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Old 05-24-2017, 09:33 AM
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,815,162 times
Reputation: 1444


There are 2200 or more apartments/lofts coming online in downtown Des Moines in 2017 alone. Should be a lot to choose from (although they tend to get snapped up as soon as they open).

Job market is good.

2017 Rankings

Des Moines Named One of the Top Underappreciated American Cities You Should Totally Move To (February 17, Thrillist.com)
Des Moines Ranked in the Top 10 Places to Live in the U.S. (February 12, SuccessfulMeetings.com)

2016 Rankings

Des Moines Ranked Best City for the Middle Class (March 7, BusinessInsider.com)
WalletHub Ranks Des Moines 11th Best Capital City (WalletHub.com)
Des Moines Ranked #4 on Best Mid-Sized Cities for Making a Living (MoneyGeek.com)
Des Moines Ranked #4 on Best Cities for Young Families in 2016 (ValuePenguin.com)
Des Moines Ranked the 10th on the Best Cities to Live and Work (RoberyHalf.com)
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:34 AM
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,815,162 times
Reputation: 1444
Here are more third party rankings if interested:

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Old 05-24-2017, 11:32 PM
111 posts, read 75,337 times
Reputation: 162
If you don't mind living in an apartment or condo you can't beat living downtown. I stayed there a week in an Airbnb and my only complaint is I spent too much money. This is because of the range of bars and restaurants. The new Hy-vee had just opened and is very good indeed.

Not sure of your budget but living downtown as others have said could save you from running a car. That savings could be put to the relatively higher rent you will pay to live in something decent downtown.

I really liked downtown and the atmosphere but bought west of the metro because I am a dog with yard type of guy.
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:49 AM
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,643,421 times
Reputation: 9679
Let me quickly elaborate on "in theory" you could live without a car . . .

There's Uber and a bus line, plus more stores are going in downtown, but if you need the mall (Jordan Creek) it's a fairly long bus ride out there, plus if you want to go to Walmart or the big box stores, you'll need to leave downtown. If you're going to shop online for some of that, then that's another story.

I think if I had to live without a car and had a job nearby, I'd rather be in Altoona or Ankeny, although that may not be an option for you if you work downtown.

It would be good if at least one of you can drive. Car rentals are available.

If and when you come for a visit, you'll see that things are spread out.
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:04 AM
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I would say Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. They have high number of educated population. I have lived here in Iowa for 7 years, so I have observed these cities and see how it compares. Iowa City is slightly more expensive than Cedar Rapids. Des Moines isn't that much of an active city at night compared to Iowa City. I would say pick what career you want and see which of these cities land you in. Don't worry about the specific city yet.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:59 AM
11 posts, read 11,231 times
Reputation: 44
One thing is certain--people in Iowa ARE as wonderful as their reputation if this forum is an indication...Thank you for the informative responses.

I am glad to hear most of you believe crime issue not a big problem because from my online research, Des Moines does not rate too well. Since the biggest city I have lived in is Ventura, CA, Des Moines seem huge to me and crime seems high on paper. I want my daughter to be able to take bus to work (daytime) and be assured of her safety. Neither of us are very "street wise" in the sense of big city living.

With all of the companies in Des Moines and city size, I feel fairly certain I can find work even at my age, lol. Downtown would be fun for us both at least temporarily until we get our bearings. From what some of you have said, seems she can find some activities with other young adults in Des Moines.

I think Des Moines is probably best fit, but wanted some input on Cedar Falls, Ames and any other towns/cities that have a real "put your roots down and stay awhile" feel. Not too small, though. It would be nice to become involved in particularly welcoming places--although maybe all of Iowa is like that!

Thanks again, guys. Sure appreciate your time.
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:16 PM
Location: Sun City West, AZ
560 posts, read 545,970 times
Reputation: 971
I can't speak much to Ames, as I have only been through there once. However, I have been to Cedar Falls several times and I have some friends whose daughters are currently attending UNI there.

Cedar Falls is a completely different feel than Des Moines. It is more of a small town feel (by design). The University is kind of the main focus of the town. There are a fair amount of activities associated with UNI when it is in session, but other than that, not a lot for your daughter to do. And I would not recommend her venturing over to Waterloo - especially at night - Some parts of Waterloo are pretty rough. But by the same token, some parts of Des Moines are really rough too!

