Polk City is a small town with all the benefits of big city living. Located just a few minutes west of Ankeny and north of West Des Moines, Polk City provides residents a close-knit community with access to all the amenities of the metro.
The town is nestled between Saylorville Lake, Big Creek State Park, and Jester Park area. There are also many neighborhood access points to the Neil Smith Bike Trail and a gorgeous golf club, Tournament Club of Iowa, in the middle of town.
Polk City’s elementary school (West Elementary, part of the North Polk School District) was ranked in the top 2% of schools in the state of Iowa. While Polk City may be small compared to our neighbors, it still boasts several businesses that allow residents to shop local.
What is your favorite part about raising kids here?
We enjoy the quiet, slow pace of our neighborhood area with the quick access to both Ankeny and West Des Moines. There are a ton of young families on our street, so anytime it is nice the kids are out playing football in the street, basketball in the driveways, or using their imagination to explore.
What makes Polk City family friendly?
Almost all neighborhoods within Polk City have a park within walking distance. The town has a fantastic library that offers children story time (both during the day and in the evening for the working parents) as well as a great selection of kid’s books. During the summer there is also a month-long Parks and Rec program for school-aged kids on break.
What events does your neighborhood have?
Each July Polk City holds an annual Four Seasons Festival. Over the course of the weekend the square fills up with activity including a road race, a parade, Bill Reilly Talent Show, food vendors, kids activity area, and bands both Friday and Saturday evening.
Fall Festival is a family friendly, free community event with inflatables, games, and more. Kids dress up in their Halloween costumes and get to meet and greet with the Fire and Police Department.
Twice a year during Fire Awareness week, our local fire department does house calls to check on smoke detector batteries and talk to kids about fire prevention and awareness, all while delivering pizzas. It is a great opportunity to talk about fire escape plans and of course for kids to see a fire truck up close! Polk City also hosts an annual City Wide Fire Drill.
Each December there is a Square Lighting Ceremony and Santa Claus comes to town! It is always a fun event for kids and adults!
Why would you recommend Polk City for other families?
Polk City truly offers just about everything you would need. We have great schools and several recreational programs for kids as young as four.
What makes your community unique?
Our community is very close-knit. Whether it is taking meals to a neighbor who has had surgery or getting behind a child in our community who has been diagnosed with cancer, we are constantly supporting one another. When someone is in need, it is very common to see our town stepping up to offer support.
What are some of your favorite businesses, restaurants, or shops in your community?
This grocery store opened about four years ago and has been an amazing addition to Polk City.
Papa’s Pizzeria is a local pizza shop with a wide variety of menu items, including a new eating challenge sandwich! Both our kids love the pizza and pasta, so it is our go-to dinner place.
Reising Sun Café
Reising Sun is a great place for breakfast, lunch, and anything in between. It is a perfect local stop for coffee or grabbing a scope of ice cream.
TLC Gifts on the Square
If you are looking for a unique gift or something fun to decorate your house, TLC Gifts is a great place to stop in. They offer a wide variety of unique items, including several that are made by local Polk City residents.
Active in the arts
Polk City boasts not one, but two separate dance studios. Both studios are active in the local dance community. Polk City Arts will also be opening this spring and will offer a gallery area, art classes, and a unique studio space.
*Photos courtesy of Jake Schreier
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This post is part of a 10 part series about why Des Moines and the surrounding suburbs are a great place to raise a family. Check out the other communities featured in our Ultimate Guide to Des Moines Neighborhoods and Suburbs and learn more about our series sponsor, Ingrid Williams.