The Shopping List
Get ready to shop 'til you drop in Greater Des Moines. The region is bursting with everything you need to outfit your family with the latest fashions, your home with the perfect decor, and your loved ones with thoughtful gifts. Make plans to enjoy a weekend zipping around the metro, dipping into local boutiques, collecting the latest trends from big-name brands, and immersing yourself in the delights at shopping, dining, and entertainment meccas.
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FRIDAY: DINNER AND A SHOW AT JORDAN CREEK TOWN CENTER
Boasting everything you need to stay entertained and fueled for a fun-filled evening, Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines is the perfect place to start your shopping extravaganza. As the largest shopping and entertainment complex in the state of Iowa, it’s the ultimate one-stop-shopping experience. Boasting more than 150 stores, it has something for everyone, from the only Apple Store in the state to destination spots like H&M, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, and Forever 21. Inside, you can fuel up with familiar flavors like Panera Bread and Chick-Fil-A, as well as local favorite Zombie Burger if gore-met burgers are your thing.
Outside, you'll find full-service restaurants surrounding the beautiful pond and amphitheater, including Joe's Crab Shack, Cheesecake Factory, On the Border, P. F. Changs, Wahlburgers, Giordano’s, and Fleming's Steakhouse.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of shopping and carbs, there are plenty of ways to wind down the evening. If you’re the “Netflix and chill” type, do it the old-school way and catch a blockbuster at Century21 Theaters with some of the biggest screens, comfiest recliners, and freshest popcorn in town. If you still have energy to burn, check out the nearby Smash Park, with Iowa’s largest patio and games like pickleball, shuffleboard, cornhole, arcade games, and more than 70 HD TV’s, making it the perfect place for family night, date night, or game night.
Name brand highlights: Nike, DSW, Apple, Scheel's, Dillards, Athleta, Coach, Pottery Barn, J. Crew, White House Black Market, Anthropologie, and Williams Sonoma.
Fun stuff: Smash Park, Operating Room (Bar Arcade), and The Escape Rooms.
SATURDAY: LOCAL STORES AND BOUTIQUES
When you're in West Des Moines, no shopping spree is complete without a stroll through charming Historic Valley Junction. From kitschy to classy, you’ll find vintage shops, clothing boutiques, and art galleries all situated within a lively district full of murals and quaint cafes and eateries. Check out local favorite Hinge for cute (and affordable) fashions and home goods. Bozz Prints will outfit your home or office with hip prints and posters with a Midwest bent. Make sure to stop into Artisan Gallery 218, where you can join a jewelry making class and peruse locally made art pieces, and Heart of Iowa Marketplace, where you can collect Iowa-made goodies such as fudge, jams, and unique gifts. And Bing’s is the place to find unique gifts for that hard to shop for person on your list, with everything from crazy socks and snarky gifts to jigsaw puzzles and pop culture presents. Make sure to also check out their Farmers Market on Thursday evenings from May – October.
Down the road in West Des Moines is Valley West Mall, the perfect place to stock up on wardrobe staples for the whole family, with popular retailers like The Buckle, Express, Ragstock, JCPenney, and Von Maur, as well as fast-casual eateries, including Noodles & Company, Blaze Pizza, and Maid-Rite, where you can sample an Iowa staple, the loose meat sandwich.
Nearby in Urbandale, you'll want to set aside an hour or two to visit Homemakers – a decorator's paradise! One of the largest furniture stores in the country, their showroom spans 215,000 square feet and features a coffee and cookie shop to keep shoppers (and their kids) energized. Regardless of design style or price point, shoppers will find inspiration throughout 13 departments, from on-trend to traditional styles.
Where to eat: The Hall (German beer hall fashioned out of a former train depot), St. Kilda Collective (farm-to-table), Heavenly Asian Cuisine & Lounge, Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, and Chocolaterie Stam.
Fun stuff: Living History Farms, DSM Children’s Museum, Historic Jordan House, Climb Iowa, and Glazed Expressions.
SUNDAY: DOWNTOWN AND EAST AND NORTH SUBURBS
Wake up early and head downtown for this leg of your shopping journey. It's time to enjoy a cup of coffee while you browse four floors of treasures at West End Architectural Salvage. If the name sounds familiar, you've probably seen their DIY network show called "West End Salvage." Here you can shop for unique finds such as antiques, handcrafted gifts, and repurposed furniture. Fun fact: When The Today Show comes to town for Iowa Caucuses every four years, this is where they film!
A few blocks to the east and across the river lies Historic East Village – a vibrant and diverse shopping and entertainment destination that has been dubbed “the closest thing to Brooklyn that Iowa has ever seen.” Epitomizing this quote is the always cool Raygun – an irreverent t-shirt store selling goods and novelties screen printed with hilarious takes on current events. Other noteworthy stores include AllSpice Culinarium (local spices and flavors of the city), Sticks (local art gallery and custom furnishings), Fontenelle Supply Co. (men’s apparel), Subsect Skate Shop, Aimee (women’s apparel), and Fleet Feet Des Moines (running and active apparel for traversing Greater Des Moines' 800-mile trail system!).
Finally, you’ll want to make it to Altoona and the Outlets of Des Moines. With more than 50 stores like American Eagle, Eddie Bauer, Levi’s, Le Creuset, and Old Navy, you’re going to need to clear out some extra trunk space to fit all those bags. It's also right next to prime time locations like Bass Pro Shops, Prairie Meadows Casino & Racetrack, and Adventureland Amusement Park, so you may need to tack on another day or two just to fit in all of the fun!
Fun stuff nearby: Rita’s Cantina, Iowa Taproom, The Stuffed Olive, Clyde’s Fine Diner, Zombie Burger, and Exile Brewing.
Where to eat: Iowa State Capitol, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Science Center of Iowa, State Historical Museum of Iowa, Brenton Skating Plaza, and Downtown Farmers’ Market (Saturdays May – October).
Other shopping districts:
District at Prairie Trail
Merle Hay Mall
West Glen Town Center
Also, check out our list of Des Best Boutiques and Local Gift Guide for even more ideas.
Need more travel inspiration? Check out the rest of The Catch List itineraries. And add ideas to your Des Moines bucket list with our Des Best lists and S’s Are Silent videos!