Clive is a city of about 17,000 people straddling Dallas and Polk counties in central Iowa. Located just under ten miles west of Des Moines with many amenities and a strong housing market, the community has been named one of the best places to live for young families in the state.
In this article, you’ll learn why it’s a good idea to look for homes for sale in Clive, Iowa and learn a little about life in this midwestern city.
Overview of the City & Neighborhoods
Though land owners began to settle Clive in the late 1800’s for coal mining and railroad shipping, it was one of the last cities in the area to officially incorporate; Clive received its charter in 1956. The old railroad depot has since been restored and still stands today at 86th Street and Swanson Boulevard.
Adjacent to the railroad depot is the historic Swanson House, a one-time general store that now houses the Clive Historical Society. Together with the depot and Swanson House, the Clive Caboose, an old railroad caboose car, rounds out the area known as historical park.
A central feature of the community is Clive’s Greenbelt Park, which stretches nearly the entire length of town and offers walking trails, a picnic shelter and access to Walnut Creek. The landmark park is situated along the Greenbelt Trail, which runs for 11 miles and connects to nearby towns and trail systems including the Racoon River Valley Trail and the Waukee and West Des Moines trail systems.
In total, the town has 15 municipal parks for outdoor recreation, four of which have rentable shelters for picnics and other gatherings. The town’s expansive aquatic center is also a popular recreation destination during the summer months. With multiple pools, water slides and swimming lessons for all ages, it’s a great spot to spend weekend afternoons as a family.
Another highly-traveled corridor is that of NW 86th Street, a major town artery. Originally named Clive Road, this roadway served as an important area of commercial, residential and municipal development in the town. Since the city has no readily identifiable “Main Street” or downtown district, Clive leaders have created a master plan for the NW 86th Street corridor that’s meant to foster a sense of place and promote economic development in the area.
Hickman Road and University Avenue are other prominent commercial corridors in Clive.
Students in Clive, Iowa are split between the West Des Moines Community School District and the Waukee Community School District. Shuler Elementary School of the Waukee district is located in Clive itself, as are the Crestview School of Inquiry and Indian Hills Junior High School from the West Des Moines district.
95 percent of Clive residents are high school graduates, while 55 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. There are 13 colleges or universities within 50 miles of Clive, including Des Moines Area Community College in nearby Ankeny and Iowa State University, with its main campus just 30 miles away in Ames.
Shopping & Eating
Clive is home to a selection of popular big-box stores, including Target, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Buy Buy Baby and more, many of which are located along the University Avenue corridor. For one-of-a-kind local finds, head to The Funky Zebras, where you’ll find a selection of unique women’s apparel and helpful, friendly staff. If thrifting is your thing, you won’t want to miss Stuff, Etc., a treasure trove of gently-used apparel and home decor.
For even more shopping options, zip over to the Valley West Mall in neighboring West Des Moines, less than two miles up the road. The popular shopping mall features a wide assortment of men’s and women’s apparel, jewelry and accessories, health and fitness retailers and specialty shops.
Foodies will not be disappointed with Clive’s diverse dining options. For modern American cuisine in a classy, bistro style setting, head to Table 128 Bistro and Bar. The beef tenderloin, curried chicken sandwich and extensive wine list score high marks among diners here.
For south-of-the-border staples like fajitas, quesadillas and burritos, stop in at Monterrey Mexican Restaurant in University Park Shopping Center (and be sure to check their website first for a coupon!). History buffs will enjoy the Club Car Restaurant and Lounge, which pays homage to the town’s early days with walls lined in railroad memorabilia. The restaurant’s menu is focused around sustainable meats, vegetable rich dishes and shareable plates.
Clive is one of the best places to live in the Des Moines metro area in terms of crime rates. The town ranks significantly lower than both the state and the nation for property crimes like theft and burglary as well as violent crimes.
For violent crimes like assault and murder, Clive’s rate of occurrence is 73 percent lower than the state level and a whopping 80 percent lower than the national average. For property crimes, it ranks 34 percent and 42 percent lower, respectively.
Clive is an ideal city for commuters, located within easy access of interstates 35, 80 and 235. The surrounding communities of Urbandale, Waukee and West Des Moines are all within a ten-mile radius, while Des Moines’ city center is a short 15-minute drive away.
The average commute time for Clive residents is a manageable 18 minutes.
Public transit is also a viable option for commuters. Routes 72, 74, and 92 of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit system have stops in Clive.
According to Sperling’s Best Places cost of living index, which ranks the affordability of American communities, Clive has a slightly higher cost of living than the average city. Housing is the biggest factor in the cost difference, with the median home price sitting at $273,000. Transportation, utilities, and groceries, on the other hand, shake out to be less expensive in Clive than the national average.