U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Iowa
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-01-2015, 02:59 PM
 
27 posts, read 29,212 times
Reputation: 23

Advertisements

Lifelong Richmond, VA-er here who relocated to the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area just over a year ago. I'm STILL adjusting but would be happy to answer any specific questions you have!

My general comment is that Iowa is average. It's nice. And I don't mean that in a bad way. There's nothing awful about it, there's nothing outstanding about it. It's just nice.

Now, some specifics.

The economy is great. Low unemployment, can't find enough people to work (where I live is healthcare and education-centric thanks to the University). Also a growing area.

The weather is okay. Summer, spring and fall are nice. Winter is cold, but they know how to treat the roads here and people know how to drive in snow, so you can get around. Not many snow days home from school for the kiddos. More cold days than anything else. The wind can be wicked. I've never felt strong, cold wind like I do here. And it's amazing to stand on my deck and watch the sun shining to my left and a storm happening to my right. Never saw that before, either.

Schools are average. They operate by district, not by county like in Virginia. My county has all or part of several districts within it. They also have open enrollment into any district, even if you don't live there (with certain exceptions, like overcrowded schools may be closed). The schools themselves are okay. Nothing as great as the best VA schools, nothing as bad as the worst VA schools, but a lot in the middle. Fewer offerings than those schools as well.

It's a great place to raise a family. Lots of family activities and a strong family culture. Now, if you want Charlotte-type activities, dining, etc., you'll have to drive 4 or so hours. Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Omaha are all within about a 4-5 hour drive.

I miss good restaurants, I miss good barbecue and seafood, I miss the beach and the mountains. I miss good shopping (the internet helps a bit). I miss Southern hospitality (the people here are friendly once you get to know them, but there are very few people from outside the Midwest. Most are from Iowa, and most relocated people are from Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc. I stand out being from Virginia). I miss the access to DC and Raleigh and Charlotte. I don't mind living here, but I miss Virginia.

I've rattled on long enough! One last note. I'd compare Des Moines to Richmond or Raleigh. I'd compare Cedar Rapids to Roanoke, VA and Iowa City to Blacksburg, VA if that helps.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-02-2015, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,807,243 times
Reputation: 9688
Quote:
Originally Posted by princesspiggies View Post
I'd compare Des Moines to Richmond or Raleigh.
I've spent some time in Raleigh. There are some similarities. One very noticeable difference, though, is the pace of servers and cashiers. It is about 3X faster in Des Moines. For good or ill, cashiers in large grocery stores don't take time to chit-chat with customers, nor do servers. It's not encouraged by management! At some stores, cashiers can be written up if they don't get x number of people through in an hour.

Also, and this is a generalization, starting times for jobs tend to be more rigid in Des Moines. I don't get written up for being late, but if I were late all the time, it would be noticed and my boss would chat with me about it. In Raleigh, outside of state, law, or banking establishments, job starting times were more like suggestions. Arriving 5 or 10 minutes late regularly wasn't a big deal.

You already know about the weather, so I won't go there.

I like Des Moines. I liked a lot of things about Raleigh. Both are vibrant, capital cities with lots of things to do on the weekends for young families and older folks like me, including free or nearly free activities. Both areas have a number of interesting festivals in nearby towns during the summer, along with opportunities for camping and other outdoor pursuits farther out of the metro.

I hope that's helping a little, OP.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-02-2015, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
5,269 posts, read 8,391,158 times
Reputation: 11452
Actually, this is helping a LOT. I sincerely appreciate all the great responses and feedback to my thread.

I know the winters can be harsh, but I am a cold weather lover. How are the summers? The humidity here really zaps my energy, are the summers any better in Iowa?

I am planning a trip to the Western part of Iowa in the Fall. Again, I appreciate the feedback I have received, thanks for taking the time to post.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-02-2015, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,807,243 times
Reputation: 9688
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogueMom View Post
How are the summers? The humidity here really zaps my energy, are the summers any better in Iowa?
I won't sugar coat it: there is high humidity at times. From about mid-July to mid-August, there are frequent stretches of HHH (hazy, hot, and humid). The good news: in general, it's not days on end. There are thunderstorms and things do cool off for several days.

