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Discover the Drake Neighborhood in Des Moines

Drake Neighborhood

For Drake University students and those who love the college atmosphere, the Drake neighborhood in Greater Des Moines (DSM) offers plenty of options when it comes to dining and entertainment. Take a closer look at these recommended restaurants and venues, as well as a few apartment complexes near this active area of DSM.

Dining in the Drake Neighborhood

Casual Dining

Drake Diner

This Des Moines landmark is a 50s-style diner serving breakfast all day, along with lunch options and blue plate dinners. Drake Diner, also serves up shakes and malts sized for sharing.

Fong’s Pizza

Fusing flavors from the Far East and West, Fong’s Pizza is certainly unique. Pair a tiki drink with the Crab Rangoon pizza or try a gluten, vegetarian or vegan option.


A Mediterranean Grill, Gazali’s, offers Gyros, Hummus, Falafel, as well as vegan and vegetarian options. Choose from dine-in, takout and no-contact delivery.

Jethro’s BBQ

Located on Forest Avenue, the original Jethro’s BBQ Drake location is the place to get wings, ribs, sandwiches and sides. Take “The World Famous Adam Emmenecker” challenge or try “The Jethro.”


Neighborhood bars such as Lefty’s Live Music, the University Library Café and Waveland Tap offer friendly places to grab a drink and chill. Watch the big game or catch the latest golf tournament on one of five screens at Waveland Tap. Grab the Library Nachos and a craft beer from the University Library Café. Or, listen to live music at Lefty’s while drinking a local brew. Peacetree Brewing Co., Confluence Brewing Co., Sutliff Cider Co. and Exile Brewing Co. all offer local brews on tap at Lefty’s.


Looking for a locally-owned Drake neighborhood coffeehouse? Check out the outdoor patio at Freedom Blend Coffee or the Mars Café, which serves up Wonderstate Coffee. A short distance away is Smokey Row, which boasts salads, soups and sandwiches, as well as ice cream and a kids menu.

Things to Do in the Drake Neighborhood

Entertainment options aren’t hard to come by in the Drake neighborhood thanks to the steady of on-campus events. Sheslow Auditorium, on the National Register of Historic Places is home to a variety of performances each year, including jazz, symphony, opera, musical theatre and Chamber music events. If sports are more your thing, check out the Drake Bulldogs at The Knapp Center or watch track and field at Drake Stadium. Don’t forget to stop in and shop at the University Book Store for textbooks, Drake Relays gear, video games, workout gear and more. Nearby Historic East Village and The Avenues shopping districts offer even more shopping opportunities in and around DSM.

Living in the Drake Neighborhood

Apartments aren’t hard to come by in the Drake neighborhood thanks to the influx of college students each year. Walkability is important to keep you connected to the college life and what’s happening in DSM. Try Drake West Village or take an online tour of The Drake Apartments by ARTISAN. Housing near the area is also close to recreational spots and parks, including Drake Park and Witmer Park. Just a short distance west is DSM’s Greenwood – Ashworth Park, a must-see for the rose garden and walking trails.

The Drake neighborhood is a special part of DSM, one the oldest and most diverse in the city. If you’re interested in good eats, walkability and being close to the energy of Drake University, this neighborhood is the one for you.

Named the #1 Best Place to Live in the Midwest and #2 Safest Place to Live, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a city where you can have it all. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 400 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.