Skip to Content

Moving To LGBT Des Moines, Iowa? How To Find Your Perfect Gay Neighborhood!

Moving To LGBT Des Moines, Iowa? How To Find Your Perfect Gay Neighborhood!

If you didn’t know it yet, you should know now that Des Moines is a progressive city with much to see and do. And, the good news is that Des Moines isn’t only a city for gay and lesbian travelers. It’s welcoming to transplants too! 

Even though Des Moines isn’t as liberal as Iowa City, the truth is that it is an excellent place to start a family, with plenty of world-class colleges such as Mercy College, Des Moines University, and Drake University. In addition to this, many more people are moving to Des Moines to get hitched, so you can be sure that there’ll be significant growth in the gay population here in the coming years. Most of the gay activity in Des Moines occurs in the East Village. 

The Sherman Hill neighborhood in Des Moines is home to most of the city’s lesbian and gay population lives, and you can be sure to find many other neighborhoods that are welcoming and accepting all through the city. With that said, moving here means that you will want to know as much as you can about the LGBT scene in Des Moines and what it can offer you. And to be clear – we’re not suggesting that you move here because you’re forced to. You should consider relocating to Des Moines because there are many attractive reasons to.

Gay Des Moines Iowa USA

For one, it was ranked in the top 10 best places for careers and business, it’s an affordable city, and one of the growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. Whether or not you belong to the LGBT community, please read on and find out what life is like here.

Des Moines in Iowa is a truly fabulous city that welcomes everyone looking for a progressive and inclusive place to work, play, and raise a family. If you’re contemplating relocating to LGBT Des Moines, you might just discover the accepting surroundings you or your family require to prosper.

There is even a quirky gay scene in Des Moines, but like Madison, Fort Collins, Dayton, Ithaca, and other mid-sized cities in the United States, it is rather low-key, especially when compared to New York City or San Diego. This is why a gay realtor in Des Moines is priceless, as they can assist you in finding your new perfect home in the gaybourhood most suited to you.

Gay Real Estate USA
Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

Despite the relatively hidden LGBT culture of Des Moines, moving here should not make you feel uneasy. The majority of people in Des Moines are accepting of the LGBTQ community, and you will quickly discover that the majority of businesses, shops, and services will serve you with pride.

We’ll go over what you should expect when moving to LGBT Des Moines, as well as how you can make the transition easier on yourself (or with your family) and make sure you’re prepared to enjoy every minute of your new life here!

Check your preconceptions at the door because moving to LGBT Des Moines is not what you expect…

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

Highlights Of Moving To LGBTQ Des Moines

Now that we have your attention about moving here, you most likely don’t think the city is a vibrant metro with art and hip eateries. However, there’s a lot to learn about Des Moines, and you better catch up as residents of Des Moines are already well aware that their underappreciated city is brimming with hidden gems. Once you move here, you’ll be able to quickly befriend locals and spend your free time discovering them for yourself..  

On top of this, thanks to an offbeat yet deeply engaged LGBT community, which congregates at a few fabulous queer hot spots in the city’s most popular neighborhoods, securing a relocation here will allow you to meet queer people with similar interests.

Almost anything your heart desires is available here. When relocating to LGBT Des Moines, there are numerous things to look forwards to, such as distinctive architecture, endearing coffee shops, and boozy brunch haunts.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the aspects that make up this incredible city before we get into the details.

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

Des Moines Is Cyclists’ Paradise

The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) is the largest, oldest, and longest global bicycle tour event. The event is non-competitive, which is a good thing, given that most bicyclists eat and drink as much food and alcohol as they can during the event. There are more than 550 miles of trails in Des Moines, which can be used for biking, walking, or running. 

The Great Lakes 

To be precise, these refer to Saylorville and Gray’s.  Gray’s Lake is ideal for a picnic, scenic walk, or boat ride in Downtown Des Moines. Saylorville Lake is a reservoir on Des Moines River in the northwest. Hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching are all popular activities in this area. You can see the Midwest in miniature here, whether it’s prairie habitats, woodlands, and wetlands. 

Food and Drink Capital of the State

Most cities have a variety of drinking establishments ranging from trending lounges to classic dive bars. However, Des Moines is well known for its trendy dive bars.

At the High Life Lounge, you can return to the 1970s, visit El Bait Shop and choose from 120 beers on tap, or scour the scotch menu at Royal Mile. In recent years, the city has seen an emergence of foodie culture, which interprets to sometimes inventive, but always delectable cuisine. 

Farmer’s Markets

The Des Moines Farmers Market has offerings of Iowa’s famous corn and a variety of other products. From mid-May to -October, the market opens on Saturday mornings. It’s not all fruits and vegetables: many handmade items are also for sale.

