Moving to Des Moines

Prepare for a thrilling exploration as we venture into the heart of the heartland, Des Moines, IA. A city that's both bustling and bucolic, Des Moines offers a captivating melange of vibrant urban life and serene countryside charm. Imagine a place that feels like home, no matter where you're from, drawing you in with its compelling culture, enriching experiences, warm people, and promising opportunities. So, whether you're an urbaniser or nature-lover, bachelor or family-oriented, adventurer or peace-seeker, our comprehensive Des Moines relocation guide is your magic carpet ride into this exciting new chapter of life!

Moving to Des Moines, IA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Des Moines

1. Des Moines is more than cornfields!

While Iowa may be known for its mesmerizing plains and cornfields, Des Moines, its capital, is a bustling hub of arts, culture, and mouth-watering cuisine. Don't write it off as just a farming state - it's got more flair than you'd imagine!

2. A Big City With A Small-Town Feel

Des Moines is known for its friendly, laid-back vibe. It's a place where people don't just live; they create communities. You're likely to know your neighbors, local store owners, and even the mail-carrier. Expect big-city amenities with the warmth of a small town, making it a city with a heart!

3. Outstanding Job Opportunities

Not only does Des Moines have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but it's also a mecca for job-seekers in industries like insurance, finance, and health care. Companies like Principal Financial Group, Meredith Corporation, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield (to name a few) have their headquarters here.

4. A Hidden Gem for Foodies

Yes, you heard that right! Des Moines isn't just about corn; it's a paradise for food lovers, with a vibrant culinary scene that's burgeoning with talent. From food trucks to fine dining, farmers' markets to breweries, vegan offerings to carnivore delights, Des Moines offers flavors to appease every palate.

5. World-Class Events and Festivals

Apart from the weekly Downtown Farmers' Market, which attracts over 25,000 people from May to October, here's a little-known fact: The city plays host to the Iowa State Fair, one of the largest and most famous agriculture and food events in the country. It also hosts the Des Moines Arts Festival and 80/35 Music Festival, keeping the city buzzing with activity all year round.

6. Bring Your Biking Attire!

Now for something completely unexpected: Des Moines takes biking seriously! The city boasts over 800 miles of biking trails that snake through various scenic spots. No matter where in the city you are, you are never more than a few blocks away from a trail. Biking is so important here that there's even a week-long event called 'RAGBRAI' that attracts thousands of cyclists from all over the world. So, buckle your helmet and get ready to pedal!

Looking to give your life a little Midwestern spice? Des Moines, with its blend of city hustle and pastoral tranquillity, job opportunities, rich culture, and friendly community might be just the place for you. The city oozes charm with its diverse culinary options, extraordinary sights, and unexpected pleasures like its biking culture. So why wait? Come join the fun in Des Moines!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Des Moines

Pros of Living in Des Moines

Low Cost of Living

Compared to other cities, Des Moines is affordable in terms of expenses such as groceries, healthcare, utilities, and transportation. This affordability extends to housing prices, making homeownership more possible for a wider range of incomes.

Quality Education

Des Moines is home to some quality educational institutions and boasts a well-regarded public school system. Additionally, the city has access to several higher educational institutions including Drake University and Grand View University.

Vibrant Arts and Culture Scene

The city never disappoints with its art scene, music festivals, and live shows. The Des Moines Art Center, the Des Moines Symphony, and the annual Des Moines Arts Festival are a few examples of the city's appreciation for arts and culture.

Progressive Economy

Des Moines is known for its robust economy which is majorly driven by the insurance industry, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail trade. It has a relatively low unemployment rate with ample job opportunities in various sectors.

Recreational Activities

The city is filled with opportunities for outdoor activities. From the beautiful Des Moines River, perfect for fishing and boating, to the numerous biking trails and parks, there's plenty to enjoy.

Cons of Living in Des Moines

Winter Weather

The winters in Des Moines can be quite harsh, often with heavy snowfall and extremely cold temperatures. For individuals who aren't fond of cold or snow, winters may pose a significant drawback.

Lack of Public Transportation

Public transportation in Des Moines is not as extensive as in some larger cities. This means most residents are dependent on their personal vehicles for commuting to work or errands.

