Des Moines--please share your thoughts

ChrisMatson

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I will be travelling to Des Moines this week for an interview and I was wondering if any of the kind people on this forum could share their thoughts and insights about the city and region. Having lived in the Washington, DC region for 27 years, I have some concerns about what Des Moines has to offer. Are jobs plentiful? Are there good movie theaters? Nice restaurants and bars? Do big-name rock bands come to town? I'm not concerned about public schools and items related to raising children.

I know the following:
-Low cost of living (with commensurate pay)
-Low crime
-Many insurance companies

Any information would be appreciated.
 

Michael*K

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I've never lived there, but a co-worker moved to Des Moines two years ago and wound up moving back six months later because she was bored to death. You definitely don't want to line it up with a city like D.C. because there just is no comparison. I'm sure some kind souls here though will be able to tell of the benefits of the town.
 

Dan Shogren

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DO NOT MOVE TO IOWA!!! If anything, move out of iowa, do not enter! I lived there for 10 years of my life and ive never known such boredom.
 

JoeTX

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My parents just recently moved from Dallas to Cedar Falls, IA (100 miles NE of Des Moines). If you can advoid it, don't move there. You will be bored, there is nothing to do in Iowa even if it is the largest city in the state. If however, you want to live in a small conservative city where everybody is very laid back, then that is your place. If you ever want to go to a big city, Minneapolis is only a 3 hour drive North.
 

Scooter

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Ok..ONE voice above the din!


Been to Iowa twice..LOVE it there!!! As for things to do..only have to look. I mean the last riot inspired by Marilyn Manson took place in Ceder Rapids!

As for Des Moine...I found it to be a pleasant enough and modern city. Went to a new theater there in '95 next to the airport...have yet to see a theater locally in NJ as nice and as well equipped.

Brief story...I was dragged to some reggae club in Des Moine by the one I was visiting and got bored quick like...so I walked around the neighborhood...wandering into a 7-11 to get some coffee. While standing in line to pay this REALLY big gang member type strolls into the store all nasty acting and stuff. Pretty scary guy. Anyway..while I am wearing my Animaniacs denim jacket this guy puts his hand on shoulder, pretty soundly and says:

"The Brain's my man!" and proceeds to tell me his fav Pinky and The Brain episodes. SO..if one of THE baddest looking individuals I have ever seen in my life wants to discuss animation with me and all...how bad a city can it really be?
 

ChrisMatson

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Quick summary:
Pro: 1
Con: 5

The reason I ask is that I have an interview in Des Moines for medical school. I will be happy in almost any city I go to school. After all, my days will be busy with lectures, labs and studying. The question is really for the benefit of my fiancée. She will be moving with me and looking for a new job. While I will busy with school, she will have to be happy with a new job in a new city. Could even those who dismiss Des Moines get by for four years?
 

Chris Souders

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Hey,

Well, I went to college in Des Moines for 4 years, and enjoyed it. I came from Houston. Des Moines is pretty tranquil, but if you try to find something to do, you can. Comparing it to Rochester, NY where I lived for 3 years, it is actually better. I think the downsides to Des Moines are its cold winds in the winter, lacking in the night life dept., and not close to any big city. In deference to some of the comments above, I think...
Des Moines has some beautful natural areas and is quite hilly (in some areas) despite what I had thought it would be like. There are several parks which are nice. A few nice museums. Last I knew, they still have a symphony. They get touring broadway shows, though some events and concerts will only go to Iowa City or Ames, where the two big universities are. There are (were perhaps) some very nice restaurants and cafes. The name of the part of town I liked best escapes me, but it is just north of downtown and south of Drake University.

The neighborhood where the osteopathic school is located is very nice. I would try to live around there, or towards Drake. You'll tend to have a younger crowd there. I would avoid the suburbs, except to go to a mall or maybe a movie.

So, I think Des Moines is OK. It's not big city, but it's not small town. It will be a decrease in energy level from DC.

Chris
 

Randy Tennison

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I spent a week in Des Moines during the floods. It seemed like a nice town, not big, but some things to do.

But, I can understand how a town can get boring. I've become bored with KCMO. It seems like we've been everywhere and done everything!

However, I would not discourage you from attending medical school in Des Moines. It's not like your moving to a mining town, or someplace in the Mojave desert.
 

Scooter

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U.of I. is an outstanding school as well and Iowa City seemed VERY much a hip college town. Not that far from Des Moines either.
 