The market takes great pride in connecting rural and urban communities while promoting almost 300 entrepreneurs from 50 counties throughout Iowa, including farmers, bakers, producers, and artists.

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

Does Des Moines Embrace The LGBTQ Community?

Des Moines is an inclusive and welcoming city, and you can see this through the formation of the LGBTQ Advisory Council. The council is a collection of change agents dedicated to creating opportunities in employment, housing, public accommodations, and city services for the LGBTQ+ community.

The LGBTQ Advisory Council, which was established in 2017,  educates, raises awareness, and campaigns for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ Des Moines locals and tourists to ensure that the City’s departments and offerings are inclusive and fair, with a focus on employment, housing, public accommodations, and city services.

The advisory council assists in:

  • Defending the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people.
  • Raising awareness of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission among the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Offering learning opportunities about the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission to the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Offering advice and assistance to the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission on discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community concerning access to housing, employment, public accommodations, and municipal practices. 
  • According to a recent survey, Des Moines is one of Iowa’s most gay-friendly cities. In the assessment, the city received a score of 97. The national average was 57 percent, so Des Moines outperformed the rest of the country.
  • Despite the city’s efforts to ensure that the queer community feels welcome, there are still gay-friendly restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs.
  • Ritual Cafe, New World Cafe, Drake Diner, and Legends American Grill are all LGBTQ-friendly eateries in the city; gay residents of can enjoy the same entertainment, dating, and dining opportunities as everyone else.

Des Moines is LGBTQ-friendly on all frontiers, and its residents accept and include the queer community, which has resulted in a significant reduction in hate crimes over time. Des Moines is out and proud, and its Pride Fest attracts thousands of people each year on an occasion of acceptance and expression.

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

Is Des Moines An Expensive City To Move To?

Des Moines is among the top locations in the country with a low cost of living.  Living expenses account for only 20% of the average household income in the city.  This makes saving, investing, and debt repayment more manageable. 

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is 50% less than the U.S. average, and median home prices are 20% less than the country’s average. Des Moines is ranked as one of the most affordable cities in the United States due to its low housing costs.

Compared to the country’s average, the average cost of living and utility costs in Des Moines is 17 percent and 1 percent lower, respectively. The cost of transportation, such as gas and fares, is 1% less than the country average.

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

The Best Gay Neighborhoods In Des Moines

While all the media today seems to this that gayborhood is dead or on the verge of extinction. We have news for them – it’s not! Instead, gayborhoods across the USA are growing in number and diversity; they might look slightly different.

Instead of being the main street serving mostly-exclusive LGBT clients (something we now think of as a gay village), gayborhoods have evolved into cultural archipelagos, a collection of queer islands coalesced by sexuality and gender and liberal allies. And cities frequently have more than one.

Today, it turns out not all LGBT people in Des Moines want to live in the relative chaos of downtown Des Moines – and thankfully, they (and you!) have options.

However, when choosing where to live in Des Moines, remember that some areas are more conveniently located for all the fun queer events and activities. By being aware of them in advance, you can arrive at your new residence in the gay-friendly neighborhood that best suits your needs.

Discover your ideal new home in one of these prominent gay and LGBT-friendly gaybourhoods in Des Moines. Each one has its own distinct personality, a friendly vibe, and amenities you’ll love and soon wonder how you ever did without. Give yourself lots of time to get to know the diverse areas of Des Moines, and bear in mind that this city has plenty to offer everyone – queer or otherwise!

Now let’s take a look at where the handful of marvelous gay areas in Des Moines are and talk about the Des Moines gayborhood where you might feel most at home! Or speak to a local LGBT real estate agent for a more detailed understanding of the best options today.

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

Salisbury Oaks

Salisbury Oaks has an average property price of $376,200, higher than 93.0% of the state’s neighborhoods and 61.6 percent of all neighborhoods in the United States. The median monthly rent in Salisbury Oaks is $1,285.

This district’s average rental costs are much higher than 89.5 percent of other Iowa neighborhoods.  Small-(studio and two-bedroom- to medium -three and four-bedroom apartments high-rises and single-family homes make up the majority of the Salisbury Oaks housing market. A mix of renters and owners occupies the majority of residential properties.

Many of the homes in the neighborhood were built between 1970 – and 1999, so they are established but not as old as you may think. Many houses were also constructed before 1940.

The district has a vacancy rate of zero percent, less than 100 percent of all neighborhoods in the country. This indicates that the housing supply here is minimal in comparison to demand.

