Shop, Eat and Play in Des Moines' East Village
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One cool village
Variety thrives in downtown Des Moines' East Village in antiques stores, art galleries, ethnic restaurants and more. You can buy a vintage chair, snag a pillow to match, then go out for sushi to celebrate.
The businesses are a sign of hard-earned renewal. People who come to the city for work or play wander across the Des Moines River toward the gold-domed capitol and discover a hub of shops and restaurants cool enough to warrant staying in town another day.
Marsha Steele opened antiques emporium Found Things (pictured) on an undeveloped block six years ago and now fields calls weekly from people who have a dream and just need a vacancy. "If you have a passion and an independent streak, there is no better incubator than the East Village," she says. "The energy in the East Village is palpable."
That's especially true in fall, when artists and food vendors rent tables at East Village Sunday Bazaars. They began as a way to lure visitors on quiet Sunday afternoons and grew into a genuinely fun place to spend a weekend - not unlike the East Village itself.
Click ahead for some of our favorites places to shop, play and eat in East Village.
Des Moines' East Village: Where to shop
Aimee (pictured) A sweetly feminine vibe fills this boutique. (515) 243-0045; aimeestyle.com
Allspice This spice shop sells culinary rubs and oils. (515) 868-0808; allspiceonline.com
Eden Bath junkies will love the variety here. (515) 282-0669; edeniowa.com
Found Things Antiques fill two floors. (515) 265-8624; foundthingsdsm.com
Porch Light Browse a delightful mix of treasures old and new. (515) 255-5900; porchlightiowa.com
Raygun These witty tees make fab gifts. (515) 288-1323; raygunsite.com
Seed Greenery decks the stoop of this funky garden shop. (515) 244-3277
Sticks Colorful furniture and home goods fill a huge gallery. (515) 282-0844; sticks.com
Des Moines' East Village: Where to play
Cooking with Alessandra An Italian native holds intimate classes in her downtown loft. (515) 508-9474; cookingwithalessandra.com
Iowa capitol (pictured) This landmark's architecture dazzles inside and out. Guided tours available. (515) 281-5591; legis.iowa.gov
Polished Nail Lounge Happy hour rules at this boutique nail salon. (515) 280-5172; polishednaillounge.com
World Food Festival More than 30 vendors sell pierogies, tacos and more. September 20-22, 2013. (515) 286-4950; worldfoodfestival.org
Des Moines' East Village: Where to eat
Alba (pictured) Contemporary American cuisine draws foodies to this hot spot. See reviews and ratings. (515) 244-0261; albadsm.com
Gong Fu Tea Unwind with a hot cup at an Asian-style teahouse. See reviews and ratings. (515) 288-3388; gongfu-tea.com
Open Sesame Some evenings, a belly dancer shimmies as diners feast on falafel, kabobs and other Middle Eastern fare. See reviews and ratings. (515) 288-3151