My famiy is potentionally moving to des moines from washington state. I'm not familiar with Des Moines at all. Looking for an area of town/neighborhood, that is family friendly, pretty, a bit of soul. i hate cookie cutter houses & neighborhoods & strip malls, yuck! Thanks!!
Do you want to be in Des Moines or one of the 'burbs? Almost all of the small towns that have become 'burbs have older, established neighborhoods. Des Moines has nice neighborhoods too. What are you looking for, other than not cookie cutter?
You can search here
for crimes reported in the DSM area for up to the last 90 days. Crime statistics here
This site has more information that might be helpful: http://www.city-data.com/city/Des-Moines-Iowa.html
Hoping some of the DSM area moms pop in and can give better information. I have family in Altoona and Pleasant Hill.
We lived in the Beaverdale area for about 5 years before moving. We loved the diversity of this area. It is known for its beaverdale brick homes. We happened to purchase a brand new home so there are options in the older neighborhoods. This put us close to the downtown and right between 235 to head out West which is where most of the major shopping area is or Interstate 80 to head in either direction. There was a park a block away and another about 4 blocks away that in the summer has the wading pool open to the public for free and there are tons of kids and moms that just hang out each afternoon and the kids love to run. There is another area which is referred to South of Grand. I am sure there is a neighborhood name and it just doesnt come to me right now. These are older, larger homes. We moved before our children started school but we probably would have looked into other options over the public school system. We had friends who homeschooled and others that enrolled their child in Des Moines Christian or the catholic school.
There are great Farmers markets. Especially the one downtown on Saturday mornings and the one in Valley Junction on Thursday nites.
I am in Ames (30 miles north), but there are some nice neighborhoods to consider in DM. I used to work in the Owls Head neighborhood on 28th close to Grand. The houses in that area are quite expensive and historic, but the houses north of Grand and Ingersoll were nice and there is a range. Also, the houses south of 235 around 42nd are really nice area- close to the DM Art Center. Ingersoll has lots of shops around 28th-35th St. area.
Otherwise, West Des Moines has some really neat homes in the Valley Junction area. I think within walking distance to 6th or 8th would be nice. WDM also has a lot of suburban sprawl outside of the VJ. Urbandale, Johnston, and Ankeny have a lot newer building occurring (Mcmansions, people hutches, and sprawl), but like another poster pointed out that there are also older neighborhoods in these communities that are quite established.
Some of the areas around Drake University are kind of rough and others have potential, and I think the S.E. side and some in the East may be kind of rough as well- not sure, but the couple of times I have been there they were not so nice. On the other hand, the East Village just experienced a revitalization and has great restaurants and galleries- not sure about housing.
I would suggest looking at West Des Moines or Ankeny for a more family friendly environment. Good Luck on your house hunting search!