. Hole 18 is a monster at 900-plus feet. Three-plus hour rounds. Located in Colfax, this course is set on

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


outdoors Raccoon River Dog Park Ten acres of fenced play area with multiple fenced areas. Permits required. 2500 Grand Ave., West Des Moines; 222-3424; www. Rovers Ranch Privately owned and operated off-leash membership dog park and training center. Between Pleasant Hill and Runnells on 108th Street; Windsor Heights Dog Park A newer facility located south of Colby Park. No permits required, though animals are required to be up-to-date on vaccinations. 6960 School St., Windsor Heights; www.

PUBLIC GOLF COURSES A.H. Blank Municipal Course Register file photo

Ledges State Park near Boone

Middle Raccoon River With small rapids, twists and turns, and an average depth of about three feet, the Middle Raccoon is a good spot for both inexperienced and expert paddlers. Raccoon River Retreats rents canoes, kayaks to rent and shuttles. 711 Bridge St., Redfield; 515833-2636 Saylorville Lake Located on the Des Moines River just north of Des Moines, this 26,000 acre reservoir features woodland, wetland and prairie habitats. Recreationally, it includes camping, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, disc golfing and more. Seven Oaks Recreation Grab a cooler, rent a tube and float down the Des Moines River. Or head to Seven Oaks in Boone for paintball, mountain biking, snowboarding or snow skiing. 1086 222nd Drive, Boone; 515-432-9457; Yellow Banks Park The 517-acre Yellow Banks Park overlooks the Des Moines River and offers camping and wilderness areas. 6801 S.E. 32nd Ave., Pleasant Hill; 266-1563

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 60

DOG PARKS Ames Dog Park Bring current vaccination certificates for each dog and a Facility Use Permit Form. Prices vary. 605 Billy Sunday Road, Ames; 515-2395350; Ankeny Dog Park Features a pond, aerator, gravel walking path, benches, shelter and agility equipment. 1155 S.W. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny; 963-3570; Ewing Dog Park Open year-round from 6 a.m. to sunset, and features 8.5 acres of fenced area and an additional acre for dogs under 20 pounds. 4660 Indianola Ave.; (515) 237-1364; Indianola Off-Leash Dog Playground Features fenced land for big and small dogs, agility equipment, watering stations, waste receptacles and shelter and picnic tables. Annual or daily passes available. Downey Memorial Park, South K Street and West 17th Avenue, Indianola; 515-961-9420;

A golf course with its priorities in order: Golfers can page the beverage cart from their own cart. This GPS technology also provides the distance of the golfer’s ball from the hazards and the flag. 808 County Line Road, Des Moines; 248-6300; Beaver Creek Golf Course Situated northwest of Des Moines in Grimes, Beaver Creek is a 27-hole bent grass golf course that provides leagues, lessons and corporate outings. 11200 N.W. Towner Drive, Grimes; 986-3221; Coldwater Golf Links Inspired by the historic Scottish links that created the game of golf, Coldwater Golf Links has bent grass tees, fairways and open greens featuring native grasses. 615 S. 16th St., Ames; 515-233-4664; Copper Creek Golf Course This 18-hole, par 71 golf course among the rolling hills of Copper Creek is a challenge for golfers of all abilities. To enhance the experience, the golf carts are equipped with GPS. 4825 Copper Creek Drive, Pleasant Hill; 263-1600; Countryside Golf Course An 18-hole course with bent grass fairways, greens and tees located four miles south of the Des Moines International Airport.

3089 North Ave., Norwalk; 981-0266; Deer Run Golf Club 2305 W. Second Ave., Indianola; 961-5445 Grandview Golf Course Built in 1902, Grandview Golf Course is one of the oldest in the country, and is unique in that it is much shorter than most courses. 2401 E. 29th St.; 248-6301; Jester Park Golf Course Located 30 miles north of Des Moines and open year round, Jester Park Golf Course has both an 18-hole championship and 9-hole par 3 executive course. 11949 N.W. 118th Ave., Granger; 999-2903; Legacy Golf Club An 18-hole golf course south of Des Moines featuring bent grass tees, greens and forgiving fairways. All carts are equipped with GPS. 400 Legacy Parkway, Norwalk; (515) 287-7885;

