Altoona Community Guide

     


    About Altoona

    Altoona has been called the best little town in the metro. In 2017, the official population was listed at 18,699. It also prides itself with one of the lowest city tax rates of the metro area.

    In addition to comfortable living, Altoona provides convenience. Located in Polk County, it is conveniently located 5 miles from Des Moines and only 20 minutes from the Des Moines International Airport. Altoona offers a small town feel with big city attractions. It is home not only to the newly constructed Des Moines Outlets but also to Adventureland and Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Altoona also provides beautiful bike trails, a new aquatic center, and ample shopping and a variety of restaurants.

    Come and see why this small town with a big city feel could be the perfect place for you and your family.

     

     

    crowd of people waiting for fireworks at Prairie Meadows Racetrack

    Who Lives Here

    Altoona has a young population. The median age is 34 which is approximately 10% lower than the Iowa average of 38. The Midwest roots run deep in Altoona. 78% of the residents were born in Iowa and 19% were born out of state (1% were born outside of the United States and 2% were foreign-born).

    65% of the population are married. The largest Altoona racial/ethnic groups are White (92.3%) followed by Hispanic (3.8%) and Two or More (2.0%). 

    The median income for households in Altoona, Iowa is $72,398, while the mean household income is $87,748. The per capita income is $33,199, and 7.5% of families and 7% of individuals are below the federal poverty line. 7.1% of those under 18 are in poverty, and 5.1% of those 65 years or older.

     

     

     

    family at home in their Altoona kitchen

    Real Estate

    Similar to other neighboring metropolitan towns, Altoona has experienced steady growth for several decades. Altoona has shown a 9% year-over-year rise in median sales price and a 4% rise in median rent per month. 82% of the city’s population are homeowners.

    The vacancy rate was 2.9%, with a median rent of $1350/month. The median house has 5.6 rooms, and the median home sale price was $228,500.

     

     

    Southeast Polk high school football players

    Education

    38% of Altoona’s population has at least some college education up to a graduate degree. Altoona (along with nearby Runnells, Mitchellville, and parts of Pleasant Hill and Des Moines) is a part of the Southeast Polk Community School District, and its students attend Southeast Polk High School. Its high school graduation rate remains above the state average at 98%.

    Altoona is home to four of the eight elementary schools in the district: Altoona, Centennial, Clay, and Willowbrook. Until joining the Southeast Polk consolidation in 1962, the current Altoona Elementary building also served as the town’s high school.

     

     

    Altoona, Iowa bike trail

    Recreation

    Altoona’s location within the metro provides its residents with convenient access to many state parks and trails. With one of Iowa’s most popular firework displays, to the newly installed Des Moines Outlets and miles of outdoor trails, there are activities for the whole family to enjoy in Altoona.

    Trails: site for all trails in area

    Bill Riley Trail

    Chichaqua Valley Trail

    High Trestle Trail

    State Parks

    Big Creek State Park

    Saylorville Recreation Area

    Thomas Mitchell State Park

    Ledges State Park

    Yellow Banks Park

    City Parks: parks and rec website

    Lions Park

    Village Park

    Haines Park

    Fitness Centers

    Anytime Fitness

    Altoona Campus

    ICE Performance Training

     

     

    Adventureland rollercoaster

    Entertainment

    With plenty of shopping, Adventureland Park, and Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Altoona provides entertainment options for everyone.

    Annual events: Altoona’s events calendar

    Camel, Zebra, and Ostrich Races

    July 3rd Firework Races

    Entertainment

    Adventureland

    Bass Pro Shops Bowling

    Cinemark Movie Theatre

    Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino

    Shopping

    Bass Pro Shops

    Outlets of Des Moines

    Vine & Willow home decor

     

     

    Johnny's Italian Steakhouse

    Eating

    Since 2008, Jethro’s BBQ has been a local favorite. Now with six locations (not including the Ames, IA location) scattered across the Des Moines metropolitan area, Altoona is proud to be home to Jethro’s Smokehouse Steaks. If you’re not in the mood for BBQ, try Sugar Shack, a hometown favorite serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Altoona provides dining options for every meal of the day, the perfect spot to catch the game, or to celebrate a big event. We’re certain the following favorites will become yours as well. [see the links below]

    Claxon’s Smokehouse & Grill

    Jethro’s BBQ

    Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse

    Sugar Shack

    Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill

    Click here to download the PDF version of our Altoona Community Guide.