What to do in Des Moines

Is there anything better than going home for a visit? Not if you’re me.

Joey and I spent a long weekend over Thanksgiving with my parents, and it was exactly what I needed. I’ve loved living in New York these last (almost) five years, but sometimes a girl just needs to get out of the city.

Besides, going home means so much more than a change of scenery. If you’re me, it means your mom cooking you breakfast every morning and making your favorite dinners most evening. And if she’s not cooking, your dad is taking you to your favorite local restaurants, as well as a few new spots. So now, I’m sharing the wonder with you.

Here’s a quick guide on what to do (and, let’s be real, what to eat) should you ever been lucky enough to spend a weekend in DSM.

First, a few things you can’t eat unless my mother is also your mother:

Our first night home, my mom made my favorite soup IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD, Italian Wedding Soup. But trust me, it’s so much better when my mom makes it.

The next night, we had a family dinner. FEAST YOUR EYES (since you can’t feast your belly):

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Dinner featured a few of my favorites, like my mom’s sweet potato casserole, butternut squash casserole, and corn bread. (My name is Justine, and I like carbs.)

The next day, I hit the gym with my dad (to work off the aforementioned carbs), shopped with my mom, had ANOTHER delicious dinner by my momma, and then hit up downtown Des Moines with a few of my oldest friends. If you’re in town, I recommend El Bait Shop if you like beer, The Lift if you like hipsters and creepy art, and Fong’s Pizza if you’ve gone to the other two places and need something to soak up all the incredibly inexpensive drinks you ordered.

Because, guys? I didn’t pay more than $6 for a single drink all weekend. And the $6 one was fancy.

The next evening, my mom had a party for some of our family friends, so we got dressed up and ate fancy apps for a few hours.

Aren’t my parents cute?

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The next night, we had another family dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Des Moines, Centro.

//instagram.com/p/hZgrw4Suzf/embed/Do yourself a favor and order the Lemon Sage Martini.

The next day, my sister took some picture for my for my blogger style swap, but not before a quick lunch at La Mie.


I got the Avocado Tartine, and I wasn’t disappointed.

And that night, Joey, my parents, and I stormed downtown Des Moines, grabbing dinner and drinks at The Continental (so many cheap cocktails and apps…) and playing a few rounds at the arcade bar Up-Down (I own at skeeball).

Our last day, we had lunch at Zombie Burger (the one place Joey requested) with my family and a few friends we hadn’t had time to see yet. If you go, I highly recommend getting one of the milkshakes. (Spiked, of course.)


Sadly, then it was time to pack up. And while it is nice being back at our home, I’m already looking forward to our next trip back to Des Moines.

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