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Altoona lies on the eastern outskirts of the Des Moines Metropolitan area, south of Bondurant and north of Pleasant Hill at one of the busiest crossroads in the country! Residents and visitors enjoy the many recreational activities in Altoona, including the Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel, Adventureland Amusement Park, the Altoona Aquatics Center and many other retail outlets, goods, services, and eateries. Altoona is proud of its small town feel and locally owned businesses, its many community events and gathering spaces. Within an easy commute of the Des Moines metro and many other locations in central Iowa, Altoona is a great place to call home.


Altoona is riddled with neighborhood trails designed for everything from walking and biking to jogging and inline skating, particularly south of 8th St. SW, and three regional trails, the Prairie Heritage, Gay Lea Wilson, and Greenway Trails run through the city, with more extensions in the works. The Vernon Avenue bike lanes are designed for urban biking and are ideal for running errands or commuting. Limited bus service is provided by the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), with an express route that runs between Altoona and Downtown Des Moines. The average one-way commute for Altoona residents is 21.2 minutes, shorter than the national average of 26.4, and a car is needed for most errands.

Activity & Entertainment

Altoona is a bustling, thriving community surrounded by farmland with tons of activities for all ages – we really mean that!residents will tell you there is always something to do in Altoona! Shopping abounds a, from national brands to local boutiques, and the restaurant scene has many fine choices for residents whether you want family friendly casual or a bit of fine dining. Residents can enjoy the Altoona Aquatic Park for some water fun and then head over to the theater to take in a movie. For those who love the great outdoors, there are recreational trails and parks to suit everyone. Altoona is served by the Southeast Polk Community School District, an award-winning school system.


The area that is now Altoona was once home to the Ioway people who were pushed west when the Sac and Meskwaki tribes moved into the region, in their turn pushed west by pressure from settlers. In 1834 after almost a century of conflict, the US Government forcibly combined the two tribes and formally took all their land by 1845, opening up the area to European settlers. The expanding railroad reached Altoona in 1867, and the city officially became a municipality. The name Altoona is derived from the Latin word for ‘high’ because the city was located on a high point on the Des Moines Valley Railroad. At the turn of the last century, Altoona had become home to several coal mines that attracted more residents; the coal mines were closed by the 1920s. Fun fact: The first field of hybrid corn was grown on a family farm just outside Altoona in 1923.

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