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Old 09-09-2007, 12:06 PM
 
2,502 posts, read 8,264,623 times
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I'm a midwest native, but have been living in Las Vegas for the past few years for job reasons. The booming growth and excess of California transplants is getting to be a bit much for me though, so I'm looking for something a bit more stable and locally-oriented. A city or town where people actually have roots, and there's some sort of local identity.

So, questions:

1. Which cities have the most to do in terms of art, restaurants, culture, shopping, etc.? Bonus points for a liberal vibe, a variety of job opportunities, and a decent population of 22-28 year olds. I've looked at Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, but I'm seeking some local perspective on this.

2. Where do most transplants come from? I know that there are a lot from Chicago, but I'm wondering what other states are represented.

3. When people say that Des Moines is rapidly growing....is it in a good way or a bad way? (I see Vegas-like growth as bad, as an example).

4. What are your favorite and least favorite things about living in Iowa?
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
1,744 posts, read 6,782,893 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radraja View Post
So, questions:

1. Which cities have the most to do in terms of art, restaurants, culture, shopping, etc.? Bonus points for a liberal vibe, a variety of job opportunities, and a decent population of 22-28 year olds. I've looked at Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, but I'm seeking some local perspective on this.

2. Where do most transplants come from? I know that there are a lot from Chicago, but I'm wondering what other states are represented.

3. When people say that Des Moines is rapidly growing....is it in a good way or a bad way? (I see Vegas-like growth as bad, as an example).

4. What are your favorite and least favorite things about living in Iowa?
1. Des Moines wins here, being the "big city" in Iowa. You might not want to write off Cedar Rapids, given it's proximity to Iowa City, which is very liberal and artsy..

2. I don't think there's a specific place where most transplants come from, other than the rural parts of the state. It seems like there's a big Iowa-Texas connection though.

3. Definitely a good way. It seems like Des Moines has grown drastically in the past five years or so all for the better, I would say. There's more to do, it's more visually appealing and so-on.

4. The people and the high quality of life. Sometimes you'll hear about things going on in bigger cities and wonder why you don't get that here and that can be frustrating. The weather can get pretty bad and the airport sucks.
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:29 PM
 
450 posts, read 2,049,770 times
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1. Des Moines, Iowa City, or Council Bluffs. Any one of these cities will fill your bill...all will offer job opportunities, arts and culture, and many restarurants/ stores.

2. I agree that there isn't really a specific place where transplants come from. But I see alot of people from Minneapolis/St.Paul.

3. I agree again with the previous post. The growth in Des Moines has been good. There has been some growth from unskilled foreign workers, but not nearly to the extent you see in other cities. Alot of white-collar job growth in Des Moines.

4. Favorites : Good quality of life, low housing costs, great eduacation system.
Least Favorites: The long winter is tough, and taxes are very high.
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:24 AM
 
196 posts, read 727,635 times
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I would say the DM Metro is growing in a good way. It is the 2nd fastest growing metro in the Midwest (after Sioux Falls) for metros over 100,000 people. Midwest growth is nothing compared to Las Vegas' huge sprawl.

The DM Metro has about 535,000 residents and is adding about 10K-15K people per year (rate of growth from 2000-2006).

Iowa City is great if you like a younger demographic and college-oriented city. Council Bluffs is in the Omaha metro which is doing very well and is enjoying a rebirth much like DM.

Compared to CR? I responded to a guy who thought DM was just an overgrown CR a couple months ago to show him DM and CR were quite different:

//www.city-data.com/forum/iowa/...ty-iowa-5.html

Billions of private and public funds have been poured into the DM metro in the last 5 years, including: Wells Fargo expansion downtown & suburban, Nationwide Insurance expansion downtown, new arena & convention center, new Science Center/IMAX, new downtown library, new mall (largest in Iowa) in WDM, upgrades to airport, zoo, dowtown freeway, new beltway loop, riverwalk.

Transplants, probably mostly from Iowa & surrounding states, but seeing a lot of international transplants from places like India.

Certainly the weather is nothing like Las Vegas, but we don't have the crowds and corruption of there either.

Last edited by DSMGuy; 09-10-2007 at 07:25 AM.. Reason: minor change
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:21 AM
 
3,376 posts, read 12,360,892 times
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Des Moines and Iowa City are probably the 2 most liberal places. IC has the young crowd of course, but it is the epitome of a "college town." Tons to do, tons of restaurants, bars, festivals, things that cater to the 20-something year olds...but as you grow older, the city demographics won't. I went to college there and love it, but I wouldn't want to live there again. Love to visit though.

Des Moines is a great city; I grew up there and therefore it's a "been there, done that" place for me, but I would recommend it to anyone. Safe, clean, great schools, lots to do, and they have seen a ton of growth in the past years. The downtown area has a new east side area (i can never remember the name) that is very artsy, has tons of warehouse loft condos, that type of thing. East Village maybe? But DSM is also a great place for families.

