Student-Worthy Activities For All

Not aiming to have another boring weekend just sitting in your dorm room? Here are just a few student-worthy activities that you can try out. These activities will have you bursting with joy. You will be able to have fun with your friends every weekend and make long-lasting memories.

Botanical Gardens

The first student-worthy activity, we suggest is going to the Botanical Gardens. The Botanical Garden in Des Moines is located on Robert D. Ray Drive. The cost of admission is twelve dollars.

Students who have gone say it is a beautiful location. Many enjoy just looking at all the colorful flowers. It has a very calming atmosphere. You and your friends can talk, walk through these flowers, and take beautiful photos here.

Des Moines Theater Scene

Another student-worthy activity, we suggest is student rushing a show at the Des Moines Civic Center. The arts are alive in Des Moines and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Civic Center in downtown Des Moines. Broadway shows regularly come through the city and perform at the Civic Center.

Students have the opportunity to see these shows at an affordable price due to the student rush tickets. If the show isn’t sold out, then Drake students can buy the unsold tickets two hours before the show at half the cost. This is an affordable and fun option for Drake students who love theater. Drake students can also catch one of the numerous on-campus shows throughout the year.

Blank Park Zoo and More Student-Worthy Activities

Lastly, a student-worthy activity we suggest is going to the Blank Park Zoo. The Blank Park Zoo has a bunch of adorable animals for all to enjoy. A baby giraffe was even born last year. Students can go with their friends and enjoy an afternoon in the animal kingdom. Animal lovers will enjoy getting to see the lovely creatures. There are even some peacocks that run free, students can make friends with them.

            Never have a boring weekend again, enjoy these student-worthy activities and more. Des Moines is a vibrant city with lots of student-worthy activities for all to enjoy. Artsy, sporty, and nature lovers alike will find a student-worthy activity perfect for them and their friends.

Des Moines is More Affordable than Other Major Cities

Affordable housing is a key point for college students when deciding where to go to school, and where to live after graduation

Matt: Coming into Des Moines as a Chicagoland native, my standard of living was very different than what I had expected to living in a major city like Des Moines. Growing up around Chicago, the standard of living is much higher and I had expected something similar, especially living closer to downtown Des Moines than I did to Chicago back home. From my personal experience, the closer you are to downtown, the more expensive life is to live and usually the further you stray from the city, depending on the area, the cheaper it is and more affordable it is to live. When picking where I went to school, a bunch of different factors went into play. After learning about the average price of things like gas, or rent, or even food in the Des Moines metro area, and comparing that to what it was for me back home, I knew this would be a very easy choice, on top of the awesome education from a very accredited school in Drake.

Parker: Coming into Des Moines from the Twin Cities I learned very quickly just how cheap everything was when compared to back home. Everything from gas prices to groceries. When I started looking at rent prices in the area, I was amazed at the overall standard price many places had. You could get a nice two bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Des Moines for the same cost of a barely livable apartment in Minneapolis. 

Des Moines when compared to other major metro areas ranks among the lowest for overall cost of living

Matt: According to and their cost of living calculator, the cost of living in Des Moines compared to Chicago is as high as 30% cheaper, especially when comparing things like rent. The cost of rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Chicago sits at around $2,754 per month, versus in Des Moines it sits around $735 per month. The median cost to purchase a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house in Chicago costs over $556k versus Des Moines’ $338k.

Parker: Also in accordance to and using their cost of living calculator, the cost of living in Des Moines compared to Minneapolis is about 14% cheaper to live in Des Moines. Comparing the costs of renting a 2 bedroom apartment in Minneapolis is around $1,291 compared to the $735 it costs in Des Moines per month. On top of that, housing costs in Minneapolis for a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house is about $400k versus the $338k for Des Moines.

Drake University students come from all around the midwest, hosting cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, and Kansas City, all of which have a higher cost of living making it easier on the “Broke College Student Lifestyle”

Matt: I myself don’t work a ton during school, so coming across money to continue to support my everyday lifestyle that I’d love to live or could live with the financial support of my family back in Chicago. The lesser cost of living makes it easier for me to be able to support myself by going to buy food or wanting to go out to entertain myself in someway like going to a movie or going to a semi professional baseball game. This way I can continue to spend my money conservatively and help foster that similar lifestyle of what I may experience back home in Chicago with the higher prices.

Parker: Talking to friends I have made while here who are from different areas of the country, all have said they agree that it is nice that a decent city like Des Moines — a capital city at that — is so cheap when compared to any other major metro area. I love the Twin Cities; Minnesota will always be my home. But I cannot deny that it is easier to afford Des Moines than the Twin Cities. 

Housing is just one cost among others like school, groceries/food, entertainment, etc.

Matt: Some of my personal biggest expenses would probably just be groceries. I love to cook and I love the idea of feeding myself some quality meal everyday that the average college student wouldn’t take the time to prepare. When people are buying $1 ramen packets, I will prioritize something like making chicken, rice, and broccoli. Being able to comfortably afford spending more money on food out here versus what would probably cost around double back home in Chicago while still not having to worry about having leftover money is a big plus, and another reason as to why I came to school out here compared to some of my other college choices.

Parker: My biggest expenses so far are my fraternity on campus and groceries, as I have been getting more into cooking. So actually, being able to afford food, rent, activities, and still have money left for fun is important; and Des Moines allows me to do that given the point I am at in my life. 

Capital City Pride: Everything You Need to Know About PrideFest

Learn all about Des Moines’ LGBTQ+ organization and its annual PrideFest.

Capital City Pride

Capital City Pride is an organization based in Des Moines, Iowa. The organization works to celebrate the diverse identities and orientations of the LGBTQ+ community, fostering a safe and welcome space for all.


Each year, Capital City Pride hosts a pride parade, PrideFest, in Des Moines’ Historic East Village. It takes place during June (pride month), typically during the second week of the month.

The event is free and open to all ages. Spanning across East Village, the fest welcomes a multitude of vendors that sell a variety of food and drink, clothing, and pride-related memorabilia. In addition to the vendors, a parade also runs through the festival. Capital City Pride has floats running through the parade, and individuals can even apply to have their own float in the parade. 


Capital City Pride’s PrideFest highlights notable entertainers within the LGBTQ+ community. Last year, the lineup included drag star Trixie Mattel, percussionist Sheila E., performer Shangela, and music by Leslie and the LYs and Haiku Hands. In addition to the headliners, attendees can enjoy other shows, ranging from comedy to choir. 


Capital City Pride has created specific zones that span across the festival and are curated to the community’s interests and needs. North of E. Locust along 5th St., there is the Health & Wellness Zone. This zone includes health screenings performed by UCS Healthcare, and informational services provided by Planned Parenthood and Polk County Health. The purpose of this zone is to educate and advocate for the physical and mental well-being of the LGBTQ+ community. Going south of E. Locust along 5th St., teens can visit the Teen Zone, which includes activities such as drag queen makeup tutorials, a silent disco, and a selfie station. For the younger children, there is the Family & Kids Zone across Staybridge Suites on East Locust. This zone features a Little Rainbow Kids Run, balloon animal-making, and even a garden workshop. Lastly, at the intersection of E. Locust and 4th St., there is the Pet Zone. In this zone, there are opportunities to adopt pets, a K9 cafe and cooldown, and even “doggy champagne.”

Donations: 500 Loud and Proud

500 Loud and Proud is a donation program put on by Capital City Pride to support the local LGBTQ+ community. Limited to 500 donors, individuals and small businesses can donate anywhere from $500 to $2,000. In return, donors will receive multiple gifts, which can be found here.