Grandview Golf course in Des Moines

Register file photo

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


outdoors Otter Creek Forty-four bunkers, 17 ponds and an abundance of tall grasses and mounding await golf balls at this Ankeny golf course that was recently remodeled and redesigned. 1410 N.E. 36th St., Ankeny; 965-6464 Rolling Hills Golf Course A short course built on rolling terrain with oak trees lining its fairways. Rolling Hills is a par 36, nine-hole course that can be set up to play 18. 6205 Highway 28, Norwalk; 981-1500 Shady Oaks Golf Course An 18-hole regulation course that at its longest tees offers more than 6,000 yards of golf for a par 71. 18169 Highway 92, Ackworth; 961-0262 Terrace Hills Golf Club This time-conscious Altoona course offers a 4 ½ hour guarantee: Arrive weekdays before 2 p.m. and weekends and holidays

before noon, and finish 18 holes in 4 ½ hours or the next green fee is free. 8700 N.E. 46th Ave., Altoona; 967-2932; Toad Valley Public Golf Course This 18-hole course features 6,170 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71. 237 N.E. 80th St., Pleasant Hill; 967-9575; Tournament Club of Iowa An Arnold Palmer Signature Course, Tournament Club of Iowa offers a challenging, yet appealing course that winds through hills, dramatic bluffs and timberland surrounding Big Creek and two major lakes. 1000 Tradition Drive, Polk City; 515-984-9440; Veenker Memorial Golf Course An 18-hole public facility and home to Iowa State University’s golf teams. 1925 Stange Road, Ames; 515-294-6727;

Waveland Golf Course The oldest municipal golf course west of the Mississippi boasts 18 holes built on wooded hillsides. 4908 University Ave.; 2486302; Woodland Hills Golf Course This 18-hole regulation course is perfect for all types of golfers. A practice facility provides target greens, chipping practice and putting greens. 620 N.E. 66th Ave., Saylor Township; 289-1326; Willow Creek Golf Course Three unique courses exist at Willow Creek: an 18-hole course with tree-lined fairways and large greens; a 9-hole course with open fairways and large greens; and a 9-hole course with varying terrain and water hazards. 140 Army Post Road, West Des Moines; 284-4558;

We are always looking for outstanding employees. ▶ Growing Organization ▶ Competitive Benefits ▶ A Great Place To Work FOR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES, visit us online: Or call DMACC Human Resources at 515-964-6301. 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 62 | 877-TO-DMACC

Outdoor/Rec Clubs Central Iowa Paddlers An informal group of paddlesport enthusiasts both new and experienced that share information, promote recreation opportunities and safety, and encourage care of the aquatic resources. Go to (Also check out the Capital Striders A running club for both new and experienced runners that runs in and organizes its own races and philanthropic activities. Though its members work hard, they also play hard and offer several social activities throughout the year. Go to to learn more. Des Moines Astronomical Society Bringing the cosmos to the people of central Iowa, the Astronomical Society hosts a lecture series that’s meant to encourage, promote and educate about the field of astronomy. Go do Des Moines Rowing Club This group of rowers and rowing enthusiasts hosts the Head of Des Moines Regatta every September. The club accepts all skill levels, as well as those who just have an appreciation of the sport. Go to Des Moines Triathlon Club If participation in a triathlon has made your bucket list, the Des Moines Triathlon Club is for you. It aims to be the entry point for new people into the sport, provide support to help athletes reach their goals, and increase awareness and involvement in multisport activities and events. Go to for information. Iowa Outdoor Unlimited For those who appreciate all aspects of outdoor recreation, Iowa Outdoor Unlimited is an activity-based club for all ages, professions, interests and abilities. Visit

HORSEBACK RIDING Jester Park Equestrian Center Riders of all skill levels will be able to find an activity at Jester Park. Riding lessons and trail riding are available while it’s warm and sleigh rides are offered during the winter

Register file photo

Jester Park Equestrian Center

months. The equestrian center also has a program for special needs and at-risk youths. 11171 N.W. 103rd Court, Granger; 999-2818;

NATURE Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden Not far from the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden is much more than its name implies. Though it has 22 garden rooms and beds; 2,500 trees, shrubs and perennials; 17,000 bulbs; and a changing palette of 500 perennials, it also serves as an outdoor studio for the magazine’s photographers, a meeting and lunch spot for employees and a venue for corporate entertaining. 1716 Locust St., Des Moines; 284-3994; design/test-garden-secrets/about-the-testgarden/ Des Moines Botanical and Environmental Center Located on 14 acres along the east bank of the Des Moines River, the center offers indoor and outdoor botanical displays in addition to a lunch-time eatery, Riverwalk Cafe. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 909 Robert D. Ray Drive; 323-6920;

