I was born and raised in West Des Moines, Iowa. The thing I love most about Des Moines is that even though it's one of the largest cities in Iowa and has all the amenities of a city, it still has the homey, small town Midwestern charm that I miss so much. Since I moved from West Des Moines twelve years ago, I have made a great effort to go back at least once a year to visit family and surround myself with the simple and endearing Iowa culture.
West Des Moines's population has increased drastically since I lived there. They are continually trying to escape the small-town vibe and become a more urban city to attract out of state visitors. One of the newest attractions that I love is Jordan Creek Town Center. Jordan Creek has all of my favorite restaurants, like P.F. Chang's, The Cheesecake Factory, Panera Bread, and Joe's Crab Shack. It also has a large Century Theater and a large shopping mall. However, behind West Des Moines' outward appearance of urban city buildings, fashionable malls, and popular restaurants is a city founded by family oriented people with hard work ethics who cherish the simple life.
The best time to explore the city is in the spring or fall and right in the middle of the day. With its multiple parks, sports, and recreation sites, West Des Moines is perfect for active people. Rush hour traffic is almost non-existent, making the daily commute hassle free. The city was built around the schedules of businesses like banks and government buildings. Because of this, at 9:00pm, eighty five percent of the city shuts down for the night. The only food you will find to eat that late at night is at the local gas station, a bar, or in your aunt's fridge.