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Dallas County Living

Greater Dallas County is not short on things to do. Whether you hike, bike, or are outdoorsy in the sense that you like a good patio, there is something for everyone.

Dallas County is the fastest-growing county in Iowa and for good reason.

With delicious restaurants, affordable shopping at the largest mall in the state, entertainment for all ages, beautiful parks, and well-kept trails, there is never a shortage of things to do. From sunny summer days at Valley View Aquatic Center to snowy holiday tree lightings, every season presents opportunities to create memories.

Less than 30 minutes from downtown Des Moines, residents can also enjoy all the city has to offer—Broadway musicals, big ticket concerts, and sporting events from the Iowa Wolves, Wild, and Barnstormers. Not to mention the innumerable job opportunities for those graduating from nearby Drake University and Iowa State. It’s easy to see why people continue to flock to flourishing Dallas County.


Dallas County encompasses all or part of 18 different cities—each offering unique benefits to residents.


The county seat of Dallas County, Adel is a fast-growing community of nearly 6,500. Founded in 1847, the city has a family aquatic center, a historical museum, many parks, and is along the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Adel is part of the Adel DeSoto Minburn (ADM) School District, home of the Tigers. Be sure to visit in August for their famous Sweet Corn Festival!


A small town with a population right around 130, Bouton is part of the Perry Community School District. The town was named after James and Sara Bouton, who purchased the land in 1875. Bouton Sauerkraut Days began in 1915 and continued for more than 90 years. You can still catch their famous Bouton Breakfast most months with all-you-can-eat sausage, pancakes, coffee, and more! Bouton is less than half an hour away from beautiful Ledges State Park.


An established community, but a young city, Clive was incorporated in 1956. Today, with a population of more than 18,500, Clive continues to grow. Hop on your bike and enjoy the beautiful 11.3-mile Clive Greenbelt trail, splash around at the Clive Aquatic Center, or head to one of the many restaurants, there is something for everyone. The city is split between the West Des Moines and Waukee school districts, depending on your location.

Dallas Center

Dallas Center dates back to 1869 when the railroad was constructed through the area. Today, the town has a population of nearly 2,000 and is part of the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District. Just 20 miles from Des Moines, Dallas Center is a trailhead for the popular Raccoon River Valley Trail and home to beautiful parks.


Part of the Perry Community School District, Dawson is a small town of just over 100 people. The Dawson Depot, built in 1889, is one of the few surviving Milwaukee Depots that has maintained its integrity and is now a trail head for the 89 mile paved Raccoon River Valley Trail. This tight-knit community has elected some of the youngest mayors, including an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old.

De Soto

This town of more than 900 was founded in 1868 when the railroad was constructed through the territory. Today, you’ll find a welcoming library, parks, a dance studio, and a delicious bakery. Be sure to visit in September when the town features its annual De Soto Fun Days. It is located just 15 miles from West Des Moines!


The original one-horse town, Dexter sits along the historic White Pole Road, is home to the Roadhouse, Bonnie and Clyde shootout, and the site of President Truman’s 1948 plowing match campaign stop. With a population of nearly 650, this small town is about half an hour from Des Moines. Visit the Dexter Museum, local library, and Centennial Park while you’re in town. Dexter is part of the West Central Valley Community School District, along with Menlo, Stuart, and Redfield.


This growing community of more than 2,000 is about 25 minutes from West Des Moines. Part of the Woodward-Granger Community School District, their school boasts a 100% graduation rate and 12:1 student-to-staff ratio. The trailhead for the High Trestle Trail is just 10 minutes away and Jester Park and Saylorville Lake are both just five minutes away. Fun fact: Granger has two water towers in town—one labeled hot and one labeled cold, as a joke.


You will find this growing town of nearly 16,000 on the edge of Johnston and Urbandale. When it comes to entertainment, you can rock climb, race go-karts, jump at the trampoline park, and more. Part of the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District, residents can be found cheering for the Mustangs!


This small town has a population of around 200 and is part of the Panorama Community School District. About 40 minutes from West Des Moines, Linden is on the farthest west edge of Dallas County. Come in August when they have their Linden Daze festival with a parade and street dance. The rest of the year, enjoy the park, community building, and baseball field.


Located on Highway 169, Minburn is the heart of Dallas County. This small town of about 300 is part of the Adel DeSoto Minburn (ADM) School District. Get a free cup of coffee at the bank, coop, or library, and visit the Voas Nature Area just west on F31. Minburn is also part of the Raccoon River Valley Trail bike loop.


Formerly a major railroad junction, this city of more than 8,000 is home to the historic Hotel Pattee and Forest Park Museum. Located along the North Raccoon River, Perry is about 25 miles northwest of Des Moines. Kids attend the Perry Community School District, home of the Blue Jays. Perry has one of the few dog parks in the state of Iowa and it spans five-plus acres. Residents also enjoy being part of Raccoon River Valley Trail.


This charming town of more than 700 is located along the Middle Raccoon River, 30 miles west of Des Moines and five miles north of I-80. It is a small town where you know your neighbor and can have a voice. Students are part of the West Central Valley Community School District, along with Dexter, Menlo, and Stuart. Visit Hanging Rock Park, Middle Raccoon River Water Trail’s Redfield Trailhead, check out the Dexfield Diner and play some darts or one of the several retro games they offer in their arcade. Be sure to visit in June for their Old Settlers event.


About 22 square miles make up this city, six of which are in Dallas County. Home to the Living History Farms, Buccaneer Arena, and beautiful Walker Johnston Park, Urbandale continues to grow in residents and business. Conveniently nestled next to Clive, Johnston, and Waukee, the city is served by six local school districts.

Van Meter

Less than 20 minutes from West Des Moines and along the Raccoon River, you will find the town of Van Meter. With a population of more than 1,600, this Home Base Iowa town offers a library, parks, a farmers’ market, and a museum. In the summer, you can take part in Raccoon River Days with food, dance, and a parade. Local kids attend school as part of the Van Meter Community School District, home of the champion Bulldogs.


This fast-growing city of more than 31,000 is on the western outskirts of West Des Moines. New developments and neighborhoods continue to pop up. In fact, the city has grown so fast that a second high school has been built as part of the Waukee Community School District. With a library, a YMCA, beautiful parks, a golf course, and a new music hall, it is no wonder people continue to flock to Waukee. The city also serves as a trailhead for the Raccoon River Valley Trail.

West Des Moines

This thriving city of more than 71,600 extends into Dallas County where the majority of the current growth is occurring. West Des Moines is full of offerings including the largest shopping mall in Iowa, Jordan Creek Town Center. Other attractions include the MidAmerican Energy RecPlex, Historic Valley Junction, the first Ruth’s Chris Steak House in the state, and Dave & Buster’s. Families with kids located in the Dallas County portion of West Des Moines attend Waukee schools.


This city of more than 1,300 comes with small-town charm, including an American Legion, library, and hardware store. Part of the Woodward-Granger Community School District, families can hop on the High Trestle Trail, get local dairy from Picket Fence Creamery, visit the Woodward Golf Course, or dance at Lake Robbins Ballroom.

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