Life in Des Moines

Drake’s hometown of Des Moines is a diverse and vibrant capital city that has become nationally renown for its quality of living. Greater Des Moines is a hub of activity, boasting excellent schools; a thriving economy; and ample recreational, social, and cultural opportunities—all at a reasonable cost of living. There’s a reason Des Moines was named the “#1 Metro with the Most Community Pride” by Gallup.

Explore the Des Moines metro:

Housing

In 2014, Nerdwallet names Des Moines the “#1 Best Medium-Sized Metro Area for Homeownership.” And with a vast array of housing types, neighborhoods, and amenities, that claim has the evidence to back it up.

Housing in historic neighborhoods borders Drake’s campus. The Drake neighborhood offers great housing options—you may even be able to take advantage of our Drake Neighborhood Home Incentive Purchase Plan. The University builds connections to the diverse communities surrounding it through an urban youth learning garden, an adult literacy program and legal clinic, and a variety of service-learning initiatives. Within a 5-mile radius, you’ll find affordable and historic housing in popular neighborhoods, including Sherman Hill and Beaverdale.

A short bike or bus ride to areas of downtown Des Moines (particularly the East Village, Court Avenue District, and Western Gateway) leads to affordable urban lofts near art studios, theaters, restaurants, and community organizations. Suburban locations offer a variety of housing options, and most suburbs are no more than a 20-minute drive from the city center. (Big-city denizens can kiss their hour-long commutes goodbye!)

Arts & Culture

Des Moines remains remarkably affordable and is enhanced by a growing cultural scene that features extensive theater, music, and art venues (not to mention the more than 100 free fine arts events Drake offers to the public each year). You’ll find everything from ballet and Broadway productions to experimental art and theatreexhibits.

Discover the arts & culture scene in Des Moines:

The metro is also becoming increasingly diverse; Iowa has a strong tradition of welcoming people from the around the world. In Des Moines alone, more than 100 languages are spoken. Near Drake, you’ll find various places of worships for many different religions from Christianity and Judaism to Islam and Buddhism. Thirteen major religions are represented across the metro. Those who have come to call Iowa home share their heritage with their neighbors on a daily basis, and several renowned cultural festivals are mainstays in the community:

You’ll find a comprehensive list of groups and organizations focused on advancing diversity and inclusion in the community here.

Recreation & Sports

Love the great outdoors? Greater Des Moines boasts more than 600 miles of trails, perfect for biking, jogging, walking, or hiking. During the summer, you’ll find group bike rides to join nearly every day. You’ll also discover several spots to enjoy watersports, with Big Creek State Park, Saylorville Lake, and Gray’s Lake all nearby.

When the weather gets colder, as it inevitably does in the Midwest, you don’t need to hibernate—enjoy ice-skating, cross-country skiing, and any other number of winter activities within the metro area.

If you prefer watching sports to participating in them, we’ve got you covered. Several professional teams’ development squads call Des Moines home, including the Iowa Energy (Memphis Grizzlies), the Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs), and the Iowa Wild (Minnesota Wild).

Social Scene

With nationally recognized local restaurants, organizations and networking opportunities for nearly every profession or interest, numerous volunteer opportunities, and shopping for every taste—from national chains and designers to local boutiques—Greater Des Moines offers plenty of options for socializing. The city’s many national accolades speak for themselves:

  • #1 Best Up-and-Coming City for Foodies (Women’s Health Magazine)
  • #1 Best City for Young Professionals (Forbes)
  • #1 City with an Up-and-Coming Downtown (Forbes)
  • #1 Best Cities for Families (Kiplinger)

Access

When the travel bug bites, it’s easy to get out of town for a few days. Within driving distance, you’ll find Omaha (2.5 hour drive), Kansas City (3 hours), Minneapolis (4 hours), Chicago (6 hours), and St. Louis (8 hours). If you don’t feel like driving, Greyhound and Megabus service many of these cities from Des Moines.

For a further jaunt, the Des Moines International Airport can connect you with the rest of the world. The rapidly growing airport is currently served by seven major airlines, and direct flights are being added all the time, making it easy to reach major cities anywhere in the United States.

Today at Drake
University News
September 30, 2016
The inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking of U.S. colleges placed Drake University at 149 in a list that includes more than 1,000 schools nationwide.
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