Best Places to Live

Des Moines, IA

Population: 229,062
LIV
SCORE
627
iStock/pabradyphoto

Des Moines is a hip, increasingly youthful city full of art, culture and easy access to outdoor recreation. And don’t forget opportunity: startups based here thrive in a collaborative and inspiring business climate, and large companies like Principal, Nationwide, Mercer, Wells Fargo, Athene and more hang their hats in Iowa’s capital city. The bottom line? There’s money to be made in Des Moines, and entertaining, creative and unique ways to spend it. But rest assured you won’t spend it all on your home: the median home value in Des Moines is just $130k. 

Top Industries and Employers: The top industries here are finance and insurance (including companies like Principal, Nationwide, Mercer, Wells Fargo, Athene), as well as data centers, agbioscience and advanced manufacturing.

Best Coffee Shop: Smokey Row Coffee Co. is a local cafe featuring fresh-roasted coffee and diner-style eats in an industrial-chic space. Oh, and they have ice cream.

Best Local Beer/Brewery: Exile Brewing. The Ruthie Lager is the OG brew and has a really cool backstory

Must-Have Meal: Eatery A’s Berkshire Porkchop, because you have to eat pork when you’re in Iowa, and it’s hard to beat this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant’s take on a pork chop.

Best Co-Working Space: The Depot is Des Moines’ premier co-working hub.

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): The Royal Mile Pub, Des Moines’s British pub, features English dishes, British beers and an extensive scotch list.

Creative Hub: The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is located right downtown, open to all, and a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

Favorite Weekend Activity: The Blank Park Zoo is a family-friendly, activity-rich place to take your kids or just go hang out. 

Free Way to Have Fun: The Downtown Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday (as a drive-thru during COVD-19), and is a-may-zing. How can you not check out a Farmers’ Market in Iowa’s Capital City?

Local Dream Job: Centerfielder for the Iowa Cubs, the AAA Affiliate of the nearby Chicago Cubs.

Read More:

Why Des Moines Is One of America's Best Places to Live
Des Moines is One of the Most Recession-Proof Cities in America 
Foodies, Don’t Sleep on the Des Moines Food Scene 
Heartland Hotspot: Why Millennials Are Flocking to Des Moines

- Tim Carty

"You can build the life you want in Greater Des Moines. Ample opportunities and resources exist to help newcomers get settled and integrated into the community. Business and community leaders are readily available and want to see the region and its residents thrive. The city is on the move, and big ideas are encouraged."

 

Greg Edwards
President & CEO, Catch Des Moines

Des Moines, IA Ranking Data

Civic
31
Demographics
54
Economy
61
Education
50
Health
66
Housing
47
Infrastructure
38