Fast-growing Polk County offers more than a house on the prairie – it offers major cities, historic sites, quiet parks, and a strong economy. Its county seat, Des Moines, is both a Mecca for business and a “green” city with 334 parks. The county is located in central Iowa and the Des Moines River winds through the center.
Des Moines is both Polk’s county seat and the capital of Iowa. As the state’s largest city, Des Moines attracts new residents with its robust job market – many insurance companies are headquartered in Des Moines, along with businesses such as Meredith Corporation, Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo, ING Group, and many others.
Downtown Des Moines offers shops, restaurants, a farmer’s market, theaters, and nightclubs. Residents can catch a performance at the Hoyt Sherman Place, a former manor built in 1877 and now a performing arts center and a museum. Or stroll along the river and enjoy summer musical performances, unique shops, and quiet cafes. The East Village is a popular downtown neighborhood filled with loft apartments, unique boutiques, and trendy restaurants.
Polk County includes 165 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which includes the Iowa State Capitol, built in 1884. Other landmarks include the St. Ambrose Cathedral, built in 1891, and Terrace Hill, a National Historic Landmark constructed in 1866.
The Des Moines Public School district is the largest school district in the state. Two private universities, Drake University and Grand View University, are located in Des Moines.
Other cities in Polk County include Runnells, Johnston, Mitchellville, Clive, Alleman, Sheldahl, Altoona, Elkhart, Urbandale, Polk City, Carlisle, and West Des Moines.