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Des Moines, Iowa Metro—A Big ‘Small Town’ to Call Home


Des Moines Iowa Metro
Des Moines Iowa Metro. Photo Credits: Canva

This funny thing happens when you stop flying over our so-called fly-over-state Iowa and start flying into the Des Moines International Airport (DSM) – you get hooked on the slow lifestyle – the food and drinks, the culture, the nature, all of it. The Des Moines, Iowa metro area offers a high quality of life with easy access to many amenities and attractions. 

Why You Should Move to the Des Moines, Iowa Metro?

Des Moines is the capital and the largest city of Iowa, with a population of over 600,000 people in the metro area. It is also the economic and cultural center of the state, with many businesses, attractions, and events that draw visitors and residents alike. 

But Des Moines is not only a great place to work and play, but also to live and grow. Des Moines has a low cost of living, a high quality of life, and a friendly and welcoming community. Not to mention the excellent schools, health care, and public services that make it a safe and comfortable place for families. It’s not just a sleepy farm town, but a vibrant and diverse metro area that combines the best of urban and rural living. 

In this article, I will show you why you should move to the Des Moines, Iowa metro and the great things you can discover in this hidden gem of the Midwest.

Top Suburbs in the Des Moines, Iowa Metro

Consider the suburbs near the metro – the Urbandale, Waukee, Johnston, and Grimes. These oases in the city offer great places to call home that are close to the airport where you can go anywhere you need to go with your family for vacation or travel for work. These safe neighborhoods with excellent schools rank highly on "Best Places to Live" lists year after year.

  • Urbandale is known for its rolling hills, green spaces, parks, and trail systems. Popular neighborhoods include Rolling Hills and Stone Creek Heights. Urbandale High School is ranked among the top schools in Iowa. The city also features the scenic Walnut Woods State Park and the Living History Farms museum.

  • Waukee is one of the fastest growing cities in Iowa thanks to its family-friendly amenities. The Sugar Creek golf course and Waukee Aquatic Center are popular attractions. Waukee is also home to the nationally renowned Waukee Stadium sports complex. The Waukee school district includes award-winning schools like Waukee High School.

  • Johnston provides small-town charm just minutes from Downtown Des Moines. Camp Dodge makes Johnston one of the safest cities in Iowa. Johnston boasts highly-rated schools, two city parks, easy access to interstates, and a historic downtown filled with local shops and eateries.

  • Grimes offers a peaceful, semi-rural setting on the edge of the metro. The South Prairie neighborhood features large lots overlooking scenic ponds and trails. Grimes is also home to the Iowa Speedway for auto racing. The Grimes school district includes the state-of-the-art Meadows Elementary along with Dallas Center-Grimes High School.

Watch this video to learn more about the different cities and suburbs in the Des Moines Metro in full detail so that you can find the best area to live in Des Moines Iowa.

DSM: Small Airport, Big Connections

DSM is expanding; currently, Des Moines International Airport (DSM) is the largest airport in Iowa, though it is one of the smaller airports in the US. You can get anywhere you need to go without all the hassle of a major airport (or long commute times). With the new expansion, there will be new routes, airlines, and increased flight frequencies. As a result, you will have the world at your fingertips but be grounded in a safe, enjoyable community ranked as one of the top places in America to live by many metrics.

Nature Beckons

The Des Moines metro area invites you to explore the great outdoors. Within the community, you will find many ways to enjoy nature like over 75 parks, 18 walking trails, 12 trail running trails, 11 hiking trails, more than 75 bike trails, and 15 major urban fishing ponds. Des Moines and its suburbs are very pet-friendly, bike-friendly cities. Imagine strolling through lush green spaces, pedaling along scenic routes, or casting a line into one of the urban fishing ponds. And yes, your furry friends are welcome too!

Seasonal Joys

Throughout the year, Iowans spend time in nature. The people enjoy all 4 seasons, and Des Moines Metro Suburban residents know how to enjoy them all to the fullest. Iowans want springs full of blooming trees, tulips springing up, and the highly sought-after Morel mushrooms popping up; hot summers where Iowan might see a Cubs baseball game or go to the famous Iowa State Fair to eat some finger-licking food or see a concert; cool fall where they might watch the leaves change or go to the Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market

Sports and Activities in Des Moines, Iowa Metro

The Des Moines area offers abundant sports and activities for families and athletes of all ages and skill levels. If team sports are more your family's pastime, Waukee, IA, is the perfect place for your kid to play with a top ranking for athletes or Dallas Center-Grimes. Waukee is home to the nationally renowned Waukee Stadium sports complex hosting events year-round. The city has several high school state championship teams along with nationally ranked youth athletics. Neighboring Dallas Center-Grimes High School is also a sports powerhouse.

Even if your kid isn’t super competitive, there are many sports and activities for kids of all abilities and age levels, with opportunities to play at the collegiate level or minor leagues nearby. For collegiate sports, Des Moines Metro hosts the annually ranked Drake Bulldogs along with Grand View University. Minor league baseball features the Iowa Cubs (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs). Auto racing takes place at the Iowa Speedway in nearby Newton. Golf courses abound, including tournament and championship venues. 

Beyond school sports, the metro features summer leagues, camps, clinics, and clubs for soccer, football, baseball, softball, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, and more. Lakes, rivers, and pools provide plenty of access for swimming, boating, sailing, and fishing. Parks and trails allow for biking, skating, disc golf, and other outdoor recreation.

Des Moines Economic Stability and Opportunities

If you still need to start packing your bags to enjoy a leisurely lifestyle, consider the economic stability Iowa offers along with the great opportunities in many industries. Des Moines, IA, is one of the best places for young professionals to work out in America, and the suburbs are nearby with a quick commute. 

Iowa is in the top 5 cheapest places to buy a home in 2023. Average home prices range from under $200,000 in the city to around $400,000 in the suburbs – considerably below nationwide averages. There are numerous opportunities for homebuyers to find their next happy home or for real estate investors to increase their portfolios.

In addition, the cost of living is 9% lower than the national average, the unemployment rate is consistently one of the lowest in the nation, and Des Moines, IA, is consistently a top place for businesses to headquarters (including Fortune 500) and careers to advance

A Hidden Treasure for Homebuyers

The story's moral is, are the Des Moines area suburbs worth moving to? A resounding YES! Moving to Des Moines, Iowa, will change your personal and professional life. Des Moines Suburbs are great places to advance your career and spend time with family and friends in your off time; no wonder it's one of the top places to reside with one of the lowest living costs in the country.

To know about the pros and cons of living in Des Moines, I recommend watching this video and gain more insights about living in this beautiful city.

Follow my YouTube channels to learn more about living in Iowa and investing in Iowa. And if you want to get in touch with me for your next move, click the button above to book a free call with me. I’ll be happy to help you make your dreams come true in Iowa.

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