Young Professionals (Juice file photo)

(Juice file photo)

6 reasons we feel rich in Des Moines

Published on January 23rd, 2014 | by Juice Magazine

Des Moines, where the State Capitol is gilded and the beer is cheap. The TODAY show named Des Moines the ‘wealthiest’ city on Thursday in the show’s morning “Healthy, Wealthy, Wise” segment, but there’s more reasons to feel rich besides the cost of living (almost under 10 percent of the national average).

Here are six ways Des Moines makes us feel rich:

1. Cheap downtown housing

Big city living doesn’t just happen in big cities. Amid Des Moines’ respectable downtown skyline you’ll find a slew of apartments for Iowans who prefer a high-rise home without the high-rent prices.

A 550 square-foot studio at the East Village’s e300 Apartments comes with plenty of on-site amenities like a restaurant on the ground floor (Zombie Burger) and gym with a monthly rent of roughly $800, or about $1.45 per square foot.

Compare that to a 550 square-foot studio at the similarly modern Soo Line Building City Apartments in downtown Minneapolis. It too has an on-site eatery and fitness center among other amenities but comes to $1485 per month, or $2.70 per square foot.

An amenity-laced 580 square-foot studio on downtown Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive is listed on Craigslist at $1350 per month, or $2.32 per square foot.

2. An outdoor skating rink

It’s not Lincoln Center, but you can also ice skate with a view of the skyline at Brenton Skating Plaza, 520 Robert D Ray Dr. The outdoor skating rink is open from November to March and it’s a great place for friends and family. Admission prices are $4.50 for adults, $3 for children (ages 6-12) and seniors, and there is a $3.50 skate rental fee (children five and under are always free). Saturday, Sunday, holidays and after 5 p.m. on Friday, the weekend rate applies.  The weekend rate is $6 for adults and $4.50 for children (ages 6-12) and seniors.

 3. More affordable touring music acts

In Des Moines, entertainment is affordable if you want to catch some live music. Tickets for shows range from 20-25 percent more for Black Joe Lewis, and the most expensive ticket to Cher’s Des Moines show is still cheaper than the cheapest tickets in Brooklyn or Washington D.C.

A ticket to Black Joe Lewis’s Feb. 27 show at Vaudeville Mews is $15. In New York on Feb. 19: $18. In Washington DC on Feb. 18: $20.

Tickets to Cher’s June 9 show at Wells Fargo Arena range from $27.50-$107.50. Her May 9 show in Brooklyn: $110.50-$161. April 4 in Washington DC: $108.50-$159.

Country act George Strait stays a little more comparable between cities.  His April 18 show at Wells Fargo Arena is $71.50-$91.50. In Newark on March 1: $84.25-$104.25. Nashville on March 21: $76.50-$98.50.

4. You can eat steak cheap (and wrapped in bacon) 

Some of the best beef and pork is raised right here in Iowa, which usually means better prices on our menus.  A filet mignon at Tursi’s Latin King is $32, and it comes wrapped in bacon. The same cut of steak (well, minus bacon) at Sparks Steakhouse in Brooklyn is $49.95.

5. Craft beer (and Bud heavy) for cheaper

You can easily find a $7-$8 Budwiser draw in New York, but what about a less common beer? A 16-ounce draw of Evil Twin’s Yin is $7 at El Bait Shop. The Jeffrey in New York, which like El Bait Shop made Draft Magazine’s list of the 100 best beer bars in the country, charges $10 for the same draw.

6. Free art

Few things make a Midwesterner feel wealthier than sauntering around rooms filled with millions of dollars of art work. For free. The Des Moines Art Center provides the community with access to its permanent collection featuring Picasso, Warhol and Francis Bacon. You want to see a Bacon painting at the Art Institute of Chicago? Better cough up 23 bucks. How about a Warhol at New York’s Museum of Modern Art? That’ll be a cool $25.

Rich Des Moinesians know the Art Center’s generous free admission lets them save money for lunch at its new Baru at the Art Center cafe, where $25 can cover lunch for two. Petit Charcuterie and Salmon Risotto, anyone? Mmm, that’s rich.

–Compiled by Joe Lawler, Josh Hafner and Ameena Rasheed


We asked our readers what made them feel rich and this is what they told us.




About the Author

Juice is the definitive guide to being a 25- to 34-year-old in the Des Moines area.

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