Forest Park Museum A walking trail sits along the perimeter of 12 acres of re-established prairie and wildflowers at this Perry locale. The arboretum has more than 100 species of primarily native trees and shrubs. The museum itself includes Dallas County’s last remaining one-room schoolhouse and displays featuring early transportation, farm machinery, small hand tools, railroading, a blacksmith shop and more. Forest Park Museum is free to the public. 14581 K Ave., Perry; (515) 465-3577 Iowa Arboretum This self-proclaimed “library of living plants” is a 378-acre facility housing hundreds of species of trees, shrubs and flowers as well as woodland trails and a restored prairie walk. Open sunrise to sunset daily. 1875 Peach Ave., Madrid; 515-795-3216; Reiman Gardens At 14 acres, Reiman Gardens is one of the largest public gardens in the state. The year-round facility features indoor and outdoor gardens, an indoor conservatory, 2,500-square-foot indoor butterfly wing and five supporting greenhouses. It recently planted one of the first rose gardens in a public garden that has sustainable designs, plants and gardening practices. 1407 University Blvd., Ames; 515-294-2710; 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


outdoors CENTRAL IOWA RACE EVENTS BRR Ride Known as the “Original Winter Bike Ride,” BRR riders brave the unpredictable Iowa winter, having experienced frigid temperatures and wind chills while plowing through a foot of snow and also spring-like temperatures of 60 degrees. Held each February; Capital Pursuit A 10-mile and 5K race that starts at Eighth and Locust streets downtown, loops around nearby streets and finishes at Nollen Plaza. Sept. 30, 2012;

The Grand Blue Mile The 5,280-foot street run in downtown Des Moines is a way for everyone from novice to marathon runner to get involved in the annual Drake Relays. Held each April; Hy-Vee Triathlon Participate in or cheer on those pitted against each other in a 1.5K swim, 40K bike ride and a 10K run as one of Iowa’s premiere athletic events hits West Des Moines. Sept. 2, 2012; IMT Des Moines Marathon

Farms, Interstate 80 and Hickman Road; Race for the Cure A fundraiser for breast cancer research that features a 5k walk and run on the Iowa Capitol grounds. Run each fall on the Iowa State Capitol grounds; RAGBRAI The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state. RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world. July 22-28, 2012; Red Flannel Run

Hockey, softball, broomball, a polar plunge and a cardboard sled race mark the annual Des Moines Winter Games. The 2012 event was in February;

Called the “largest and fastest” marathon, the IMT Des Moines Marathon has a course that starts at Nollen Plaza, winds through the East Village, Court Avenue, Western Gateway, Terrace Hill, Drake and Waterbury neighborhoods. The event also provides half-marathon and 5K options. Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012;

Drake Relays

Living History Farms

See some of the best athletes, including Olympians, as this track and field event takes over the Drake University campus. Held each April;

A wacky seven-mile off-road race through Living History Farms that sells out quickly. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes and are warned about the mud pits. A beef stew reward awaits those who participate. Nov. 17, 2012; Living History

Urban Assault is the biggest bicycle obstacle event series in the nation, challenging participants to partner up and embark on a citywide quest for obstacle course “checkpoints.” Aug. 12, 2012;

Des Moines Winter Games

Sub-zero temperatures await those brave enough to participate in the YMCA’s annual three- and five-mile Red Flannel Run – preferably while wearing red flannel. Held each February; Urban Assault Ride

My Des Moines Top 5: Races By Bobbi Snodgrass, vice president of the Capital Striders

1. Drake Relays On-the-Roads Half Marathon & 8K Race. Iowa’s oldest races, and the best way to experience the Relays and feel like a real athlete is by lacing up your shoes and jumping right in. Beautiful tree-lined courses that show off Iowa’s spring and finishes at a parklike setting on the Drake campus. It’s a major honor to earn a top finish at these races since both are very competitive. 2. Dam to Dam, 20k and 5k: Iowa’s Distance Classic. This race represents the dedication of Iowa’s finest runners for the last 30 years. Unique 20K course that starts on the peaceful Saylorville

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 64

Dam draws 8,000 of your closest sweaty friends and ends downtown near the Center Street Dam with a huge crowd of cheering fans ready to enjoy the best post-race celebration in the Midwest.

