Life in Des Moines

Be at the center of it all

Des Moines is a thriving, eclectic, diverse city that’s equally proud of its rural roots and its cosmopolitan flair.

It’s where young professionals soak in scores of local music, arts, and culture. And it’s a hub for business and industry where career opportunities are constantly springing up. It’s a city that defies comparison because it’s something that is completely its own.

Come experience great food, great music, and great times.

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Professional Opportunities Abound 

The city is a thriving hub with vast opportunities in the financial services, insurance and state government fields. Plus, there’s a myriad of fortune 500 companies, advertising agencies, start-ups and more. 

At Drake, students can take advantage of the growing job market while still in school with internships and other professional experiences. Drake’s Professional and Career Development Services connects students with these industries—and many more.

Drake student at a professional opportunity in the Des Moines metro area

Two Drake students enjoying downtown Des Moines dining

The Food Scene

In the Drake neighborhood, you can eat everything from classic diner food to New York style pizza to eclectic coffee house bites. Venture a little further into the city and you’ll find all sorts of unique places, including international cuisine, vegan fare, up-and-coming breweries and much more. 

And for dessert? Des Moines has a delicious array of cupcakeries, ice cream shops, and bakeries scattered throughout the city.

Arts & Culture

There’s lots of exciting music venues not far from campus, such as Wooly’s and the Wells Fargo Arena. Plus, Des Moines’ annual two-day 80/35 Music Festival brings some big names and big fun. 

The Des Moines Art Center offers a unique collection of art works and exhibitions while the Des Moines Playhouse puts on incredible productions. And the Des Moines Civic Center features a variety of acts from Broadway shows to A-list comedians. While at Drake, be sure to experience the nationally renowned Des Moines Arts Festival each summer. 

Maybe the best showcase of life in Des Moines is the diverse lineup of festivals: the World Food & Music Festival, Latino Heritage Festival and CelebrASIAN.

Students and local Des Moines residents enjoying the World Food & Music Festival

Drake student walking on the pedestrian bridge over Raccoon River near downtown Des Moines

The Great Outdoors

With more than 550 miles of regional trails and multiple local parks, Des Moines provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy classic outdoor activities. But the city also offers some unique ventures like the Brenton Skating Plaza, Sleepy Hollow Sports Park and Lauridsen Skatepark.


Quirky shops and boutiques reign supreme in the Historic East Village, where you’ll find vintage clothes, mystical shops and a whole lot more. Other neighborhood retail meccas include the Shops at Roosevelt and Valley Junction. The area also offers the Jordan Creek Mall and Outlets of Des Moines.

Two Drake students shopping in the historic East Village


When you’re not busy watching the Bulldogs, there’s plenty in the Des Moines sports world to keep you busy. Cheer on affiliate teams at the Iowa Cubs, Iowa Wolves, or Iowa Wild games. Or catch a game of the Des Moines Buccaneers, Iowa Barnstormers or Iowa Crush.

Getting Around Town

While students are welcome to bring cars to campus, there’s also other modes of transportation. A quick walk or Des Moines BCycle ride puts you in reach of everything you need. For longer trips, the DART bus system travels around the city and makes stops right on campus.

Drake student riding a BCycle in downtown Des Moines