I moved during the drought in August two years ago: day temps were in the high 90s with high humidity. Even though I was pacing myself, it was brutal. Last summer was more typical with highs in the 80s and a fair amount of wind.

June and the first part of July are generally delightful and after Labor Day, the temps and humidity generally begin to decrease.

A good dehumidifier may be almost as important as a/c. I know people who sleep in the basements without a/c but they run a dehumidifier!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-03-2015, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Calera, AL
1,282 posts, read 1,630,636 times
Reputation: 1855
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogueMom View Post
Actually, this is helping a LOT. I sincerely appreciate all the great responses and feedback to my thread.

I know the winters can be harsh, but I am a cold weather lover. How are the summers? The humidity here really zaps my energy, are the summers any better in Iowa?

I am planning a trip to the Western part of Iowa in the Fall. Again, I appreciate the feedback I have received, thanks for taking the time to post.
Summers aren't short like they are in say, North Dakota or Alaska, but they're not crazy-long like they are here in Alabama. Your summer basically begins around Memorial Day, and ends around Labor Day. There is some humidity, but the western 1/3rd of the state or so is a bit drier (not a ton, but it is still noticeable). You will sweat regardless.

Fall is usually a good time to visit Iowa, the temps have cooled and the trees will have at least started changing color by early September. You will need a light jacket as evenings can be nippy - early fall nights are usually in the 50s, and late fall nights can easily get into the 30s. You have the Loess Hills in western Iowa, but I prefer northeastern Iowa in the fall (Driftless Area overlooking the Mississippi River). You can't go wrong regardless, though.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-03-2015, 07:20 PM
 
27 posts, read 29,212 times
Reputation: 23
We moved here mid-June 2014. To me, last summer was heavenly. There were a few hot days and a few humid days, but NOTHING like I was used to. Nothing approaching the nastiness of Richmond mid-August through mid-September (neverending 90+ degree days with off-the-charts humidity). Most days last summer I had the patio door open, the ceiling fan going, and the air off. There is wind, and it really helps cool things off.

Now, I was told that last summer was atypical. We'll see.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2015, 04:43 PM
 
3,279 posts, read 7,012,388 times
Reputation: 8308
I've lived in Texas all of my life (still do), and after spending about a month in Cedar Rapids on business, a big part of me wants to move there. Just about everyone I encountered was incredibly friendly and down to Earth. That really surprised me. I'm not sure about "the South" in general, but Iowans are much more friendly and easygoing than people in the Houston area. The clean air (except the cereal smells in Cedar Rapids LOL) and nonexistant traffic are also big pluses.

It's just a nice area.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-08-2015, 06:12 AM
 
3,613 posts, read 3,333,876 times
Reputation: 5000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I'm from east TN and lived in IA for a year. I moved back and didn't like it, but I think a lot of that was because of a bad job.

Similarities: really not many, unless you count low population density, rural areas as one. Both had a "country" vibe once you got out of Des Moines.

Differences: I had only lived in the South (SC, TN, VA) before moving here and it was a definite culture shock.

Weather comparisons: Charlotte is going to be hotter and more humid, for longer in the summer. Winter wasn't as bad as I thought, but the summer was far, far hotter than anything I'd experienced down South (this was 2012 heatwave). It was also the driest I had ever seen. I'd assume a normal summer is far better. Storms were frequent and intense and it's windy almost all the time.

Cultural: I didn't find the people to be very friendly, even just on the street. The friendliest people I met were other Southern transplants. I wouldn't say they were outright rude, but there was definitely little to no small talk.

Likes: Economy - the economy in Iowa is terrific. I was making a good third more than I was making back home in the same role, and was making nearly double in Iowa of other offers I received back in Tennessee. Your dollar can go pretty far here and it seems very easy to get a job if you want to work. That wasn't the case in the South in 2012.

