A- A+

A Weekend in Downtown Des Moines

Downtown Des Moines Weekend

August 16, 2023

Exploring Downtown Des Moines

Nestled in the heart of Iowa, the captivating city of Des Moines offers a perfect blend of urban charm, natural beauty and unique culinary experiences. As a Midwest gal with a wanderlust spirit now finding myself based in the sunny hillsides of California, I was delighted to return to my roots. Read below as I take you on a virtual adventure of my weekend stay in vibrant Downtown Des Moines.

A Historic Stay at the Surety Hotel

My experience began as my husband and I checked into the Surety Hotel, a historical gem that is a true architectural marvel. Once home to the Iowa Loan & Trust Company, a now preserved boutique hotel offers 12 stories of elegant touches and modern comforts inspired by its banking roots. We chose to stay in a Corner Studio King, which offers a stunning view of the Polk County Historic Courthouse along with luxurious accommodations (hello bathroom of my dreams). We enjoyed having the convenience of crafted cocktails and delectable bites right below at the Mulberry Street Tavern. The chic lobby that doubles as a laid-back lounge is also worth mentioning which includes a cozy fireplace and pool table for an intimate setting. From here, we had easy access to the best that Downtown Des Moines has to offer.

Hotel Surety

Brunch with a View at The Republic on Grand

For brunch, we set our course to The Republic on Grand — an upscale eatery known for its creative dishes, modern ambiance and exquisite sky-high views located on the sixth floor of the AC Hotel. The menu ranges from traditional breakfast fare to innovative twists on brunch classics for a truly indulgent experience. We enjoyed the caramelized French toast, bacon jam minis and avocado fries which we paired with their “Red Eye Flight” — a trio of elegantly crafted bloody marys, each tailored to suit different palates.

An Urban Escape to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

In the midst of the bustling city, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden offers a breath of fresh air for nature lovers and plant enthusiasts. As I stepped into this urban oasis, I was transformed into a lush escape surrounded by vibrant blooms from across the globe and found myself lost in the tranquil ambiance. The garden also holds local events throughout the year including a summer concert series which takes place in their outdoor Koehn Garden. With 12 acres of various plant species including bonsais, cacti and everything in between, expansive lawns and water features, this garden was easily one of the top highlights from our trip.

Savoring Fusion Flavors at Fong’s Pizza

For dinner, we sampled the unique fusion flavors of Fong's Pizza — a local dining favorite famous for blending unexpected ingredients in their inventive fares. We split the crab Rangoon pizza, a most-loved dish that was featured in Food Network along with the ramen pizza which left us craving for more. Their funky lounge also offers cocktails served in quirky glasses which pair well with the lively ambiance and eclectic menu. The restaurant's vibrant atmosphere and friendly staff added to the overall charm of our dining experience.

The Endless Charm of Downtown Des Moines

Downtown Des Moines has a timeless charm that blends big-city energy that I long for and small-town warmth that I remember. Whether you're an art enthusiast, a nature lover or a foodie eager to explore new tastes, Downtown Des Moines has something for everyone. I hope my experience has inspired you to explore this captivating city, immerse yourself in its culture and to discover the charm that lies within the heart of Iowa.

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.

Sophia Bailey

Sophia Bailey’s creative journey has taken her from the heartland of Eastern Iowa to the vibrant Bay Area in California. As a full-time content creator, she crafts beautiful imagery and videos for businesses in the fashion, home and travel industries. A self-proclaimed globetrotter, Sophia shares her adventures with her followers.