A Day in Des Moines


A couple Saturdays ago, I had the privilege (and actually quite daunting task) of spending a day in Des Moines with some of my besties from Ames. I say “daunting” because I have lived in Des Moines for almost 3 years. I know there is so much to see and do, but I don’t know where to go, where to start! I had to ask my DMMB ladies what they thought! Had I followed each of their suggestions, we would have been well fed! We were excited for a day without our little ones and we were going to make the most of it. I am sad to say we honestly did not make it to any of these eateries. But they are now on my list of places to try. Here, add them to yours too: Royal Mile, Creme Cupcake, Scratch Bakery, Latin King, Manhattan Deli, Flarah’s… Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these options! Our focus was shopping, but some other places you may want to check out are Salisbury House and Jasper Winery.

The Mamas, including our escort, Drake.
The Mamas, including our escort, Drake, at Rustica.

Where to Start??

After some scones, cuties and a few enlightening performances by my Lili Gaga, we piled comfortably into my van and set out for a memorable day.

Had this been a bit smaller, I would have gotten it for my daughter's room!
Had this been a bit smaller, I would have gotten it for my daughter’s room!

After the giddyness of not having to guard what we say and being allowed to drive around aimlessly, we set our sights on Target…and some Starbucks.
Target was really just a distraction until anything else opened. At 9:55 a.m., we were off to Homemakers. Homemakers is a great place to wander. Because if you get tired at any time, there is always a comfy couch or bed to rest on. After ample wandering, we headed to the cafe area for some free cookies and beverages.

A Couple Stops Before Lunch

Next up, we drove to West Des Moines where we spent some time at TJ Maxx and the new Pier 1. TJ Maxx has those odd things that you see and realize you really have needed it all along. I discovered my weakness here. Kitchen utensils. I see random things and think, “I don’t know what this is exactly used for, but I don’t have one. And I might need it someday.” Pier 1 is a dreaming store for me. They have so many gorgeous things there that are waaayy out of my price range and so impractical for this child raising stage of life. But it is fun to dream. Also, I broke a glass ball here and the employee was so kind and reassured me it wasn’t a big deal. That they break stuff all the time! Whew!

We then enjoyed lunch at Chick-Fil-A! This is really a no brainer for me. If you are in West Des Moines and you are hungry or may be hungry in the near future, you must go to Chick-Fil-A! When I talk to people and they are like “Oh, I’ve never had it, is it good?” I almost pass out. Yes, it’s amazing and you must try it. The funny part was, we ran into my girls and hubby here! They had to have it for lunch too!

My Favorite Part

I was really uber excited about our next stop. Valley Junction. I had never

Valley Junction
Valley Junction

been to Valley Junction, but as soon as we left, I was ready to go back for more! We were there for a couple hours and didn’t even get through half of the stores. Valley Junction is a one way street with shops on either side. It was chilly when we went but comfortable. We parked and started walking. The first shop that caught our eye was Rustica. As we entered, we were cheerfully greeted and shown around. She had alot of neat pieces that she has hand picked from flea markets and antique malls. My friend bought something here and the bag it was given to her in was just as unique as the things she sold.
As we continued down the street, we enjoyed looking through each and every shop. Each had their own unique flare and theme to them.


Then, we came to Hinge. I thought we were going to have to leave my friend here. She fell in love with this place and immediately started to think of ways to get back here. It was here that I found a perfect little bread or fruit basket. (I have a thing for baskets and containers.) I think we all fell head over heels for Valley Junction and cannot wait to return to see what other treasures we can find!


A Perfect Ending to Our Fun Day

Our last stop of the day was The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall. If you like antiquing and have not yet been here, make it a priority next time you are in Des Moines! We spent a few hours here and could have easily spent a few more! Different vendors can rent spaces, and when they rent a space, they want to use every inch of it. They are jam packed with every little thing this vendor wants to sell. This is definitely a place to go without your kids, and for me, without my hubby. They get bored.

The Brass Armadillo
The Brass Armadillo

My friends and I are already planning our next trip out! Which will most definitely include East Village, West End Architectural Salvage, Bauders, Farmers’ Market and hopefully a few cupcakeries!

What are your favorite places to frequent in Des Moines? I would love to add them to my list!


  1. Oh Noodle Zoo and Flarah’s chicken salad … I am having a craving now. Thanks Rachel. After talking to Jess today I think I have to head to Hinge.

    • Angela, we had so much fun learning about a small handful of what Des Moines has to offer! I see many more of these days in our future.


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