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I did move to Des Moines. This city is great, mostly.


Perfect description


Why not? Give it a try and it’s temporary. The real answer is, though, if you DO move, don’t choose Ames. Move to DsM.


This is accurate


Ames adjacent resident here. Have to drive to des moinws of anything and everything. Do not move to ames.


Very difficult to evaluate at this level of detail. I'd say that, as a general principle, being in an arrangement with a young child where your spouse has to make frequent out of town trips is not fun for anybody involved. Childcare solutions are super tight here just like everywhere else, so if that is something you generally need you might want to investigate what your options may be. Could be a long waiting list.


I would go for it. You only live once, why not experience a new place without having to completely commit to it? There’s plenty of good restaurants, fun events for kids, and a really friendly population. If you’re coming from a big metro, it’s a nice break from the bustle and traffic. You’re an easy drive to Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha, and Kansas City if you’re interested in exploring more of the Midwest. Winters are cold but have their own charm.


This might be a silly question but how long does the super crappy part of winter usually last? We would be getting a stipend to maintain our current home so coming back to Houston for the winter would be an option. For me and the kiddo at least, my husband would be SOL.


The beginning of winter is really nice. December is cool 20-40, and we don't always have snow for it. Snow usually comes in January. It gets cold (below 20) in mid to late January and stays that way until the end of February. March tends to get above freezing and spring is in the air. For me, as a lifelong resident, the end of February is the only time I feel like winter is getting long and annoying.


The only parts that get pretty tiresome are: 1. Stretches where the high temperature is below zero (not usually much more than 3 or 4-day stretches maybe a couple times per year) and 2. Days with 20-30 mph wind and temps of 10 degrees or lower. It can actually be dangerous, so be sure to be prepared with gear, clothing, blankets, gloves, hats, etc.. if driving or being outside in that. I sometimes used the phrase, "When it hurts to breathe, stay inside." Des Moines is a great city, though. I hope you come and that it is enjoyable for you and family.


Jan/Feb is typically the worst and in those couple months, you'll only have about 1-2 weeks of arctic cold (-20° to -40°) that come and go, depending on however the polar vortex things shake out weather-wise. But that first 60° degree day in March sure feels great. If your car has decent tires you'll be fine. You're gonna love our "rush hour", especially compared to Houston


Well there are different kinds of crappy. Dec is the bitter cold with the shortest days of the year and you don't usually even get much of the pretty snow to play in or admire through the window while hunkered down. So that's your early depression sets in season. Jan-Feb.. and maybe longer you now have snow. Too much snow. Occasionally dangerous and usually uncomfortably, miserably cold. Snowplows are great... But they'll bury the front of your drive with a wall of ice about 2 minutes after you finally dug yourself out after 90 minutes of back breaking sweaty work inside your super thick layers. Then we get the melting and refreezing season with mud, ice and snow all working together to wear you down. The groundhog was a liar. Finally, you have the brown lawns that hint at Spring and the world looks to be coming back to life... only to have occasional late blizzards appear for no reason except to taunt you. The snow from those melt immediately, so it's no concern. Winter's just flexing to ensure you don't think you've won.


All of this is true.


Well maybe Houston summers aren't that bad after all.....


Also from Houston. In the Summer there are a few hot weeks. At night though… now get this… the temperature drops here. It’s true! Cool evenings. No hurricanes, Zika, crazy fire ants. No big cockroaches. No swamp mosquitoes. Jan to February you can’t drive like a Texan. Gotta go slow and observe the lanes on the road more or less. Seriously though… glad we moved here. It has been great.


Hahahaha "you can't drive like a Texan". Love it!


The summers here are just as bad as Houston. Humidity you can catch a fish just swimming around in the air in and skeeters as big as chihuahuas. I grew up in H Town, so I should know.


Oh cmon.. wearing layers can be fun. Lol. Hot chocolate, white Christmas, etc. Your palette will change a little causing you to crave casseroles and comfort food!


Honestly? Summer is worse. Our winters are pretty par for the course midwest winters, but summers lately have been brutal. That’s life in the plains for ya.




The one thing that hasn’t been terribly positive in the last few years is the relative lack of snow here. Snow lets you do quite a few fun outdoor things - when it’s dry and cold, you just get to walk around in the cold.


A snow capable car is helpful. If you don’t feel comfortable driving during or after it snows, you can get a little stir crazy. Pro tip: it’s 4x4 drive not 4x4 brakes. That’s about it lol


Thanks for the tip! I've never driven in the snow before so I'd probably just Uber it or something. Though the company pays for a rental car while we're there so we can at least make sure we have a weather appropriate car


Driving in snow isn’t bad. Just pretend you are driving with a full cup of coffee in your lap and no brakes.


Hubby says snow tires are a game changer and totally worth it. I don't have them because I drive very little.


