15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (2022)

Deep in the midwest of the United States of America is Iowa. Home to 3.1million people this state is famed for farming corn and its rolling plains. From the Effigy Mounds to the Maquoketa Caves, a lifetime of adventure would still only see you scratch the surface of this state.

As a place to live there is very little to find fault with in Iowa. For those who simply must breathe in the sea air on a daily basis then stop reading now! Iowa is a landlocked state although not too far from Lake Michigan whose vast expanse could easily fool someone into thinking it was the sea, there is an aridness to Iowa that beach bums would not find appealing.

Whenever you seek a new place to live there are always a number of things that need to be taken into consideration, beyond the charm of your new house alone. Research can be dull and arduous so to make your life a little easier we have created this list of 15 best places to live in Iowa so you can press on and find your perfect home as soon as possible. 

Let’s get started;

1. Ames

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (1)

Source: EQRoy / shutterstock

In the west of Story County lies the city of Ames, about 30 miles north of state capital Des Moines. Ames falls right in the path of Route 35 which connects commuters to Kansas City and Minneapolis in no time at all.

Ames is a greatly affordable city, especially for those looking to rent. Median monthly rent here is just $785 which is nearly $150 less than the national average. With 59% of residents living in a rented property, there are a lot of options out there in Ames.

Ames is also home to the best public schools in Iowa. The school district has 16 schools from elementary level right through to high school so parents are spoiled for choice.

2. West Des Moines

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (2)

Source: Iowahwyman / Wikimedia

As the name would suggest West Des Moines is a western suburb of state capital Des Moines. For those who need to commute into the CBD for work, this is an ideal location.

Affordable housing, low crime rates and a good range of nightlife activities. 

This is a fairly densely populated area, home to 61,266 people, despite this there is a welcoming small town feel to West Des Moines.

Unlike Ames, more people here live in owned homes, understandably so given that the median household income is $71,200 annually and house prices average at $188,600.
There is a diverse and highly educated group of people who live here. 36% have a bachelor’s degree or higher and the area is popular with millennials fresh out of college seeking their first home.

3. Mount Vernon

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (3)

Source: ArtisticAbode / Wikimedia

Mount Vernon may be a city on paper but with only 4,500 residents there is almost a village-like feel to the place. There is a running theme that rent in Iowa is rather cheap and Mount Vernon is no exception. With median monthly rent lying at $699 this is a greatly affordable area for those wishing to buy their time before investing in property for themselves.

Given the small population there is very little crime and this can also be attributed to the neighbourly nature of the residents too. There are only six schools in this district but they are all performing in line or above government expectations.

There is always somewhere open serving food, come rain or shine you’ll always find a hearty good meal in Mount Vernon.

4. Clive

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (4)

Source: Iowahwyman (talk) (Uploads) / Wikimedia

The city of Clive lies in both Dallas and Polk counties and is home to 16,634. Lying northwest of West Des Moines there are plenty of job opportunities around here.

Being close to the city there is plenty of activities for residents to partake in but being out of the CDB there is a quietness to the place. There are ample parks and green spaces for all residents to enjoy.

(Video) Epic Cabin w/ Natural Waterfall Swimming Hole that sleeps 18 | Touring The Cliffs at Hocking Hills

Clive is considered to be the #2 best suburb to live in Iowa by niche.com which can only be a good thing. It’s also ranked as the #2 most diverse suburb in Iowa too. This is a reasonably affluent area with most households bringing home $93,160 annually.

5. Johnston

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (5)

Source: Iowahwyman / Wikimedia

Firmly in Polk County is the city of Johnston, home to 19,550. There has been a huge amount of development in the area in the last ten to twenty years. Having once been a small suburb of Des Moines, Johnston is now its own town. In the 2000 census, there were only 8,649 registered residents here, almost a 100% increase in population.

Johnston borders Saylorville Lake Project which is a great area to explore and reconnect with nature.

This is certainly a more affluent area than say, Mount Vernon, average house prices are $237,300. This is no real issue for those who live here as they are generally earning upwards of $90,000 a year.

6. Coralville

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (6)

Source: Alan Light / Flickr

Coralville has one of the most varied ranges of properties on the market on our list so far. There is a home to suit every budget and with low crime rates, good access to commuter routes and excellent public schools there is very little to condemn about Coralville.

Should you have upwards of $500,000 to invest then you could find a grand 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom family home here in Coralville. Should you have a lower budget then there is a cosy 2-bedroom home with a manageable garden for $169,00 too.

Given the scope of homes on the market at any one time, there is a lot of interest with millennials who are seeking to invest in their first home.

