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Iowa? You mean Ohio? Idaho?

Iowa tends to be one of the forgotten states in Great Plains. However, Des Moines, the state capital, is one of the most up-and coming cities in the United States. It has been frequently named one of the best places for young professionals to live.

Over the past decade, people have been flocking to Des Moines left and right. As a result, there has been a fascinating cultural development in the area. Here are six reasons why this city is worth checking out.

1. Rapid Development

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According to the U.S Census Bureau, Des Moines is the fastest-growing city in the Midwest. This phenomenon can likely be attributed to economic growth and the influx of STEM-related jobs in this part of the country.

Whatever the reasons may be, public officials have worked wonderfully with the private sector to bring a new energy to the city. Many of the renovations were strategically made to encourage local business and philanthropic communities to adapt to a completely new status quo.

The result is a hip, upbeat culture full of trendy tech startups and an incredible selection of restaurants, bars, clubs, and entertainment. Even better, this dramatic shift isn’t showing any signs of slowing down!

2. Blossoming Music Scene

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Des Moines’ music scene has experienced all kinds of development over the past 15 years. Slowly but surely, the city is putting itself on the map with festivals like 80/35, 515 Alive, Hinterland, and more.

The leaders in the community are working tirelessly to get nationally-recognized artists to make Des Moines a stop on their tours. It’s been made blatantly clear that local club owners and festival directors are going all-in to make the music scene something special.

The way things are going, Des Moines could one day be on a similar level as the well-known music hot spots like Austin or New Orleans. The results speak for themselves as the crowds are getting bigger every year!

3. Plenty of Awesome Museums

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Des Moines has never been short on fascinating museums. There has always been a great selection of diverse spots to spend an afternoon. The Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines Art Center, and The Salisbury House  have been national staples for decades now.

The capitol building itself is one of the best tours in the Midwest. As you can tell upon first glance, it is one of the most beautiful works of architecture in the entire country. The museum inside is no different. If you’re passing through the state of Iowa, this is definitely a place to check out.

New developments happen all the time in Des Moines. In fact, earlier this month, History buffs converted the 108-year old East Village Train Depot into a public museum!

4. Rising Craft Beer Production

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The Iowa craft beer scene has been gaining steam for some time now. Des Moines is the undisputed focal point of this trend. Until 2010, Iowa breweries weren’t allowed to produce beer over 6 percent alcohol by weight. This was one of the biggest obstacles keeping the scene from exploding.

Since then, the number of Iowa breweries have tripled with a large portion of the growth taking place in Des Moines. Some of the most notable ones in the area include Exile Brewing, Confluence Brewery, Firetruck Brewery, and 515 Brewing Company.

In addition to the many breweries, there are plenty of beer festivals in the city where you can sample all the local hits. If you’re in Des Moines at the right time, be sure to pencil one in!

5. Best Farmers’ Market in the Country

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Being as how the city is located in the heart of United States agriculture, it’s no surprise that Des Moines boasts the best farmers’ market in the country. The extremely popular event spans across Court Avenue every Saturday morning from early May through October.

The market features goods from over 60 Iowa counties and 300+ vendors. If you want a delicious and diverse meal with unbeatable ingredients, there is perhaps no better place in the world than the Des Moines Farmers’ Market.

The event is much more than just awesome food. Each week, there are all kinds of local artists and musical acts to enjoy while you chow down. If there is one thing Des Moines does far better than any other city, it’s definitely the farmers’ market.

6. All Kinds of Food Festivals

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The exceptional food in this city is hardly restricted to the farmers’ market. The Greater Des Moines Area is home to some the greatest food festivals the United States has to offer. For starters, the renowned World Food and Music Festival, which usually takes place in Mid-September, allows you to walk around and sample reasonably-priced cuisine from all over the world while listening to a unique variety of cross-cultural music.

To get a little more specific to the state of Iowa, Des Moines proudly hosts the world’s premier bacon fest known as the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. Taking place at the Iowa Events Center, the point of this festival is to take just about every food or drink imaginable and infuse it with bacon, then showcase the delicious result.

Finally, it would be a crime to talk about food festivals in Des Moines (or the entire state of Iowa) and not mention the beloved Iowa State Fair. The Mid-August event brings in people from all over the country with endless creative food options. Think fried candy bars, fried PB & J sandwiches, gigantic pork chops, and just about any food you can think of on a stick and you’re only scratching the surface of what this fair has to offer!

Delicious food is synonymous with the Midwest, and Des Moines is the pinnacle of this mindset.

Parting Words

It’s no secret that Impulsive Wanderlust has a soft spot for the Midwest. Amid all the cornfields and open farmland, there is more beauty in this region than most people think. Des Moines is certainly a quintessential representation of this. People are gravitating to this city like never before. Once you experience what it has to offer, it’s pretty easy to see why.

Now, there is SO much more that makes Des Moines great than what is on this list. Please feel free to chime in with any more DSM awesomeness you think deserves a mention!