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Making Downtown DSM Home After Working Remotely in Asia + Europe

Downtown DSM Amenities

October 25, 2023

My husband and I have been living in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) since 2013. After getting married in 2015 we jetted off for a couple of years to work remotely and travel abroad in Asia and Europe. When it was time to head back home, there was no question that Des Moines, and more specifically downtown, was where we wanted to be.

As our lives have evolved, Downtown DSM has evolved with us. In our twenties it was the nightlife, restaurants and unique apartment buildings that made living here the obvious choice. Our favorites were watching a game at Johnny’s, having pints with friends at The Royal Mile and snagging a slice from Fong’s Pizza on the way home.

Family at the Iowa State Fair 

What It’s Like to Live and Work in Downtown Des Moines

Now, properly in our thirties with an energetic two-year-old, our day-to-day life looks quite a bit different, but we have found that downtown life still fits. During the week, while my husband works out of the downtown Gravitate Coworking office, my son and I get out and explore as much as possible. We are regulars at the Wellmark YMCA and Central Library. Our son’s favorite is the train table. When the weather is cooperating (and even sometimes when it isn’t), walks to the sculpture park, around the Iowa State Capitol or through the Asian Gardens happen most days. We also love it when all three of us can make a midweek lunch date happen. Our usual spots are Teriyaki Boys in Local Bites or any sandwich on focaccia from South Union Bread Co.

Downtown Des Moines

The fun doesn’t stop once the weekend hits. An ideal Saturday morning starts with a Cuban coffee and pinwheel (all flavors are delicious but we particularly like the chocolate) from Scenic Route Bakery in the Historic East Village before heading over to the Downtown Farmers’ Market for breakfast sandwiches. If it’s a toasty summer morning, our son will often enjoy a quick splash in the fountain at Cowles Commons before we all head home for an afternoon nap. In winter months or on hot days too, we Iike to escape to the Science Center of Iowa to get the wiggles out.

Walking in Downtown Des Moines 

By far the best part about living downtown has always been our proximity to the action. Going to any event is always an easy “yes” when we live just a block or two away. Some of our personal favorites are the Des Moines Arts Festival, concerts at Wooly’s and catching an Iowa Cubs, Iowa Wild or Iowa Wolves game. Plus, you never know what special event you’ll get to attend next. Some memorable standouts have been the Dew Tour for Olympic-qualifying skateboarding (read about the event action here!), first round and second round NCAA tournament for March Madness and the Red Bull Soap Box Race.

Looking to the future we can’t wait to experience more of Downtown DSM’s offerings as our son gets older. We’ve been eyeing a lot of the children’s programming they have at the Des Moines Civic Center and look forward to using these events as experience gifts. We already get out and about on walks but as our son gains confidence on two wheels, we are looking forward to hitting the trails again. Our opportunities in Des Moines are limitless and we can’t wait to see what else is out there!

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.

Amelia Tuel

Amelia Tuel is a stay-at-home mom in Downtown Des Moines, Iowa. She grew up in Shelby, Iowa, and is a graduate of Iowa State University. When not enjoying all of Des Moines’ offerings she has been fortunate to travel to 30+ counties.