5 Hidden Gems in the Historic East Village

The East Village neighborhood in Des Moines is a great place if you’re looking for a bite to eat, wanting to get work done in a peaceful setting, or try something new.

“I’ve always liked the diversity of things to do and see in East Village,” said Drake Student Courtney McCuddin. “There’s something for everyone to do and enjoy, both in the summer and winter.”

There are a few well-known places in this particular neighborhood, but there are also things to do and places to visit that some Des Moines natives and Drake students don’t know about. Here’s a list of five hidden gems you can discover in this vibrant and historic neighborhood:

Cooking with Alessandra—If you’re a foodie and enjoy cooking Italian dishes, these classes are perfect for you!

Alessandra offers both public and private classes. Public classes cost $45 per person, and private group classes (10-18 people) are $50 per person.

Participants can cook anything from Gnocchi and Chicken Spiedini to various pasta sauces. Plus, you’ll learn from Alessandra, an Italian cooking expert who grew up creating these dishes. Classes are held in Alessandra’s home.

Address: 333 East Grand Ave., Loft 103
Des Moines, IA 50309
Website: http://cookingwithalessandra.com

Brenton Skating Plaza—You may have been ice skating at this magical outdoor plaza, but did you know there are also concerts and various events held here in the summer?

There’s everything from country and rock concerts to group yoga classes! Grab your friends and family, and enjoy this beautiful venue overlooking the river year ‘round.

Address: 520 Robert D. Ray Dr.
Des Moines, IA 50309

Website: https://www.dsmpartnership.com/brentonplaza

Plain Talk Books and Coffee—A quaint, old-school coffee shop and neighborhood bookstore, this gem is ideal for studying, catching up with a friend, and those who love reading. They offer a full menu for breakfast and lunch and occasionally have live music!

Address: 602 East Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50309
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plaintalkbooks/

Railroad Bill’s Dining Car—If you’re a brunch lover, this is the diner for you! Located in the Northwest corner of East Village, Railroad Bill’s is fast, filling, delicious and budget-friendly. They include vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu, so there’s something for everyone to savor.

Address: 621 East Des Moines St
Des Moines, IA 50309
Website: http://raccoonforks.com/railroad-bills-diner/

Aimee—East Village is home to many unique and stylish clothing stores! Ideal for a day of shopping in the neighborhood, Aimee boutique offers feminine, chic, and European-style clothing. This fashion-forward store is truly a hidden gem in the East Village Neighborhood.

Address: 426 East Locust St
Des Moines, IA 50309
Instagram: aimeedesmoines

Whether you’re a college student or retired, East Village has something for everyone to enjoy. Although these are just some of the best spots in the neighborhood, there are many more to be discovered. To learn about more events, restaurants, and shops in East Village, visit https://eastvillagedesmoines.com.