Andrei Murphy | Community Leadership

Andrei Murphy is a proud citizen of Des Moines and accomplished insurance solutions professional.

Category: What to Do

Des Moines: A Tourist’s Dream

Des Moines Social Club

You and your family are planning an exciting vacation to get away from the burdens of everyday life. You just want to “set sail,” so to speak, relax your mind and enjoy a week or so with your loved ones. So, where do you go?

You could choose one of the extremely popular and cliched hotspots that are bound to be ripe with other tourists; or you could choose one of America’s greatest hidden gems: Des Moines, Iowa.

While, admittedly, not the most obvious choice at first glance, once you dig a bit deeper into the variety of options the city has to offer, the choice becomes crystal clear.

Whether you’re going on vacation in the summer or the winter, Des Moines has something for everybody, year round.

Family:

Iowa State Fair

There is no finer way to discover just how rich and diverse the Des Moines community is than at the Iowa State Fair. Teeming with a wide array of activities and events, the Iowa State Fair features everything from a midsummer horse and pony show to an elaborate winter wonderland in the chillier months.

Adventureland Park

Maybe you’re a family of adrenaline junkies. Not to worry, Des Moines has you covered. With over 100 rides ranging from the kid-friendly Frog Hopper to the nerve wracking Space Shot, Adventureland Park is the perfect place for the family to spend the day.

Couples:

Planning a trip with your significant other? Or perhaps you’re leaving the kids with their grandparents this time? Either way, Des Moines is still a hotbed of social activity.

Winefest Des Moines

Visit the ever popular Winefest Des Moines and surround yourself with delectable food and fine wine, while also supporting local charities. This is another way to see just how connected the Des Moines community truly is.

Prairie Meadows Casino and Racetrack

Test your luck at Prairie Meadows Casino and Racetrack. The 85,000 plus square foot casino has all the slots and card games you could need. Or try your hand at the races and experience a horse race that will leave your heart pounding. The casino even features a cozy hotel complete with a saltwater pool, fitness center and dedicated airport shuttle service.

Singles:

New in town? Des Moines has plenty of other events that are sure to get you socializing in no time.

80/35 Music Festival

Who doesn’t enjoy music? Indulge in a variety of foods, draft beers and some of the country’s greatest musicians of all time. With a lineup of about 40 artists and thousands of visitors, 80/35 is the best place to meet new people and truly experience what Des Moines has to offer.

Des Moines Social Club

Meet new people while exploring your creative side at the Des Moines Social Club. Probably the most spontaneous hot spot in Des Moines, the Des Moines Social Club features everything from theater, art classes, galleries, trivia competitions and even aerial acrobatics.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Science Center of Iowa, Blank Park Zoo or Des Moines Botanical Garden. So whether you’re just moving in, looking for a vacation getaway with the family or willing to try something new, Des Moines is brimming with engaging and entertaining activities for everybody from all walks of life.

Andrei Murphy Des Moines, Iowa

Doing Des Moines Right

When we think of vacation destinations, Des Moines, Iowa, is hardly the first to spring to mind. We conjure up images of bustling metropolises like Manhattan and Los Angeles, picturing sidewalks swarmed by passerby pedestrians and immaculate skyscrapers penetrating the clouds. Yet, what if we could have access to all the amenities big name big cities offer while enjoying a smaller and more intimate atmosphere? Enter Des Moines.

A hub of activity, Des Moines mimics Chicago’s metropolitan lifestyle but also boasts the personal touch of a small town. Friendly neighbors and local businesses are always willing to embrace someone, or something, new and it shows when you walk through the city streets. Congenial smiles greet you from every direction and even those in a rush have a minute to give you directions.

That’s why the next time you’re looking for a quick getaway to a new and exciting spot, you should heavily consider Iowa’s capital. Here’s a quick itinerary for those looking to make the most of their short time ‘flyover’ state’s reason to stop:

La Mie

First and foremost, you need to visit La Mie, the bakery over on 42nd street. Their delighted pastries have delighted customers for decades and their local passion for product reminds you of the old New York, the Manhattan before big banks and homogenization faded out small business. Remember the taste of food prepared not with precision, but with love.

Des Moines Art Center

On par with artistic centers even in the Big Apple, the Des Moines Art Center houses some phenomenal pieces created by the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Francis Bacon, and even Josef Albers. It was initially designed by Eliel Saarinen and expanded later by I.M. Pei and Richard Meier, which has collectively given it an aesthetic that is truly second to none.

The sculpture garden and rose gardens are fantastic displays for those looking to appreciate art while taking a nice picnic. As your eyes feast on mankind’s highest cultural accomplishments, your mouth devours homemade lunches. Save some cash by not eating out and find a better dining experience than you originally thought possible in this small town big city.

Downtown

Venture down to the central business district of the thriving city and take a moment to soak in the sights. The area’s unique architecture is due to the variety of boutiques and small business, one of which is West End Architectural Salvage. Over four stories are filled to the brim with antiques, guaranteeing any collector that they are bound to find something that resonates. There’s also a coffee shop on the ground floor to give you that extra push should you find yourself slowing down.