Another great thing is that DSM and IC are close to a bunch of other major cities, like Chicago, Minneapolis, KC, StL, Omaha, etc. So it's easy to make a quick weekend trip elsewhere.

Downsides are of course the weather. Although it is liberal, Iowa of course is 93% white and so things can get a little monotonous if you are used to having a ton of other nationalities or races around (like mexican and asian out west where you are). And of course, to go back on what I just said - DSM and IC are very liberal; the rest of the state is very conservative. Makes it interesting during election years at least.
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:05 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,544 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radraja View Post
1. Which cities have the most to do in terms of art, restaurants, culture, shopping, etc.? Bonus points for a liberal vibe, a variety of job opportunities, and a decent population of 22-28 year olds. I've looked at Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, but I'm seeking some local perspective on this.
I think you've pretty much just described Iowa City.

Quote:
Originally Posted by radraja View Post
4. What are your favorite and least favorite things about living in Iowa?
Favorite -- practical, friendly people with common sense; EASY access to quiet space where you can be alone (how do people LIVE being able to hear voices and cars all the time?); down-to-earth focus on things that last, or even on having fun, but no pretense that designer labels or having all the latest gadgets actually means anything about you as a person. Least -- the hot, humid summer. Mosquitoes. Flies. Insularity and sometimes being too self-satisfied. No place to get a decent cream tea served with eccles cakes, rock cakes, fresh raspberry jam and scones (but now I'm getting picky).
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,835,717 times
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I'll try to keep my answers short...something I'm not good at.

1. As everyone has said, that's Iowa City to a T. But don't look past Des Moines...it's made incredible strides in those areas as well. Des Moines is not as liberal or as young of a city, though. I've heard it's attracting a lot of late 20's and 30 something young professionals though...within the insurance industry. Also it's a much bigger city, so that has advantages too.

If you move to Cedar Rapids, you'll spend a lot of time in Iowa City.

2. No specific place really. Eastern Iowa tends to draw a lot of people who are fed up with Chicago, though. At least from the looks of this forum there are a lot of people coming here who're fed up with California and the southwest, too.

3. Hard to understand what you mean here: development wise, job growth, socially/demographically?
I'll answer as far as development goes. It's good and bad at the same time. It's not been completely slash-and-burn like Vegas is. Still, being the liberal I am, I wish they would be more progressive.

4. Favorite--Friendly people, relative lack of crime and poverty, the fact that we manage to have 90% of the big-city benefits with 10% of the big city problems.
Least favorite--Western Iowa arch-conservatives. Steve King. The way the state can't balance rural and urban interests a lot of the time.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:25 PM
 
2,506 posts, read 7,950,049 times
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I'll weigh in as a midwesterner. Des Moines is, of course, the capital of Iowa in every sense. There is alot of sprawl, but Downtown and city are also densifying. Downtown is adding alot of things, the East Bank area has a growing bohemianish area. The area around Drake has a college vibe. There is a good amount of young people, IMO. For a city its size, it is quite impressive. Iowa City is one of my favorite towns. Swarming with college kids and entertainment. Good opportunities and economy. Eastern Iowa is not as flat. I would skip Cedar Rapids, I found it to lack vibrancy. It is alot nicer during a different stage of life from what you seem to be at. Dubuque is a nice area, but I don't know a whole lot about it. The Quad Cities are also interesting. Prob. not as many young people, but some decent local amenities. It had a very blue-collar feeling to me. Ames is home to Iowa State, and is a quick drive to Des Moines. Again, I'm not local, but I have spent a good chunk of time in Iowa.
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Iowa City/Dubuque, IA
100 posts, read 501,699 times
Reputation: 65
1.) I'd take Des Moines over Cedar Rapids, but I'd also encourage you to give Dubuque a look. I wouldn't say it has a "liberal" vibe, (you'd probably only get that in I.C.) but it has voted strongly for the Democratic Party forever. There are (3) 4-year colleges, and a number of other schools in the area, giving Dubuque a decent population of 20-somethings (I am one!). The job opportunities are among the best to be found in the state, as the city had the Midwest's fastest-growing economy last year. It was named one of 10 low-cost locales where jobs are plentiful, and also among the 15 Best Small Places For Business And Careers.

2.) There is definitely a major prescence of ex-Chicagoans here (especially North-Northwest suburbs). There's also a great deal of people from Wisconsin, other parts of Illinois, and, to a lesser extent, Minnesota and Texas. Many transplants from rural areas of Iowa to the cities, though.

3.) Des Moines definitely has solid growth, but it is mostly suburban sprawl, and is happening very quickly. Good if you like the suburbs, bad if you don't.

4.) Favorite: Nice, friendly people who actually talk to their neighbors, attend community events, say "hi" to you when they see you, show concern for you. Least favorite: Erratic weather. Hot/cold/humid/dry. We have a continental climate here, so things are varied, and change quickly. Last week in Dubuque: 90 degrees. This week: 65. An extreme example, but you get the idea!

Good luck with wherever you end up!
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