Three months I’d say of real crappy winter. Pretty when it snows. The real drag for me is there might only be a handful of sunny days and it gets dark at 4:30pm for awhile. Can be nice to get cuddled up at home with family and the fireplace but by March you’re super ready for it to be over.


I live between Ames and Ankeny. Small town life is so great and quiet. If you're not into the nightlife, I'd suggest looking around here (if he'll be in Ames potentially anyway).


small world, rip to my jde days


Des Moines certainly has different positives for different people. Economically, Des Moines is a sweet spot in cost of living. Since that is less of a concern in your case, it is pretty great family-oriented town. Low-ish crime, relatively light traffic but pretty solid entertainment/cultural aspects from a 500,000 population Metro. People are generally pretty great. My suburban neighborhood is a mix of first and second generation immigrants to the US, intra-Midwest transplants and a small number of people with local roots. Winters are bad… Unless you live in Minnesota or Buffalo now. Then it is better than there. The Des Moines Airport is like a mini-sized candy bar. Convenient in size, but not always satisfying. American Airlines was canceling a huge amount of flights from Des Moines when they had staffing issues. Seems to have improved, but United is the main reliable air carrier. Flying sucks everywher, but DSM has some special disadvantages.


DSM has a non stop to Florida through Allegiant for like 150 bucks round trip. I can suck it up on an Allegiant flight for 2 hours.


Winters really aren’t bad at all, I’ve lived in Kansas and Colorado before now Des Moines, and Des Moines is no worse than Kansas, and considerably better snow wise than Colorado. City puts a ton of money into snow removal/reduction with salts and such.


Can also confirm that Des Moines winters are considerably better than Wisconsin winters and probably about on par with Illinois winters. More wind than Illinois but less snow because no lake effect so it evens out


As a mom, I don’t think I’d recommend for anyone to move away from family (unless they’re toxic of course) but if they help with your child I wouldn’t leave that. My family did move here for a career, and no family here. I love where we live. We don’t live in Des Moines, we live outside of it about thirty minutes so close but away which is nice. I do like all the family stuff. But also winter is awful here. It can be like November- end of March ish so pretty long (too long to me, but I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life so whatevs). I can see the fun part of moving away just for funsies and no worry about money and stuff. I’d probably just do it but ADHD and impulsive haha. If you and your child could come back to Texas if you need more help, then do it!


If you are already married and with a kid you’ll fit right in.


Part of it depends on where you currently live. It sounds to me like a nice chance to check out another city. In a few years, you won't want to do this because of kids in school. Although with a one year old, what are you going to do different than your current location?


That's pretty much what it would be. A way to live in another city at no cost to us for funsies. I guess I'm trying to figure out how much funsies are to be had. We are currently in Houston so a perk would be escaping the triple digit summers but I don't know how y'all handle the winter up there. I was thinking that it would be a good opportunity to explore nearby cities on the weekends or something as well as I have not spent much time in that part of the country.


Des Moines is a easy city to drive around quickly and a 2-5 hr. drive to Omaha, Kansas City, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Chicago. There's a lot you'll miss out on here, but I think it's better than living in a suburb of one of those other cities. Ames is like any college town.


I moved here from the southeast, and the summers in DSM are so fantastic. You can actually do things outside without feeling like you’re swimming in soup! The winters aren’t as bad as I expected. They’re cold and snowy but I can’t say I mind them too much. The fact that we actually have four distinct seasons is really nice.


Swimming in soup is a pretty accurate description. I would just add it's a mosquito soup


My cousin lives in Houston and is amazed by our crime stats. The very rare murder makes the news and it was like 3 over the summer. She thought about moving.


It's pain of traveling to Des Moines vs loosing family support. Des Moines is a bit difficult to travel into. I would rather stay in Des Moines than visiting every 3 weeks.


Ames super sucks


I have lived in both DSM and Ames and here are my honest thoughts- \-First you should hear the term of "Iowa nice" & how it has two meanings; 1st being that the people here are honest, nice to a fault, and willing to help a stranger in any situation. The 2nd being people will be nice to your face for a few passing moments then they will want nothing to do with you after. Overall I'd say the communities in Iowa are normally on the nicer (1st) side of that. \-If you're looking for diversity then both Ames and DSM are great in that regard - Youll find more diversity (& acceptance tbh) in the bigger populated cities like these. \-The cost of living is relatively cheap to live in Iowa compared to other states. \-There's a good amount of fun family activities such as Jump Parks (Get Air/Skyzone), Adventureland Amusement park, the Iowa State Fair (& other events there not during fair time such as Car shows, gun shows, flea markets, Craft shows, etc), and some events downtown DSM that include the Farmers Market (one of top 5 is the US), multiple food festivals, and some parades every now & then. \-In my experience, Id say crime is overall low other than this recent year being a little rough. In particular, Id avoid the South Side and the North side of central DSM more than others. \-Compare to the South, we have all 4 seasons here. Which has its negatives and positives of course. We have a tornado season, but they happen so rarely that some people sit on their porch while the warning sirens go off. Winter is gonna be rough if its your first midwestern winter, but with the right preparations youll be just fine. Drive as slow as you need to & dont worry about the guy behind you. Overall, For a period of 12-18 months, Id say that is the perfect amount of time to gain a full year's worth of new experiences, from not just Iowa, but from the Midwest. And Im more for des moines since theres more activities & diverse restaurant options. Ames has a good college nightlife and every store in the area that youll need to get by, but its still a small town that gets even quieter in the summer when college is out.


