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Route 515: Plan Your Pickup Progressive Dinner in Downtown DSM

Downtown DSM Pickup

While a traditional progressive dinner is a fun way to spend time with friends, 2020’s recommended social distancing definitely puts a damper on the practice. However, we think you can still create your own progressive experience in the 515, by picking up goodies in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) neighborhoods. Check out our ideas below and help support our local businesses as we head into 2021.

Small Plates + Flowers in Sherman Hill

Sherman Hill is famed for its historic architecture, but it’s also become rich with new offerings. Start your progressive night off right with a variety of small plates from Aposto at 644 18th Street in Downtown DSM. The fall 2020 small plate options include squash soup, roasted carrots, charcuterie, mussels, pizza fritta and more.

When you’ve finished your small plates, head to Gateway Market, 2002 Woodland Avenue, where you can mask up and pick out a fresh bouquet of flowers, which never fail to make the day a bit brighter.

Drinks in Market District

Once your flowers are in hand, head to Market District where you can pick up a six-pack with two bottles each of three different beer styles from Peace Tree Brewing Company at 317 E. Court Avenue. Save these for a later date when you can meet with Head Brewer Joe and Assistant Brewer Justin for a virtual guided tasting on Zoom. The virtual guided tasting 6-pack must be picked up by Wednesday, December 9. Check the website for Downtown DSM location hours.

Walk Through the Lights in Historic Court District

Take a break between drinks and dinner to walk through Cowles Commons in the Historic Court District. While there, you can see “Swirl,” a sculpture by Jim Campbell featuring more than 8,000 LED lights on display from dusk until 2 a.m. Also on the grounds is the DSM favorite Crusoe Umbrella by Claus Oldenburg and the Lauridsen Fountain, which features 50 LED lights of its own when the water features are in use.

Dinner + a Show in Western Gateway

Pickup chicken-fried steak, shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles from Bubba. These entrees are the epitome of comfort food. Bubba’s temporary dinner menu is available from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and orders can be picked up at 200 10th Street in the Western Gateway neighborhood.

Every Thursday night, Noce Jazz & Cabaret streams live jazz shows. If you’re doing this progressive experience on a Thursday, once you pick up your dinner from Bubba, stream a Jazz on the House show to any device that is Chromecast-enabled using Facebook or YouTube. Shows are free, but Noce is accepting contributions in lieu of traditional covers.

Views at Gray’s Lake

Once you’ve enjoyed that southern comfort dinner, a walk in the fresh air around Gray’s Lake in the Gray’s Lake Area neighborhood will feel good. And during these pandemic times, it’ll boost your mood as well. Walking just a few minutes a day can improve your outlook and end the day on a high note.

Dessert in the Historic East Village

Our last stop is at 215 E. Third Street in the Historic East Village, where you can grab a delicious dessert from Molly’s Cupcakes, where the bakery’s COVID-19 hours are 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Choose from center-filled flavors like cookie monster, tiramisu, twisted malt pretzel, to name a few, and gluten-free flavors, including chocolate, vanilla and carrot.

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.