Try DSM: Bookworms
Living in Greater Des Moines (DSM) means an abundance of reading opportunities and bookish spots. From the DSM Book Festival to local book clubs and indie bookstores, DSM welcomes bestselling authors, local writers, readers of all genres and anyone up for a story time. If you’re in DSM, you’ll want to check out the suggestions below for where to go for all your reading needs.
Hotel Picks: Wildwood Lodge Clive or Hotel Renovo
With its outdoor fire pit and patio area, Wildwood Lodge Clive allows you to read in an outdoor space even into the twilight hours. There’s a coffee bar (because who wants to read without their cup o’ Joe?!), an indoor sitting area with fireplace and an indoor pool to keep the kids busy while you get to the next chapter in your latest read.
Hotel Renovo is designed to resemble an urban farmhouse and has a seating area with a fireplace, an outdoor firepit and beautiful grounds. (Grab something from the on-site restaurant to go and have a reading picnic outside!)
- Sip on a latte while you catch up on some light reading at Grounds for Celebration in the Beaverdale neighborhood.
- Then browse the bookshelves, take part in a poetry open mic night or meet an author at Beaverdale Books.
- Head to Plain Talk Books & Coffee in Downtown DSM, where you can peruse used books and grab lunch.
- While in Downtown DSM, stop in at Storyhouse Bookpub where you can pick out a new release or attend a book club or author event.
- Finally, visit the nearby Continental Lounge. Happy hour is from 4 – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday so you can enjoy discounted small plates and drink specials before heading back to the hotel for some evening relaxation and reading.
- Take a short drive up to Ankeny and visit Walls of Books, where both new and used books cover the shelves.
- Once you’ve made your purchase, drive to Café Diem where you can grab a cup of coffee and breakfast before heading across the street to the gazebo on the Ankeny DMACC campus near Lake Future for a shaded reading spot.
- In Ankeny, Rodman Comics has even more reading material, focused on the comic book genre.
- Take a swing over to Altoona to visit Hidden Treasures for a delightful experience that includes books, teas and of course, treasures!
- Make your way back to Des Moines to The Slow Down Coffee Co. Try the Lavender Honey Lemonade along with a vegan salad for lunch. Each month, The Slow Down Coffee Co. also hosts a book club, and you can discover other reads on their shelves from diverse authors.
- Check out what’s on the calendar at a local library. DSM is home to several robust library systems, typically operated by the city it serves. The Greater Des Moines Partnership’s business directory includes a list of libraries in DSM.
- Take a drive over to Winterset to hit up Brick Road Books and spend the day exploring this charming small town.
- Another option for exploring? Indianola! Pageturners Bookstore is located on the town square in Indianola, which has plenty of other shops to explore. In cheery weather, take your new books over to Buxton Park and enjoy nature while you read.
- (Oh this tale keeps going...) Take your Try DSM plot over to Pella, too and stop into The Curiosity Shop and then stroll around the Dutch-influenced town square.
Other Options for Your Itinerary
- Choose your own adventure and mix and match with these options to plan an itinerary:
- Looking for something else to read? Check out the region’s Little Free Libraries for free reading material.
- Order books from the 100% women-owned and -operated Raccoon River Press, an online and pop-up store (check out area farmers’ markets like the Downtown Farmers’ Market to see if they are in attendance or explore their book club schedule for upcoming events.)
- On Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m., The Learning Post in Urbandale holds a story time with a new book and other activities. Check out the activity books and children’s book inventory, too.
Greater Des Moines (DSM) is full of ways to connect with other readers. Find your community here and get connected!
- Join Des Moines Public Library for its YA for Adults Book Club or Reading on the Margins Book Club on Thursdays. Reading on the Margins meets once a month to discuss books by underrepresented authors and social issues in both fiction and nonfiction, while the YA for Adults Book Club highlights young adult reads that will appeal to older readers. All DMPL book clubs take place at DSM locations, including the Central Library, East Side Library, North Side Library and South Side Library.
- Check out library book clubs, including those at Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library, Grimes Public Library, Newton Public Library, Urbandale Public Library, West Des Moines Public Library and more. The West Des Moines Library even has a Book Club Social on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. And just outside the Urbandale Public Library is an outdoor oasis, the Charles Gabus Memorial Tree Park and Garden, which is a beautiful and relaxing place to read on a nice day.
- Join the Muddy Boots Summer Book Club. Locations change through the summer, but you can check out these upcoming events: Saturday, July 1 at Walker Johnston Park in Urbandale and Saturday, Aug. 5 at Margo Frankel Woods in Ankeny. Muddy Boots also offers a toddler-based program in DSM that includes a short hike and story time. The Boots and Books series meets at various locations and is catered to children ages two to eight.
- Interested in writing something of your own? Check out Des Moines Writers’ Workshop and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Iowa.
Write your own story in Greater Des Moines (DSM)! Get rooted in a community, build a thriving career and have an adventure along the way. Connect with DSM to learn more!