3. Capital Pursuit, 10 Mile and 5K.

The Capital Striders host this race. It too has been essential to Midwest’s fastest runners for the last 30 years. The 10-mile certified course favors even five mile splits, and the 5k is flat and fast too. Ten miles is the perfect distance to test your endurance without destroying it, and this Fall race comes along at the perfect time, as runners are peaking.

4. Des Moines Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K. This one has

something for everyone. The marathon includes a lap around the blue oval and it allows you to qualify for Boston without leaving town. The races are high-quality, organized, un-crowded, and runner and walker friendly.

5. Living History Farms 7 mile

off-road trail race. The biggest cross country race in North America fills very quickly. If you are trying to get a fast time you will need to be close to the front. It is cold, wet and muddy, but one hell of a lot of fun, therefore serving as the best way for runners to celebrate all the season’s successes. You’ll see lots of crazy costumes and you can’t help but laugh at all the craziness. Wonderful post-race food makes it all worth it.

Farmers Markets Downtown Farmers Market The Downtown Farmers Market is a premier event for Des Moines, with weekly crowds reaching the tens of thousands. Producers across Iowa offer seasonal fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, cheese, eggs, wine, flowers, bread and more. The market also provides local art and entertainment, learning opportunities and special programming. Every Saturday, rain or shine, from May 6 through Oct. 7 from 7 a.m. to noon; Court Avenue District; 286-4928;

Wednesdays, May 7 through Oct. 29; North Grand Mall, 2801 Grand Ave. Ankeny: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, May 19 through Sept. 29; Southwest Third and Maple streets Beaverdale: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, June 5 through Oct. 23; Beaverdale Park, 3333 Adams Ave. Boone: 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, June through October; Walmart parking lot, 1815 S. Story St.

The Ankeny Farmers Market is located in the Uptown Ankeny business district on the corner of Southwest Third Street and Southwest Maple Street in Ankeny.

Pleasant Hill: 3 to 7 p.m. Fridays, June 8 through Aug. 31; Berean Assembly of God, 5229 E. University Ave.

Altoona: 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, June through September; Sixth Street Place Southeast in Haines Park

Drake: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, June 6 through Sept. 24; First Christian Church, 25th Street and University Avenue

Ames: Multiple locations:

East Side: 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, May 1 through Sept. 25; 3200 Delaware Ave.

Valley Junction: 4 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, May 17 through Aug. 28; Historic Valley Junction

Johnston: 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, May 22 through Aug. 28; Johnston City Hall, 6221 Merle Hay Road

Waukee: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, June 6 through Sept. 26 (except July 4); Triangle Park, Ashworth Road and Sixth Avenue

8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, May 5 through Oct. 27; 400 block of Main Street, including Tom Evans Plaza. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and 3 to 6 p.m.

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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Shop ‘til you drop Rodeo Drive this ain’t, but central Iowa is home to enough big stores, local boutiques and specialty shops to keep your shopping bags full by Sophia Ahmad, special to The Des Moines Register Beaverdale The northwest Des Moines neighborhood is known for its charming homes, many brick, but there are plenty of local places to shop as well. Beaverdale Books (2629 Beaver Ave., No. 1) is an indie book store that spotlights local authors and hosts book clubs and writer’s groups. Cup O’ Kryptonite is your stop for comic books in its new Beaverdale home at 2608 Beaver Ave. Back

Back Country Outfitters in Beaverdale

Country Outfitters (2702 Beaver Ave.) across the street sells outdoor clothing and gear that’s both stylish and practical. Grounds for Celebration (2709 Beaver Ave.) and Beaverdale Confections (2641 Beaver Ave.) offer breaks for coffee and candy (including gourmet homemade marshmallows), respectively, and you can’t drive through the ‘hood without making a stop at beloved Snookies Malt Shop, open spring through late summer at 1801 Beaver Ave.

