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Grinnell is known as the ‘Jewel of the Prairie,’ and is home to Grinnell College and a happening downtown district that includes trendy restaurants and shopping. Conveniently located off exit 182 on I-80 in Poweshiek County, the Grinnell community loves arts and culture, as evidenced by the historical museum, an art gallery, a community theatre, a public library and even a municipal band that performs in the parks in summertime. But Grinnell residents also love their sports and have great athletic and recreational facilities for baseball, gravel bike riding, disc golf, and much more!


As a college town, Grinnell is a very pedestrian and bike-friendly community, although residents may need a car for some errands. There are several trails in the area, including the Rock Creek, Sycamore, and Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve trails, to mention a few. Public transportation is available from the Central Iowa Regional Transit (CIRT) system, that offers bus service to Grinnell and surrounding areas. The average one-way commute time for Grinnell residents is 17.1 minutes, shorter than the national average of 26.4 minutes.

Activity & Entertainment

Grinnell is a midwestern college town with a surprisingly metropolitan feel. Whether you enjoy fine dining, shopping, architecture, or outdoor activities like biking, golfing, hiking, or running, there’s always something to do in Grinnell. Residents enjoy 11 parks featuring facilities for multiple sports and playground sets, a disc golf course, and a recreation trail that runs to Rock Creek State Park. The Aquatic Center has water slides and a lazy river, and locals have developed a series of gravel bike trails to challenge newbies and experienced cyclists alike. Grinnell is served by the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District.


Grinnell was founded in 1854, and can trace its history through a series of architectural treasures, including the Merchants National Bank/Jewel Box Bank designed by Louis Sullivan and built in 1914, a former glove factory that is now slated for renovation, the Rock Island Station, a Queen Anne style structure with a tower built in 1893; the former JH McMurray home that is now the Grinnell Historical Museum, and the Sand Theater built in 1916 to show motion pictures.

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