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Old 05-21-2007, 10:28 AM
 
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I, for some reason couldn't log in to my previous account so started a new one.

We are planning on moving to Iowa by August/September and our main interest was Iowa City, but with reviewing other threads on other cities, maybe I should gather info on others as well.
Looking for a place that has good schools, easy to get around by walking and transit, job opportunities, little traffic and peaceful. I know that IC is a college town so it does seem to have alot of what we are looking for, but the amount of students concern me as not sure if it will be too rowdy for us. I know some say it is quaint and peaceful during the Summer months but how is it when school is in session? Looking to rent first so need something affordable in a 'city' area.
Saw the threads on Cedar Rapids and Des Moines as well, which both seem to have their pros and cons like any other. So just wanting to get some specific feedback from others who live in these areas and compare the three of interest.
Weather is not an issue and wanting to go to a place to where we could find some good friendships.
I have gotten some helpful info in the past just want to broaden my options a bit more as maybe there are some things I have not thought of or overlooked.
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Old 05-21-2007, 03:42 PM
 
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Comparing IC to DSM and CR, I would think IC is the most walkable, if not the only one. Around downtown and the campus, IC is all walkable. DSM has a growing downtown/east area with condos and new restaurants and shopping, but I'm not sure about rentals. I guess it depends on your meaning of "walkable." (ie walking from home to grocery stores, restaurants, bars, schools, etc?)

I went to school in IC, and although it can get rowdy, that's mainly on specific streets that students live on (regular folk don't live there). There are plenty of neighborhoods close enough to walk downtown that aren't over-run with students. You'd be better renting a house though, and not in a complex. It's really not that bad, football season is crazy but mainly just because of the influx of other people to the city during football weekends, and not because of the students alone.

DSM is very nice, but quite a bit bigger than IC. More of a "city" and not a college town of course. It's safe, therefore walkable, but it's more spread out of course. I can't really picture myself walking to go eat dinner in DSM like I could in IC.

I don't know much about CR other than they have a bad odor in the city from the cereal plants, or whatever they are. It would be one of the main things keeping me from living there, although I'm not sure if it's a smell that lingers throughout the entire town. Driving through, I always smelled it though. Maybe I'm hypersensitive with my nose however!
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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I have heard the thing about CR smelling, never been there though. I agree with the above posters comments. IC is more walkable, but still not much so when compared to say Boston or other cities like that. There are plenty of neighborhoods in IC where you would be totally removed from the college atmosphere.

Now the friendship thing may be more of an issue. Not so much in IC, due to the college town-ness of it. People in Iowa tend to be set in their "social circles" and I could see it being hard to make new friends. Don't let that scare you away, because Iowa is a great state. It just may take some effort to meet people, and become their close friends.
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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If you have kids, DM has a lot to do:

- Zoo
- big new Science Center & IMAX
- Living History Farms
- Adventureland amusement park
- Jordan Creek - IA's largest mall always has stuff going on for kids
- State Fair
- State Historical Museum
- State Capitol tours

In addition, all the usual stuff that is great about Iowa, schools, etc.

I like Iowa City too. You might also consider Omaha-Council Bluffs. The area is quite a bit bigger than the DM Metro and has one of the best zoos in America. I know this is an Iowa thread, but the Nebraska side is better than Council Bluffs.
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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If you pick IC, you're about 90 minutes from DSM, so you could always swing over for a day to do things. Also about 4 hours from Chicago and about the same to St. Louis and Minneapolis. Just a thought.
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Old 05-22-2007, 05:50 AM
 
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Thanks, very helpful info! Also, am looking into Southwest Airlines out of Omaha to get to Iowa City. Anyone know the closest metro airport to Iowa City? I know Chicago is 4 hours or so, but is there another one that is closer? Southwest Airlines does not go into Iowa.
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:43 PM
 
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There are tiny regional airports in Cedar Rapids and IC. The quad cities has a bigger airport (Moline). Moline is about an hour from IC if I remember correctly. Southwest however would only go into Chicago, St. Louis, and Minneapolis I believe. Maybe not even Minn.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:01 AM
 
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You did mention public transit... Des Moines probably has the best mass transit. Recently they've extended the hours that the buses run into the night. The East and South side probably have the best coverage.

But it sounds like you probably want quieter living. Some areas of the South side of DM may qualify, but probably not the East side.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:12 AM
 
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Southwest used to go into Minneapolis on selected routes but discontinued them awhile ago for some reason. Not sure about Des Moines, as do want a quieter/smaller place but preferably with city ammenities. Anyone know about shopping conveniences in IC? Are there "walkable" distances to grocery stores, convenient stores, Walmart etc. in the IC neigborhoods without always relying on transit? I know Coralville has the abundance of stores, but wanting to stay in the IC area, as it looks as if it is more walkable.
Thanks for your help!
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:22 AM
 
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the entire campus and downtown area is walkable. But, there are not big grocery stores or Walmarts there...those really aren't "walkable" things anyways though. You're going to walk to get a week's worth of groceries? Walk to Walmart?? There are plenty of little convenience stores though, if you need to pick up something small.

There are whole areas of IC that I never saw, since I was in school and never needed to drive out that way. Like where that old mall is? I can't even remember the name. I think you really need to just go and look for yourself. It's hard to explain the geography of an entire city. There are tons of good residential areas everywhere.
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