Lack of Diversity

Compared to larger cities, Des Moines lacks in cultural diversity. While the city is steadily becoming more diverse, it has a way to go in terms of offering a broad mix of food, cultures, and entertainment.

Lower salaries

While the cost of living is low, salaries in Des Moines often reflect this. The average salary may be lower than in bigger cities or other states which may affect your lifestyle depending on your occupation.

Mid-sized City pitfalls

Des Moines is a mid-sized city and doesn't offer the vast array of amenities, nightlife options, and diverse industries you'd find in a larger city. If you're used to living in a bigger metropolis, the smaller town feel might not be as fulfilling.

Modern day picture of Des Moines, IA highlighting pros and cons of living in Des Moines, IA

Is Des Moines a Good Place to Live?

Des Moines, IA is a great place to live because of its affordable cost of living, friendly communities, and great job opportunities in a variety of fields. It's also a haven for nature lovers with ample outdoor spaces for biking, hiking or bird-watching. Plus, Des Moines is rich in arts and culture, with plentiful theaters, galleries, and festivals happening throughout the year!

What Is Des Moines Famous For?

The Iowa State Fair

Des Moines, every year, is the host of the Iowa State Fair, one of the most popular state fairs in the United States. Primarily taking place over 11 days in August, this cultural gem showcases farm exhibits, live music, competitions, and all the food on a stick you could ever dream of!

Principal Riverwalk

The Principal Riverwalk is an iconic part of Des Moines' downtown area. The beautiful 1.2-mile trail provides a pathway to some of the must-see attractions such as the Des Moines Botanical Center and the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge. It's a great place to take a leisurely stroll or even a bike ride.

Des Moines Art Center

The Des Moines Art Center, known for its distinguished collection of contemporary art, is a must-visit for art aficionados. The center, designed by three renowned architects, provides an immersive experience, taking the visitor through different styles and eras of architecture as they tour through the exhibits.

Adventureland Park

With over 100 rides, shows, and attractions, Adventureland Park is a highlight for families and thrill-seekers. It offers everything from roller coasters and Ferris wheels to live entertainment that promises a full-day of fun and adventure.

Capital building of Des Moines, IA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, the property tax rate in Des Moines, IA was 1.79%, which is considerably higher compared to the US average of 1.03%. However, this rate is low compared to other large cities within the US.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in Des Moines, IA was 6% flat rate by the year 2023. When combined with the Polk county sales tax of 1%, it's slightly lower than the national median of 7.65% for combined state and county sales taxes.

Income Tax

In Des Moines, IA, as of 2023, the income tax was a progressive tax with rates ranging from 0.33% to 8.53%. This tax rate is reasonably competitive compared to the national average, although higher earners may end up paying more.

Housing Market

The housing market in Des Moines, IA offers great value to both buyers and renters. Median home values are significantly lower than the national average at $149,200 while rental costs average at $895 per month. Home appreciation over the past 10 years has been 5%, above the national average. Des Moines also boasts low cost of living and a strong job market, making it an attractive choice for those looking to buy or rent. However, renters and buyers should consider potential issues like weather damage which can impact housing quality and insurance costs.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Des Moines, Iowa is considerably lower compared to other major US cities. It offers a more affordable lifestyle with housing expenses being the most prominent contributor to the overall cost difference. In terms of health care, groceries, utilities, and transportation, they are also typically less expensive in Des Moines. Hence, it continues to draw attention as an economic yet enjoyable area to reside, providing an appealing contrast to the rising costs of living found in many other urban areas across the nation.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Des Moines, IA enjoys a humid continental climate with hot, humid summers, cold, dry winters, and wet springs and falls. Summertime temperatures average in the mid 80s degrees Fahrenheit, while winter temperatures often dip below freezing. Rainfall averages around 36 inches per year, with much of it falling in spring and summer. Snow is common in winter, averaging around 33 inches per year. As part of the Tornado Alley, Des Moines frequently experiences severe storms, specifically tornadoes in spring and early summer. Thunderstorms can also occur anytime from spring to fall, occasionally bringing large hail and damaging winds. Despite these weather challenges, Des Moines also experiences plenty of pleasant, sunny weather and showcases beautiful fall foliage and spring blossoms, making it a city of compelling natural spectacles.

