Des Moines: Charming, impressive surprising

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 24, 2009 - 4:30 PM

With a sophisticated art scene, major-league restaurants, eye-catching architecture and proud history, Iowa's capital city charms and impresses.

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dclaytaylorOct. 24, 09 8:39 PM

I was in Des Moines for business this summer, and was also impressed with the revival of the downtown area. As for restaurants, I would supplement this list with SPLASH, a seafood eatery that would give our own Oceanaire a run for its money. Cheers.

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ericsplaneOct. 24, 0911:32 PM

Like everybody from Minnesota I grew up making fun of Iowa. I grew up in Minneapolis, Hastings, and Eagan...But having good friends in Des Moines and Iowa and visiting many times, including contract work around the state-- I've come to really appreciate the city and state. Minnesota "the education state" is nothing but a joke compared to their outstanding schools and university...Their higher ed system is cheaper, better, and more accessible to the average joe citizen than our will ever be. The average Iowan believes alot more in fairness and decency than our conflicted State. Des Moines the city is quite pleasant, too. Nice vibe, friendlier people, and quite a lot to do, including surprisingly good restaurant scene. Believe me, I've visited over 60 nations and many of the great cities of the world. Is Des Moines Paris? Hardly, but it has most of the pluses and few of the minuses of the twin cities. Time to stop feeling so good about yourself Minnesota, and the twin cities. You've lost alot and gained little in the past couple decades. You'd do well to look at Iowa for a good example...

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maryfrancesOct. 25, 09 7:41 AM

We visit our son who is a student at DMU on occasion. Des Moines is a beautiful city. The only big drawback is the ride down on 35W. Long, flat and boring.

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toddlangeOct. 25, 09 9:24 AM

I was visiting my son, who is attending school at the University of Iowa in Ames (great school!). We decided to spend a day in Des Moines on Saturday and do some sightseeing. The capital building is just beautiful as was mentioned in the article. There is a great view of downtown Des Moines from the front steps. The downtown is nice and clean with some nice restaurants and coffee shops. We stopped at Java Joes for coffee, which is in a lovely old building downtown. Right next to it is a British pub called Royal Mile which was recommended to me by a friend. For lunch we ate at A-Dong Vietnamese restaurant, which I would definitely recommend. We stopped and toured the newly finished Art Sculpture Park. It is a $25 Million art park donated by the Pappajohn's (Pappa John's Pizza?). It is located on the west edged of downtown. I was amazed by the amount of outdoor art sculpture there was around the city. I have also done several bike rides across the state of Iowa over the past several year. I have always been impressed by the people I have met riding through some of the smaller rural towns across the state.

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vnevaOct. 25, 0912:12 PM

Uncle Wendell BBQ (lunch) and the Flying Mango are not to be missed when looking for a place to eat in DesMoines.

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sheepyOct. 25, 0912:16 PM

I also recommend checking out the Renaissance Savery Hotel. It was more than my budget allowed, but the lobby was very cool.

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jbravo30Oct. 25, 0912:50 PM

Perhaps you could find a way to agree with the article without trashing MSP or boasting about your personal travels? I agree that Des Moines is a pleasant and frequently underrated city, but I have chosen to live here in the Twin Cities for a reason, and I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone...

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ericsplaneOct. 25, 09 1:26 PM

My point was that MSP residents in my experience very often trash surrounding communities, because we're the big fish in the little pond. And precisely BECAUSE I do love MSP I think we need to shed our chronic smugness. How often do we trumpet some half-baked "best quality" of life study? How long have we been resting on the laurels of Gov. Anderson and the Time magazine walleye (you may be too young to get this ref)? My point is that we are losing something and blinded to that loss. My point about travels was meant to be pre-emptive...in that I have seen alot of the world, including as a resident, and I was sure somebody would smart-alec-ly tell me I must not know anything to think Des Moines was a nice city. Really, I believe MSP has the potential to be one of the worlds great mid-size cities, if we start looking hard at what is wrong and begin working on fixing it.

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pafabianOct. 25, 09 1:44 PM

That's 'Iowa State University' in Ames. Does you son really go to school there!!? You should know the name of this school. Everything else you speak after that is just pops and buzzes. My goodness!

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nerowolfeOct. 25, 09 6:43 PM

Classic old luxury hotel; recently remodeled; and very nice. Stayed there two nites this Summer, and found the room spacious, clean, comfortable, and the staff friendly and courteous. Heck, they even gave me a room with 2 bathrooms.....I'm not sure why. I booked the room on priceline and got it for a steal compared to anything in DT MSP.

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