Why Des Moines
Metro Des Moines is an amazing place. From award-winning chefs, retail stores, and sports teams to being rated one of the best places to live in the nation, Des Moines has it all. Founded as an army outpost in the 1830s, Des Moines has grown to be the cultural, financial, governmental, and business hub of Iowa, and its place as a national and Midwestern hub of culture and business continues to rise. National publications have recognized Des Moines as a leader and Forbes magazine recently rated Des Moines as the Best Place for Young Professionals (2014). In the last few years, various publications have rated Des Moines among the best cities in the U.S. to live, work and play.
#1 Best Affordable Place to Live in the U.S., U.S. News & World Reports, 2018
#4 Best Place to Live, U.S. News & World Report, 2018
#1 Best City for the Middle Class, Business Insider, 2016
#1 Minor League Sports Market, SportsBusiness Journal, 2017
World Festival and Event City, International Festivals & Events Association, 2017
#4 Best Mid-Sized City to Make a Living, MoneyGeek, 2016
#5 Best Place of Business and Careers, Forbes, 2017
#4 Most Pro-Business City in America, MarketWatch, 2015
#2 Top U.S. City to Land Work, NBC News, 2015
The accolades are especially salient with respect to young professionals:
#1 Most Popular City for Millennial Homebuyers, Bloomberg, 2016
#1 Best Place for Millennials to Live in the Midwest (#4 in the U.S.), Growella, 2017
#1 Most Affordable Place to Buy Your First Home, Bloomberg, 2016
#1 Best Place for Young Professionals, Forbes, 2014
#3 Top City for New College Grads, SmartAsset, 2015
The bottom Line? Des Moines offers complex work, great career opportunities and large-city amenities and events with reasonable costs, affordable living, and the opportunity to call one of the best cities in the nation, home.
The Des Moines metro attracts (and retains) a large percentage of young professionals. Its abundant labor market, quality salaries, and affordable living provide young professionals opportunities they may not find elsewhere. The downtown community includes a work force of more than 80,000 people, connected by almost four miles of enclosed, climate-controlled skywalks connecting office buildings and apartments to hotels, restaurants, meeting facilities, Wells Fargo Arena, and coffee shops. Tech giants, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook have staked a presence in the area. The Des Moines metro is home to the headquarters of large financial institutions, genetics companies and agricultural sciences companies. We are also home to creative and media companies, including the home of Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Better Homes and Gardens, People and other well-known publications. Des Moines is the third largest insurance center in the world, after London, England, and Hartford, Connecticut. It is also home to Iowa's medical hub, including several hospitals, clinics, and a local medical school. The public sector is also well-represented throughout the city; as Iowa's stat capital, Des Moines features hundreds of high-level public service jobs, and it is home to a federal courthouse, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the Iowa Supreme Court. Despite several corporate expansions and relations to Des Moines in the past decade, the city continues to grow. Investors have funneled $3 billion into new development, and the city averages 40 development projects at all times. It's easy to see why the Des Moines metro is consistently ranked among the top 5 best places to live and work.
Activities and events abound in the Des Moines Metro. Among others, downtown Des Moines alone hosts the Civic Center, Science Center, Botanical Garden, Iowa Events Center, Principal Riverwalk, summertime farmer's market, and one of the nation's top-ranked summertime farmer's markets. This short list does not include favorite restaurants, breweries, locally owned shops, theaters and music venues, including Western Gateway Park, which hosts a number of events throughout the year.
If you enjoy music, arts and culture, you will feel right at home in Des Moines. The Des Moines Arts Festival, an annual, nationally acclaimed summer event, attracts artists from all over the United States. Musical highlights include the Des Moines Metro Opera, Music Under the Stars, and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. The Des Moines Civic Center is at the forefront of attracting highly sought-after musicals and plays -- including a recent two-week stay of the hit musical, Hamilton -- not to mention the many community shows performed each year. The Des Moines Art Center boasts a nationally renowned collection of contemporary art. the Historical Society's collections include modern day pop culture paraphernalia (did you know both "Superman," Brandon Routh and "Aquaman," Jason Momoa played on the same Iowa high school soccer team?), as well as artifacts and images dating back to Iowa's pioneer days. The World Food & Music Festival features culinary delights from around the globe.
If you like sports and recreation, the greater Des Moines metro has plenty to offer. The Sports and Business Journal recently names Des Moines the #1 Minor League Sports Market. Watch baseball at Principal Park, featuring Iowa Cubs baseball, where major leaguers such as Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber earned their stripes. Cheer on the 2018 Indoor Football League Champions, the Iowa Barnstormers. If you like hockey and basketball, the Iowa Wild and Iowa Wolves provide opportunities for young talent to show off before making the pros. If golf is your sport, Iowa has more golf courses per capita than any other state. In the Des Moines area, you'll find golf courses for every skill level, including the home of the 2017 Solheim Cup, the U.S. Senior Open in 1999 and an Arnold Palmer Signature Course. Annually, Des Moines hosts the Principal Charity Classic, attracting a strong field of professional players to the metro. We also hosted the 2018 National Outdoor Track and Field Championships and the 2018 NAIA Wrestling Championships, and we will host first-round NCAA Tournament games and the national Gymnastics Championships in 2019.
The city of Des Moines has more than 70 parks, with dozens more offered in the surrounding suburbs and communities. Saylorville Lake is a 6,000-acre boating, fishing and water sports playground on the northwest edge of Greater Des Moines. For biking and hiking, there are well over 500 miles of trails in Greater Des Moines, including trails along the Des Moines River, Gray's Lake and Saylorville Lake. For a true challenge, Des Moines hosts the Des Moines Marathon and the Half Marathon each October. As a measure of the city's recreational and sports activity the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index recently named Des Moines one of the top 25 communities for well-being.
People from every walk of life find Des Moines to be an inviting and livable city. The city boasts a great housing and rental market, a low crime rate and a cost of living that is below the national average. Young professionals are buying homes at the highest rate in the nation (Lending Tree's #1 Most Popular City for Millennial Homebuyers). Thanks in part to recent improvements in traffic infrastructure, the average commute time is just 21 minutes. Affordability and convenience, however, do not make Des Moines mundane. Several James-Beard nominated chefs call Des Moines home, as do more than a dozen breweries. Des Moines houses a Cupcake Wars champion (as well as a runner-up), and one of its bars boasts one of the largest selections of craft beers in the world. But enough about food and drink.
The rental housing market is also seeing a great expansion. In the last decade, the Des Moines area has experienced a veritable explosion of new, modern developments, including, to name a few, The Fifth which plans to open its doors in 2021 as a mixed use tower including apartments, a museum, and a movie theater; FLUX Apartments; Confluence on 3rd, and the Equitable. Downtown neighborhoods are also expanding. The Western Gateway hosts fine dining, coffee shops and corporate neighbors; the East Village contains several local boutiques and restaurants; and the Hilton Des Moines Downtown recently opened its doors. It connects to the Iowa Events Center and is expected to attract regional and national conventions. Additionally, there are dozens of downtown developments and revitalizations planned and underway.
As a place to raise a family, the Des Moines metro has almost no equal. According to SmartAsset, Des Moines is the #4 Best Place for Children in 2017. Iowa ranks among the leading states in SAT and ACT scores for the past two decades and Iowa has three state universities, 31 four-year colleges, and 15 community colleges.
There is a place for everyone in Des Moines, and it is easy to see why nearly 700,000 people are proud to call the Des Moines Metro home. Des Moines offers its residents the amentities and opportunities of a large city along with the convenience, safety, and kindness of a small town.