Des Moines is a different kind of town and it a great place to live for people who value a quiet, stable life. It is not such a hot place to live for people who like excitement.
I’ve lived in or near Des Moines most my life, having left for a few years after college where I had the opportunity to travel much more broadly. I came back to raise my family, which seems to be the common vein of thought among people who enjoy living here. Des Moines is in the middle of America, as such – there’s not a lot for single people to do. We don’t get many good bands, we have no pro sports teams, our beaches are less than stellar and the nearest mountains are a 12 hour drive. Our summers are blisteringly hot and almost Georgia humid, and our winters are viciously cold and almost Anchorage dry, Des Moines suffers from one of the widest swings between summer high temp and winter low temp of any major city.
But for independent or married folks with kids who don’t care about those things (and own good furnaces and air conditioners), Des Moines has a lot to offer. The suburbs have some of the top public schools in the USA. The people share a can-do attitude and suffer from chronic niceness, everybody around here is nice. Crime is some of the lowest in the country, and the upside of not having anything tourists want to see – is that we don’t deal with many tourist drivers. So Des Moines has the lowest car insurance and accident rate of the largest 100 cities in the US. The food is pretty good, lowest priced and highest quality red meat in the USA, which is why Iowa is only the 22nd healthiest state – we tend to eat a lot of that meat. Iowa is also the worlds breadbasket - only the Ukraine can rival Iowa for having the best growing season and most productive farmland and Des Moines is smack in the middle of all that land. So a lot of us garden, or cook, or wood work, or read, or have lots of other hobbies we can do as a home-body.
The way I explained it to one friend, “Des Moines is like living in The Shire, from the Lord of the Rings. It’s quiet, calm and peaceful where nothing much ever happens. And the people here like it that way.”
(nearly) Lifelong Des Moines resident