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Discovering the Best Places to Live in Iowa

Updated: May 9

best places to live in Iowa
Photo Credits: Canva


Iowa, the heartland of America, is more than just cornfields and rolling hills. It’s a state with a rich history, friendly communities, and a strong sense of belonging. Whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or a retiree seeking tranquility, Iowa has something to offer.

Why Iowa is the Best Place to Live?

Living in Iowa feels like having a bunch of good friends for neighbors. Seriously, the people here are as friendly as they come. Whether you're in a cozy small town or a bustling city, there's this Midwestern charm that just makes you feel at home. It's the kind of place where folks know your name and a friendly chat at the grocery store is the norm. That sense of community is something special that you can't put a price on.

Let's talk about affordability – it's kind of Iowa's superpower. The cost of living here won't break the bank. Housing? Totally reasonable. Groceries? You won't need to take out a loan just to stock your fridge. And when you want to go out and have a good time, you won't feel like you need a second job to cover the bill. Living in Iowa means you can enjoy life without constantly checking your bank account.

Iowa's also got this gorgeous mix of landscapes that's like a nature lover's dream. Rolling hills, beautiful farmland, rivers, lakes – you name it. If you're into outdoor adventures, Iowa's got your back. Hiking trails, fishing spots, and just plain stunning views are everywhere. It's like having a playground right in your backyard. The state goes the extra mile to make sure there are plenty of green spaces for everyone to enjoy, promoting a healthy lifestyle without even trying.

Living in Iowa can provide a fulfilling and enjoyable life for anyone who appreciates the values and virtues of the Midwest. Let’s explore the top 5 best places to call home in the Hawkeye State.

Top 5 Places to Live in Iowa

1. University Heights: A Hidden Gem Near Cedar Rapids

  • Overview: Nestled near Cedar Rapids, University Heights is a tiny town with a big heart. Its proximity to the University of Iowa adds an intellectual flair.

  • Why It’s Great: With a close-knit community, excellent public schools, and a peaceful atmosphere, University Heights is ideal for families and young professionals.

  • Noteworthy Features: Explore the university campus, enjoy local events, and savor the small-town charm.

2. Clive: A Suburban Bliss in Des Moines Metro

  • Overview: Just outside Des Moines, Clive strikes a balance between urban amenities and a tranquil lifestyle.

  • What Makes It Stand Out:

    • Campbell Park: Slow-pitch softball, Friday night music festivals, food trucks, and sand volleyball.

    • Scenic Trails: The greenbelt trail winds through Clive, offering beautiful views.

    • Safe Neighborhoods: Clive’s well-maintained streets and parks create a secure environment.

3. Waukee: The Fastest Growing City in Iowa

  • Overview: Waukee has experienced a remarkable 74% growth rate since 2010, making it Iowa’s fastest-growing city.

  • Why People Love It:

    • Inclusivity: Waukee embraces diversity, welcoming people of all backgrounds.

    • Safety: Residents feel secure whether at school, parks, or home.

    • Abundant Opportunities: Waukee offers a wealth of educational and career prospects.

4. Ankeny: A Thriving Suburban Oasis

  • Overview: Ankeny, a rapidly growing suburb of Des Moines, offers a perfect balance of small-town charm and modern amenities, making it an ideal place to call home.

  • What Sets It Apart:

    • Family-Friendly Environment: With top-rated schools, parks, and recreational facilities, Ankeny provides a safe and nurturing environment for families.

    • Convenient Location: Situated along Interstate 35, Ankeny offers easy access to Des Moines and other major cities, while maintaining a peaceful suburban setting.

    • Outdoor Recreation: Residents can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking trails, golf courses, and the renowned Saylorville Lake.

5. West Des Moines: Where Suburb Meets Urban

  • Overview: West Des Moines combines the best of both worlds. It’s a thriving suburb with easy access to Des Moines’ amenities.

  • Why It’s Worth Considering:

    • Shopping and Dining: Jordan Creek Town Center offers upscale shopping and diverse dining options.

    • Quality Schools: West Des Moines schools consistently rank high in Iowa.

    • Recreation: Parks, golf courses, and bike trails abound.

Are you Ready to Call Iowa Your Home?

Whether you’re drawn to the artsy vibe of Cedar Rapids, the suburban bliss of Clive, the rapid growth of Waukee, or the educational opportunities in Ankeny, Iowa has a place for you. The state offers a low cost of living, a high quality of education, a low crime rate, and a beautiful natural environment. Iowa also has a friendly and welcoming culture, with many opportunities for social and civic involvement. Consider your priorities, explore these top destinations, and find your own slice of home sweet home in the Hawkeye State!

If you are READY to call Iowa your home, you need a professional and experienced realtor who can guide you through the process. You can book a free consultation with me, a realtor for Des Moines, Iowa, to help you find your dream home for the best price.


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