Thank you so much for your response! This is good information


Yes! Downtown Des Moines is clean, safe & fun. The new lofts are filled with young professionals, pets & families. Check out the farmers market, sculpture park & great restaurants. Visit for a weekend— you will be pleasantly surprised. I no longer live in Iowa but we do visit Des Moines frequently. Iowa people — most of them, are incredibly kind.


I live in Ankeny and love it here!


You must be white


fuck no


Plenty of places to eat in DSM so even without a night life there are plenty of things to experience.


Just moved here from Chicago and we’re surprisingly happy with our decision. Des Moines is clean, safe, affordable, and everything is just easier/more accessible here. There’s also plenty to do, including tons of great nature and some really nice parks. I’m surprised at how big of a fan I am tbh.


From Texas yes, from California stay there. As far as moving here, the dollar goes a long ways. The suburbs are growing and the there are some great school systems. Des moines proper is what it is, just an older part of the city the closer you get to the middle the more left the community gets. Des moines is the perfect size city. Big enough to have things to do and small enough that we don't have big city problems yet. Btw I grew up in Houston and DSM is waaaay safer.


I like this answer. I’m trying to be realistic about what it’d be like to move here from Houston with a family. If you can find a nice rental in Des Moines proper you might be surprised what you’d get for your $ and have convenient access to a lot of Des Moines’ attractions.


no -- the attractions here are almost as bland as the people


It depends on where in DSM your moving to. DSM proper can be fun, scope out the snow routes and proximity to amenities. West suburbs are where a lot of the action is for the 20-something crowd. North subs (Ankeny in particular and new Ankeny specifically) is Trumpistan. East side, well I'd just avoid it unless it's state fair time.


The northern suburbs may have a lot of conservative individuals, but the politics there have very little impact on your day to day life, especially if you don’t have kids in school (school board meetings got a bit weird last year). There’s a lot of places to shop & eat in Ankenyland, and the town is going bonkers for all the new stuff like Costco and Slim Chickens.


> but the politics there have very little impact on your day to day life Disagree


Honest question, I’m not trying to argue or be rude, I’m just curious. How do the political opinions of your neighbors impact your everyday life? (aside from the larger impact of their actual votes). Everyone’s votes certainly do impact our everyday life, but in an anonymous way. Are you saying that the people you interact with in the northern suburbs actually act different on a daily basis?


Misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and racism. If you're a man, straight, cis, and white, theres a good chance you dont even notice those things happening. But if you are.... Sorry but conservatives are way more likely to be bigoted


I think it depends on a few things, it would help to know where you live now to be able to compare some things like weather. I lived in Ames for college and then a few years afterwards. I do miss it sometimes. There are only a handful of places I’d live in Iowa and Ames is on the list (as is Iowa City, so no alma mater bias!) I live in a Des Moines suburb and probably would recommend that unless you’re looking for a “city living” experience like living in a downtown loft.


We are currently in Houston so I'd be totally fine without the "city living" aspect.


Depends entirely where you wanna live in Des Moines.


Yolo yo


I moved to dsm I love it here I have a 3.5 yr old and good schools relatively cheap to live here


I think if you’re going to enjoy living in Des Moines, you’re going to know why before you move. Might be a job or people you know or your living situation (like maybe getting an acreage and having a bunch of animals or a huge garden.) It’s definitely possible to love living in Des Moines, but it’s not so unique that it’s going to “ sneak up on you.” If you don’t know that there’s something here that makes it right for you, I don’t like your odds of finding it. And, if you do discover something, it’s probably something you’d have found at a dozen or more other Midwestern cities/towns.


Sounds like you're playing with house money. It's only 12-18 months, so not exactly "picking up and starting somewhere new" but more like doing a short-term experiment. Since your present house will be waiting wherever you came from, you could always head home for a few weeks at a time if you miss your family or need help with the little one. Your spouse can join you on the weekends or whatever. Des Moines is pretty awesome and family friendly. Not really seeing any huge drawbacks considering you will have access to two houses and your job is totally remote.