1. Pizza and jazz at Chuck’s
Chuck’s in Highland Park is always one of the best places to eat pizza—and always get a side of onion rings. I like to go on Saturday nights when the jazz room is hopping. Read up on the history of Riverview Park or Highland College/old Des Moines University before you go; it’s such an interesting part of town.
2. Lunch at Pho 515 and shopping at C Fresh Market
Give yourself a few hours to eat lunch and wander the aisles of C Fresh Market. There is no more diverse place for shopping in Des Moines. I like exploring with a friend from another country to learn more about their culinary traditions.
3. Mexican at Tacos La Familia
This family-run place on Sixth Avenue is friendly and makes some of the best tacos in town. Their asada and al pastor tacos are top-notch. Right next door is La Tapatia, so it’s convenient to grab a few ingredients for cooking Mexican dishes at home.
4. Dinner at Francie’s and a movie at the Fleur
My dinner and a movie starts with a hamburger at Francie’s. Then go to the Fleur, where I choose a local beer, wine or cappuccino depending on my mood and the movie.
5. Captain Roy’s and Union Park
Once the weather gets warmer, the best place to be on a sunny day is Captain Roy’s at Birdland Marina. But on your way there, take a ride on the merry-go-round and a run (or two) down the rocket slide at Union Park. You won’t be the first adult to give it a try!