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state flag when moving to iowa

What You Need to Know When Moving to Iowa: The Ultimate Guide

Pack your bags, folks, because we’re setting sail for the American Heartland! We’re “Moving to Iowa,” the land where cornfields kiss the sky and the Midwestern charm is as sweet as apple pie. 

Iowa, affectionately nestled between the Big Sioux and Missouri rivers to the west and the Mighty Mississippi to the east, is like that friend who’s always got your back. 

It invites you with open arms boasting a low cost of living, splendid neighborhoods, and top-notch education opportunities. 

And if you’re a fan of changing seasons, prepare to be spoiled! Iowa serves a grand slam of weather all year round, from sun-kissed summers to the snowy frolic of winters.

But hold your horses before you hit the road! We’re here to give you a lowdown on what to expect in the Hawkeye State.

Here is the List of 13 Things to Consider When Moving to Iowa

Preparing to Move to Iowa

Now, before you pack your bags and book a one-way ticket to Iowa, let’s get our ducks in a row. Moving to Iowa requires a little bit of planning, a dash of paperwork, and a whole lot of excitement. 

Firstly, unless you’re planning to haul your life’s belongings on your back like a snail, you’ll need a reliable moving company. Look for the one with a flashy website, gleaming reviews, and more years of experience than your Grandma’s apple pie recipe.

Next up is mail forwarding. If your mail is as heavy as a Christmas catalogue, sign up with USPS’s mail forwarding service. For just a few bucks for about 6 months, it’s cheaper than your morning cup of joe. 

And while you’re at it, sort through your stuff and decide what to bring with you to Iowa. Remember, moving is the perfect time for a clean slate, so sell, donate, or gift items you no longer need.

Settling In Iowa

So, you’ve made it to Iowa! Before you get lost in the splendor of cornfields and pie festivals, let’s get you settled. 

Start by updating your new address with all the relevant authorities – your employer, bank, insurance, the DMV, and even your nagging aunt who sends holiday cards. Also, register to vote – the good people of Iowa love to have their voices heard.

Transfer your out-of-state driver’s license as soon as you’ve put your bags down. It’s as easy as pie, just remember to bring all the necessary documents. And hey, if your old license is still valid, they’ll skip the driving exam. Sweet deal, right?

Lastly, get your vehicle registered with the Iowa DOT within a month. Or else, you might end up paying penalties that can be better spent on corn dogs at the state fair!

sunflower field

The Best Living Spots in Iowa

Alright, you’re all set and ready to dive into the Hawkeye State! But where to call home in Iowa? 

If you’re a couple, Des Moines should be your top pick. With its urban-suburban feel and diverse culture, it’s like that cool friend who knows all the best spots in town. Plus, it’s got a thriving nightlife, so say goodbye to dull evenings!

For the singles out there, put on your party hats because Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa, is the place to be. With its youthful vibe and abundant amenities, you might just find your perfect match!

Housing and Renting in Iowa

Now that we’ve found the perfect city, let’s find you the perfect pad! Finding a place to live in Iowa is easier than finding a needle in a haystack, thanks to a multitude of online portals. 

Websites like Zillow, or Apartments.com are your allies in the quest for an ideal apartment. 

Remember, the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the best property deals! So, get your fingers clicking and find your new Iowan home today.

Getting Your Utilities Up and Running in Iowa

Just landed in the Hawkeye State and getting ready to live the Iowa dream? Well, hold onto your corn cobs because it’s time to set up your utilities. 

In the land of butter cows and bridge festivals, the Iowa Utilities Board is your go-to resource for sorting out electricity, water, gas, and telecommunication services. 

Think of them as the superheroes of utility regulation, ensuring you’ve got access to safe and reliable services at reasonable rates.

When it comes to internet and cell phone services, Iowa’s got your back and makes sure you’re never far from the digital world. 

With a wide range of prices, speeds, and connection types, getting connected in Iowa is as easy as pie.

Understanding the Cost of Living in Iowa

You might be wondering, “What’s the damage to my wallet going to be in Iowa?” Well, the average monthly cost of living in Des Moines, Iowa, for a couple, is $2400. 

To put that in perspective, that’s less than the price of a 16th-century antique corn cob holder.

In all seriousness though, your major expenses would be rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, insurance, and a few others. While we can’t make these disappear, rest assured that your money stretches further in Iowa than in many other parts of the country. 

So, you can save those extra dollars for important stuff, like corn dogs and pie!

Income and Expense Comparison for Iowa

CategoryIowa Average
Median Household Income$61,691
Housing (Median Home Cost)$141,200
Miscellaneous (Entertainment, Dining Out, etc.)$250

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Numbeo

Getting Around in Iowa Like a Pro

Ready to start exploring your new turf? Great! Let’s talk about getting around in Iowa. If you think traffic jams are when three tractors meet at a four-way stop, you’re gonna love this place! 

