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Shop for the Holidays Along Your Route Home

Commute Shopping

December 4, 2023

You’re heading home after work, but still have some holiday shopping to do. What local shops and restaurants are along your route that could wrap up the last gifts remaining on your list? Whether you still need to buy for family members, friends or coworkers, we’ve got a few locations along your commute that make it easy to find the perfect way to say, “Happy Holidays!” in 2023! Check them out below:

Along I-235 

Exit 7: MLK Jr. Parkway / 19th St. / Keo Way

  • Mainframe Studios: More than 220 local artists call Mainframe home, keeping offices in the building to work in fine arts, fashion, photography and more. Attend a First Friday event to meet the artists and buy from them directly or reach out to an artist individually.
  • Northern Vessel: This Keo Way coffee company is new to the area, but already making a big splash! Sign up that special someone for the Northern Vessel Coffee Club, a subscription-based membership that’s $10/mo.
  • Smokey Row Coffee Co.: A favorite right off the interstate, Smokey Row Coffee Co. is where you can get the coffee lover in your life a gift card to use on-site or flavored or seasonal blends like Candied Cashew or Kahlua Caramel Crème.

Exit 5B: 42nd St.

  • Des Moines Art Center: For the artist in your life, consider purchasing an art class at the Des Moines Art Center, located just west of 42nd Street on Grand Avenue. Classes and workshops take place all year long. You can also shop art books, jewelry, Art Center exclusives and more at The Museum Shop.
  • Des Moines Community Playhouse: Gift certificates are available, or grab tickets to a show at The Playhouse:
    • Our Town performances take place Feb. 2 – 18, 2024
    • Beautiful The Carole King Musical performances take place April 5 – 21, 2024
    • The Play That Goes Wrong performances take place May 31 – June 16, 2024
    • School of Rock The Musical performances take place July 12 – 28, 2024

Exit 3: 73rd St. / Windsor Heights

  • 515 Brewing Co.: Along the Clive Greenbelt Trail, 515 Brewing Co. has innovative beers in the taproom, along with magnetic bottle openers that would make a great stocking stuffer for the beer drinker in your life.
  • Chocolate Storybook: On Grand Avenue, Chocolate Storybook is not far off Exit 3. Stop in to purchase gift baskets and towers … even logo chocolates and client and employee gifts.
  • Gilroy’s Kitchen + Pub + Patio: Gilroy’s is on 8th Street, so you won’t need to travel far to grab a gift card from this dine-in restaurant. This one’s perfect for anyone with kids or those who are looking for an extensive bourbon menu, not to mention gluten-friendly and vegan options.

Exit 1B: Valley West Dr.

  • Monarca Gourmet Paletas: Grab some swag and a gift card to Monarca for the ice cream lover you know. Paletas are ice cream popsicles made in-house that you dip into the dippings and toppings of your choice. Try the Dulce De Leche or Rum Raisin Paletas!
  • Valley West Mall: Peruse the shops for gifts at Valley West Mall, including Fit to Be Tied, JC Penney, Kay Jewelers, Maurices and more.

Along I-80: West to East

Exit 110: Adel

  • Adel Flowers and Gifts: Send a Christmas flower arrangement to someone in Adel or nationwide, including wreaths or bouquets.
  • Azalea Lane Boutique: At Azalea Lane Boutique, find stocking stuffers like lip balms and wax melts along with gift ideas like Christmas pajamas and jewelry.

Exit 118: Grand Prairie Parkway (Waukee)

  • Old Station Craft Meats: Pick up locally sourced meat products for the holidays. If you make a purchase or pre-order of $100 or more, you can be entered into a drawing that will take place on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m., too.
  • The Coffeesmith: Along Alice's Road, The Coffeesmith is a great place to find a new travel mug — new designs available in 2023!

Exit 121: Jordan Creek Parkway

  • Des Moines Golf & Country Club (DMGCC): Not far off the Jordan Creek Parkway exit, membership at DMGCC can include fine dining, pickleball and more. Choose between a Golf Membership and Social Membership.
  • Giordano’s: The world-famous pizza and full Italian menu not only offers gift cards for the West Des Moines location, but you can ship pizzas nationwide, too!
  • Jordan Creek Town Center: West Des Moines’ premier shopping destination offers holiday deals at its store. Check out the recently opened Offline, Posey & Jett’s and Urban Outfitters. And that’s not all. Look what’s coming soon! The Blue Zoo Aquarium, Chocolaterie Stam, Madewell and T-Mobile.

Exit 124: Clive

  • Wildwood Lodge: Book a night at the dog-friendly Wildwood Lodge for your visiting family. What better way to say thanks for visiting during the holiday season than by paying for their stay? Amenities include an indoor pool, an expanded breakfast, indoor fireplace and more.

Exit 129: NW 86th St.

  • Hilton Garden Inn Des Moines/Urbandale: The Hilton Garden Inn offers seniors and members of the military and their families exclusive savings at participating hotels. Not only that, but visitors will enjoy an on-site restaurant, indoor pool, fitness center, free parking and more.
  • Russell’s Trophies & Engraving: Purchase a product for custom engraving — including laser and hand engraving. Products include glasses, cookwear and more.
  • Texas Roadhouse: Grab a gift card or purchase from the shop. Texas Roadhouse Honey Cinnamon Butter Wax Melts, Legendary Margarita Socks and steaks make the perfect gifts.

