Should I Move to Des Moines, IA? 10 Pros and Cons to Consider

Located in the heart of the Midwest, Des Moines offers a unique blend of urban excitement and small-town charm. Known for its exciting arts scene, lush parks, and friendly neighborhoods, living in Des Moines means enjoying a community that values both culture and nature. Whether you’re exploring the bustling downtown area or taking a peaceful stroll along the Des Moines River, there’s always something to discover. So, if you’ve been asking yourself, “Should I move to Des Moines, IA?” you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of life in Des Moines to help you decide if it’s the perfect spot for your next adventure. Let’s go.

Des Moines at a Glance

Walk Score: 45 | Bike Score: 39 | Transit Score: 30

Median Sale Price: $210,000 | Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,120

Des Moines neighborhoods | Houses for rent in Des Moines | Apartments for rent in Des Moines | Homes for sale in Des Moines

Pro: Affordable cost of living

One of the standout features of Des Moines is its affordable cost of living. The cost of living in Des Moines is 12% lower than the national average. Additionally, the median home sale price is about $200,000 less than the national average. Utilities, groceries, and healthcare costs are also relatively low. This affordability allows residents to enjoy a higher quality of life without the financial strain found in more expensive cities.

Con: Limited public transportation

With a Transit Score of 30, Des Moines doesn’t have an extensive public transit system. While Des Moines offers some public transportation options, they are relatively limited compared to larger metropolitan areas. The bus system, DART, covers the city but may not be as convenient for those living in suburban areas. This often necessitates owning a car, which can be a drawback for those who prefer or rely on public transit. Additionally, the lack of extensive public transportation can make commuting more challenging.

Pro: Exciting cultural attractions

Des Moines offers a rich array of cultural attractions, including the Des Moines Art Center and the Science Center of Iowa. The city also hosts the annual Des Moines Arts Festival, which attracts artists and visitors from all over the country. These cultural amenities provide residents with numerous opportunities for enrichment and entertainment, making the city a lively place to live.

Con: Harsh winters

Des Moines experiences harsh winters with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. The winter cold can last several months, making it difficult for those unaccustomed to cold weather. Snow removal can be a constant chore, and icy roads can make driving hazardous. These conditions can be a significant drawback for those who prefer milder climates.

Pro: Outdoor recreation opportunities

Des Moines offers numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation, with over 75 parks and numerous trails. Gray’s Lake Park and the High Trestle Trail are popular spots for walking, biking, and picnicking. The city’s commitment to green spaces provides locals with ample opportunities to enjoy nature and stay active. These outdoor amenities promote a healthy and active lifestyle for people living in the area.

Con: Few high-end shopping options

For those who enjoy high-end shopping, Des Moines may feel somewhat lacking. While there are shopping centers like Jordan Creek Town Center, the options for luxury brands and designer stores are limited. Residents often have to travel to larger cities for a more extensive shopping experience. This can be a drawback for fashion enthusiasts and those who enjoy upscale retail therapy.

Pro: Strong sense of community

Des Moines is known for its strong sense of community and friendly residents. Neighborhoods often host events and gatherings, fostering a close-knit atmosphere. The city’s numerous community organizations and volunteer opportunities make it easy for residents to get involved. This sense of belonging and community support is a significant advantage of living in Des Moines.

Con: International air travel limitations

While Des Moines International Airport offers several domestic flights, it has limited international options. This can be inconvenient for frequent travelers or those who need to travel abroad for work or leisure. Residents often have to connect through larger airports, adding time and complexity to their travel plans. This limitation can be a drawback for those who prioritize easy access to global destinations.

Pro: Growing food scene

Des Moines has a burgeoning food scene with a variety of restaurants offering diverse cuisines. From farm-to-table eateries to international fare, the city’s culinary landscape is expanding. The Downtown Farmers’ Market is a popular spot for fresh, local produce and artisanal goods. This growing food scene provides locals with numerous dining options and culinary experiences.

Con: Limited entertainment options

While Des Moines offers some entertainment options, such as theaters and music venues, they are not as abundant as in larger cities. The variety of concerts, shows, and events can be limited, which may not satisfy those seeking constant entertainment. Residents may find themselves traveling to nearby cities for a broader range of activities. This can be a downside for those who thrive on a bustling entertainment scene.


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