South Des Moines
on the east shore of the Puget Sound lies between the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, roughly bordered to the west by Pacific Highway. This neighborhood attracts residents looking for excellent access to the beaches along the Puget Sound, a diverse community suitable for all economic levels, and the small-town feel of a population below 30,000 people. South Des Moines also houses
the Saltwater State Park, one of the most popular state parks on the Puget Sound.
Schools in South Des Moines
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Restaurants & Nightlife
Find many of the best restaurants in South Des Moines located around the Des Moines Marina, within the shopping center and nearby. Expect a strong focus on local seafood, but also a variety of national and international cuisines.
Look out for The Fish Basket, a roaming food truck that sells freshly fried seafood all across the neighborhood. Check the website for posts detailing the truck’s schedule so you know where to go when you need your fix of fish and chips. Choose a classic but simple cod and fries served with a lemon slice, or opt for a fish taco or crispy salmon burger.
Primarily an extensive whiskey bar, The Scotch and Vine sells over 250 label brands but also serves brunch and dinner options with a focus on American cuisine. Try the two-rib pork chop, known on the menu as “Hog Heaven,” for a locally praised meat entree marinated in Maker’s Mark bourbon and served with caramelized apples, potatoes au gratin and seasonal vegetables.
Wally’s Chowder House serves traditional New England clam chowder as well as a variety of fish and chips. Try the signature clam chowder, served in cup, bowl and quart amounts, or opt to have it served in a bread bowl.
When it comes to nightlife, South Des Moines features a few options worthy of consideration. Watch your team on one of the many screens at the All Star Sports Bar while you enjoy a drink and some snacks, or make use of the establishment’s ping-pong table. For a party on the go, book the Creative Bus to deliver you to your big event, or simply cruise around on the bus itself with your friends. Head to Yardarm Pub for affordable drinks and a nightly steak special. For theatre and live music options, consider heading into Seattle or Tacoma.
History & Culture
Settled in 1872, the Duwamish and Muckleshoot Indians originally used South Des Moines as a regular fishing and clamming site. Prior to World War II, farming fueled the local economy. After the war, the neighborhood saw increased urbanization due to a rise in population, and the city was eventually incorporated in 1959. Notable for its unique topology allowing easy access to the water, South Des Moines capitalizes on this feature with an 838-berth boat marina that was built in 1970, with the later addition of a concrete and aluminum fishing pier.
The Des Moines Historical Society features a number of historical relics related to the area, located on South 225th Street near the marina. The Des Moines Arts Commission hosts regular arts events, such as Shakespeare in the Park, and has a documented “Art Walk” where visitors may see works of art all around South Des Moines.
A bus and car dependent city, don’t expect to spend much time walking in South Des Moines thanks to the distance between its businesses and the size of the area. Find an exception at the Des Moines Marina, a walking- and bicycle-friendly portion of the neighborhood where many of the businesses can be found in close proximity to one another.
Because King County Metro services South Des Moines, its few transportation lines allow you to reach Seattle proper fairly easily, but personal automobile still provide your primary means of transportation. Ride-share services such as Uber do not operate in the Seattle region, but residents can hire private cars.
South Des Moines also abuts Sea Tac International Airport, lies near Interstate 5 and shares a rough boundary with Pacific Highway. Find ample public parking at parks, the Des Moines Marina and other business locations, with some limited on-street parking. Really only an option in specific areas of South Des Moines, locals tend not to rely on bicycle as a main transportation method due to the limited biking infrastructure within the neighborhood.
Expect to enjoy a reasonable cost of living in South Des Moines when compared to the city neighborhoods of Seattle, though amenities still price at around 16 percent higher than the average for Washington State. Public transit operated by King County Metro costs you approximately $3 for a trip into downtown Seattle. The average cost of a one-bedroom
apartment sits at $851, just under 10 percent higher than the Washington state average. Expect to pay just over $8.50 for a glass of beer and an average cost of 2.5 percent higher than the national average for a gallon of gas.
Head to the Des Moines Marina District for a wide variety of shopping options, from chain stores to boutiques and specialty stores, as well as plenty of eateries. Visit All Points Yarn, a dedicated shop for knitters that stocks yarn, design software and knitting machines. To search for a special treasure or a really good deal, try Annie’s Attic, a consignment store selling a variety of goods ranging from affordable clothing to vintage furnishings. Retro video-game fans flock to Dpad Gaming for its plentiful stock of past games and consoles. The store hosts a game night once a week and may be willing to trade for your old games.
Find a few chain grocery stores within the neighborhood of South Des Moines; for instance, near the Des Moines Marina, look out for ABC Grocery, a basic local chain store selling most major brands and labels. B&E Meats and Seafood remains a local favorite for freshly butchered meat and freshly caught seafood. Try Bartell Drugs, a regional chain that stocks basic groceries and houses a pharmacy to fill your prescriptions. Head to the north end of the South Des Moines Marina to find a local farmer’s market that operates from June until October each year, featuring artisan and craft booths alongside the fresh produce.
Enjoy several parks in and around South Des Moines, such as the Steven J. Underwood Memorial Park, a 20.5-acre city park that includes softball fields and an activity center. Des Moines Park features walkable trails and basic amenities, while Powells Wood provides an extensive garden space housing a variety of trees and plants. All parks feature exercise
areas for walkers and runners, and allow pets,
although they are required to be kept on a leash.
All parks in the neighborhood remain free to the public with the exception of Powells Wood, which charges a $5 entry fee. Head to the Saltwater State Park located in the middle of South Des Moines to experience one of the most-used state parks on the Puget Sound. Dive to explore marine life at the only underwater artificial reef in a state park, or enjoy the beach access and nature trails. Take the kids to enjoy nature watching and sailboarding, as well as the horseshoe pit. The park requires that cars have a pass, which can be purchased on site or online.