Iowa Travel Guide: Des Moines Hidden Gems

The Des Moines restaurant scene has seen an explosion in fine dining options, craft breweries and quirky specialty joints in recent years. Reporters and campaign staff traveling to Iowa’s capitol for the Iowa Caucus often come away pleasantly surprised. Sometimes, however, you can get into a rut of returning to your same favorite spots downtown and in the East Village. So Starting Line put together a list of some interesting and unique eating and drinking choices in the metro area to expand your Des Moines palate. Enjoy:   B&B Grocery and Meat Deli (pictured) – This South Side institution has […]

Iowa Travel Guide: Cedar Rapids

As Iowa’s second-largest city, Cedar Rapids plays host to presidential candidate visits very frequently. Known as the City of Five Seasons (the fifth being enjoying the other four, which is just plain weird), there’s plenty to see and do here. In recent years the region has really upped its dining options game, adding upscale restaurants with unique dining options, craft breweries and the development of the New Bohemia district. There’s several key entertainment districts in the Cedar Rapids area worth exploring. Downtown Cedar Rapids hosts the most bars and restaurants, mainly catering to the office/business crowd. New Bohemia is the […]

Iowa Travel Guide: Sioux City

Some folks have misconceptions about Northwest Iowa’s population center, but I would actually rank Sioux City 3rd in the state (behind Des Moines and Iowa City) as the best city for a fun restaurant, bar and entertainment scene. Once a major manufacturing center, Sioux City slowly lost its industry base over the past two decades. It’s remade itself into the entertainment hub of the tri-state area, bringing in a Hard Rock Cafe Casino, improving on the restaurant options on 4th Street, and adding in the new Pearl Street bar district. It’s also home to some of the best authentic Mexican […]

Iowa Travel Guide: The Quad Cities

Consisting of the Iowa cities of Bettendorf and Davenport, and the cities of Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in Illinois, the Quad Cities provide a unique facet to Iowa geography. Combined, the cities are about three-fourths the size of the Greater Des Moines area. The Quad Cities are a frequent stop alongside places like Des Moines, Ames, and Iowa City because of their population, unique swing-state diversity in political views, and welcoming attitudes toward all things Caucus. Check out these fan-favorite spots in the area that were recommended to Starting Line: The Quad Cities’ Best Restaurants, Bars, and Coffee […]

Iowa Travel Guide: Iowa City

Home to the state’s largest college, the University of Iowa, Iowa City features the greatest variety and quality of bars and restaurants than anywhere else in the state, save for Des Moines. There’s no shortage of sports and dive bars, and the University of Iowa has often been ranked among the top party schools in the nation. But there’s also a significant amount of upscale dining options, gastropubs, classic diners, craft breweries, ethnic food restaurants and live music bars. Check out the favorite spots that were recommended to Starting Line, and come back often as we update the list:

Iowa Travel Guide: Des Moines

Starting Line will offer a series of Iowa Travel Guides to all of Iowa’s main cities throughout the course of the year for visiting journalists and campaign staff to use on their trips. Let’s start out with the Capitol City. Des Moines has undergone a cultural renaissance in the past ten years. The downtown and neighboring East Village areas have opened amazing new restaurants and bars, and new apartments filled with young professionals spring up nearly every month. There’s so much going on in Des Moines that it’s impossible to even come close to providing a complete guide – we’ll […]