7. Bettendorf

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (7)

Source: Felix Mizioznikov / shutterstock

Although Bettendorf doesn’t sound particularly midwestern it is, in fact, a thriving town on the Iowa-Illinois border. Much like with Coralville there is a decent range of real estate available at any given time here in Bettendorf.

Value for money can certainly be found here should you play your cards right; it is worth taking time to see what comes on the market before jumping in with an offer. For example, there are 5-bedroom properties that are going for as little as $219,900.

This is a very family orientated area of Iowa, 21% of the population are children and residents love to explain how good the area is for youngsters.

8. University Heights

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (8)

Source: American007 / Wikimedia

It is fair to say that the 1,222 residents of University Heights are good savers. With average household income lying bang on the national average of $53,000 a year and median home value lying at $268,700, they must be doing something right!

(Video) What Ever Happened To Angelica Hale? Filipino America's Got Talent Runner-Up THEN and NOW!

As the name would suggest, University Heights is full of some very highly educated people creating a small but diverse resident population; 53% of people have a Master’s degree or higher.

For parents wanting to raise children around such schooled people, you’ll have to strike while the iron is hot to get your little ones into a school here. There are only two high schools and two elementary schools in this district. All of which are exceeding their government targets.

9. Iowa City

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (9)

Source: JPDurkin / shutterstock

Given its name, many people confuse Iowa City for being the state capital. Although it is not, it is still a thriving and bustling city home to 71,800 people. Naturally, being a major city there is a diverse population of people both in terms of ethnicity and economic standing.

There are ample properties available at any given time and lots of options for those looking to rent too. Despite being a big city, rent inflation has been minimal, at $865 on average per month the cost of living in Iowa City is highly desirable.

Local people note how the city has a lot of culture and is a very tolerant and welcoming place to live.

10. Ankeny

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (10)

Source: Ashton B Crew / Wikimedia

Falling the other side of Saylorville Lake Project to Johnston is Ankeny. Much like Johnston, there has been a steep population increase in the area over the past decade and a half and as such, there is a persistent freshness to the town.

The median home value may be $175,700 but the quality of new builds cannot be questioned. This is another area of Iowa popular with millennials, perhaps the new developments can be attributed to their interest in Ankeny. 

With this development has come increased provision of shops, entertainment, and schools too.

Ankeny can boast some of the best schools in Iowa. Not bad for a place that was barely on the map in the year 2000.

11. Waukee

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (11)

Source: Iowahwyman / Wikimedia

Waukee is another suburb of Des Moines to feature on our list. Smaller than the others we have mentioned, Waukee is home to 16,950 people. There is next to no crime in the area making it one of the safest suburbs in Iowa to live and in turn great for raising a family.

The median household income here is $77,200 which is above average for Iowa as a whole. Home value is, too, a little higher than the state average at $189,500. You do get good value for money here in Waukee should you be prepared to invest a little more. For $420,000 you could be the proud owner of a 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom family home with a spacious garden and double garage to match.

12. North Liberty

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (12)

Source: northlibertyiowa.org

If you’re seeking a home that lies equidistant from the busy city and rural parklands then North Liberty may just be the place for you. Only a matter of minutes by drive to the center of Iowa and only a matter of minutes in the other direction to the Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area.

(Video) I bought the STRANGEST TECH on the Internet.

There is very little to find fault with in North Liberty, perhaps median rent is a little steep for some people, given that the state average is so low. The median monthly rent here in North Liberty is $1,043.

There is a decent selection of schools in the area which makes North Liberty a pleasant place to raise a family. Local people describe the area as ‘beautiful and affordable’, what more could you want?

13. Urbandale

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (13)

Source: rachaelvoorhees / Flickr

Lying to the southwest of Johnston is the suburb of Urbandale, home to 42,099 people. Although on paper a suburb of Des Moines, Urbandale is a place in its own right, largely due to the increased population.

Compared with other suburbs of the state capital Urbandale’s house prices are a little dearer at $196,200 on average. The median rent remains on par with the rest of the state at $832. With only 19% of people living in rented accommodation, you may have to look pretty hard to find your ideal rental property though.

Being a little further out from the CBD there are very few incidences of crime in the area and the neighbourly attitude of residents makes any newcomer feel right at home.

14. Robins

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (14)

Source: www.youtube.com

With Route 380 easily connecting you to Cedar Rapids there is no short supply of job opportunities around Robins.

This is a small and cosy town home to 3,357 people. There is such a prevalent community feel there that one could compare it to a large village. With that in mind, we should discuss house prices; on average a property in Robins will call for an investment of $239,600 but rent is still perfectly low.

