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Old 08-07-2011, 12:00 AM
Location: Tennessee
32,812 posts, read 27,351,213 times
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I'm from northeast Tennessee, work in southwest VA fifty miles from home, and am looking to go somewhere on vacation off the beaten path next month to scope the place out for a future move. Iowa has a relatively strong economy, unlike south central Appalachia. I'll most likely be driving as I have ten days off. I'm 24, just graduated last year with a degree in economics, and I work in IT for a federal contractor.

I will most likely be driving, first stop is going to be Des Moines, as it seems the most likely place I'd end up for jobs in my field. I live in a town of about 40,000, and it's mostly a retirement community with few opportunities fir young people who aren't in health care or education. I work in a town of 3,000 and there is absolutely no reason someone would move to southwest VA without family/job offer. It's one of the most economically depressed areas I've had the displeasure of having to deal with. I'm currently paying $14 a day in gas to/from work, pay 9.5% sales tax in TN, and also have to pay VA state income tax. I'm getting drilled financially from several angles and an adjustment is in order.

Iowa City seems to have a young vibe I'd like to experience, having a large
uni and all. Also it seems far more cosmopolitan and cultured than I'm used to...

I'd also like to check out Dubuque and maybe even Decorah, but I'm open to suggestions as I'm off from the 7th to the 17th of next month. I will definitely be catching Iowa vs Iowa state

What should I be looking to do up there with around a week on my hands? I'm going to put in some job applications at relevant employers until I leave, but the trip is mainly pleasure, not business.

I'd also want to check out Dubuque and maybe other things in southwest
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:36 PM
Location: Minneapolis
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Of the cities you listed, the ones that seem to me like the best fit for you are Des Moines, Iowa City, and actually Decorah.
Des Moines is a really good place to be for a young econ major. It's the biggest city in the state and it feels like it. It's becoming more and more urban and hip every year. Big insurance industry. Principle Insurance has a big presence in the city. It doesn't have quite the youthful reputation Iowa City has, but we do have Drake University and Grand View University in town and Iowa State and Simpson College not far off, so there's a reasonable amount of youth culture. We also have very cheap gas.

Iowa City is quite a bit smaller, but just like you said, it's git its big university and its own funky little subculture. It's a nice kind of under-the-radar city.

Decorah is the curveball here. It's a small town pretty far from any city (I believe Rochester, MN is closest), but it is an awesome community with a lot of great things happening. It's a college town, so there are about 2500 more residents from September to May. Luther College is a very big music school that places a huge emphasis on fine arts and culture, so there are all kinds of performances coming through throughout the year (everything from Ben Folds to Sean Kingston to the American Brass Quintet), and there's a huge Christmas concert every year that packs the town (like to the point where you have to get your hotel 6 months early). In town, there's a Norwegian-American history museum, a food co-op, a farmers market, etc. It's an odd little town, and it may be a little harder yo find s job, but it's definitely worth a visit. Another nice thing is that the scenery up there is very similar to Appalachia, so it's pretty and maybe a little familiar for you.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:03 AM
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Des Moines was recently named America's Best City for Young Professionals by Forbes magazine -- an awesome honor, and one that we think is fitting. Here at Drake University, we put together a website about life in Des Moines. We usually share it with prospective students, but it may be valuable to you regardless of whether or not you're interested in higher ed opportunities. It's at [url]http://www.drake.edu/advantage/life/desmoines/[/url] and includes photos, text and video about shopping, careers, entertainment, attractions, etc. Hope it helps!
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