Grimes, Iowa is a city of 11,500 people located about 15 miles northwest of Des Moines. It’s split between Dallas and Polk Counties and covers roughly 12 square miles.
Grimes’ resident base is growing quickly, with population spiking 38.5% since the 2010 census. The city’s leaders attribute its growth primarily to young professionals attracted to the excellent school district, convenience for metropolitan commuters and proximity to the Des Moines International Airport.
Learn more about homes for sale in Grimes, Iowa and the area’s livability in terms of education, crime, cost of living and more.
Overview of the City & Neighborhoods
Incorporated in 1894, Grimes takes its name from James W. Grimes, a former senator and the state’s third governor. Fun fact: the first family in the area, the Stewarts, tried to give the town their name, but it was rejected on account of another town named Stuart already incorporated nearby.
Today, Grimes is the 13th fastest-growing city in the state, with a new home construction rate of about 150 homes per year. The city has put in place infrastructure to accommodate more than 500 future new home builds.
The city’s Main Street and the surrounding area have been given the moniker ‘Governor’s District,’ with a community alliance by the same name aiming to promote economic development and historic preservation in the area. Community organizers envision a 15- to 20-square block area that will act as a downtown district, with specialty shops and noteworthy sites to attract visitors.
For a relatively small community, Grimes has a notable number of public parks. Water Works Park in Governor’s District serves as a community centerpiece, with two picnic shelters, two playgrounds, a sand volleyball court, and several baseball fields. It’s also home to the public library.
Next up is the Grimes South Sports Complex, the largest destination for community sports in town. Located just south of South Prairie Elementary School, the 45-acre complex offers courts and fields for tennis, soccer, sand volleyball, baseball, softball, and basketball. There’s a skate park, walking trails and two concession stands for refreshments.
Nearly a dozen other community parks and green spaces offer residents ample space to enjoy the great outdoors.
Residents here will find no shortage of things to do; enjoy 27 holes of golf at Beaver Creek Golf Course, practice your rock climbing skills at Climb Iowa, blow off steam at Sky Zone indoor trampoline park, or head out for a day on the water at nearby Saylorville Lake. It’s a true adventurer's paradise.
Finally, Grimes has a vibrant economic outlook, with several city initiatives in place to attract companies to relocate to the area and foster sustainable development.
Children in Grimes attend school in the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District. The district has four elementary schools that serve grades K through 5, while middle and high school students are split between three schools: the middle school for grades 6 and 7, Meadows school for grades 8 and 9, and the high school for grades 10 through 12. There’s also a preschool for children aged 3 and 4.
The school district boasts an exceptionally high graduation rate of 97%. The graduation rate at the state level is about 91%. The average Grimes student’s achievement levels are higher than state averages in both math and reading.
Grimes also has a highly educated resident base; it’s estimated that more than 98% of the city’s residents have a high school diploma, while 45% have a bachelor’s degree or higher (these numbers compare with figures of 87% and 31%, respectively, at the national level).
Some areas within Grimes city limits east of state highway 141 are served by the Johnston Community School District.
Shopping & Eating
Shoppers in Grimes can browse a unique array of local merchants within the city limits. At Art Happy, find original works by local artists or take a class in painting or crafting. At Many Hands Thrift Market, score high-quality secondhand deals on everything from furniture and home decor to apparel, with 100% of proceeds supporting the Many Hands For Haiti non-profit ministry.
The town has a Bomgaars, a regional big-box store that sells home and garden products, clothing, footwear, pet supplies, hardware and more. There’s also a Walmart Supercenter. Valley West Mall in nearby West Des Moines offers a traditional shopping mall experience, with anchor stores JC Penney and Von Maur.
Grimes has no shortage of dining options. Popular choices among locals include The Radish, a house converted into a restaurant serving Italian-American fare, Hacienda Vieja for tasty Mexican favorites like tacos and enchiladas, and Food Depot, a classic bar and grill.
The crime rate in Grimes, Iowa is markedly lower than the national average for both violent crime and property crime.
Sperling’s Best Places ranks city crime on a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 being the lowest level of crime in the nation and 100 being the highest. The outlet gives Grimes a rating of 16.9 for violent crime (the national average is 22.7) and 28.7 for property crime (with a national average of 35.4).
Grimes is largely a commuter city, with an average commute time of 23.5 minutes. State highways 44 and 141 run through town, while I-80 and I-30 are easily accessible thoroughfares.
Public transit is available via the Des Moines Area Regional Transit System, or DART. DART Express Route 93 runs from John Deere Financial on NW 86th Street to Downtown Des Moines. The express fare is $2.00, while monthly passes are available for $58.00.
The cost of living in Grimes is slightly higher than the national average, with housing being the biggest factor in the cost difference. The median cost of a home here is $234,400, compared with $137,600 at the state level and $216,200 nationally.
However, several cost-of-living factors are less expensive in Grimes than the national average, namely, monthly transportation and grocery costs.
The median household income among Grimes residents is $92,250, a whopping 50% higher than the national average.