Skip Sub Menu

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, thriving economy and ample recreational, social, and cultural opportunities—all at a reasonable cost of living. 

Explore the Des Moines metro:

Des Moines Rankings

# 1 Top 10 Places For Young Professionals To Live – ForbesAdvisor, 2023

# 1 Best Midsized Metros for Millennials  — CommercialCafe, 2023

#7 Lowest Cost of Living in the U.S. — Apartment List, 2023

Top 10 City for a Minimalist Lifestyle — RentCafe, 2023

#9 Top Metro for Number Economic Development Projects (among metros with a population of 200,000 to 1 million) — Site Selection Magazine, 2023 

#5 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Families — U.S. News & World Report, 2022

#14 Best Place to Live in the U.S. — U.S. News & World Report, 2022

#6 Best Place for Women in Real Estate — MyEListing, 2022

Top 10 Most Neighborly City in America — Neighbor Blog, 2022

Top 25 Up-and-Coming Tech Market — CBRE, 2022 

Top 20 Tech City for IT Jobs — CompTIA, 2022 

Additional Information


In 2022, Des Moines was named one of the Most Neighborly cities by  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 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 Cubs (Chicago Cubs), Iowa Wolves (NBA G League) 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:

Travel and Weekend Adventures

When the travel bug bites, it’s easy to get out of town for a few days. If you don’t feel like driving, Greyhound and Megabus service many of these cities from Des Moines.

Driving Distances

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 six major airlines, and direct flights are being added all the time, making it easy to reach major cities anywhere in the United States.


University Calendar 
University News