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A Perfect Holiday Stroll Through the Historic East Village

Walk Through HEV

November 16, 2021

When I first moved to the Historic East Village last fall, it felt like the neighborhood was collectively inhaling. There was a palpable uncertainty in the air. And rightfully so. Over the course of the next nine months, small business owners had to make decisions that they didn’t anticipate ever having to make.

Since, I have watched closely as the exhale began and the energy has come back to the neighborhood. What’s clearer now more than ever? That energy comes directly from the small businesses owners who are thrilled to see us back out. We finally get a chance to truly celebrate them again this holiday season. Luckily, the Historic East Village makes it easy to do so. As we approach the 2021 Holiday Promenade, I’ve put together an itinerary to a perfect day holiday shopping in my favorite Downtown Des Moines (DSM) neighborhood.

Coffee at Daisy Chain

Start your day by popping into Daisy Chain Coffee, just south of Raygun, a specialty coffee AND local honey shop. Owner and just all-around cool guy, Dan, collects from his daily beekeeping for a special kick to your coffees. Try the miel — a latte with your choice of milk, cinnamon and Daisy Chain’s own honey. You can also purchase a variety of his own honey products in the store! Take it to go or sit and admire the local artist galleries on the wall.

Scones at Nosh

Once you’re sufficiently caffeinated, pop around the corner to Nosh Café & Eatery for a quick grab-and-go breakfast. Nosh carries a variety of local products including vegan scones from Flour Hour Bakery with flavors like pumpkin w/ campfire cappuccino featuring Horizon Line Coffee espresso. Scones not your thing that early in the day? Nosh also has a full menu of smoothie bowls, breakfast burritos from Baked Kind, oatmeal and perfectly millennial-style toasts.

Now that you’re well fed. Let’s hit up the shops for some holiday shopping!

 Marne  Jane's  Kin


Holiday Shopping

It’s not easy to narrow down the list of shops to hit in the Historic East Village. That’s why we like to compile any fun holiday pop-ups or Holiday promenade events on Des Moines Girl’s weekend guides to help you pick. Here are a few of my favorites right now:


This incredibly aesthetically pleasing sustainable boutique makes you feel good just by being there. Natural light pours onto the floor beautifully accenting the array of clothing, home goods and jewelry from brands that you may not be familiar with but are chosen because they give a damn. Think fair trade meets your favorite cozy looks. This is a great shop to start out in because you’re sure to invest in a piece for yourself. Their Agolde jeans? The best fitting and feeling jeans that I’ve literally ever bought.


Right next door to MARNe is Jane’s — the perfect complement for the little ones in your life. If you need the perfect gift for new parents, a niece or nephew or a holiday outfit for your own baby, don’t miss a browse through Jane’s selection of family clothing, toys and gear.

Allspice Culinarium

You may not think that a spice shop is a good place to find holiday gifts but think again. Allspice’s gift sets make thoughtful gifts for the cook, baker or host in your life. From a “Keep Calm and Curry On” set of six curry spices, to a “Des Moines” gift box of Gusto Pizza Co seasonings and my favorite — Ammazza Suocera — an Italian spice blend from Cooking with Alessandra. You truly can tell the difference in spice quality.

Storyhouse Bookpub

There’s truly nothing like picking up a book from a cute bookshop. I was so thrilled to see Storyhouse Bookpub open its brick and mortar around the corner from Raygun earlier this year after a successful year of business conducting story time pop-ups for the community. Need recommendations? Owner Abbey is an absolute wealth of knowledge who loves bringing books and people together.


KIN is special. Their products are special, and it is no surprise that it’s been named the as a top East Village Store by Cityview two years in a row. Whether it be candles, jewelry, tarot cards or curated healing kits, there’s likely someone in your life (maybe you!) that could use some good energy.

Petals + Moss

Pop around the corner on Grand Ave. to end your shopping trip in a plant paradise at Petals + Moss. Get yourself a new plant baby, ask questions about the perfect types of plants to give for gifts, or pick out a beautiful new planter.

Relax with A Wine + Cheese Tasting at Purveyor

End your day of shopping back where we started: next door to Daisy Chain at Purveyor — a hidden gem for wine tasting, charcuterie, and Dore Bakery’s baked goods. Sit back, relax and enjoy wine and local cheese.

No matter how you end up spending your day, know that you are part of bringing the magic back to one of Downtown DSM’s most special neighborhoods.

The Holiday Promenade is an annual holiday celebration where you can eat, drink and play in the Historic East Village in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Experience family-friendly activities, shopping and more with friends and family.

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.

Des Moines Girl

Des Moines Girl is a blog on small businesses and big people in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Written by locals, for locals. Check out Des Moines Girl's weekend guides, local gift ideas and special holiday giveaways to spread a little small business love this holiday season.