You should get a preview of this neighborhood if you plan to retire in Iowa. Salisbury Oaks is a retiree’s dream village for a variety of reasons. It’s quiet and peaceful, has more-than-average crime safety compared to other neighborhoods in the state, and offers a diverse range of housing offerings.

This, combined with the diverse mix of highly-educated retirees and other age groups that choose to live here, makes it much more senior citizen-friendly than 98.4 percent of state neighborhoods. If you plan to retire in Iowa, this district should be on your list. This neighborhood is not only ideal for active retirees, but it is also a great place to raise a family.

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

Drake Area

Drake University anchors this historic district of residential and commercial buildings. The Drake area is one of the city’s largest, oldest, and most diverse areas.

Mature trees, beautiful boulevards, established churches, and distinctive homes can be found only minutes away from downtown. Local coffee shops, sushi and barbecue restaurants, cafes and diners, hair salons, and retail shops are within easy reach. 

The Drake Relays, which take place every spring, draw alumni and visitors. Each week, the area hosts a farmer’s market with ready-to-eat food, live music, and a farm-fresh producer. Drake University, founded in 1881 and named after Civil War general Francis Marion Drake, has a rich history and many traditions. It is widely regarded as one of the best universities in the state and region.


The average real estate price Downtown is $389,000, higher than 96.0 percent of neighborhoods in the state and 64.4 percent of all neighborhoods in the United States. The median monthly rent in Downtown Des Moines is $1,290. The average rental costs are much higher than 89.9% of the state’s other neighborhoods.

Small to medium -three and four-bedroom townhomes and apartments make up most of the area’s real estate. The majority of residential housing is occupied by renters. Many of the homes in this neighborhood date back to the 1800s.

In Downtown Des Moines, the vacancy rate for homes and apartments is 7.9%. This rate is relatively low compared to 51.4 percent of U.S. neighborhoods, putting it closer to the middle of the vacancy range. This neighborhood, in particular, has some exceptional features in terms of its appearance and way of life worth acknowledging.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Downtown district is that it has a higher concentration of single residents than almost any other neighborhood in the country. People living alone account for 71.3 percent of households in this neighborhood, which is a higher percentage than in 99.7% of American neighborhoods.

Furthermore, the number of college-educated adults in the neighborhood is a distinguishing feature. Compared to the average American neighborhood, with 32.8 percent of adults with bachelor’s degrees, 71.5 percent of adults here possess at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. 

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

LGBTQ+ Community Organizations In Des Moines

Wherever you live, it is critical that you support LGBT organizations in any way you can use so that they can keep reaching out to and assisting other members of the community who are more vulnerable. After all, we are all stronger when we work together, and each of us will likely have a time in our lives when we require a little extra support.

Des Moines has a supportive and diverse LGBTQ community, which has helped the city become more gay-friendly in recent years.

As a result, there are a variety of LGBT resources available to community members, their allies, friends, and families – and you ought to feel free to utilize them or consider giving your support as needed to keep your new home city moving forwards! They are also a place to meet new people and find your queer chosen family in Des Moines.

Capital City Pride

Capital City Pride is the yearly Pride event in the city that draws Iowa’s LGBTQ+ community and friends to celebrate the rich diversity and contributions of the LGBTQ community.  The festival features several activities to inspire, educate, and celebrate the city’s LGBTQ collective and culture. The festival features several activities to inspire, educate, and celebrate the city’s LGBTQ collective and culture.

One IOWA Gala

In 2010, the state hosted the first gala ceremony to mark the historic Iowa Court Ruling decriminalizing same-sex marriage. The community has continued to highlight its successes as they advance and preserve equality for LGBTQ+ people since the initial celebration of Iowa’s heritage of equality. 

The event features an award ceremony that celebrates the LGBTQ advocates garnering for equality in the state.

Bear Necessities

The Capital Bears welcome brother bears from the surrounding area and nearby states to enjoy a three-day Des Moines weekend. Other events hosted by the Bear Necessities include SUN PJ Brunch +Beer Bust and Variety Show/Dinner at Garden.

LGBTQ+ Community Organizations

LGBTQ+ Community Events in Des Moines

After moving to a new city, you will likely want to create new connections, meet new people, and network. Thankfully, LGBT Des Moines plays host to a variety of annual events for lesbians, transgender persons, gays, and anyone else who wants to have a good time.

While there are many queer events in the city, the ones listed here are the largest and greatest and are all worth marking in your calendar as you won’t want to miss them.

Des Moines Pride Center

The Des Moines Pride Center is a grassroots organization dedicated to serving, supporting, and celebrating sexual and gender minorities and their allies.

First Friday Breakfast Club

FFBC’s goal is to eradicate prejudice and discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people. They hope to accomplish this by using discussion forums and other forms of media to educate their members, opinion leaders, and the general public.