Register file photo

2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines


shop Chocolaterie Stam (2814 Ingersoll Ave.) are good places to break between buying at shops like the eclectic Tandem Brick (2722 Ingersoll Ave.) and glasses boutique Vogue Vision (2405 Ingersoll Ave.). Peruse art inside Moberg Gallery (2921 Ingersoll Ave.), and peruse the displays at Badowers (2817 Ingersoll Ave.), the high-end men’s clothing store that offers brands and styles found nowhere else in central Iowa and in some cases, all of Iowa. Jordan Creek

Register file photos

Vitae Design Collective in Des Moines.

East Village This historic district between the state Capitol and the Des Moines River has no shortage of places to explore. On the antiques front, check out Found Things (520 E. Grand Ave.), Porch Light Antiques (526 E. Grand Ave.) and Raccoon Forks Trading Co. (321 E. Walnut St.). For crafts and handmade pieces, visit Domestica (321 E. Walnut St.) and Ephemera Stationery Studio (505 E. Locust St.), which also specializes in custom stationery. Visit The Velvet Coat (500 E. Locust St.) for high-end women’s clothing and RAYGUN (400 E. Locust St.) for Iowa’s snarkiest T-shirts and the store’s denim line. Aimee sells pieces from some of the coolest European lines (432 E. Locust St.). Visit Accenti (400 E. Locust St.) for women’s clothing, accessories and home goods. Dornink (518 E. Grand Ave.) and Bridal Boutique (412 E. 6th St.) are go-to dress shops for the bride-to-be, and Vitae Design Collective (400 E. Locust St.) is an artist-run boutique that features unique and limited clothing and accessories. Urban Belly (312 E. Sixth St.) is the place to go for clothes and gadgets for the mother-to-be and her kids. On the jewelry front, try Leona Ruby (328 E. Sixth St.) for artful and hip accessories. Find a one-of-a-kind custom piece at Artisan’s Jewelry Designs (516 E. Grand Ave.). Visit From Our Hands (400 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 68

E. Locust St.) for unique work crafted by American artists, Projects Contemporary Furniture (501 E. Locust St.) for a standout piece of furniture, or Jett & Monkey’s Dog Shoppe (503 E. Locust St.) to keep the dogs in your life happy and pampered. Treat yourself with products from eden (418 E. 6th St.), a bath boutique specializing in brands like Caldrea and Kiehl’s. Find unique accessories for your garden at Seed (500 E. Grand Ave.). If you’re a foodie, stop by AllSpice (400 E. Locust St.) for distinctive spices, blends, olive oils and vinegars. Kitchen Collage (430 E. Locust St.) has everything you need for the most important room of the house, and check out Plain Talk Books and Coffee for gently-used books for adults and kids, plus coffee (602 E. Grand Ave.).

Located in West Des Moines (101 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 11040), Jordan Creek Town Center is the area’s newest mall and offers a comprehensive shopping experience. Find high-end national chains like Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Coach, Apple and J. Crew inside the upscale mall. Catch a movie at the Century 20 Theater or find your next book club read at Barnes & Noble. Outside the mall, pick up workout gear and sneakers at Nike Factory Store (7105 Mills Civic Parkway). Vintage Wine and Spirits (6905 Mills Civic Parkway No. 124) has a large selection and a knowledgeable staff. Find a party dress or date night outfit at Fab’rik, a trendy boutique (6925 Mills Civic Parkway Suite 150). Check out nearby store Blond Genius (165 S. Jordan Creek Parkway No. 130, West Des Moines) for some of the best selection of denim in town. Swing by Trader Joe’s (6305 Mills Civic Parkway No. 2111) for specialty food items.

Ingersoll Ingersoll Avenue stretches for miles eastto-west, from about Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway on the east all the way to about 42nd Street for your shopping needs. G&L Clothing (1801 Ingersoll Ave.) is a Des Moines clothing institution, in the same way Jesse Embers (3301 Ingersoll Ave.) and Noah’s Ark (2400 Ingersoll Ave.) are for Des Moines dining. Gusto Pizza Co. (1905 Ingersoll Ave.) is one of the new kids on the block, in the same corner strip as a Kosama fitness center. Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure (2723 Ingersoll Ave.) and

