Written by Shelby Christensen
There are so many good reasons to live in the Greater Des Moines metro area, (just check out the numerous complimentary rankings Des Moines has received from national publications!) It is also known as a family-friendly place with tons of parks, entertainment and community events. And if you need to go somewhere else (not that you’d want to), the Des Moines International Airport is right there.
So, if you’ve already decided to move to Des Moines or are still researching your decision, this relocation guide will cover the basics and perks of living in Des Moines and surrounding communities like West Des Moines, the East Village neighborhood in Des Moines, Ankeny, Clive, Urbandale, Altoona, Johnston and Waukee. And, if you happen to be looking for a new bank or a mortgage loan to buy a home in Des Moines, we hope you’ll check us out to see what makes Lincoln Savings Bank better.
Cost of Living
Des Moines has the combined strength of a growing economy, with unemployment lower than the national average, and a lower-than-average cost of living, according to BestPlaces.net. The median home price is $140,800, putting the dream of home ownership comfortably within reach of Des Moines families. No wonder the metro area ranked third on The Ascent’s list of best cities for high salaries and low cost of living.
Of course, cost of living isn’t the only feature that contributes to a positive quality of life. The Greater Des Moines area also offers convenient transportation options and short commute times.
- Des Moines is located at the crossroads of I-35 and I-80, major interstates that span coasts and borders.
- Downtown Des Moines can be traversed on foot and, in the winter, by four miles of connecting skywalks.
- There are many bicycle trails in and around Des Moines. The city also has a public bike share program called BCycle.
- Enjoy regional bus service from the Des Moines Regional Transit Authority (DART). A free downtown shuttle is also available.
Notable Communities and Neighborhoods
From city to suburbs, small towns to countryside, the Greater Des Moines area has something for everyone. And within your choice of towns and neighborhoods to call home, you can also choose from a variety of housing stock, including apartments vs single family homes and historical vs new. Here are some of the metro area’s most notable communities:
Des Moines Neighborhoods
- Beaverdale: Largest neighborhood in the city; known for its tree-lined streets and distinctive brick houses.
- East Village: Walkable, trendy and full of character, the Historic East Village offers residents the big city feel.
- Sherman Hill: Des Moines’ oldest residential neighborhood and offers a rich blend of distinct architecture and history.
- Market District: One of downtown Des Moines' up-and-coming areas featuring new residential buildings, bars and restaurants.
Des Moines Suburbs
- Altoona: Home of Adventureland. Small-town feeling. Great place to raise a family.
- Ankeny: Boasts more than 40 parks and playgrounds and one of the fastest growing cities in the country according to the U.S Census Bureau.
- Clive: Offers a great trail system for those who enjoy the outdoors.
- Grimes: Offers a more rural or country-feeling lifestyle.
- Johnston: Offers larger lots and home sizes for the growing family. Miles of trails and other family-friendly amenities.
- Pleasant Hill: A young and vibrant community with rapid growth.
- Norwalk: A great southern suburb to raise a family.
- Urbandale: Named “Best Suburb For Buying Your First Home” by Movoto.
- Waukee: One of Iowa’s fastest-growing cities. “Best Public School System”
- West Des Moines: Find the conveniences of the city and the benefits of a suburb.
- Windsor Heights: An easy commute to downtown Des Moines.
The Greater Des Moines area is home to a variety of well-regarded educational options. Here’s a breakdown of public school districts, private schools, and universities/colleges.
Public School Districts
- Adel DeSoto Minburn Community School District
- Ankeny Community School District
- Bondurant-Farrar Community School District
- Carlisle Community School District
- Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District
- Des Moines Public Schools
- Johnston Community School District
- North Polk Community School District
- Norwalk Community School District
- Prairie City-Monroe Community School District
- Saydel Community School District
- Southeast Polk Community District
- Urbandale Community School District
- Van Meter Community School District
- Waukee Community School District
- West Des Moines Community School District
- Ankeny Christian Academy
- Catholic Tuition Organization - Diocese of Des Moines
- Des Moines Christian School
- Grand View Christian School
- Heart of Iowa STO
- Iowa Christian Academy
- Iowa Lutheran School Tuition Organization
- Legacy of Grace STO
Higher Education Options
- Central College
- Des Moines Area Community College
- Des Moines University - Iowa Health Sciences University
- Drake University
- Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
- Grand View University
- Grinnell College
- Iowa Valley Community College District
- Mercy College of Health Sciences
- Purdue Global - Des Moines Campus
- Simpson College
- University of Iowa - Des Moines Programs
- Iowa State University
Get started on the mundane but essential process of establishing new utility accounts or transferring an existing one to your new address.
- Des Moines Water Works
- Mid-American Energy Company
In the Des Moines area, there are a number of trusted healthcare facilities for all of your medical needs. In addition to the hospitals listed below, the region is home to numerous urgent care centers, medical practices, pediatricians, dentists, mental health and addiction facilities and veterinarians.
- MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center
- UnityPoint Health-Iowa Methodist Medical Center
- Blank Children’s Hospital
- Broadlawns Medical Center
- MercyOne West Des Moines Medical Center
- Dallas County Hospital
Local Attractions and Things to Do
There is no shortage of fun to be had in the Des Moines metro area. Here are some of our favorite attractions and activities:
- The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI)
- The 80/35 Music Festival
- Iowa State Fair
- Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market
- Living History Farms
- Adventureland Park
- Sleepy Hollow Sports Park
- Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino
- Des Moines Art Center
- Science Center of Iowa
- Historical Museum
- Capitol Building
- Take a daytrip to the Tulip Time Festival in Pella.
Parks & Recreation
In summer and winter and all year round, Des Moines offers plenty of outdoor recreation activities. Here’s where to go to get active outside:
- Iowa Parks and Recreation
- Iowa Department of Natural Resources
- Altoona Parks and Recreation
- Ankeny Parks and Recreation
- Bondurant Parks and Recreation
- Carlisle Parks and Recreation
- Clive Parks and Recreation
- Des Moines Parks and Recreation
- Grimes Parks and Recreation
- Grinnell Parks and Recreation
- Indianola Parks and Recreation
- Johnston Parks and Recreation
- Knoxville Parks and Recreation
- Newton Parks and Recreation
- Norwalk Parks and Recreation
- Pella Parks and Recreation
- Pleasant Hill Parks and Recreation
- Polk City Parks and Recreation
- Urbandale Parks and Recreation
- Windsor Heights Parks and Recreation
- Waukee Parks and Recreation
- West Des Moines Parks and Recreation
- Winterset Parks and Recreation
Experience better banking at LSB!
New to the Des Moines metro area? Let us be the first to welcome you at one of our Des Moines area locations. From checking and savings accounts to home loans, we have everything you’re looking for at LSB. Lincoln Savings Bank has been partnering with local families and businesses since 1902. Contact us today!
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