I would take Des Moines any day over CF / Waterloo, but that's me. It all depends on what you are looking for. Des Moines would definitely have more job opportunities for you, but CF would give you that smaller town feel that you seem to lean toward.

Regarding people in Iowa being wonderful.... that is open for debate. Don't let a few helpful souls on this forum guide your opinion of a state. I lived in the Cedar Rapids area, and the UNFRIENDLINESS of the people there is one of the reasons I left. That may be isolated to CR, but I'm just giving you a heads up not to expect too much in that arena.

Which brings up a question (if you don't mind me asking) - Why Iowa?
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:32 PM
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,643,421 times
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Dewey, I agree there are a lot of unpleasant folks in CR. That was part of the reason I decided on Des Moines, but I think there are a lot of nice folks in IA, in general. At the time I was in CR and looking at houses, many folks had experienced having their hours cut at Collins. The employment rate is higher in Des Moines.

OP, as for Des Moines violence in the news, remember "If it bleeds, it leads." And that's true all over.
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:51 PM
11 posts, read 11,231 times
Reputation: 44
Hi Dewey59,

Thank you for your response.

Why Iowa? I guess because I'm running out of states that fit my criteria and budget and housing and jobs seem strong in Des Moines. My daughter and I were considering Olympia/Tumwater WA because of scenic beauty, somewhat familiar West Coast culture, and proximity to my sons (CA and Eastern WA), however, a lack of sunny days seems depressing (have not completely ruled this area out) and housing high. Missoula was bad enough after living in sunny California 30+ years. Most of Oregon seems too grungy and liberal and Ashland way overpriced.

Neither of us appreciate desert beauty so that leaves out most of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada--unless you know something I don't...

East Coast sounds exciting, but cost of living is far beyond my means unless you go rural and then no amenities and jobs, etc. (I did look at Providence, Rhode Island, but taxation high, and education and jobs lacking, seems pretty gritty, too. I like clean.)

Florida and Louisiana and much of the south have uninteresting terrain, too much heat, humidity, crime and traffic. NC is beautiful near Blue Ridge Mtns, but honestly, the social customs, narrow culture and Confederate flag stance is not something I am in line with.

Reading what I wrote, I seem pretty dismissive of what may be great places looking for elusive Utopia that exists no where. But the hunt continues.

We like coffee shops and safe, wide, clean streets with trees, and shopping in boutiques and quiet, pretty places and water. We infrequently attend the symphony and like going to movies and are civic minded and socially inclined. If I could live in a small studio on a gorgeous beach and walk out and swim 3x/day I would be in heaven, but I'm no millionaire so that is out. Second choice, an apartment above a shop where you walk to pick up groceries just enough for a few days where bread is fresh and you can run into some friendly neighbors along the way who look out for each other. Not a box store or chain restaurant fan. Life too short to spend 3 hours in Costco for 20 pounds of Cherrios.

Finally while fiscally and socially conservative, I am not religious so places like Utah and Idaho which are heavily influenced by religious indoctrination are not a good fit.

Alaska--too much snow and too remote.

I think the problem is, after all, me.
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Old 05-29-2017, 07:48 PM
11 posts, read 11,231 times
Reputation: 44
Capitalguy - appreciate all of the links to articles. Some of the surveys may need to be taken with a grain of salt (how can San Fran and San Diego be on short list when median home prices top 1 mil and over 1/2 mil respectively?) Takeaway, however, is that Des Moines is or has been making a lot of short lists in a good way so thank you for the information. Also, stats on construction is a good sign for city's anticipated growth-but is it happening too fast in your opinion in terms of city planning?

Lookingaround - thank you for your feedback about downtown Des Moines. So walking to the theater or grabbing a late dinner after dark is safe in your opinion for women?

Meemur, as always your advice is appreciated. I sure hope Des Moines is a welcoming, friendly place. Guess we'll be driving across country and checking it out as soon as my place sells. BTW, I have a car, but I am playing around with this idea of parking it and attempting public transport or walking as much as possible. I'm not absolute on that-- just thought it would be fun to live, work and play in a fairly small radius and use my car for weekend trips. Nice change from years of soccer mom/suburban life. Not a must, though. I do like freedom and flexibility of driving and may miss it more than I think.

Thank you everyone.
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