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Waukee, IA: Well-Crafted, Well-Positioned, Well-Connected

Waukee, IA, has much to offer families looking for a smaller Midwestern city, from its small-town feel to convenience and fiber internet.

By Livability on March 30, 2023

fiber internet connectivity

Situated in the heart of west-central Iowa, Waukee and its booming economy offer outstanding job opportunities while retaining the charm and small-town appeal of the rural Midwest. Located near Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines, Waukee’s years of innovative economic development and well-crafted growth planning have attracted both families and business investment — including from tech giant Apple — to the small city. 

Waukee is located on State Route 6, only a short drive to both I-35 and I-80. Just miles from downtown Des Moines and less than two hours to Omaha, Waukee is conveniently positioned between two these two major Midwestern cities. Des Moines is rich with amenities, including colleges and universities, great steakhouses and other restaurants, and shopping of all kinds, from major retailers to boutiques — all of which are easily accessible to Waukee residents.

Waukee’s impressive economy and quality of life have earned the community national recognition as a haven in Iowa that retains a rural feel while sustaining a lively town center. Indeed, in the early-to-mid-2010s, Waukee was named to several prestigious national lists, including placing 22nd on CNN Money’s “Best Places to Live in America” in 2013, and Business Insider’s “37th Best Suburb in America” in 2014. And 2013 Census data indicated that Waukee was Iowa’s fastest growing city.

Beyond Waukee’s ideal small town feel and convenience to big city amenities, Waukee utilizes fiber optic high-speed internet provided by Mi-Fiber, a locally-operated internet service provider. Fiber internet is simply the fastest and most reliable internet available today, making Waukee residents and businesses as well connected as anyone in America — even those living in major U.S. cities!

Below we highlight some of the reasons why Waukee may be an ideal community for your family. From its impressive economic growth to a wealth of local and regional activities throughout the year — both indoor and outdoor — Waukee is worth your consideration.

Downtown Waukee Hosts Many Activities

For a small city, there’s a surprising amount to do in Waukee, just in town. The core of Waukee’s downtown area is known as The Triangle. Centered around The Triangle’s gazebo and small park, you’ll find many shops and eateries, from old-fashioned butcher shops, bakeries and ice-cream parlors, to craft brewing companies selling their ales and lagers. 

In summer, a local farmers market is held at Triangle Park on Wednesday evenings, providing a communal atmosphere, as well as fresh produce. Waukee residents also look forward to an annual arts festival every July at Centennial Park, where live music and concerts, locally grown food, and a large array of local arts and crafts are on display. Also in town is one of the Midwest’s largest IMAX theaters, The Palms, a state-of-the-art cinema that wows moviegoers every night. 

Future Home to a Massive Apple Data Center

Waukee has also caught the eye of one of the world’s largest companies, Apple, Inc., which chose to build an enormous data center in Waukee. Apple’s big bet on Waukee is eye-popping: Over the next several years, it is expected to cost the tech company around $1.3 billion to complete! 

Eventually planned to encompass around 2 million square feet over several structures, Apple’s facility is simply colossal. Powered by renewable energy, Apple’s substantial investment will directly create dozens of well-paying jobs, and boost hundreds of more jobs for the local economy more broadly. 

Waukee’s Outstanding Outdoor Activities

Waukee is located in an especially beautiful part of the Midwest. Many parks and waterways are nearby, offering numerous opportunities for a variety of recreation. 

Indeed, Waukee is particularly lucky to be on Iowa’s famed Raccoon River Valley Trail. One of the best examples of a converted “rail-to-trail” anywhere in America, the Raccoon River Valley Trail spans a 72-mile loop, and includes 89 miles of recreational trails to enjoy. 

Perfect for hikers, cyclists, runners, birdwatchers, and just about anyone looking for a scenic route to play along, the Raccoon River Valley Trail is another reason Waukee stands out. And 13 other Iowa communities are connected along the Trail, allowing residents to visit and learn about their neighbors — and delight in those other towns’ eateries, shops, and parks! 

Back in town, there are several waterways and ponds for Waukee residents to relax along, as well. Tallgrass Pond offers hiking trails and fishing, including for bluegill and largemouth bass. Eighteen parks offer a broad range of activities — or even just natural serenity. Ball fields, soccer fields, basketball courts and other sports are bustling with residents of all ages across these parks. 

Golfers have a bevy of courses in the surrounding area to enjoy. Waukee has its own municipal golf course, Sugar Creek, a 9-hole course that takes full advantage of the natural scenery. In total, there’s a whopping 35 golf courses within 20 miles of Waukee, providing golfers with numerous opportunities to test and improve their swings. 

Nearby Des Moines Provides Capital Amenities to Enjoy

Waukee is also fortunate to be just 15 miles from Iowa’s state capital, Des Moines. Many residents consider Waukee’s location to be just about ideal, with Des Moines and its amenities in easy reach, while still being just far enough away to retain Waukee’s rural, small town feel. 

Several colleges and universities call Des Moines home, providing a lively and fresh atmosphere and many cultural and artistic events throughout the year. While not exactly a “college town” in the way that Ames or Iowa City are famous for, Des Moines’ colleges and universities contribute to a youthful and creative vibe, as well as diversity. 

Des Moines’ culinary scene is hopping, too. Just about everything is nearby, from classic Midwestern steakhouses to gourmet hamburgers and barbecue. And when you need to walk off the excess calories you’ve indulged in, take a leisurely stroll through the Blank Park Zoo. With more 2,000 animals, Iowa’s largest zoo is a fun and educational way to fill a morning or afternoon.  

Waukee residents enjoy other conveniences that come with being near a larger city like Des Moines. Several hospitals serve the area, including the acclaimed University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Des Moines International Airport is just 25 minutes from Waukee, making it easy to reach any destination in America and beyond. 

You can also amble the grounds of the exquisite State Capitol. Iowa’s Statehouse holds the distinction of being the only five-domed capitol building in the United States. The Statehouse also hosts the awarding of the annual World Food Prize, an international honor frequently likened to the Nobel Prize for its prestige. Each year, many hundreds of people, including major singers and other celebrities from across the globe, converge on Des Moines to celebrate the year’s laureate. 

Mi-Fiber Keeps Waukee Well-Connected — and Competitive!

With its economic success and proximity to Des Moines, it only makes sense that Waukee residents also enjoy the best, most reliable internet around. Mi-Fiber’s advanced fiber network provides Waukee residents with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. Such speeds deliver powerful service for even the most demanding of online tasks and streaming activities at home.

Fiber internet also brings greater bandwidth capacity into your home, allowing you to stream TV and movies on more than one device at the same time — and without the pixilation and sluggishness that plague other kinds of inferior internet. Indeed, Mi-Fiber’s speeds approach nearly the speed of light — more than 20 times faster than ordinary copper-based wiring used for cable. 

From its convenience to Des Moines and high-speed fiber internet connectivity, to its small town feel, to many outdoor recreational opportunities and cultural events, Waukee has much to offer families looking for a smaller Midwestern city. Waukee’s many appeals certainly warrant your attention! 

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