Typical weather in Des Moines, IA

Economy & Job Market

* Agriculture and Food Production

* Manufacturing

* Health Care and Social Assistance

* Finance and Insurance

* Education Services

Des Moines, the capital of Iowa, is like a pot on the oven, bubbling over with opportunity! With a diverse economic spread, it has both preserved its roots and embraced change. Historically viewed as an agricultural state, don't let the cornfields fool you - Des Moines isn't all tractors and cow tipping. It's a significant hub for the insurance industry and home to many leading financial service providers. The healthcare sector is also booming and manufacturing, while not quite as glamorous as health care or finance, is a crucial pillar of Des Moines' economy. And, of course, the education sector mightily contributes to shaping the city's personality and future.

If you're thinking of packing your bags and heading to the city of skywalks, here's the 411 on job hunting. The city's unemployment rate is relatively low, meaning job opportunities are aplenty here. A whopping number of Fortune 500 companies have set up shop in the area, so if the corporate world is your jam, you're in luck! The healthcare sector is particularly vibrant, with companies constantly on the lookout for doctors, nurses, technicians, and administrative staff. Insurance providers and financial service companies also actively seek a wide range of professionals, so don't forget to polish up that resume. As for where to look, Downtown Des Moines is a bustling hive of business activities, whilst Wes Des Moines hot on its tail. Happy job hunting, folks!

Traffic and Transportation

Traffic in Des Moines, IA? More like, what traffic? With an average commute time of just 20 minutes, your playlists will hardly get a workout! With options like Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) buses and several taxi companies, public transit in this city is pretty solid. DART operates 31 routes around the region, limiting your excuses not to hop on! Need to travel further afield? No worries! You have the Des Moines International Airport at your service, offering flights with multiple airlines. The airport may not be the size of O'Hare, but hey, smaller means less trekking from gate to gate! So, if you want a place where getting around is a breeze, come join us in Des Moines. It's a smooth ride!

What is the traffic like in Des Moines, IA?

Best Neighborhoods in Des Moines

1. Beaverdale

Welcome to Beaverdale, a classic Des Moines neighborhood that pairs darling brick houses with a charming small-town vibe. Often referred to as 'Des Moines' Best Kept Secret,' Beaverdale has an eclectic mix of specialty shops, local eateries, and beautiful parks. Booth Park, a local gem, is perfect for outdoor activities while the Historic Uptown Shopping Center offers a rustic boutiquing experience. Residents pride themselves on an active community where block parties and festivals are frequent, making it perfect for those seeking a sociable, vibrant atmosphere.

2. East Village

If you're a lover of all things buzzing, lively, and artsy, welcome to East Village! This thriving neighborhood, located right in downtown Des Moines, is the home of a flourishing arts and culture scene. Filled with a blend of historic buildings, eclectic boutiques, and trendy eateries, it's a paradise for people craving urban living with an artistic twist. Visit the Iowa State Capitol for a free tour and an unbeatable view of downtown or swing by the Historic East Village for some high-end shopping and dining.

3. Sherman Hill

Time to step back into time with Sherman Hill: a peek into the rich architectural history of Des Moines. It's one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, home to Victorian and Queen Anne style homes that are as charming as they are unique. Stroll through the historic districts, and you'll feel like you've stepped back a century. But don't be fooled - this district is full of life with trendy bars, coffee shops, and its proximity to the art scene in the downtown is a major plus for art enthusiasts.

4. West Des Moines

West Des Moines is a suburban haven for those seeking a more leisurely pace of life without losing city accessibility. Here, you'll find some of the best schools in the area and a wealth of shopping and dining experiences at Jordan Creek Town Center and Valley Junction. The peaceful neighborhoods, coupled with a variety of recreational activities including parks, trails, and golf courses, make West Des Moines a great choice for families.

