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Forge New Connections + Create Your Home in Downtown DSM

Creating Connections in Downtown DSM

November 15, 2023

My journey to Downtown Des Moines (DSM) began when my husband accepted a new position in the region. Although I grew up just a few hours away, my visits to Downtown DSM were rare. This move marked a significant transition, especially for someone like me, rooted in the small, close-knit Dutch community of Orange City, Iowa. The thought of leaving behind my parents, siblings and the sweetest nieces and nephews was a hard pill to swallow — even if we were just moving a few hours away.

Yet, the moment my husband and I set foot in DSM, we were overwhelmed by the many community members — from fellow worshippers at our new church to friendly locals and staff in local coffee shops and familiar faces from social media — who extended open arms. Our property managers, too, proved to be nothing short of amazing. Immediately, we felt more at ease and knew this move would be the right next step for us.

Out and About in Downtown Des Moines

Working as a Small Business Owner in Downtown Des Moines

As a proud owner of a boutique travel agency (with a profound appreciation for coffee), I was thrilled about the abundance of cafés and coffee shops where I can work remotely in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Vibrant Coffee House, Northern Vessel and St. Kilda have become like a second home where I work and connect with locals. Almost every spot I've visited has been filled with open-hearted conversations, making this new place feel like home already.

(Oh, and while we’re talking about coffee shops, I also love the unique, refreshing atmosphere and vibe at Zanzibar’s; they truly value good old-fashioned face-to-face connections and relationships, crafting a space that's (almost) tech-free to make it happen!)

Additionally, I'm really looking forward to forging new connections with local business owners. Building relationships with community members and local businesses is a priority for me, and it's a responsibility I'm excited to embrace. There are so many local businesses I look forward to visiting, such as Golden Hour for the perfect fall candle, Bread by Chelsa for her coveted artisan sourdough breads and MARNe for sustainable and trendy pieces.

While Downtown DSM has been a fantastic professional hub for my husband and me, we're equally thrilled about the fun it has to offer. The diversity of dining options is mind-blowing! From savoring German delights at Hessen Haus to indulging in authentic Mexican quessabirria tacos at Maria’s and enjoying unique cocktails and Asian-inspired small plates at Harbinger — every bite is a new adventure! We are so excited for more date nights and fellowship with friends.

Dining in Downtown Des Moines

And let's not forget the vibrant community activities and events that have piqued our interest. For us, creating connections and being part of the community is key to making this new place feel like home. One of our absolute favorite things has been supporting local artisans and farmers at the Downtown Farmers’ Market. It's a testament to the incredible love and support the community has for Downtown DSM and the surrounding communities. I'm already looking forward to many more Market visits.

At the Downtown Farmers' Market

So, whether you're new to Downtown DSM or a long-time local, my advice is simple: Embrace it. Forge new connections, support local and welcome everyone with open arms. After all, it's these connections that truly make a place feel like home.

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. Find event information and follow @downtownDSMUSA on Facebook and Instagram for other news, tips and events happening downtown.

Kendra Wagner

Kendra Wagner, a 27-year-old born & raised in the small, Dutch town of Orange City, IA, is a boutique travel agency owner and new member of the Des Moines Area community.