Essentially a suburb of Des Moines, West Des Moines is known for its blend of trendy big-city style and authentic historic heart. The sleek side of the city is evident in places like Jordan Creek Town Center, a 200-acre retail, dining, entertainment, and recreation development, and its past is on display in downtown's historic Valley Junction district. The renovated railroad district features about 120 art galleries, specialty stores, and restaurants in meticulously maintained buildings. These date to the city's boom time in the late 1800s, when the roads bounded by eight-foot-wide wooden sidewalks bustled with horse-drawn traffic and a trolley line. Because of the high number of insurance companies located in West Des Moines, event venues include plentiful options in restaurants, shopping, and hotels, and its location off of I-80 and I-35 makes it easy to get to attractions and restaurants throughout the metro area.
West Des Moines is a 15-minute drive from Des Moines International Airport, which is served by Allegiant Air, American Airlines (American Eagle), Delta, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways. Those airlines provide nonstop service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago (Midway and O'Hare), Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Newark, NJ/New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Punta Gorda, Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg, and Washington, DC. Some West Des Moines hotels provide airport shuttles, but visitors can also take the DART bus to/from the airport for $1.75-$2 each way.
Chief among stand-alone meeting venues in West Des Moines is the Hy-Vee Conference Center. The Hy-Vee Conference Center is undergoing construction, with plans to reopen in Spring 2016.
When it comes to hotel venues in West Des Moines, the largest capacity is at the 285-room Sheraton West Des Moines, which features 23,000 square feet of function space in 20 rooms. Other meeting hotels include the 219-room West Des Moines Marriott, which can handle 450 for a meeting; the 180-room Drury Inn & Suites, which accommodates up to 200 people for a meeting; the 137-room Holiday Inn & Suites at Jordan Creek, which can seat 420 people for a meeting; and the 133-room Valley West Inn, which can handle groups of up to 112 people.
For off-site special events, West Des Moines provides several options. Jordan House, a stately Victorian home of Italianate Gothic design that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has 16 meticulously maintained period rooms and will host intimate groups, while Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar and Restaurant can handle up to 400 people for a party, and the Nature Lodge, on the shore of 232-acre Blue Heron Lake in 700-acre Raccoon River Park, has space for an event of up to 120 people. For large groups, there is Val Air Ballroom, a major concert venue in the metro area that provides a blank slate space to accommodate up to 3,000 people.
West Des Moines is a meat-and-potatoes kind of place, but can also get a little funky and ethnic—an area where meeting delegates can get anything from Lebanese falafels and Thai chicken pizza to butternut squash gnocchi. Among the favored dining destinations for meeting groups are the Club Car Restaurant and Lounge, a cozy restaurant known as a great place for lunch meetings; Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, an upscale spot that has private dining capabilities; Trostel's Dish, a locally owned restaurant that specializes in tapas; Waterfront Seafood Market, a favorite stop for locals; and Jethro's BBQ ‘n Jambalaya, made famous for its barbecue when its sister location in Des Moines was featured on the Travel Channel's Man vs. Food. It was also named "Manliest Restaurant" in the Midwest by Men's Health Magazine.