Ultimate Guide: Get shopping
The Des Moines neighborhood is home to charming Beaverdale brick homes, tree-lined streets and parks galore, but its business district offers many options for local shopping, as well.
Beaverdale Books (2629 Beaver Ave., No. 1) is an independently owned bookstore that shines a spotlight on local and Iowa authors, hosts book clubs and features writers' groups and author visits and signings. Beaverdale Bicycles (2701 Beaver Ave.) is a small specialty shop for fans of two-wheeled transport, while Beaverdale Vintage (3702 Beaver Ave.) can help you fill your home with retro items. Back Country (2702 Beaver Ave.) sells outdoor gear and clothing for those interested in taking their hiking, biking and camping to new levels. The shop carries hard-to-find brands and some of the latest and greatest in campsite innovations.
If you're looking to take a shopping break, several options are available: In the warmer months there is Snookies Malt Shop (1801 Beaver Ave.), the beloved ice cream shop that inspires people to camp there overnight in order to be the first customers on opening day. Visit Grounds for Celebration (2709 Beaver Ave.) and Beaverdale Confections (2641 Beaver Ave.) for an iced coffee drink and candy, respectively.
The East Village east of the river in downtown Des Moines has become a bona fide shopping destination in central Iowa. The historic district offers options for everything from vintage and antiques to snarky T-shirts to furniture to foodie delights.
Make one of your first stops Raygun (400 E. Locust St.), Iowa's foremost purveyor of ironic and clever T-shirts and novelty gifts. Four-legged friends deserve to be spoiled, too, so stop by Jettand Monkey's Dog Shop (503 E. Locust St.), which specializes in unique, eco-friendly and high-quality products for pets. Next door, Ephemera (505 E. Locust St.) is stocked with adorable stationery, home items and housewares. On the modern end of the spectrum, Domestica (321 E. Walnut St.) offers hip housewares, accessories, prints and more. Next door is Ichi Bike (311 E. Walnut St.), a store that specializes in customized and vintage bicycles.
Break time: Savor a cup of tea inside the soothing space of Gong Fu Tea (414 E. Sixth St.), a high-end teahouse with an entire wall of options in shiny silver canisters. Then walk through a few foodie shops: AllSpice (400 E. Locust St.), home to blends of spices, olive oils and vinegars, and Kitchen Collage (430 E. Locust St.), where you can fill your kitchen cabinets with tools and utensils and more.
For collectibles and antiques, check out Found Things (520 E. Grand Ave.) and Porch Light Antiques (526 E. Grand Ave.). Brides can find two places to shop for their special day: Dornink (518 E. Grand Ave) specializes in custom-created gowns while Bridal Boutique (412 E. Sixth St.) carries well-known designer labels at a variety of price points.
For the person in your life who appreciates one-of-a-kind or limited-run clothing, jewelry and accessories, visit the Vitae Design Collective (400 E. Locust St.), home to items from local artisans, plus vintage clothing and boots.
This Des Moines street is surrounded by historic neighborhoods and features eclectic shopping options. For the man in your life who loves clothes, pick up stylish suits, denim and accessories at Badowers (2817 Ingersoll Ave.), an independent store with an in-house tailor — and a growing reputation as a menswear destination across the country.
Swing by Moberg Gallery (2921 Ingersoll Ave.) to see works by several dozen accomplished artists. Get custom framing work done at Tandem Brick Gallery (2722 Ingersoll Ave.), which also sells unique gift items, jewelry or the handmade paper Starlightz that illuminate the store window at night. ZZZ Records (2200 Ingersoll Ave.) is the ideal spot to pick up both popular and rare vinyl records for the music lover in your life.
G&L Clothing (1801 Ingersoll Ave.) has been dressing Des Moines residents in work, casual and dress gear since 1917. With brands like Carhartt, Dickies, Levis, Dockers and Wrangler and sizes that start with kids' and top out at 10XL and 5XL tall, you'd be hard-pressed to walk out empty-handed.
Go west to Jordan Creek Town Center for the largest mall in the state of Iowa. Inside the massive shopping center find high-end national chains like Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Coach, Apple and J. Crew. And the Century 20 Theater offers some of the biggest and best movie screens and surround sound (including select films in XD), as well as a spread of concessions with everything from hot dogs and nachos to ice cream and cappuccino.
