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Overview

Introduction to Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa offers many benefits to its residents, such as low-cost housing, short commute times, and a diverse population. It is the capital of Iowa, and as such it serves as the center of government, business, arts, and culture. Its metro population is 500,000 and it has top-notch schools, public services, and neighborhoods. The city began as a military post in 1834, and today has gained national recognition as center of the insurance industry. The city has climate-controlled skywalk systems that link together parking, hotels, restaurants, and businesses.

Des Moines Culture

Des Moines is a center of Iowa culture and boasts a wide array of museums, arts centers, and performance events. The Des Moines Arts Center has a permanent collection of major 19th, 20th, and 21st century masterpieces in a contemporary building. The Des Moines Arts Center Downtown is an extension of the center and provides exciting new exhibits in an urban-inspired setting. The Gortz Haus Gallery features more than 50 Iowa artists and is housed in a church made of stone. For military enthusiasts, there’s the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, which honors military men and women and displays artifacts from the Civil War to the present. The Des Moines Metro Opera has educational and outreach programs and is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the state.

Des Moines Sports and Leisure

Des Moines features many activities related to sports and leisure. The Iowa Cubs baseball team is in the Pacific Coast league, a AAA league affiliated with the Chicago Cubs. The Des Moines Menace soccer team plays home games in Waukee. The Des Moines Bucanners play in the United States Hockey League at Bucaneer Arena in nearby Urbandale. The Iowa Stars of the American Hockey League play their games at Wells Fargo Arena which is attached to the Iowa Events Center.

Des Moines Outdoors

Des Moines is known for Gray’s Lake Park, the premier park in Central Iowa. The past three years have seen many new and exciting features added to the park, and not it’s more popular than ever. The lake has a lighted trail circling it and a pedestrian bridge that offers spectacular views. Boats can be rented and used on the lake. New shoreline improvements, landscaping, and new parking areas have vastly improved the park. The Meredith Trail connects Gray’s Lake to Downtown Des Moines. There is also a boat ramp for both sail boats and electric motorboats. The park has over 300 miles of trails and more on the way, making it a perfect place to get exercise or enjoy nature.

Des Moines at Night

Des Moines has a great deal to offer when the sun goes down. There are comedy clubs like Funny Bone and Starry Night Gourmet Coffee and Cuisine. Dance clubs are very popular, and some of the best include The Big Kahuna, Bugsy’s, Coconut Joe’s, Club Iguana Jakes, and Canopy Lounge. There are sports bars like Borbon St. Bar & Grill and All in the Family Lounge. Karaoke bars are also plentiful, such as Anthony’s Lounge, Ellis Island, and Chi Chi’s South.

People

Total Population 208,020
Male Share of the Population 49%
Female Share of the Population 51%
Senior Citizens 11.1%
Employed Population 16+ 101,915
Age of the Population 33

Families

% of people married 42.6%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 25.1%
Median Earnings25+ $32,176
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $22,908
Median Earnings With High School Degree $27,079

Wealth

Median Family Income $56,196
% Above Poverty Level 80%
% Below Poverty Level 20%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 19 minutes
% Working from Home 3%
% Walking and Biking to Work 3%
% Using Public Transportation 2%

Housing

People Living Alone 32.3%
Median Gross Rent $754
Median House Value $117,800

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 27.2%
US/American 0%
English 7.3%
Irish 11.6%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Des Moines Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 123 miles E of Omaha, Nebraska
County Polk
Metro Area Des Moines
Standard Zip Codes 50307, 50308, 50309, 50310, 50311, 50312, 50313, 50314, 50315, 50316, 50317, 50320, 50321, 50322, 50323, 50325, 50327, 50395
P.O. Box Zip Codes 50301, 50302, 50303, 50304, 50305, 50306, 50318, 50333, 50393, 50394
Company Zip Codes 50319, 50328, 50329, 50330, 50331, 50332, 50334, 50335, 50336, 50338, 50339, 50340, 50347, 50350, 50359, 50360, 50361, 50362, 50363, 50364, 50367, 50368, 50369, 50380, 50381, 50391, 50392, 50396, 50397, 50398, 50936, 50940, 50947, 50950, 50980, 50981
Phone Area Codes 515
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.6
Longitude -93.608

Des Moines Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station DES MOINES AP
Distance 5.5 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 29 F
Apr Temp 40 to 61 F
Jul Temp 66 to 86 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 34.7 inches
Station WINTERSET 2 NNW
Distance 27.3 miles
Jan Temp 9 to 29 F
Apr Temp 37 to 61 F
Jul Temp 64 to 84 F
Oct Temp 40 to 64 F
Annual Precip 34.3 inches
Station KNOXVILLE
Distance 31.5 miles
Jan Temp 11 to 29 F
Apr Temp 38 to 61 F
Jul Temp 65 to 86 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 35 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Des Moines, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Capitol Heights (50317)

Carbondale (50317)

East Des Moines (50309)

Highland Park (50313)

Lovington (50322)

Marquisville (50313)

Norwoodville (50317)

Risingsun (50317)

Saydel (50313)

South Des Moines (50315, 50320, 50321)

State of Iowa (50319)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Clive 16,634 $113,935
Johnston 19,550 $118,138

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Des Moines Public Libraries

Library
Public Library Of Des Moines
100 LOCUST ST
Des Moines, Iowa
(515) 283-4152
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Des Moines Hospitals

IOWA METHODIST MEDICAL CENTER
(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
1200 PLEASANT STREET
(515) 241-6212
Emergency Service: Yes

MERCY MEDICAL CENTER-DES MOINES
(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
1111 6TH AVE
(515) 247-3121
Emergency Service: Yes

BROADLAWNS MEDICAL CENTER
(Government - Local)
1801 HICKMAN ROAD
(515) 282-2200
Emergency Service: Yes

IOWA LUTHERAN HOSPITAL
(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
700 EAST UNIVERSITY AVENUE
(515) 263-5612
Emergency Service: Yes

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Des Moines High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL
2600 SW 9TH ST
515-242-7500
Serves 2,179 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.3

EAST HIGH SCHOOL
815 E 13TH ST
515-242-7788
Serves 1,970 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.2

ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL
4419 CENTER ST
515-242-7272
Serves 1,583 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.6

NORTH HIGH SCHOOL
501 HOLCOMB AVE
515-242-7200
Serves 1,198 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14.1

HOOVER HIGH SCHOOL
4800 AURORA AVE
515-242-7300
Serves 1,197 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.1

SAYDEL HIGH SCHOOL
5601 NE 7TH ST
515-262-9325
Serves 470 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14

SCAVO HIGH SCHOOL
1800 GRAND AVENUE
515-242-7589
A Non-traditional School
Serves 237 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 11.5

BRIDGES
1800 GRAND
515-242-7552
A Non-traditional School
Serves 85 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 5.3

DES MOINES CENTRAL CAMPUS
1800 GRAND AVE
515-242-7846

Additional Details
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Historic Des Moines

photo

Steel viaduct over Des Moines River (C. & N.W. Ry. i.e. Chicago & North Western Railway) ca. 1900

Select a photo to view (Source):

Steel viaduct over Des Moines River (C. & N.W. Ry. i.e. Chicago & North Western Railway) ca. 1900

Up the Des Moines Valley (From C. & N. W. Ry. viaduct) c1901.

Bridge over the Des Moines River. c1899.

Additional Resources
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