Value for money is the aim of the game in Robins. Although house prices are higher, being away from the city you get more bang for your buck. For $469,950 you can invest in a 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom spacious family home that in the centre of Iowa City would cost you upwards of $500,000.

15. Grimes

15 Best Places to Live in Iowa - The Crazy Tourist (2022) (15)

Source: www.grimesiowa.gov

Grimes by name but certainly not by nature, this small town northwest of Johnston is as clean as can be. Locals are quick to mention it when giving their verdict on niche.com too!

Like with Johnston, Grimes has experienced a rapid influx of new residents over the past ten to fifteen years but locals comment that the infrastructure has struggled to keep up.

There are 24 schools for parents to choose from in this schooling district, many of which are performing incredibly well, standing student in good stead for their future endeavours.

House prices in Grimes are very similar to Johnston, lying at a median value of $177,500.

Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated: 07/04/2022

Views: 6246

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

(Video) Travis - Sing (Official Music Video)

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.

FAQs

What is the best small town in Iowa to live in? ›

1. Pella. Less than an hour's drive southeast from Des Moines, this unique small town has a distinct Dutch appeal. Founded by immigrants from Holland in 1847, Pella remains today infused with Netherlands culture.

What is the best part of Iowa to live in? ›

These three Iowa cities rank among the country's 100 best places to live, study says. Iowa City, Ames and Des Moines rank among some of the U.S.'s best small and mid-size American cities, according to a study conducted by Livability.com in partnership with Ipsos.

What is the number 1 attraction in Iowa? ›

1: Iowa State Capitol

While you can tour the Iowa State Capitol online via pictures and videos, this attraction is well worth a visit in person. The Capitol is impossible to miss, with its large 23-karat golden dome visible from anywhere nearby in Des Moines.

What is the safest town in Iowa? ›

Sioux Center

Sioux Center is our top pick for the safest city in the state of Iowa. The town is known for its strong Dutch heritage and fertile soil, resulting in several Dutch-style churches and a rich agricultural economy. Also of note is Sioux Center's college, Dordt University.

What is the warmest town in Iowa? ›

Warmest: Burlington, Iowa.

Where is it cheapest to live in Iowa? ›

  • Newton. Median listing home price: $139,000. ...
  • Davenport. Median listing home price: $149,900. ...
  • Cedar Rapids. Median listing home price: $160,000. ...
  • Dubuque. Median listing home price: $172,500. ...
  • Des Moines. Median listing home price: $175,000. ...
  • Cedar Falls. Median listing home price: $209,700. ...
  • Coralville. ...
  • Indianola.
26 Mar 2021

What should I know before moving to Iowa? ›

Quick facts to know before moving to Iowa
  • Iowa's median home cost is $141.
  • Iowa records 200 sunny days per year on average.
  • Crime rates in Iowa are lower than the U.S. average.
  • You'll enjoy all four seasons in a year in Iowa.
  • Iowa has a vibrant job market and a robust economy.

What food is famous in Iowa? ›

Iowa is known for Sour Cream Raisin Pie, Iowa Ham Balls, Scotcheroos, Maid Rite sandwiches, Steak de Burgo, taco pizza, snickers salad, and corn, lots of corn.

What is Iowa's famous people? ›

Famous Iowans | A partial list of people who were born in, and make Iowa proud.
  • Julie Adams, actress.
  • Fran Allison, TV personality.
  • Lew Anderson, entertainer.
  • Samuel Z. Arkoff, producer.
  • Tom Arnold, actor.
  • Jack Bailey, TV personality.
  • Bix Beiderbecke, musician.
  • Mildred Wirt Benson, writer.

What is Iowa is famous for? ›

Iowa is known for many things, including corn and pork production, political caucuses, and the Iowa State Fair. It became the 29th state in the U.S. in 1846, and it's the only state to be bordered on two sides by navigable rivers: the Mississippi and the Missouri.

What is the safest small town in Iowa? ›

Prairie City (Population 1,736)

It is listed as the number one safest place with less than 3,000 people living in it. It has a violent crime score of about . 58 per 1,000 people. It did not make the top 10 safest places to live in Iowa though according to its violent crime rate index.

What state has the lowest crime rate? ›

Maine. Maine has the lowest crime rate 108.6, and the incidence Count was 1466. Maine residents aren't as concerned about their overall safety compared to the rest of the nation. Maine had no mass shooting incidences, compared to one the year before.

What city in Iowa has the best weather? ›

The city in Iowa that has the Best Weather is Burlington. Located in the Southeast of Iowa, along the Mississippi River, Burlington is home to warm, humid summers and dry, freezing winters. It has temperatures typically ranging from 18°F to 86°F.