Eric_E

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You can put my vote in the "against" column for Des Moines. My college girlfriend was from this little city called Indianola, about 15 minutes south of Des Moines, so I had to make the trip up there several times from Kansas City. IMO, Iowa is boring as hell. There was nothing to do in Des Moines that was of any interest to me. My trips up there always consisted of "Let's go to the mall," or some other mindless activity. My ex is now going to U of Iowa, and Iowa City is a slightly more interesting town (socially), but still nothing special, and still quite a drive from Des Moines.

Hey Randy, what part of KC are you from? How old are you? What type of stuff are you interested in? I like Kansas City, although I wish it had more of a nightlife. They roll up the sidewalks pretty early here. But I am glad that there are plenty of cultural and artistic events to attend - at least we have a symphony, an opera, several theaters, and lots of other things some larger cities are lacking. Too bad KXTR had to move to AM, though.
Oh, and at least we have NFL, MLB and MLS teams, which is more than I can say for Des Moines.
 

Charles J P

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I grew up in Iowa and went to the U of I and my brother goes to ISU, and I have to add my props to the state. The only bad thing I can say is about it is lack of good jobs, but if you're going there for an interview that might be taken care of. I am part of the brain drain, I moved to Omaha Nebraska. Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids arent far from Des Moines, and if I dont mind saying myself, Iowa City is one of the cultural Meccas of the midwest. Sure there might not be as much to do as Chicago, but lets not automatically put quantity over quality. Also, I've been to LA, Chicago, DC, Dallas, Orlando, Phoenix, Seattle and let me tell you, NO THANKS. First of all, with what I make here, I would need $150,000+ a year to live the same in any of those cities. I'm 24 and own my own house and my wife has a 2001 car and I have a 2002. The Midwest cant totally claim the perfect crime free paradise that it used to (what with recent rise in drug use etc) but its a far cry from those other cities I mentioned. You really should give it a legitamate chance. I hate to make assumptions about people I dont know, but I find people who dis the midwest either grew up in the big city and dont really have it in them to give small town life a fair chance, or are from there originally, and didnt like growing up there, but arent old enough and/or dont have a family yet and thus dont realize the huge advantages.
 

ChrisMatson

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I had a good impression of the city from my slightly less than 24-hour stay. The school is nice, the people are friendly and apartments are affordable (even the nicest ones are MUCH less than what we pay around DC). I may be moving there in a few months depending on how the school lilked me.
 

Brian Osborne

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I've lived in Des Moines area for about 8 years. I think you should come out and see what Iowa has in stead of listening to those that lived here briefly and didn't like it. There is culture if you want it, nice civic center that attracts good theater and various other shows. Brand new Wells Fargo Arena is getting lots of big name concerts, personally have seen 3 concerts since opening, GreenDay being most recent that I was at. Aerosmith was to be here this week, but someone had to have throat surgery.... There is a brand new Very large mall with theaters, lots of upscale dining and open air concerts. If you've ever been to FlatIrons mall NW of Denver it is very comparable. You are looking at Des Moines University for med school? If so, it is a very good school, if you can get accepted, do it. As far as jobs go, there is plenty to go around. Companies like ING, Wells Fargo, Principal, and soooo many insurance companies I can't even name them all.
Sports, we don't have much, but you are 3 hours from Arrowhead stadium, 3.5 hours from the Twins and Vikings, 5 hours from Soldier field and the Cubs or WhiteSox. And if you are into college sports we have one of the greatest interstate rivalries .. ever.
And as far as what L.Anton said... well he is entitled to his opinion.

Check it out for yourself. Go to www.Iowarealty.com look at the housing market. Then go to www.desmoineshelpwanted.com and look at the job market. Most of the large companies have their own job site, so check out ING.com WellsFargo.com and Principal.com
 

KevinGress

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I can understand why those who grew up in a large city would find Des Moines (or most of the Midwest) boring. Other than perhaps elite level professional sports you should be able to find a little of what you're looking for. That's the biggest difference - you're not going to get a plethora of options of anything. Yes, there's culture, resteraunts, activities, etc. but you're not going to have the multitude of options one would have in D.C., for instance.

That said, people are generally very nice and it's a comfortable place. If you have to have the night life and 24/7 energy like NYC, then no, Des Moines isn't the place, but if you don't have to be entertained all the time, then Des Moines is definitely a place where one can live, work hard, and have fun, for 4 years.
 

RickER

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Des Moines is a nice city, clean and easy to get around in. I drive through when going to St. Paul to see family. I would live there if i had too, but it is a bit cold. Course i live in Tulsa Oklahoma, another boring town from the middle of the country...so what do i know.
 

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