Des Moines. The “Big Kahuna” of Central Iowa. With its accolades, tree-lined streets and urban vibe, residents wouldn’t dream of moving to the suburbs. But none of that matters to kids who just know that it’s chock full of parks, libraries, delicious locally owned restaurants and fun cultural experiences. We bring you 25 sure-fire signs that you’re a Des Moines Kid. Be sure to let us know in the Comments if there are any you would add.
1. You could spend all day downtown.
2. You blaze trails by bike (or on foot).
With 60 plus miles of trails in Des Moines, you can run, walk, in-line skate, scooter or bicycle to your hearts content. Most trails are paved (think: stroller-friendly) and accessible to families on bikes or just out for a stroll.
3. Festival hopping is a family affair.
Your weekend calendar is already booked with highly anticipated area festivals. Including a multitude of ethnic celebrations like the Italian American Heritage Festival, World Food & Music Festival and the Iowa Latino Festival. And, festivals celebrating the arts like the Downtown Arts Festival and 80/35 Music Festival.
4. You eat at all the best restaurants.
Fact – you’re dining at the best selection of restaurants in the city without ever leaving your neighborhood like Zombie Burger, A Dong, Drake Diner, Fong’s Pizza and Smitty’s. The list goes on and on.
5. Your mom bases your extracurricular activities on whether she has to take I-235 or 80.
It’s amazing how many camps and classes are available for kids in Des Moines. Whether they’re a sporty kid, theater kid or outdoorsy there’s a little something for everyone at places like the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, The Des Moines Playhouse, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and many more places located throughout the Metro.
6. You’ve seen more Disney on Ice than actual concerts at the Iowa Events Center.
The Iowa Events Center is always hopping with family friendly entertainment. The venues hosts world-class entertainers that kids love including Monster Jam, the Harlem Globetrotters and others.
7. You think the best part of the Cowles Commons upgrade is the lighted water fountain and the swirly light up art thingy that you could watch for hours.
This completely renovated space, Cowles Commons in the heart of downtown Des Moines, includes a kid-friendly zero-depth fountain and the beloved Crusoe Umbrella.
8. You have more ISU or Iowa apparel than the actual team members do.
9. You’re convinced that B-Bop’s is the best fast food chain.
Hands down B-Bop’s has the best French fries and burgers in the business.
10. You’re an art connoisseur.
Thanks to the Des Moines Art Center you know more about fine art and culture than most adults do.
11. Whenever you want to get your “castle” on, you head to The Salisbury House.
Salisbury House & Gardens is a historic house museum located in Des Moines featuring a 42-room estate surrounded by nine acres of beautiful gardens and woodland.
12. At the announcement of the first heavy snow you rush to ready the sled for a day of fierce tobogganing at Waveland Golf Course.
It’s inevitable, that it will eventually snow in Des Moines, and when it does you’ll be ready.
13. You know its election season when you run into a presidential candidate at Dairy Queen.
With Iowa’s first in the nation caucuses, presidential candidates flock to Des Moines and the rest of the state. By the end of the LONG presidential election season, Iowa kids can talk about political issues, as well as, any poli sci major.
14. You know to avoid the first Friday night of the Iowa State Fair, unless you’re an East-sider.
The residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the fairgrounds flock to the Iowa State Fair on the first Friday night to celebrate all things East Side.
15. You wear a winter coat one day, shorts the next.
You know the saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Iowa, just wait a day!
16. You know the best food comes straight from the source.
Des Moines is lucky to be home to many farmer’s markets including the Beaverdale Farmers’ Market, Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market, LSI Global Greens Farmers’ Market and the Southridge Mall Farmers’ Market.
17. You spend the summer doing everything from dancing to horseback riding to playing Minecraft or Legos—at summer camp!
Des Moines is brimming with special summer camps and classes that give kids the chance to explore budding interests at places like the Camp Fire Heart of Iowa.
18. After exchanging names with the new kid you met at the park you both simultaneously ask, “Which school do you go to?”
With 39 elementary schools in the Des Moines Public School District, there’s a likely chance that your new friend attends a different school than you.
19. Working as a grocery sacker is a rite of passage.
20. You’ve appeared in The Des Moines Register at least once in your lifetime.
Who can resist writing about your accomplishments? It’s not every day that a local teen’s walking taco recipe is put to use by the school cafeteria, why wouldn’t the Des Moines Register want to cover it?!?
21. You’ve been begging your mom to see the baby rhino at the Blank Park Zoo.
A baby black rhino was born at the Blank Park Zoo on October 11, 2016. Your mom has shown you pictures and videos of it, but you can’t wait to meet it in person.
22. You’re a Member of the Science Center of Iowa.
With ever-changing exhibits, films and events at the Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater, kids want to visit again and again.
23. You don’t Trick or Treat on Halloween.
A quirky Des Moines tradition, kids trick or treat on Beggar’s Night, the night before Halloween.
24. Your field trip bus ride is short.
25. You know that this article really could have been multiple articles — Signs You’re an East Side, South Side, North Side Kid — because we each love our own section of the City that much.
What did we miss? Share your “Only in Des Moines” kid-isms in the comments below.