Pretty much smack in the center of Iowa, Des Moines boasts some enviable national rankings, making the top 10 on such diverse lists as hippest midsize cities, best cities in which to live and work, most pro-business cities, best cities for retirement, best cities for young professionals, best farmers’ market, and so on. You’d think that with all that going for it, it would be a lively, dynamic place, even more so as the state’s capital and largest city. But when I visited on a regular Tuesday, downtown was virtually devoid of people despite the new office buildings, and I walked for a dozen blocks without passing a single place where I could pick up a cup of coffee or a newspaper. Perhaps I just missed the buzzing part of town, but it seemed unlikely. Nevertheless, this was a welcome break from the overcrowded streets of my hometown of New York, and the extra breathing room gave me plenty of space to enjoy some impressive architecture. Read more about my top five buildings in Des Moines >
July 8, 2016 at 3:48 pm
Hi Stephen, looks like there are some great buildings in Des Moines. I have always found that state capitals – no matter how underrated as cities – always have some great buildings! I have never been to DM before but would love to see more of Iowa some day!
July 8, 2016 at 4:41 pm
Hi, Jessica. Yes, the Iowa State Capitol is beautiful, probably the nicest in the entire country. And the Iowans are particularly friendly! Hope you get to see more of it soon.
July 9, 2016 at 3:12 pm
>>>>nary a place to eat, during breaks in their nine-to-five shift. With a population that’s been hovering around 200,000 for more than 50 years, it seems doubtful at this point that there will be a surge of life back into the downtown.<<<
Are you sure you were in downtown Des Moines? There are a huge amount of places to eat lunch, and there has recently been a big surge of apartments/condos in downtown. New apartment buildings are going up at a very rapid rate. There are construction cranes everywhere downtown right now, more than I've ever seen.
October 1, 2021 at 10:21 am
I also read your previous older post on downtown Des Moines, come for another visit. Downtown brims with life, resturants, shopping, new places to reside. Walking and biking trails along the river, downtown markets and festivals.
October 1, 2021 at 1:24 pm
It’s been a while since I was there. I’d love to come back!