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Des Moines, sometimes known as “The Capital City”, is a midwestern city full of diverse and thriving communities, warm and friendly people, and plenty to see and do.
Digging into Des Moines History
Des Moines traces its modern-day history back to May of 1843, when Captain James Allen supervised construction of a fort at the place where the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers merge. The fort was initially constructed for the purpose of dealing with unrest caused by Native American populations who had been displaced from their land, but stopped being used for that purpose after the first few years. Eventually, settlers occupied the nearby fort and surrounding areas, and by 1851, Des Moines was officially incorporated as a city. While growth was initially slow, after completion of a railroad line to the area, it rapidly picked up pace. The city’s growth has continued since that time, and Des Moines is now Iowa’s largest city – a thriving hub of midwestern industry and culture, with a warm and welcoming personality.
Some Fun Facts About Des Moines
Find more fun facts about Des Moines here.
The LGBTQ Community in Des Moines
Des Moines has a thriving and diverse LGBTQ community which it supports with a number of resources and community centers. A few include:
The Des Moines Pride Center is a community organization that exists to serve, celebrate, and support the LGBTQ community and their allies in the Des Moines area.
One Iowa was initially founded in 2005 to advocate for LGBTQ Iowans’ right to marry, and has since expanded its mission and focus to ensuring that LGBTQ Iowans’ rights and dignity are respected in every facet and stage of their lives. The mission of One Iowa is to advance, empower, and improve the lives of LGBTQ Iowans statewide, through education, advocacy, and cooperation.
What’s the Weather Like in Des Moines?
Des Moines has a temperate climate, which means that residents will experience all four distinct seasons. Des Moines typically has summers that are warm, humid, and wet; and winters are that are cold, dry, and windy. Spring and fall are pleasant, and residents and visitors alike can enjoy beautiful blooms in the spring, and changing fall leaves. Over the course of the year, the temperature usually varies from 17°F to 86°F and is rarely below -3°F or above 95°F. Des Moines gets 33 inches of rain and 36 inches of snow, on average, per year.
Can’t-Miss Des Moines Events
Capital City Pride is the annual large Pride event in Des Moines that brings together Iowa’s LGBTQ community and its allies in celebration of the rich diversity that the LGBTQ community adds to the city. The celebration includes a variety of events that are intended to inspire, educate, and celebrate the diverse LGBTQ community and culture in the city.
The Best Neighborhoods in Des Moines
The most popular LGBTQ neighborhoods in Des Moines are near downtown, and in the historic districts and artsy areas. While the city is generally LGBTQ-friendly, here are a few of the more popular neighborhoods:
This neighborhood is downtown, and close to most things in the city. The neighborhood boasts plenty of lofts, cafes, and trendy shops and restaurants. It offers wide, tree-lined streets, and is close to the Raccoon River, which offers an area with many hiking and cycling trails. The median list price of homes currently for sale in Indianola Hills is $148,500.
This historical area has narrower streets and modest homes that face the river and is also just steps to the gay clubs downtown. The median home value in this area is currently approximately $104,000.
The River Bend neighborhood is located near the River. Its main thoroughfare, 3rd Street, cuts through both the business and entertainment districts in town. It has a lovely town square full of wonderful restaurants and shops. The median home list price in River Bend is currently $161,500.
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Des Moines Arts and Entertainment
The Des Moines Art Center is an art museum with an extensive collection of paintings, sculpture, modern art and mixed media. Established in 1948, this museum is a must-see for any art or history lover.
The Iowa Stage Theatre Company is a professional theatre company with the mission of “transforming Iowa, its citizens, and arts community by producing truthful, relevant, and intimate theatre that inspires, enlightens, and entertains.”
Parks and Recreation
The Pride Sports League of Central Iowa is an LGBTQ sports league that strives to provide networking and recreational opportunities to the LGBTQ community and its allies in the Central Iowa area. All abilities and experience levels are welcome!
Gray’s Lake Park is a gorgeous 167-acre park featuring walking paths, trails, and a beautiful lake with small boat rentals. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy the beautiful outdoors in Des Moines!
Nightlife in Des Moines
The Blazing Saddle is the oldest gay bar in Des Moines, and has been affectionately known as the Gay “Cheers” since it opened in 1983. The Saddle offers daily happy hours, Charity Beer Busts, trivia nights, Latin night, and drag shows, among other events.
The Garden Nightclub is considered to have one of the liveliest dance floors in the city. Offering drink specials, drag shows, and dancing, it always promises a good time!