One of the first things every Des Moines guide usually mentions is that the city is constantly making it onto the top of best places to live lists. The relative low cost of living and the city's cheap housing stock make it attractive for many, but what people here really care about is finding things to do in Des Moines during their off times.

People looking for some of the best deals in town on food and produce would do themselves a big favor by waking up on a Saturday morning, grabbing a couple of coffees and heading down to the Des Moines Farmer's Market. In addition to all the amazing fruit, vegetables, breads and cakes, there are tons of unique food stands as well. There's the pupusa stand for the person looking to satisfy her El Salvadoran meat-pie fix. For the foodie with a sweet tooth, the Farmer's Market will soon start serving sweet corn ice cream, a treat that has recently won rave reviews from everyone who has tried it. For the group that didn't have a chance to grab breakfast before arriving, there's a wide selection of breakfast burritos from around the world that will put the McDonald's version to shame.

For those times when the most important thing is just hanging out with friends, every guide to Des Moines should mention the Mars Cafe. Great coffee, delicious wine, awesome music and a relaxed vibe make this a great spot for students and locals alike. The weekend brunch is phenomenal, with offerings like thick-sliced French toast made from Challah and drenched with toppings like bananas, nuts and syrup or berry compote topped with whipped cream. Located on University Avenue, this local cafe should be a part of every Des Moines guide.

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