People in Iowa are friendly almost to the point of being annoying. Strangers strike up conversations with each other at the drop of a hat and if you sound like you're 'not from around here,' then be prepared to talk for a while. They are also extremely helpful, so if you need directions, recommendations on a place to eat or someone to take a picture for you, they are more than happy to help! Too bad the rest of the world isn't this friendly.
As my experience with people here increases, I am discovering that most everyone is pleasant and friendly. If you need anything...directions, supplies, etc...just ask!
This pig is titled, 'Well Suited For A Pig.'
If your travels ever bring you to Des Moines here are what I suggest you see or do...
1.Go to a sporting event
-Des Moines offers several professional sports team The Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of Chicago Cubs), the Iowa Barnstormers (arena league 2 football), The Iowa Stars (were the top minor league team for the NHL Dallas Stars, but recently re-contracted with the Anaheim Ducks to be their top AHL team, a name change is pending, probably Des Moines Ducks), Iowa Energy (NBA developmental league affiliate with the Miami Heat), Des Moines Menace Soccer, Des Moines Buccaneers Hockey (not professional but USHL hockey, players are ages 17-23 looking to get picked up by the NHL or a college program).
2. Visit a museum
- Des Moines offers many great museums like the historic Salisbury House, built in 1928 and houses many artifacts collected from around the world, dating back as far as 1500 B.C. . In fact most of the house is built with materials brought over from England and date back to the 15th century. It's truly a great place to see. The Iowa Historical Museum downtown, located near the Iowa State Capital. The Science Center of Iowa is great for families, catch an IMAX movie! Or check out the Blank Park Zoo!
3. Get some great midwestern food!
- What's Iowa known for? Pork and Corn! You've never had pork chops until you've had Iowa pork chops! Check out the downtown farmer's market held every saturday morning in the spring through early fall on Court Avenue. The Machine Shed in the western suburbs of Des Moines is a great Iowa tradition! Authentic antique farm equipment surrounds you and overall clad servers wait on you. Not into down home cooking? Check out Des Moines eclectic restaurants like Lucca or Centro (a political candidate favorite during caucuses)!
4. Great bars!
-Downtown Des Moines offers many unique bars. THe Hessen House is an old train station remodeled into a German Beer Haus! El Bait Shop is a great place to go before an I-Cubs game with over 100 beers on tap! The Miller High Life Lounge is a throw back to a 1960's corner tap, complete with black and white knob TV's and Schlitz beer. Ever been to an English Public House? You can cross the pond while you're in Des Moines at the Royal Mile. Designed to be as authentic as possible, it's a great place to gab a draught! Raccoon River Brewing Co. and the Court Avenue Brewing Co. are two great restaurants that brew their own beer! You might not know this either, Iowa has great wineries! Summerset Winery in Indianola (20 miles south of Des Moines) has some award winning wines and is the biggest in Iowa!
5. Great people!
-The people of Iowa love out-of-towners! If you don't like to talk, don't come to Iowa! They will strike up a conversation with you in an instant, as long as you're willing. If you tell them you're from out of town be prepared to talk about it and hear what they suggest you do or see. It's great! If you need suggestions or directions just ask anyone on the street!
6. The State Fair!!
-The Iowa State Fair has a reputation as one of the best! It brings in around 1 million people to the fairgrounds every year! Parking can be interesting but I suggest the park and ride option. Park in the specific downtown parking garage or at the state capital and catch a desgnated fair shuttle. You get in and out quick! If you go, you have to try a pork chop on a stick, a turkey leg, BBQ, a tenderloin, mini donuts, ice cream at the dairy barn, just try it all! The Iowa State Fair has also been the inspiration for the 1996 Rogers and Hemmerstein musical "State Fair"! And come see the world famous butter cow!
7. Catch a show!
-Des Moines has culture! Check out one of many off broadway musicals that comes by the Civic Center in downtown Des Moines each year. Shows like Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Grease and many more always make a stop! Last Christmas the Rockettes kick line made a stop!