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Expert Local Tips: Ranking the 5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Des Moines Iowa

5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Des Moines Iowa
Photo Credit: Grantham Group

Des Moines, known for its friendly residents and thriving arts scene, is also home to some of the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in the state. As more and more people recognize the benefits of ditching their cars and embracing a walkable lifestyle, Des Moines has emerged as a city that caters to this desire. But before we dive into that, let’s take a moment to appreciate Des Moines itself.

Overview of Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, is a hidden gem in the Midwest. It’s a city that combines the amenities of a metropolis with the charm and comfort of a small town. Known for its friendly residents, thriving arts scene, and a cost of living that’s lower than the national average, Des Moines is a city that’s easy to fall in love with. 

The weather in Iowa is characterized by four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and perfect for exploring the city’s numerous parks and trails, while winters transform the landscape into a snowy wonderland. Spring and fall serve as beautiful transitions with mild temperatures and vibrant colors.

Des Moines is also home to some of the best neighborhoods in the metro area. From the historic charm of Sherman Hill to the bustling energy of Downtown, there’s a neighborhood for every lifestyle. Not to mention also the schools that offer high-quality education in the community.

5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Des Moines, Iowa

Now, let’s take a closer look at the most walkable neighborhoods in Des Moines, where you can enjoy the best of the city right at your doorstep. Whether you’re a longtime resident or considering a move, let’s lace up our sneakers and discover the five most walkable neighborhoods in this vibrant city.

1. Valley Junction

  • Walk Score: 85 (Very Walkable)

Valley Junction is a gem that seamlessly blends historic residential areas with a lively business district. It's the perfect balance of old and new! 

What You'll Love: 

  • Historic Architecture: Get ready to be wowed by the beautifully preserved buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

  • Shopping and Dining: Stroll along the bustling sidewalks and explore the locally-owned boutiques, art galleries, and delicious eateries.

  • Community Events: They host all sorts of fun events throughout the year, from farmers' markets to art festivals and live music performances.

  • Proximity to Downtown: Valley Junction is just a short drive from downtown Des Moines, so you can enjoy the distinct character of this historic neighborhood while still having easy access to the city center.

5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Des Moines Iowa
Valley Junction's Map. Photo Credit: Grantham Group

2. Drake Park

  • Walk Score: 78 (Very Walkable)

Drake Park is a community-focused neighborhood that also ranks high in walkability.

What You'll Love: 

  • Drake University: The heart of education and culture, surrounded by tree-shaded streets.

  • Local Shops: Quirky boutiques, bookstores, and vintage finds await your exploration.

  • Centennial Park: A green space for picnics, dog walks, and impromptu frisbee games.

5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Des Moines Iowa
Drake Park's Map. Photo Credit: Grantham Group

3. Downtown Des Moines

  • Walk Score: 77 (Very Walkable)

Downtown Des Moines is the beating heart of the city. Imagine strolling along the Des Moines River, the sun casting a warm glow on historic buildings, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting from local cafes. 

What You'll Love: 

  • Cowles Commons: A central gathering spot for events, concerts, and farmers’ markets.

  • East Village: A trendy district with boutiques, art galleries, and rooftop bars.

  • Principal Riverwalk: A scenic trail along the river, perfect for leisurely walks.

5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Des Moines Iowa
Downtown Des Moines' Map. Photo Credit: Grantham Group

4. North of Grand

  • Walk Score: 76 (Very Walkable)

North of Grand strikes a balance between historic charm and modern convenience. 

What You'll Love: 

  • Grand Avenue: Lined with historic mansions, cozy cafes, and boutique shops.

  • Ingersoll Avenue: A lively street with restaurants, bars, and a friendly neighborhood vibe.

  • Green Spaces & Bike Trails: Greenwood Park and Water Works Park provide natural escapes.

5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Des Moines Iowa
North of Grand's Map. Photo Credit: Grantham Group

5. Sherman Hill

  • Walk Score: 70 (Highly Walkable)

Sherman Hill oozes charm as Des Moines’ oldest neighborhood and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What You'll Love: 

  • Stately Mansions: Admire the grand Victorian-era homes and meticulously preserved architecture that line the streets.

  • Lush Greenery: Enjoy the neighborhood's tree-lined streets and proximity to the tranquil Pappajohn Sculpture Park, offering a peaceful retreat from the city bustle.

  • Cultural Hub: Sherman Hill is home to various art studios, music venues, and cultural events, catering to a vibrant arts scene.

  • Proximity to Downtown: With its central location, Sherman Hill offers easy access to downtown Des Moines and all its amenities.

5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Des Moines Iowa
Sherman Hill's Map. Photo Credit: Grantham Group


Each neighborhood offers its own unique charm and amenities, making Des Moines a great place to call home. Whether you’re a young professional looking for an active downtown lifestyle, a family seeking a friendly neighborhood, or a retiree wanting a quiet, historic area, there’s a neighborhood in Des Moines for you.

Let’s Explore Des Moines Together!

Whether you’re a young professional, a family with kids, or a retiree seeking a vibrant community, Des Moines has something for everyone. And guess what? You don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Book a free consultation with me who knows Des Moines like the back of his hand. I will guide you through the process, help you find your dream home, and reveal the hidden gems that make Des Moines truly special. 

Let’s walk, talk, and make Des Moines your new home! 


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