Not the best state in the country, but very far from the worst. Home to three million people, some really sweet cities, three great univerties, a whole bunch of stellar small private colleges and a ton of true natural beauty in its lush northeast bluff country and statewide river valleys, lakes, and yes, rolling fields. Iowa is a national leader in education (students in many other states including Texas take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and everyone's heard of the ACT, based in Iowa City) and is leading the way in biofuels to reduce the nation's dependence on oil. To dispel the ignorance displayed elsewhere on this post, here's a state breakdown of cities and topography. If seventy synonyms for boobs is alright to post, so is this.
Central Iowa: Des Moines
, located at the intersection of I-80 and I-35, is the largest city with a metro of a half million and is the state capital, second only to London for the title of insurance capital of the world. Ames
(80,000 metro) is about a half hour north of Des Moines and is home to Iowa State University
, a land grant school of 30,000 respected around the world for its engineering and agricultural programs. Central Iowa is, outside of river vallies, very flat, and outside of the Des Moines area and Ames is very sparsely populated.
Eastern Iowa: The most densely populated area of the state. Ethnically diverse Iowa City
(115,000 metro) was Iowa's first state capital, was the first city in the world to elect a female mayor, has been named the most cultured city per capita in the nation, is always in the top five cities in the country for education, and is home to the University of Iowa
, 30,000, nationally renowned for its Carver College of Medicine and Iowa Hawkeye athletics. The music departments of Iowa City's two large public high schools have won a total of five Grammy awards. Cedar Rapids
, (200,000 metro) just twenty minutes north of Iowa City in the beautiful Cedar River valley, is the second largest single city, is the economic hub of eastern Iowa, has two private colleges, and is best known for being the place you get any of your Quaker Oats brand ceral from. Waterloo/Cedar Falls
, two conjoined cities (130,000 metro) is where the Unviersity of Northern Iowa
, 18,000, is located. The Quad Cities
, (375,000 metro) two in Iowa and two in Illinois, straddle the Mississippi and form the largest metro between Des Moines and Chicago. The largest of the four cities is Davenport
, IA, home to the Bix 7 foot race whose hilly course and large prize attract runners from every part of the globe. Dubuque
, (90,000 metro) on the Mississippi where Iowa meets Illinois and Wisconsin, is Iowa's oldest city. It is home to a ton of beautiful architecture, four private colleges, a far-reaching ELCA Lutheran seminary, and the Smithsonion affiliated National Mississippi River Musem and Aquarium. Eastern Iowa's topography is for the most part very rolling farmland, with the exception of the hillier Iowa river valley, Cedar river valley, and the bluffs and hills skirting the whole eastern border along the Mississippi. The northeast corner of the state is all bluffland, home to small town Decorah and reputed Luther College.
Western Iowa: The vast majority of Iowa west of I-35 is flat farmland with the exception of the very westernmost strip. Sioux City
on the Missouri river (the western border) is a good sized city with nice amenities and lots of historyt. Council Bluffs
is the largest suburb of Omaha, just across the river in Nebraska. The Iowa Great Lakes region contains many large lakes, most notably lake Okoboji, one of only three blue water lakes in the world. The Loess Hills state park runs along the whole westernmost strip of the state, and offers lots of hilly hiking and some of the state's largest forests.
Iowa's motto should be "Iowa: Not as bad as you picture it."