Tandem Brick Gallery

Merle Hay The city’s oldest mall, Merle Hay Mall, 3800 Merle Hay Road, has seen a resurgence of renovations in recent years. With more than 90 retailers, you’ll find big box stores like Ulta, Kohls, Target, Younkers, Old Navy and Sears, plus a variety of smaller, local storefronts inside the mall. Entertainment like Merle Hay Bowling Lanes, Red Rock Wildlife Education Center and a movie theater will keep your kids busy. Also in the same area is Christopher’s Fine Jewelry (3427 Merle Hay Road) and Rieman Music (6501 Douglas Ave., Urbandale), where you can nurture your inner musician with a variety of sheet music and instruments. Shops at Roosevelt This small strip mall at 833 42nd St. in Des Moines is full of many delights. Pick up one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted contemporary jewelry at Elements Ltd., or find new-toyou high-end clothing and accessories at Worn. Let the expert staff at The Cheese Shop help you pick out your new favorite artisan cheese to pair with the perfect champagne. Plus find newly opened Vom Fass, a shop specializing in vinegars and oils. Visit La Mie for a bite to eat, or to pick up some of the house-made artisan breads, pastries and desserts, like olive ciabatta and chocolate croissants. Valley Junction If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, Valley Junction is the place to go. Shoppers flocked to this historic district in the 1800s, walking the wooden sidewalks to go from store to store. Today, it’s a vibrant home to some 150 businesses, including restaurants, art shops, specialty stores and more than a dozen antique shops. Stop by The Lagniappe (112 Fifth St., West Des Moines) for unique jewelry and art, and walk your way up to the top-level wine bar and outdoor patio. This rooftop oasis is one of Valley Junction’s hidden gems. Visit Tallgrass Grocery Co-op (116 Fifth St.) for locally made and harvested foods, Kangaroo Boo (415 Fifth St.) for nontraditional kids toys and gifts, and The Theatrical Shop and Atomic Garage for costumes and vintage clothing. For a casual lunch, step back in time and dine at The General Store (206 Fifth St.), which is complete with antique kitsch. Be sure to check Valley Junction’s calendar of

Vom Fass in Des Moines

events ( for its weekly Thursday night summer farmers market, plus its outdoor concert series, Music in the Junction. Valley West West Des Moines’ Valley West Mall (1551 Valley West Drive) offers a wide assortment of traditional retailers like JCPenney, Younkers and Gap, but also locally owned stores, too. Shop Von Maur for one of the best shoe departments in central Iowa, as well as distinct and high-end luxury brands like David Yurman and Burberry. Pick up delicious chocolates at Chocolaterie Stam and find unique writing instruments at the Quill and Nib. Calypso 968 features quality, fun vintage accessories. Find must-stop shops like Penzeys Spices, World Market and Whole Foods Market in the nearby Water Tower Place business plaza (4100 University Ave.). Don’t miss K. Renee (2700 University Ave.), an upscale boutique clothing store for women, just down the street from the mall. West Glen This West Des Moines village offers a

variety of unique shopping experiences within walking distance. Step inside Joseph Jewelers’ swanky flagship store for the perfect piece of jewelry (5425 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines). Siren (5435 Mills Civic Parkway) offers some of the hippest female fashions, and stop by Bella Boutique (5515 Mills Civic Parkway, No. 155) to pick out the perfect statement accessory and on-trend clothing. Visit Schaffer’s for an upcoming black-tie affair (5465 Mills Civic Parkway) and StylEyes (650 S. Prairie View Drive No. 110) to update your specs. Decorate your home with unique pieces from Sticks Gallery (5445 Mills Civic Parkway), plus, pick up an artisan-crafted gift at Autumn Leaf Gifts (650 South Prairie View Drive). Jake’s Journey (5515 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 130) will hook you up with all of your “Life is good” summertime T-shirts. And, don’t forget Fido. Visit Three Dog Bakery (5545 Mills Civic Parkway No. 103) for the best products to pamper your pooch with. After all of that shopping, you’ll need a glass of wine. Stop by WineStyles for an extensive assortment of wines (5515 Mills Civic Parkway, No. 120). 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Splurge, get relaxed 10 specialty spa treatments around central Iowa Elemental Nature Pedicure Serenity Aveda, 1551 Valley West Drive, Suite 286, West Des Moines Info: 223-6204, Cost: $47 for one hour and 15 minutes This eco-friendly pedicure and massage in one starts with your tired feet enveloped in steam towels (rather than soaking them in a water basin). Next, choose a scented oil to be incorporated throughout the rest of your service, which includes a neck and shoulder massage, plus a calf and foot scrub and massage. Green Tea and Ginger Body Wrap Sahar’s, 4100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines Info: 225-7559, Cost: $145 for 90 minutes De-stress with a full body scrub crafted with antioxidant-rich grape seeds from California’s Napa Valley wine region. Next up is a wrap that contains green tea, invigorating ginger root and seaweed, which stimulates tired muscles. The experience ends with a massage using Epicuren’s protein lotion. Four Hands Massage Anani Salon and Spa, 2505 S.W. White Birch Drive, Suite G, Ankeny Info: 965-0093, Cost: $90 for 30 minutes, $140 for 60 minutes, $200 for 90 minutes If you’re short on time but sore beyond