What is the coldest month in Iowa? ›

average temperature Iowa

The temperature in August averages 28.2 °C | 82.7 °F. January is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging 11.3 °C | 52.3 °F.

What is the rainiest month in Iowa? ›

  • May is the rainiest month in Iowa with 11.6 days of rain, and February is the driest month with only 5.7 rainy days. ...
  • Iowa's average annual snowfall of 30.4 inches indicates that it is less snowy than most states in the United States.

Where is it cheapest to live in Iowa? ›

  • Newton. Median listing home price: $139,000. ...
  • Davenport. Median listing home price: $149,900. ...
  • Cedar Rapids. Median listing home price: $160,000. ...
  • Dubuque. Median listing home price: $172,500. ...
  • Des Moines. Median listing home price: $175,000. ...
  • Cedar Falls. Median listing home price: $209,700. ...
  • Coralville. ...
  • Indianola.
26 Mar 2021

What should I know before moving to Iowa? ›

Quick facts to know before moving to Iowa
  • Iowa's median home cost is $141.
  • Iowa records 200 sunny days per year on average.
  • Crime rates in Iowa are lower than the U.S. average.
  • You'll enjoy all four seasons in a year in Iowa.
  • Iowa has a vibrant job market and a robust economy.

What is the oldest town in Iowa? ›

Dubuque is Iowa's oldest city and is among the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River. The first permanent settler to the area was French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque. When he arrived in 1785, the Mesquakie (Fox) Indians occupied the region which included an abundant amount of lead mines.

What's the cheapest state in the U.S. to live in? ›

1. Mississippi. Coming in as the cheapest state to live in in the United States is Mississippi with a cost of living index score of 83.3. It also has the lowest average housing costs in the nation at 33.7% below the national average.

Is it cheaper to live in Iowa or Missouri? ›

Iowa is 3.9% more expensive than Missouri.

Does Iowa tax Social Security? ›

Iowa does not tax Social Security benefits.

Is Iowa a good place for seniors to live? ›

Rest easy: Iowa rates as top retirement state

Iowans seeking the best place to spend their golden years needn't look far. A new list from Blacktower Group, a wealth management and financial advice firm, names the Hawkeye state as the best in the United States for retirees.

Is Iowa a good state to retire to? ›

Iowa ranks as the ninth best state for a physically and socially active retirement. States that have relatively large 65 and older populations are likely to also have plenty of retirement homes and communities.

What are the cons of living in Iowa? ›

Cons of Living in Iowa
  • Harsh Winters. My experience with Wisconsin winters is that we have enough snow to insulate. ...
  • Boring Landscape. “Iowa is a very rural state… ...
  • High Crime in Cities. ...
  • No Major Sports Teams. ...
  • Sparse Beaches and Mountains. ...
  • Lack of Entertainment (Some Places) ...
  • Low Income. ...
  • Not Much Ethnic Diversity.

Is Iowa losing population? ›

In 2020, Iowa was ranked 31st in population and had lost more than half of its electoral votes, down to the six it has today. Des Moines, still the largest city in the state by far, is now ranked 106th in population among the country's cities.

What is a living wage in Iowa? ›

Living Wage Calculation for Iowa
1 ADULT2 ADULTS (1 WORKING)
0 Children1 Child
Living Wage$16.18$31.47
Poverty Wage$6.19$10.56
Minimum Wage$7.25$7.25

Are there mountain lions in Iowa? ›

The state had six confirmed reports of mountain lions in 2019, but none in 2020. Since 2000, the DNR has received more than 1,500 reports of mountain lions in Iowa, but most have been unsubstantiated. Yellow lab or shepherd dogs, bobcats, feral cats and deer are often mistaken for mountain lions.

Videos

1. Imagine Dragons - On Top Of The World (Official Music Video)
(ImagineDragons)
2. Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do (Official Video)
(elliegoulding)
3. David Guetta | United at Home - Paris Edition from the Louvre
(David Guetta)
4. Beyoncé - If I Were A Boy
(Beyoncé)
5. Coldplay: Everyday Life Live in Jordan
(Coldplay)
6. Rex Orange County - ONE IN A MILLION (Official Video)
(Rex Orange County)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Tyson Zemlak

Last Updated: 09/22/2022

Views: 6667

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tyson Zemlak

Birthday: 1992-03-17

Address: Apt. 662 96191 Quigley Dam, Kubview, MA 42013

Phone: +441678032891

Job: Community-Services Orchestrator

Hobby: Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Metalworking, Fashion, Vehicle restoration, Shopping, Photography

Introduction: My name is Tyson Zemlak, I am a excited, light, sparkling, super, open, fair, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.