Best Brunch Spots in Des Moines

Let’s be honest: unless you’re religious, who’s really getting up on time for a true breakfast on a Sunday and ? Additionally, western cultures are lazy. Why wait for lunch? Why not just do both at once? That would be why they invented the term “brunch” in England in the 1900s, and Des Moines is no slacker in the brunch department. Here are three of our top brunch spots in Des Moines:

What to Eat at Brunch

Before choosing where to go, the first part is always the hardest: what do I even want to eat? If the answer is classic breakfast food, the destination may be a little different than if you’re feeling trendy. Personally, I’m a certified Big Omelette Guy, but the brunch spots in Des Moines have gotten me to branch out a little bit. Check it out!

Eggs and Jam

You’ve got to fight! For your right! To….pudding? According to this Des Moines brunch spot’s menu, that’s correct, and the Beastie Boys were right. In seriousness, for the food at this 90s hip-hop themed restaurant, the Sky’s the Limit, but I’m sure the staff would say it’s no Biggie.

Must try: the Slam-Wich. I don’t even know how to describe this one. It’s a sandwich with eggs , bacon, swiss and other breakfast goodies, but sub the bun for waffles. Yeah, it’s delicious.

The Breakfast Club USA

In the words of my mother, “it’s cute and fun.” Sharing a name with one of the greatest movies of the 80s, Des Moines’ The Breakfast Club USA prides itself on selling booze along with the breakfast. In fact, on my 21st birthday, I decided to test this theory and, uh, yeah, it’ll do. The Breakfast Club USA definitely ranks among the top Des Moines brunch spots.

Must try: Breakfast corn dogs. Yeah, it’s breaded sausage on a stick. It’s pretty awesome.

Waveland Café

When I think brunch, I think Waveland. It’s a quaint brunch spot on Unviersity Ave in the heart of Des Moines. You wouldn’t even know it’s there if not for the horde of cars outside any given morning. It’s nothing special, but that’s the charm of it. In a time when restaurants are going above and beyond to grab the consumer’s attention, Waveland is surviving on pure tradition.

Must try: they’re known for the hash browns, and for good reason. If I could live on plates of them, I would.

Best Hiking and Walking Paths in Des Moines

walking path hiking path Des Moines

#1 Walking Path – Gray’s Lake

Gray’s Lake is located in the heart of Des Moines. There is a lovely 2 mile walking path around a beautiful lake. This path can also be use for biking, rollerskating, and running. There is paddle boats and canos that you can rent to use on the lake. A small sandy area goes right up to the lake for kids to play, sand volleyball and pick nics. Public bathrooms are also available.

#2 Hiking trail – Raccoon River

The Raccoon River Valley Trail is a 56 mile paved loop that runs from Jefferson, IA to Waukee, IA.  In 2013, an additional 33.1-mile north loop was completed making the trail nearly 90 miles of paved road and having a paved interior loop of more than 72 miles. Bicyclists, joggers, walkers, skaters, campers, cross-country skiers, birdwatchers, hunters, fishermen, naturalists and snowmobilers all use the Raccoon River Valley Trail thought the year in all seasons.

#3 Hiking Trail – Browns Woods

Browns Woods is a wildlife preserve with oak & hickory trees as well as trails for hiking & geocaching. It is Iowa’s largest urban forest and offers around 5 miles to explore and hike. During the winter, lots of residents use Browns woods to snowshoe and cross country ski. In these woods, the public can also collect nuts, fruits and edible mushrooms for personal use.

#4 Walking Path – Saylorville Lake

Located on the Des Moines River in central Iowa, just north of the city of Des Moines. Saylorville Lake has a 24 mile paved path that can be used for a variety of recreational activities like biking, hiking, jogging, walking, and in-line skating. There is also spaces for fishing, picnic areas with group shelters, boat launches, an accessible fishing pier, river fishing, and hunting. A marina is also on this lake for residential use and a camping ground for anyone that is interested.

#5 Walking Path – Easter Lake Park

Located in Polk, Iowa this walking path is the home of the one of the most iconic photo opportunities with the only covered bridge in Polk County. There is five picnic shelters and three playgrounds for kids. A boat ramp for fishing allows the public to fish mainly for walleye, bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish all stocked by the Conservation Board into the lake every year. In the summer there is also a swimming beach, paddle boat, canoe and kayak rentals.

Come enjoy these walking paths and hikes this season!

Tinker vs. Des Moines: What is its impact today?

Mary Beth and John Tinker (1969)

Tinker vs Des Moines

Do you publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement? Are you part of the LGBT community or are you an ally? Do you wear clothing that shows your stance on certain subjects? Do you make your interests and opinions about social issues obvious?

Then you have Tinker vs Des Moines to thank.

Continue reading “Tinker vs. Des Moines: What is its impact today?”

5 Coffee Shops to Study at Around Drake University

It can be challenging trying to find a good coffee shop to study at around Drake University. Do you enjoy going to the library to study or going to a coffee shop?

Coffee shops are great for early morning risers or late night studiers. Need a boost of energy? A coffee shop has what you are looking for! Add some espresso or add a caffeinated beverage, and you will be set!

Not only do coffee shops serve great drinks, they also have great food menus as well. Whether someone is looking for a soup, sandwich, or a salad, a coffee shop is there for you.

Pictured below is a cappuccino and one of the many food options provided by Mars Café.

Below are five coffee shops that many students choose to study at. Each coffee shop has different menu options. Each coffee shop also has different seating availability as well.

1) Mars Café


  • Across the street from Drake University’s campus
  • Locally owned business
  • Reading area, tables, and booths available

2) Smokey Row


  • Late night study hours
  • Comfortable booth seating
  • Serves ice cream and malts

3) Grounds for Celebration


  • Beaverdale or Windsor heights location – both close to campus
  • Serves tasty gelato
  • Sit with friends or at your own table if you have a lot of stuff

4) Caribou Coffee


  • Less than 10 minutes from Drake University’s campus
  • Alternative study area if Smokey Row is too busy
  • Late night study hours

5) Twisted Bean Coffee Company


  • Lots of available seating, whether alone or with friends/groups
  • Locally owned business
  • Big Açai Bowl (which is hard to find in the Des Moines area)

All these coffee shops sell good merchandise and have very tasty coffee and food menus! They also allow for outside seating if the weather is friendly enough to study outside.

Two Drake students interviewed about which is their favorite coffee shop to study at and why. Both stated they enjoy studying at Twisted Bean Coffee Company.

“I like Twisted Bean because it is very pretty in there, and it gets kind of busy but not where it’s overcrowded. Like a nice buzz to study too. Also great lattes!!” Provided by a junior at Drake University.

“I enjoy Twisted Bean because it has natural lighting which allows me to study better.” This also expressed by another junior at Drake University.

Twisted Bean Coffee Company is an uncommon place for Drake students. Many students have never heard of Twisted Bean. Some students may have heard of it, but they do not know where the location of the coffee shop is.  Merle Hay road in Urbandale is one of the locations. Linked above is the address and business hours for Twisted Bean.

The spring semester is beginning, and these coffee shops are here for you! Attached above are links to their websites. These links provide information such as pictures for seating and menu options.

This semester, try one of these coffee shops out. Drink a coffee, grab a bite to eat, and study away!