Iowa Safe Schools

Iowa Safe School is on a mission to offer LGBTQ and allied youth safe, caring, and fostering educational experiences and communities via outreach, education, victim services, and advocacy.

LGBT events
Shop Pride @

LGBT-Owned Businesses In Des Moines

It’s only normal to want to support queer businesses after relocating to LGBT Des Moines. Making a safe space where individuals can relax, shop, eat, and meet without fear is one way to build a safer and more accepting society – and LGBT businesses are frequently doing the heavy lifting to achieve this goal.

It is crucial to support these projects wherever you reside to ensure the survival and development of the queer community. When you shop local, you are personally investing in your city and community – a small step that can be transformational when people do it en masse.

Here are just a few of our favorite LGBTQ+-owned companies in Des Moines that you can support with your pink dollars…


One standard practice in the South is having delectable food ready to eat at all times of the day. The restaurant was inspired by owner Christopher’s early life meals with his family, and the cuisine has grown to encompass the entire foodie South. With classics such as shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, po’boys, meatloaf, and others, team Bubba is dedicated to offering some Dixie to the city. 

Big Gay Candles

James Walters, co-owner of the Big Gay Candle, possesses a witty sense of humor that shows in how he names his candles and the wisecracks on his website. Don’t worry; he takes his candles seriously. they are 100% soy wax candles and come in offerings of 8, 3, and 4-ounce candles. 

Shop LGBTQ+ Pride Designs @

Final Thoughts On Moving To LGBTQ Des Moines

Now that you know a little more about Des Moines, would you move here? Des Moines is a pleasant city with much to offer. 

We hope you receive the freedom and security you deserve if you decide to start your new chapter in LGBT Des Moines. However, please remember that life is what you make of it.

The best ways to learn more about LGBT Des Moines are to live in a gay-friendly neighborhood, support local queer businesses and events, and join LGBT community clubs, organizations and teams.

We promise that if you go by these suggestions, moving to LGBT Des Moines will be less challenging for you and that you’ll meet like-minded individuals and build up that all-important support network quickly.

Moving To LGBT Des Moines Gay Neighborhood Iowa. gay realtors Des Moines. gay realtors Des Moines

Finding Gay Realtors In Des Moines

Why would you consider someone’s sexuality when hunting for the ideal realtor? This may appear strange at first, but there are numerous reasons why contacting a gay realtor in Des Moines is a good way to discover your dream house.

After all, it’s not unrealistic to expect fair, equal, and honest representation from someone who comprehends the queer community’s specific needs and desires when engaging in one of life’s most important transactions.

Further to that, sadly many people (up to one-third of Americans) still genuinely think that our community does not deserve protection and dignity in areas such as housing, adoption, employment, and other aspects of life.

As a result, it’s not surprising that LGBT people who use mainstream realtors frequently express discomfort, unnecessary trouble, unenthusiastic representation, or even antagonism or outright contempt.

Everyone deserves a pleasurable, stress-free home buying or selling experience while being adequately represented, which is why we believe you should hire a gay realtor to assist you in uncovering your ideal future home.

DES MOINES gay realtor * gay real estate in DES MOINES * lgbt realtors in DES MOINES * lgbt friendly real estate agents near me

When looking for a home, LGBTQ realtors are more likely to be informed about the diverse communities in their area and fully comprehend which ones may be particularly well suited to you. This isn’t to say heterosexual realtors aren’t competent; they’ve just never had to deal with many of the challenges that LGBT people face.

Gay realtors conduct thorough research into the neighborhoods in which they sell homes to make sure their customers are safe, rather than just being concerned with how thriving, trendy, or up-and-coming a neighborhood is (or appears to be).

It used to be challenging to uncover professional LGBT-friendly real estate agents in Des Moines – and it was virtually impossible to find one if you were relocating here from out of state and didn’t have access to a local referral.

Thankfully, you no longer have to search for a realtor without knowing whether or not they are accepting of others because you can use a list of gay, lesbian, and gay-friendly agents in Des Moines to do all of your homework for you.

Simply go to the page, and you’ll be presented with a free list of gay, lesbian, and gay-friendly agents who can help you with your relocation as well as other useful information like LGBT+friendly schools, shopping, storage firms, tradesmen, and more.

Read the biographies of LGBT real estate agents, then select the one who is right for you. It’s essential that you find someone who will be by your side and support you and your family during one of life’s most exhilarating occasions.

Even better, there is no hidden motive, cost, or obligation whatsoever!

DES MOINES gay realtor * gay real estate in DES MOINES * lgbt realtors in DES MOINES * lgbt friendly real estate agents near me
gay friendly realtors near me