In the wake of ever expanding big business, America struggles to retain its identity. While Manhattan and Chicago become uniform reflections of bland corporate culture, Des Moines goes against the grain. Although growing, it sacrifices nothing in the way of community, culture, or history. It is a gem of individuality, and it is time America unearthed it.

Andrei Murphy, Beer, Des Moines

The Delectable Nightlife of Des Moines

The metropolis of Des Moines is seemingly bursting at the seams with a palpable energy. Between its electric nightlife, its burgeoning industry and its cosmopolitan culture, the Hartford of the West is a bustling city, offering all the amenities of a major metropolis while retaining its own unique small town charm. It seems that no matter how fast the city seems to be growing, it always keeps its polite composure, embracing residents and tourists alike with open arms and a congenial smile. This trend is perhaps most evident in Des Moines’ exponentially expanding nightlife, where despite always meeting someone new, there is also an immersive and comfortable atmosphere of familiarity. It is for this reason that I have elected to list some of Des Moines’ most well-known, most exciting, and most reputable nightlife establishments:

El Bait Shop

No, this is not a literal bait shop. Already caught for you, the fish here is some of the most delicious seafood you can find at a reasonable price in the entire metropolis. Not to mention, and perhaps more importantly, El Bait Shop offers 180 (yes, 180, it’s not a typo) different beers on tap and even more bottled options. From IPAs to Saisons and lagers to ales, El Bait Shop can and will satisfy your thirst with delicious beer right up your alley no matter what you prefer. Put frankly, it’s the spot to be.

High Life Lounge

As the title might imply, the High Life Lounge is an ode to High Life beer by Miller Light. I know, that’s not exactly a selling point (unless you’re an advocate of the champagne of beer), but the bar is fantastic despite what some may consider to be a sleight against it. Fashioned after a 1960’s style, the bar has a Formica bar top, vintage wallpaper, wood paneling, retro light fixtures, and vintage Miller beer promotional signs everywhere. Although the beer’s legacy was created half a century ago, it thrives to this day. The friendly staff, unique atmosphere, and excellent service keep patrons coming back again and again. Oh, did I mention it was named Best New Bar and Best Downtown Hangout by Cityview Magazine; because it was. It was even featured on the Travel Channel’s famous Man vs Food show in addition to being spotlighted in none other than the New York Times. They call it the Champagne of Bars for a reason, after all.

Up-Down

An arcade bar, Up-Down actually offers more than forty vintage arcade games from the 80’s and 90’s in addition to pinball machines, three skeeball alleys, Nintendo and Sega console games, and even Connect Four. Each game is only a quarter to play which ensures that your wallet, if anything, will appreciate the night out to Up-Down. However, that’s not at all to discredit the drink selection.

In fact, there are a respectable twenty beers on tap (not including bottles and cans) as well as classic 80’s and 90’s cocktails. Quench your thirst with drinks from the past while you game on vintage pinball/arcade machines. What more could you possibly ask for from a night out?

Des Moines, Iowa, Andrei Murphy

Four Must-Do’s in Des Moines

When most people hear of Iowa, they often conjure up images of slow-talking conversationalists, wide open plains, and one-horse towns. Yet, while certainly some of Iowa is primarily rural, there is a vivacious and cosmopolitan pulse of life that courses through the state’s veins. It beats with the culture of Broadway and the taste of wineries. It pulsates with vibrant zoos and innumerable restaurants. In order to prove it to you, I have decided to list some attractions that all-too-often slip under the radar.

Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo is truly a hidden gem that really does not receive the publicity it deserves. Located at 7401 SW 9th street, Blank Park boasts an extensive list of exotic exhibitions, showcasing everything from African Lions to Siberian Tigers, from Chilean flamingos to Boa Constrictors. Additionally, it is involved in an abundance of conservation efforts as listed here, demonstrating Blank Zoo’s commitment to not just animals, but the surrounding community as well.

Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair is a whirlwind of activity with something for everyone. With events like the Greater Iowa RV show, the Iowa Horse Fair, and the Mid-America Cage Bird Society Feather Fair, one will never be at a loss for something to do. Take a stroll and taste some of Iowa’s finest cuisine while looking upon traditional wood chain carved sculptures. Just make sure you don’t forget to visit the butter cow sculpture, an integral facet of Iowa State Fair History.

Terrace Hill

Take a trip to the governor’s mansion to fully appreciate some of Des Moines’ finest residential architecture. The building boasts an immaculate and extensive history, having played home to Iowa politicians for upwards of a century. Schedule your tour through the website to ensure you can fully appreciate the history and everything Terrace Hill has to offer. At only 5$ per person, there is no better deal in the state.

Prairie Meadows

If you’re looking to get your adrenaline pumping a bit, I would recommend taking advantage of Prairie Meadows. Boasting a casino, a hotel, horse races, and constant live entertainment, Prairie Meadows is always guaranteed to be a good time. Not to mention, there is an excess of wonderful restaurants that would satisfy even the strictest food critic.

Truth be told, Iowa is full of wonderful surprises. It is a booming metropolis with a small-town vibe. It is a sophisticated cultural center and a testament to rural tradition. It is home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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