Dislikes: Isolation - no matter where you are in Iowa, you are relatively isolated from other places of significance. From Des Moines, it's about two hours to Omaha (not all that much bigger), three hours to Kansas City, and four hours to Minneapolis.

Des Moines hits "above its weight" for metros of around 500k. It has a Cubs affiliate team, a couple of colleges, some high culture, good shopping, good dining options downtown, etc.

Education: Schools in Iowa are, on the whole, better than what you'll find in the South. If you're in an affluent suburban area of Charlotte, schools are probably fine. I could tell the coworkers I had (many of whom weren't college educated) were better educated than folks of similar education levels back home.

Recreation: Really depends on what you're looking for. If you're in Des Moines, it has quite a bit of concerts, minor league sporting events, frequently hosts pro wrestling shows, etc, but nothing like Charlotte. Outdoors recreation in Iowa is simply going to suck compared to NC. In Charlotte, you're about an hour to an hour and a half from the WNC mountains, a couple hours to the beach, have Lake Norman, etc. There just isn't much to do outdoors in most of Iowa (Loess Hills and Driftless area being good to see)

Des Moines has a population of about 207,000 people, Omaha has about 437,000. The Des Moines metro area is about 570,000 to Omaha's 900,000. That is a pretty significant size difference. Omaha is larger than Minneapolis proper.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-08-2015, 09:31 AM
 
130 posts, read 323,222 times
Reputation: 172
Minnesota born but lived in the south for a time and now in Iowa.

The culture in Iowa is much friendlier than the south. I don't know if that is because in the southern big cities most people are from "somewhere else" but I've found in Iowa, mainly the larger cities, people are more open to others. In the smaller towns in Iowa people are nice but not the most welcoming. Lots of acquaintances and few friends unless you've lived there for several years.

Iowa is far more liberal than most places in the south yet people here don't show it. I've found people in Iowa tend to dress and act conservatively in public but that doesn't reflect their political views. Most people are religious but don't talk about it like they do in the south. Even though I am a practicing Catholic I find that refreshing. It's more of a live-and-let live attitude here. People will ask what college or high school you went to whereas in the south they'll ask what church you go to. People here generally don't care about your personal beliefs on any issue and will be friendly to you just the same.

Rural Iowa and the rural south are very similar except for the accents. You'll find Iowa is not dominated by one city like some of its neighbors (MN has the Twin Cities, IL has Chicago, NE has Omaha) but most "big events" come through Des Moines. The road system is good and there are quite a few interesting day trips you can take all across the state.

Someone mentioned not being late for work. That's true as the work ethic here is strong. Even people that have never farmed tend to come from what we might say is a "farmer's work ethic". People, even at grocery stores, tend to be proud of themselves and their work. If you are late to a meeting or appointment it WILL be noticed.

One word of advice. Be open to listening to Iowans. They are among the most educated people I've ever met regardless of education. They (and me now after living here a decade) are proud of their state. Don't come in thinking you are better than them because you are from "out East" (not that you would). It takes some times to get accustomed to here but you can do it and once settled you'll love it here.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-08-2015, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Calera, AL
1,282 posts, read 1,630,636 times
Reputation: 1855
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwerty View Post
Des Moines has a population of about 207,000 people, Omaha has about 437,000. The Des Moines metro area is about 570,000 to Omaha's 900,000. That is a pretty significant size difference. Omaha is larger than Minneapolis proper.
The DSM metro is closer to about 615K now, not that it's significantly larger than the (slightly outdated) 570K you quoted. But in my experience, Des Moines and Omaha are much more similar than they are different. Despite being about 40% larger Omaha doesn't offer a whole lot more than Des Moines does (other than things like the Nebraska Furniture Mart and Dave and Busters), and I don't think comparing the core cities has a ton of relevance. Des Moines and Omaha by themselves are larger than Salt Lake City proper, but you don't see a lot of people comparing DSM or Omaha to SLC, or at least favorably. SLC isn't say, MSP big, but it at least is home to an NBA team and light rail, neither of which DSM nor Omaha are likely to get for quite some time.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Iowa
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:27 AM.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top