5. Waveland Park

Last, but definitely not least, allow us to introduce Waveland Park, known for lush greenery and outdoor delight. Home to the Waveland Golf Course, one of the oldest municipal golf courses west of the Mississippi, this neighborhood is perfect for golf enthusiasts. Dog lovers will feel right at home too, with a variety of walking paths available in the beautiful parks. On top of that, with a variety of independent businesses, including bakeries and cafes, there's a sense of homey, down-to-earth charm here.

Deciding where to land when moving to a new city can be somewhat daunting. Each of these Des Moines neighborhoods offers its own unique kind of magic, be it the vintage charm of Sherman Hill, the colorful artistry of East Village, the buzzing community vibe of Beaverdale, the leisurely suburban life of West Des Moines, or the outdoor paradise of Waveland Park. Whichever you choose, prepare yourself for a warm welcome to this vibrant, growing city.

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Things to Do

So, you're moving to Des Moines, IA? Home to the 'Greatest Store in the Universe', a thriving music scene, and a cornucopia of dives that hold generous helpings of Iowa omelets, Des Moines is more than just a spot on the map. This capital city boasts a captivating array of attractions, from cultural experiences to outdoor excursions. Whether you're anthrill-seeker, a foodie or a history buff, you're guaranteed to find something of your interest here. Without further ado, let's delve into the seven must-visit spots in Des Moines.

1. Start your Morning at Raygun

Famously dubbed as the 'Greatest Store in the Universe', Raygun is a vibrant boutique full of quirky T-shirts, unique home decor, and surprising souvenirs. This gem is a great starting point for exploring the East Village neighborhood. Whether you're into humor, politics, or just love cool design, a stop at Raygun is sure to brighten your day.

2. Visit the Des Moines Art Center

View globally recognized works of art at the Des Moines Art Center, with its collection spanning 5,000 years. This isn't your stereotypical stand-offish gallery either; it's equally engaging, with the atmosphere of creativity and discovery permeating every corner.

3. Take a Foodie Tour

Treat your taste buds to local delicacies with the Des Moines Food Tours. Over the space of three hours, the East Village Tour will elevate your senses with an array of samples from delicious eateries, all while you soak up Des Moines's rich history and vibrant culture.

4. Revel in the Relaxation at Gray's Lake

Want to escape the city's bustle? Head to Gray's Lake, where you can kayak, paddleboard, or just gaze at the serene environment from the two-mile trail circling the lake. The recently hatched cygnets are an adorable sight to behold in spring.

5. Discover the Historical East Side

Tour the historical East Side, famous for its Italian-American population. The area is full of vintage brick buildings, family-owned delis, and architectural gems. Start at the iconic St. Anthony's church and end up at Tumea and Sons for the best meatballs in town.

6. Pay a Visit to Vaudeville Mews

For a dose of local music scene, venture to Vaudeville Mews. This hidden spot is packed with indie rock bands, singer-songwriters, and talented DJs. If you're a music enthusiast, a night in this intimate venue will undoubtedly make your 'unforgettable' list.

7. Explore the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Finally, transport yourself to a tropical paradise in the heart of Des Moines. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden houses exotic plants from all over the world, including a sizeable collection of orchids and bonsai trees. Watch the garden burst into a riot of color during spring and autumn months.

In a nutshell, Des Moines is a place of discovery, and that's the secret to enjoying your time here. It's an eclectic blend of off-the-beaten-path shops, world-class art museums, culinary surprises, and outdoor activities. So, break the ice with your new hometown, and pretty soon, you'll groan in amiable irritation at 'those' people who only know Des Moines as a spot on the map. Welcome to Des Moines, home to much more than you'd ever expect-up for the exploration?

Things to do in Des Moines, IA?

Find Movers for Your Des Moines Relocation

Having explored all that Des Moines, IA has to offer, it's clear why you'd want to call this vibrant city home. Preparing for a big move can be challenging, but that's where Great Guys Moving comes in. Leveraging relationships with a network of reputable, licensed, and insured movers, they connect individuals like you with quality service and affordable pricing that meets your moving needs. Now, the only thing remaining is for you to take the next step. Don't delay. Quickly and easily request your free moving quote from Great Guys Moving and start your seamless transition to life in Des Moines.

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