East Village Spa

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belief, this is the massage for you. Performed with two therapists creating simultaneous movements, it will help you relax in no time.

to boost hydration. In June, the Blueberry Bliss is a blueberry and soy antioxidant-rich facial. Come July, The Works will aim to help increase circulation.

Facial of the Month Estilo Salon and Day Spa, 440 Fairway Drive No. 100, West Des Moines Info: 727-4980, Cost: $50 for 45 minutes Pamper yourself with a 45 minute Eminence organic facial that changes each month of the year. May’s facial is called Flower Power and features a hibiscus recovery masque

Massage East Village Spa, 315 E. Fifth St. No. 121 Info: 309-2904, Cost: $75 for 45 minutes Chai blend tea from local shop Gong Fu is the star of this massage. The black tea helps flush tissues, cloves and cinnamon add warmth, and powdered milk gives skin-

Gong Fu Chai Scrub and Honey

Welcome To

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2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines 70

The doors to Iowa’s Historic Governor’s Mansion are open for tours and special events more than 200 days a year. 2300 Grand Avenue Des Moines, Iowa 50312 515-281-7205

soothing enzymes. This, combined with decadent honey oil, buffs skin and boosts circulation. Heated massage stones help tame back tension. European Spa Facial Spa at West Glen, 5465 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 250, West Des Moines Info: 225-2642, Cost: $90 for 60 minutes The most-requested facial at this spa is also perfect for all skin types. The European spa facial is a customized deep-cleaning treatment designed to reduce the signs of tired skin. Treatments begin with a skin consultation, then a deep-pore cleansing and exfoliation, a facial massage and a final mask. The result? A smooth, revived, complexion. De-stressing Spa Facial Signature Male, 14225 University Ave., Suite 230, Waukee Info: 224-4849,

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Cost: $77 for 75 minutes Who says women should have all of the pampering? Designed for men, this facial aims to retexture and smooth a man’s face. Depending on the client’s needs, a hydrating or exfoliating mask is available. Pink Champagne Pedi Salon W and Polished Nail Lounge, 400 E. Locust St. Info: 280-5358, Cost: $75 for 75 minutes More than just a paint job for your toenails, this will make your feet feel relaxed and look fantastic with soaking, scrubbing, callus buffing, sloughing, smoothing, massaging and a paraffin dip. Botanical Skin Resurfacing FacIAL The Sage Tree Locations: 3770 Eighth St. S.W. Suite G, Altoona, 967-0279; 429 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, 243-1434; 6110 N.W. 86th St., Suite 4, Johnston, 334-3444

Info: Cost: Starts at $55 for 30 minutes, $75 for 60 minutes, $100 for 90 minutes. No need for fancy machines in this facial. The botanical skin resurfacing facial is an alternative to traditional microdermabrasion. An exfoliating tourmaline treatment is massaged onto the face with fingertips, resulting in a relaxing experience that clears away dead skin cells and leaves a refreshed complexion.                                                                   Bioelements Custom Facial Salon Bliss, 7450 Bridgewood Blvd., Suite 235, West Des Moines Info: 226-1177, Cost: $66 for 60 minutes This customized treatment features a deep pore cleansing and exfoliation. But it doesn’t stop there. A face, neck and shoulders massage follows. The treatment concludes with a therapeutic Bioelements mask and serum designed to correct specific problems.  

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VON MAUR | YOUNKERS | JCPENNEY • Mon-Sat: 10am to 9pm & Sun: 11am to 6pm 2012 Ultimate Guide to Des Moines



Ultimate Guide to Des Moines  
Ultimate Guide to Des Moines  

Hundreds of things to do, see and experience in central Iowa