Looking for some summer activities that are as educational as they are entertaining? Des Moines has several first-class venues that provide opportunities to enjoy performing arts or learn more about history and science. We're sharing a list of some of our favorite attractions, and we think they'll become some of your favorites too!
1. Java Joe's CoffeeHouse
214 - 4th Street
We love the vibes of most coffee houses to begin with, but Java Joe's in the Court District has something special, beginning with the charming old-style storefront. In addition to live music from local musicians, Java Joe's has regular monthly events spotlighting Irish music, jazz, poetry slams and literary readings. You'll feel transported back to the "beatnik" era as you sip on an espresso and listen to the cool sounds of jazz or heartfelt poetry readings.
2. Fleur Cinema & Café
4545 Fleur Drive
Are there times when you want to watch something more challenging than the latest Hollywood blockbuster? Fleur Cinema's calendar features the finest in foreign and independent films as well as classic movies from the past. They occasionally program a favorite film selected by viewers' votes. Even the refreshments are upscale, with a full coffee bar, beer and wine, and gourmet baked goods. Don't worry, you can still get your buttered popcorn and M&M's too!
3. Iowa Hall of Pride
330 Park Street
Celebrate the achievements of Iowans in all fields throughout the years at this fascinating museum. Interactive exhibits tell the history of Iowa and its famous sons and daughters, from movie stars to scientists to professional athletes. Special emphasis is given to the state's high school students who are accomplished in academics and extracurricular activities. K-12 students are admitted free, so it's a great place to take the kids.
4. Hoyt Sherman Place
1501 Woodland Avenue
This stunning historical landmark was once the home of its namesake, a major figure in Des Moines history who served as postmaster and worked tirelessly for civic improvements in education and public facilities. Today it's a beautiful and intimate venue that hosts concerts, shows and art exhibits. It may also be rented for weddings, business meetings and other private functions.
Do you have a special venue to add to the list? Tell us about it in the comments!