How to Get Connected: Make Friends and Explore Your Interests

Finding your community when you’re new to an area is an important part of falling in love with where you live. No matter your age or interests, Greater Des Moines (DSM) has a multitude of opportunities for you to find your people. 

Des Moines Book Clubs

Check with the local libraries (there are 25+ systems in DSM!) for both teen and adult book clubs, some of which cater to morning meetups and others to evening gatherings. You can also explore reading recommendations and reach out to like-minded locals on the DSM Readers Facebook Group

Comedy Clubs Around Des Moines

Laughter goes a long way in developing long-lasting friendships. Check out the Des Moines Funny Bone in West Des Moines or Teehee’s Comedy Club in Downtown DSM where you can see improv, standup and more — and even take to the stage at open mic nights, too. Teehee’s offers intro and advanced classes, as well. 

Sports and Rec Leagues in Des Moines

Be sure to visit your city’s parks and recreation website to see what classes, leagues and clubs are available in your local DSM community, with year-round offerings. Slow pitch softball and sand volleyball leagues at the Sands Volleyball Club in West Des Moines or Xtreme Beach in Waukee are popular summer activities. And pickleball enthusiasts will want to check out the Des Moines Metro Pickleball Club, which posts play opportunities at numerous locations throughout the area. Interested in axe throwing? Yep, we’ve got leagues for that, too! Learn more about participating in DSM’s various sports programs

Des Moines-Based Cooking Classes

If you’re looking to become skilled in the kitchen, learn to cook with local hands-on classes at Kitchen Collage or Cooking with Alessandra, both located in Downtown DSM or with the Wallace Centers of Iowa at the Henry Wallace House, a historic building in Des Moines. 

Golf and Country Clubs in Greater Des Moines

If hitting the links is your preferred form of outdoor recreation and camaraderie, visit these golf and country clubs located around the Greater Des Moines area to become a member, join a league and find your golfing crew: 

Des Moines Musical Opportunities

Make a joyful noise! If you can sing or play a musical instrument, consider sign up for one of these choir, band or orchestra volunteer groups in DSM: 

Outdoor Lovers: Gardening, Hiking, Running and More in DSM

Whether hiking is your forte — Wander Women Iowa, anyone? — or you prefer gardening — have you heard of the Sprout Garden at Drake University, where you can make a difference for youth in the DSM community? — meeting people in the great outdoors is good for the soul. Check out running clubs like The Capital Striders and Fleet Feet social runs, or outdoor yoga programs like Yoga in the Park at Gray’s Lake in Downtown DSM, in Ankeny and across other DSM communities throughout the summer months. Additionally, the Des Moines Nordic Club is an online community to connect with others that enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing around the Jester Park area. 

Meet fellow plant-lovers year-round at Art Terrarium, a local plant shop in the Highland Park neighborhood that offers plant-themed classes, or at a number of events and programming at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Many Des Moinesians embrace their inner green thumb due to the region’s strong agricultural routes, and the Des Moines Backyard Gardeners Facebook Group is a virtual hub where locals can show off their plant prowess and gain helpful tips for the local growing climate. 

Engage with Des Moines Arts and Crafting Groups

Find art-loving friends by taking a class at the Des Moines Art Center, one of several workshops offered at Mainframe Studios or explore what the DSM Art Club has to offer to kids, teens and adults, too! If you’re an established or aspiring artist looking to surround yourself with fellow creatives, consider a space at the Crane Artist Lofts or workshops through Artist INC Des Moines. Filmmaker hopefuls will also want to explore programming opportunities through Des Moines’ 48-Hour Film Project and meet local fellow film buffs at the Interrobang Film Festival. 

Upcoming quilter events with the Iowa Quilters Guild take place in Newton and other Iowa locations. The Des Moines Area Quilters Guild holds meetings and events throughout the year, too, bringing together area quilters to expand quilting knowledge and create new quilting projects. Des Moines is also an American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek location, so you can even meet quilters from across the country at a local event. 

Connect to the DSM Theatre Community

If taking to the stage is your heart’s desire, audition or volunteer at one of these many stage opportunities around the DSM metro: 

 Volunteer Opportunities in Greater Des Moines

There are many ways to get involved with others who share a heart for volunteering in DSM, too, whether that’s as a school volunteer for any of the regional community school districts, as a festival volunteer for any of the Downtown DSM festivals and events, as an outdoor parks volunteer or through any number of other volunteer opportunities around DSM. 

Des Moines’ Science Clubs and STEM Groups

There are tons of ways to geek out with your fellow science buds! Pop into the annual Mini Maker Faire at the Science Center of Iowa, or take advantage of workshops and programming from the Des Moines Maker Space, Area 515. Three different local astronomy groups are available in Central Iowa to share their love of the stars, and several coding clubs and annual events like dsmHack draw the local STEM community together. 

Find the Gaming Community in Des Moines

Like to play board games, card games or video games? Pop into Mayhem Collectibles and strike up a conversation or sign up for an upcoming competition. You can also check out the Des Moines Gaming Club or mobile events around DSM produced by the Rook Room

More Ways to Connect in DSM USA

And don’t forget a great opportunity to meet fellow newcomers is at the quarterly Welcome to DSM USA receptions or networking events through your local Chamber of Commerce (there are 24 to choose from throughout the DSM region!). And consider joining young professionals events and other career networking groups in Des Moines, also.  

Greater Des Moines (DSM) is full of ways to connect with like-minded people to do all the things you love to do. Find your community here and get connected! 

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