We are a stage in life where taking a family vacation is hard. Taking a vacation with just the two of us — no kids — seems nearly impossible. When Lance and I had the opportunity to have our two kids go to grandma’s house for a long weekend, I snatched it up and started planning our Des Moines staycation.
We live in a pretty great city, right? Des Moines is FUN. We have some cool attractions, delicious restaurants, awesome festivals, and it’s easy to navigate. Planning our Des Moines staycation was a blast, and I’m going to share with you a couple tips to make your own Des Moines staycation fabulous!
1. Make it feel like a real “vacation” and stay in a hotel or a bed and breakfast.
I stayed at Hotel Renovo for a girlfriends’ getaway earlier in the year, and it was such a great experience. They are newly renovated and just off the interstate in Urbandale (next to the Machine Shed Restaurant and near Living History Farms). The suite I stayed in with my friends was decorated in a way that I think Joanna Gaines would be proud of: clean, light, bright, and airy.
2. Eat some place local and new.
Lance and I did a progressive dinner date and had the best time. We started at one spot for drinks and appetizers, went to another restaurant for our main dish, and then ended at another restaurant for dessert!
For our dinner date we started downtown on Court Avenue at RōCA for happy hour (half off flatbreads [do yourself a favor and try the mushroom and goat cheese flatbread!], select wines, and beer — every day from 3-6 p.m.). I enjoyed the fact that it was also the location for one of the scenes from Chris Soule’s season on the Bachelor. I’m super cool like that.
For our main course we moseyed over to Beaverdale for dinner at The Flying Mango. I most ardently love their Dirty Shrimp and Rice, and my husband loves their smoked Big Chop. But prepare for mouth burn — the Dirty Shrimp and Rice is spicy delicious!
We thought about just hopping on over to Snookies for my favorite Black Raspberry Ice Cream Shake, but because it was actually Lance’s birthday, I let him have the final say (I’m nice like that). Because this was our adult “staycation,” we wanted to go places we don’t normally go with our kids, and my kids love Snookies, so we chose to go back downtown to Centro for dessert. If you have never had Centro’s Toasted Marshmallow Sundae, you are missing out on one of life’s pleasures. Do me a favor and just say yes. I’m also a big fan of their Creme Brulee. You can easily say yes to that option, too. 🙂
3. Do something without kids.
For us, that looks like going to the movies and seeing something that isn’t animated. What better place to see a movie in Des Moines than at Flix Brewhouse at Merle Hay Mall? PG-13 movies, comfy seats, adult beverages, and food? AWESOME!
4. Take in a local site.
This could be an Iowa Cubs baseball game, the Des Moines Botanical Center, the State of Iowa Capitol Building, etc. For our beautiful Saturday, we chose to take the short drive to Madrid and bike the High Trestle Trail Bridge. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and it was a great way to burn a few calories before our progressive dinner date!
5. Shop local.
We had some time to kill downtown between courses and walked around the East Village to shop at some of the fun places I don’t normally get to go. Pick up a tongue-in-cheek tee from RAYGUN as a souvenir!
Giveaway (note: the giveaway has ended)
One of you will have the chance to win an overnight stay at Hotel Renovo and a gift card to Flix Brewhouse. All you have to do is comment below with something you would like to do on your own Des Moines staycation. Good luck!
So this summer when you are bemoaning the fact that you can’t go on a cool vacation to the Galapagos Islands, look around your own great city of Des Moines and visit a few of the things that make this a great place to live, work, and raise a family!
All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them.