For city slickers, Iowa’s public transit systems like DART (Des Moines Area Regional Transit) and MET (Metropolitan Transit Authority) offer efficient and affordable bus services. 

You could literally spend your day hopping on and off buses just for the sheer thrill of it. Who needs roller coasters when you have Iowa transit, right?

food when moving to Iowa

Shop 'Til You Drop and Eat 'Til You Pop in Iowa

Once you’ve sorted out the serious stuff, it’s time to delve into the fun side of moving to Iowa. You can start by visiting grocery stores like Whole Foods Market, and Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy

If you’re into big chain stores, you have Walmart and Costco at your service. Trust me, these places are so large; you could lose yourself for a weekend in the cereal aisle alone!

When it comes to food, you’re in for a treat. Iowa is the gastronomic equivalent of a surprise party. Fong’s Pizza is one of our must-visit places. 

You’ll have to loosen your belt buckle and throw diet caution to the Iowa wind, but it’s totally worth it!

Exploring Iowa – What's There to Do?

Okay, so you’re settled in, got your stuff sorted, and have sampled some cornbread. It’s time to discover what Iowa has in store for you. 

From the exotic creatures at Blank Park Zoo to the grandeur of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, the state offers plenty of attractions for the curious at heart.

Each has its unique charm and appeal that will make you fall in love with Iowa even more! So, buckle up, put on your explorer hat, and let’s dive into the Iowa adventure!

Embracing the Iowa Outdoors

Moving to Iowa gives you an open invitation to explore its breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re a fan of rolling prairies or forested hills, Iowa will keep you entertained with its diverse outdoor offerings. 

For starters, head over to the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge. Spanning over 240,000 acres, this refuge will reconnect you with nature’s best. Want more? 

Visit Pikes Peak State Park for stunning river views and hikes that’ll take your breath away, and I mean it quite literally! So, before you make the move, stock up on some sturdy hiking boots and all-weather gear. The Iowa wilderness is not for the faint-hearted!

The Sporty Side of Iowa

Ready to indulge in a bit of sporty competition? In Iowa, sports are not just games; they are part of the culture. From high school wrestling to college football, expect to be sucked into the infectious sports spirit. 

Attend the famous Iowa Hawkeyes’ games, or take part in RAGBRAI, a statewide bike ride that’ll test your endurance. Whether you’re a spectator or participant, the energy is palpable. 

Just remember, here in Iowa, it’s not about whether you win or lose, but how good you look doing it!

horse in the countryside

Iowa's Art and Culture Scene

While we’re all about the cornfields and sporting events, Iowa also offers a rich art and culture scene. Take a trip to the Des Moines Art Center or the Figge Art Museum in Davenport for a dose of Iowa’s art scene. 

For theatre lovers, the Englert Theatre in Iowa City and Des Moines Performing Arts will satisfy your cravings for a good show. 

Also, don’t miss the famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a literary hub that has produced 17 Pulitzer Prize winners. I mean, who knows? 

Moving to Iowa might just unleash the hidden Shakespeare in you!

Community Life in Iowa

Lastly, what truly sets Iowa apart is its tight-knit communities. Despite the relatively small population, the spirit of neighborliness runs deep. 

You’ll find community events and festivals celebrated with gusto, and a shared sense of responsibility and care for one another. Some of the notable events include the Des Moines Arts Festival, Iowa State Fair, and Pella’s Tulip Time. 

The warm and welcoming nature of Iowans is infectious, making it a beautiful place to live. Remember, in Iowa, you’re never a stranger, you’re just a friend they haven’t met yet!


So, folks, the secret’s out! Iowa isn’t just cornfields and farmsteads anymore. This Midwestern gem is a perfect blend of urban comforts and countryside charm. From its friendly neighborhoods to a palette of recreational options, Iowa offers something for everyone.

Feeling like a night owl? Iowa City’s got you covered. Dreaming of a tranquil life amid nature? University Heights is your go-to. And if you’re looking for a metropolis that combines the best of both worlds, Des Moines is where you should be setting your GPS to. 

With a cost of living that doesn’t break the bank, affordable homes, and job opportunities that match your ambitions, Iowa makes sure you’re always on the sunny side of life.

After reading this, we bet “Moving to Iowa” seems less like a daunting task and more like the beginning of an exciting new chapter. It’s a state that embraces its past, celebrates its present, and looks forward to its future.

So, strap in, keep this guide handy, and get ready to live your American dream in the heartland of opportunities. After all, there’s no place quite like Iowa!

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