West Des Moines, Iowa

The quiet humor of West Des Moines, a town that neighbors Des Moines, manifests in the names of stores in its shopping district: Atomic Garage (antiques), Let Them Eat Cake (baked goods), Whatta Dish (pottery), and Squiggles (gifts).

That shopping district, known as Valley Junction, hosts a weekly farmer’s market as well as an annual chili festival and an Antique Jamboree, among other celebrations of flavor both literal and otherwise.

The Next Best

But don’t take West Des Moines for a groovy backwater. Wells Fargo has a corporate office in town, as does Hy-Vee, a chain of nearly 250 supermarkets spread across eight states. Unemployment is low, as are home prices, and the school district ranks among the best in Iowa; West Des Moines graduates almost 95% of its students. Just be sure to have toothbrushes at the ready if, after school, the kids say they’re headed to Nan’s Nummies (sweets). — Max Zahn

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