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7 Ways to Connect with Friends + Colleagues in Downtown DSM

Downtown DSM Activities

August 26, 2022

I began working with A. Arthur Davis at the Davis, Hockenberg, Wine, Brown Koehn & Shors law firm in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) in June of 1981, before the skywalk system was developed and maintain relationships today with those friends and colleagues at the firm.

Fast forward three decades, I now live in Downtown DSM, having moved here in the spring of 2015 and love it more than I thought I might! The year-long search for my downtown home brought moments of discovery and reflection of what I’d hope my next journey ahead would bring: connection and vitality in community.

Things to Do in Downtown DSM

I love being able to do business locally and particularly in my immediate neighborhood. Shown below is a roster of activities that I enjoy on a somewhat regular basis:

  1. Bicycling on nearby trails to Gray’s Lake Park via the BCycle program with easy-to-use rental stations located through Downtown DSM; there’s an app for the program, as well.
  2. A long-time enthusiastic fan of the Des Moines Farmers Market on Saturday mornings from 7 a.m.-Noon (May-September); and, from 8 a.m.-Noon (October)! The two (2) “Winter” Farmers Markets typically occur the Saturday before Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  3. Visit Mainframe Studios for a variety of art experiences — beautiful blown glass, jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture, stationery, clothing and more! I often find myself there on their “First Friday of the Month” events — or, at any moment I feel inspired to discover something new. Several artists there have contributed their inspirations to my office headquarters just west of downtown, as well as my home.
  4. The BEST restaurants around! Proudfoot & Bird, Django, Americana, Proof, Centro, Bubba, Fresko, Malo and Akebono — the teams that all work so hard to serve up such great cuisine are, truly, my extended family!
  5. West End Architectural Salvage — love to explore four floors of vintage finds; there’s a coffee shop there, too! The folks at West End are so helpful and often have the history of where many of the pieces originated; they also arrange for events there, too! Well worth the exploration. DART
  6. Take the (free) D-Line bus into the Historic East Village for shopping/dining/spa and exploration experiences! The D-Line runs a continuous loop from Downtown DSM on Locust Street to the Historic East Village/Iowa State Capitol, then returns from via Grand Ave.
  7. Visit Iowa’s State Capitol and spend time in the beautiful West Capitol Terrace Park — full of history, beauty and oftentimes cultural events such as the Des Moines Symphony Pops Concert around the July 4th holiday.

I truly appreciate Iowa history and am happily surrounded with compelling elements of it in Downtown DSM. To ensure I’m able to capture it all, I joined the Des Moines Historical Society in order to experience many of the educational and tour opportunities provided by them.

I serve on the board of the Des Moines Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) and through their various sessions and events, I’m fulfilled by the culture of community connection here.Deb Madison-Levi

Lastly, when my calendar allows and the weather is perfect, I venture out on my restored vintage ice cream bicycle and give away free popsicles and ice cream treats (for humans & dogs). It’s a fond memory of childhood and what better way to create connection in my community!

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.

More Downtown Des Moines (DSM) restaurants are opening all the time. Don’t miss out on bakeries, brunch, breakfast, lunch, dinner, pizza, seafood, bars and breweries in downtown. Here’s the in on where to eat locally in Downtown DSM.

Deb Madison-Levi

Deb Madison-Levi is Chief of Staff and Director of Administration at the Iowa Credit Union League. She has served on the boards for the Des Moines Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA), Simpson College Alumni and the Child & Family Policy Center.