Are you thinking of moving? Where you choose to live contributes immeasurably to your overall quality of life. As telecommuting and freelancing options expand, living a life away from a city becomes a real possibility for more of us. Here are 10 Iowa towns that are worth considering if you are looking for a new place to call home. Their population, job opportunities, and proximity to larger Iowa towns vary, but they all have the
Iowa friendliness that we want in our hometown.
Clive offers residents a 290-acre green space. Greenbelt Park has 11 miles of trails that stretch the length of the town. Big employers like Wells Fargo and the American Cancer Society employ many people in the area. In fact, Clive residents have some of the highest median incomes in the state.
With a population of less than 2700, this small Iowa community is one of the most beautiful. Many downtown buildings are on the National Historic Register. Ahoy Fountain offers old-time malts to help add to this town's old-time vibe.
This popular Des Moines suburb is exploding; the population doubled between 2000 and 2010 according to the U.S. Census and it shows no signs of slowing down. With a National Blue Ribbon School and a school district that is the fourth largest in Iowa, this is a great place for people who work in the education field or are raising kids. If your job is in Des Moines, the city center is just a 17 minute drive.
Is living inside a fairytale village your dream? If so, Pella is your town. They have an actual canal (pictured here: Molengracht Canal in the central business district) an annual Tulip Time Festival, and a bakery that makes Dutch letters, daily. Even their retail big-box and convenience stores are adorable.
Situated in the northeastern corner of the state, this small town is full of outdoor-loving foodies. The second largest seed bank in the world (Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm) is just outside of town. Oneota Community Food Coop, Dunnings Spring Park, Trout Run Trail, and Toppling Goliath Brewing Company are just a few things to do in Decorah that lure people in.
6. North Liberty
Situated between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, North Liberty is a bustling community that is the second fastest growing in the state. The two biggest employers close by are Procter & Gamble and the University of Iowa. Its population of people between the ages of 25 and 29 is the largest among all of the age groups, here. There are over 200 active businesses in North Liberty, so newcomers have a better chance of finding employment here than in some other communities.
The smallest of the Quad Cities on Iowa's eastern border, this town is on the Mississippi River and has a population of just under 35,000. An abundance of green spaces, excellent schools, affordable homes, and a multitude of recreational activity options make the residents here very happy.
8. Orange City
With an unemployment rate that hovers around 3%, a homeownership rate of 80%, and 211 sunny days each year, this town is truly a lovely place to live. Residents enjoy commute times of less than 10 minutes, which is a serious quality of life issue for a lot of Iowans. It may be a small town, but Orange City is just an hours and a half from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and two hours from Omaha, so residents can still spend time in the big city when they feel the need.
9. What Cheer
If you are intent on living a happy life in a small town with an adorable name, What Cheer awaits. Unlike the other towns on this list, it isn't exploding with growth, it doesn't have a bustling downtown area, and it isn't near any excellent shopping venues. It is peaceful, beautiful, and quaint. The What Cheer Flea Market is one of the biggest in the Midwest, and it's the town's main claim to fame. With a population of around 600, this tiny Iowa town is a great place to really settle down. Residents are just 30 minutes south of I-80.
This small Iowa town has around 5,000 residents. With Omaha just an hour west and south, getting into the city is a breeze. Harlan was recently named number 6 on a list of the happiest towns in Iowa. With a low crime rate and lots of sunny days, people who live here are pretty content with their peaceful lives.
What’s your ideal Iowa town? Busy and close to a city, or in a laid-back rural area with fewer people? Do you love your friendly Iowa town so much that you’ll never move? Tell us about it in the comments.