Exit 127: Iowa 141

  • 5 Borough Bagels: Authentic house-made New York-style bagels await at 5 Borough Bagels. Treat a friend to breakfast and some gourmet coffee at the venue that catered for Adam Sandler and his team when he performed at Iowa Events Center this year!
  • Climb Iowa: Just off the exit in Grimes, Climb Iowa offers memberships, gift cards and classes. This gift offers fun and action for all ages and abilities.
  • Home Depot #2115: From holiday savings to gift cards and subscriptions, The Home Depot is a great option for the DIYers in your life or anyone looking to improve their home. Help them out this holiday season with the perfect tools or home décor.
  • Royale Flush Gaming: Host a casino night for whatever group you’re celebrating with this holiday season! Games include blackjack, craps, roulette and more.

Exit 135: Polk City

  • Little Lion Eclectics: Look at antiques and modern furniture and decor on Saturdays from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. or by appointment other days of the week.
  • Meraki Mamas Boutique: Grab the Holiday Friends crewneck or Merry & Bright sweatshirt this holiday season. They make perfect Secret Santa gifts or White Elephant gift exchange. 

Exit 143: Altoona

  • Adventureland Resort: Grab a 2024 season pass for the family for fun at the park. In 2024, there are new adventures coming to The Underground. This year is Adventureland’s 50th anniversary so don’t miss out!
  • Bass Pro Shops: The Christmas Gift Guide offers special savings for him, her, kids and even dogs. Check out Bass Pro Shops’ family jammies, flannels and hoodies, too.
  • Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse: A gift card for Johnny’s will show you care this holiday season. Johnny’s premium steaks are hand selected and aged a minimum of 28 days. Entrees like Johnny’s Steak De Burgo, the Midwest’s Best Filet Mignon, not to mention the Johnny’s Signature Meatballs appetizer made with house-made meatballs are just a few of the options that await you.
  • Outlets of Des Moines: Explore the shopping options at Outlets of Des Moines so you can search out the perfect gift for anyone on your list. Ann Taylor Factory Store, Hot Topic and Rally House are now open!
  • Prairie Meadows: Whether you’re looking for stylish clothing, designer fragrances or gift cards that can be redeemed at a Prairie Meadows restaurant, shop purchase or hotel stay, this is one gift with a ton of options in one location!

Exit 164: Newton, Towards Pella

  • Iowa Speedway: Purchase official Iowa Speedway NASCAR merch! While tickets aren’t available for all 2024 races yet, you can sign up to be the first to know when they are on sale. Opt in here. Or, purchase tickets now for the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend here.
  • Newton Arboretum & Botanical Gardens: Make a monetary donation or provide support through volunteering in someone’s name this year. A gift of giving can help the Newton community and this beloved garden.
  • Iowa Bike Co.: Great gifts for cyclists await at Iowa Bike Co. in Newton. This season, you won't want to miss new hoodies by Dutch Fronts featuring the Iowa Bike Co. logo.

Exit 182: Grinnell

  • Giggles & Bows Children’s Boutique: Shop for boys and girls at Giggles & Bows. There is clothing, toys, socks, accessories and more at the store on Main Street in Grinnell.
  • Loralei’s Giftshoppe: This gift shop blends contemporary and vintage items in a historic building in the heart of Grinnell. From Milkhouse candles to lotions, soaps and more, Loralei’s is a local favorite during the holiday season.
  • Rummaging Around: Shop secondhand for holiday game prizes, secret Santa gifts or cheaper Christmas ornaments and one-of-a-kind finds
  • Suzi’s Boutique: For women’s clothing, purses and more, Suzi’s is the place to buy! Find shackets this season in an array of colors and designs that are great for staying cozy in the colder weather, or shop early for holiday designs!

Along I-80: North to South

Exit 94: 36th St. (Ankeny)

  • Costco: From Disney bath sets for kids to aged rum for the older recipients, Costco has it all.
  • Otter Creek Golf Course: Grab a membership for your bestie or find some name brand clothing or a gift card from the Pro Shop.

Exit 92: First St. (Ankeny)

Exit 90: Oralabor (Ankeny)

  • Fleet Farm: This is where to find stocking stuffers for everyone on your list. Don't forget to stop by Fleet Farm's Toyland for the kids.

Exit 56: Indianola/Winterset

  • Adorn: Check out the new beauty line, Tenoverten, at Indianola's Adorn. These hand and nail care items don't have harmful ingredients so your recipients can practice self-care without worry.
  • Pageturners Bookstore: Shop the holiday catalog at Pageturners and give the gift of books!
  • Lula Belle Designs: Festive sweaters and other holiday apparel and gifts can be found at Lula Belle Designs in Indianola.
  • Dutch Country General Store: All toys are now 25% off all season long (now through Christmas), including Melissa & Doug, stuffed animals and more.
  • Pine Creek LTD: Seasonal decor makes the perfect holiday gift for loved ones, and Pine Creek LTD has plenty to offer.

The holiday season is the perfect time to shop local in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Support local businesses, creators and makers across the region. You can find ideas on where to shop using the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s #DSMlocal Guides and other regional business directories listed here.

Meg Schneider

Meg Schneider is a member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council, an invitation-only organization for senior-level executives in successful nonprofit organizations.