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The town of Panora is located a quick 30 minutes north-west of Des Moines in Guthrie County at the foot of Lake Panorama. The lovely town square features a set of musical instruments for the whole family to play, which sets the tone for the town as a thriving small town with a vibrant heart. A variety of local shops, services, and restaurants supply residents with most needs, and the city welcomes new businesses with modern infrastructure and a capable workforce. Lake Panorama is a private lake that offers lots of water fun.


Panora residents benefit from having a trailhead of the Raccoon River Valley Trail in town, giving easy access to this regional trail that spans over 90 miles. Most errands require a car, and the average one-way commute time for Panora residents is 23.6 minutes, less than the national average of 26.4. Panora is served by the Western Iowa Transit System (WITS) for door-to-door transportation.

Activity & Entertainment

With a population of just over 1,000, the close-knit Panora community comes together each summer for the Art in the Village Square event and Lake Panorama Days, which includes a parade and street dancing! The volunteer force in Panora is strong, with residents turning out to support service organizations and one another to keep their community strong. Panora is served by the Panorama Community Schools District.


Panora is the oldest community in Guthrie County and was established in 1851. According to an old guidebook, the town got its name from the beautiful panorama of the view of the site of the town from a nearby hill. The word ‘panorama’ was then shortened to ‘Panora.’ The Reese Mill, which was constructed in 1852, was the first mill in Iowa located west of Des Moines. The site of that mill is now where the Lake Panorama dam sits. The historic Veterans Auditorium was built in Panora during the 1930s and was dedicated by WHO sports announcer Ronald Regan. Today, it is the only extant part of the original Panora-Linden School Building.

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