There are specialty stores not available at other metro malls, including The Art of Shaving, a store specializing in men's grooming products, including shaving and grooming kits as well as straight and safety razors. One of the anchor department stores, Dillard's, offers mid-range clothing, accessory and shoe options for the entire family. For unique products, stop by Lush for the best-smelling skin-care products and soaps. Sporting goods store Scheel's offers a wide variety of gift ideas for the sports fans or participants on your list, including an enormous selection of Iowa and Iowa State gear, as well as gear for hunting, skiing, snowboarding and more. Surrounding the mall are more retail spots, which include stores such as Blond Genius (165 S. Jordan Creek Parkway), a go-to destination for high-end women's denim.
Merle Hay is the city's oldest mall, and the facility at 3800 Merle Hay Road is anchored by big box stores Ulta, Target, Kohls, Old Navy, Younkers and Sears. Inside, find dozens more storefronts, including several small local establishments. The state's largest non-IMAX movie screen is at the Merle Hay Theater, and Red Rock Wildlife Education Center (see live animals, such as wolves) provides more family entertainment. Flix Brewhouse, an upscale, eight-screen cinema-restaurant-microbrewery is under construction and is set to open in the fall.
SHOPS AT ROOSEVELT
This small strip mall at 833 42nd St. is home to stores offering many delights. Vom Fass specializes in high-end whiskey, liquor and cooking ingredients. The store sells cask-aged vinegars, wines and spirits directly from the cask; many locally found only there. (And you can buy them in classy, individual glass containers that are customizable.)
Just a few feet away, The Cheese Shop of Des Moines gives you a chance to tailor a gift to the ultimate foodie, with gift packs, cheese and meats, and more, with folks behind the counter who know what they're talking about when it comes to cheese. The store has become a center for foodies in town — pick out a bottle of wine and enjoy it at the counter with fresh cheese and charcuterie.
Head to Elements Ltd. for hand-crafted one-of-a-kind jewelry, or to Worn resale boutique for high-end and designer clothing for a fraction of the sticker price. Across the street is Action Accents, a must-stop spot for swimwear, triathlon and swimming gear.
Valley Junction in West Des Moines is a historic district dating back to the 1800s. Now it's home to more than 100 businesses, including restaurants, bars, art galleries, craft shops, and specialty stores. Heart of Iowa Market Place (211 Fifth St.) offers Iowa-themed food, souvenirs, gifts and gift baskets. Four-legged friends will benefit from the treats, toys and other random pet wares available at Diggity Dog (511 Elm St.). The Theatrical Shop (145 Fifth St.) and Atomic Garage (127 Fifth St.) are two of the best spots in central Iowa for Halloween and party costumes and vintage clothing.
Stop in for wine tastings at Wines of Iowa (411 Railroad Place). If you're a second-hand fan, head to A-OK Antiques; while there, do yourself a favor and revel in the mid-century modern offerings on the second floor. And stop by Valley Junction all summer on Thursday nights for its outdoor market, as well as its outdoor concert series, Music in the Junction.
Valley West Mall offers more than 135 shops and is anchored by Younkers, JC Penney and Von Maur.
Fit to be Tied specializes in more than 30 brands of European comfort shoes, including Keen, Birkenstock and Ugg. Calypso 968 offers an eclectic mix of home furnishings, sculptures, antiques, hundreds of clocks, nostalgic candy and functional art pieces; many of the items are one-of-a-kind and others are reproductions of famous architectural, mid-century modern furniture pieces.
Experience a 100-year Dutch tradition of European bonbons filled with fresh cream and nuts at Chocolaterie Stam. Ladies looking for the latest trends at an affordable price should swing by Ms Couture. For the game-lover on your list, visit Games and More, which has an oversized selection of board games, card games, jigsaw puzzles, dice, toys and, as the name promises, more.
The area surrounding the mall is a shopping destination all its own, with Whole Foods and Cost Plus World Market offering foodies plenty with which to fill their shopping carts. Also, a shopper won't drive far to find one of the many big-box stores which dot the West Des Moines landscape like K-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's, Bed Bath and Beyond and more.
West Glen is a large complex featuring residential apartments, business offices, retail stores, bars and restaurants. It plays host to large retail chain Target, but also to smaller specialty shops like Three Dog Bakery. The pet store sells premium, all-natural cookies, biscuits, bagels, chews, rawhide and wet and dry pet food in addition to other accessories. For the trendy career women on your shopping list, pick up a gift at Mint LA, a local boutique owned by Rebekah Risbeck, a former Los Angeles resident who spent 10 years in the fashion industry.
How better to pamper the females on your holiday shopping list than by sending them to the spa; the Spa at West Glen is prepared to indulge your loved one in a luxurious 5,300- square-foot facility that offers medical-grade skin care and body treatments. Winestyles West Des Moines is like an Old World wine cellar: World-class wines, beers, cheese, chocolates, teas and accessories are available, as well as a knowledgeable staff to make recommendations.