Johnston is a growing community located on the north side of the Des Moines metro. The population has increased from 8,600 to approximately 17,000 in the past 10 years. It is home to DuPont Pioneer (formerly Pioneer Hi-Bred), Iowa Public Television, John Deere Financial, and the national headquarters of The Gardeners of America/Men’s Garden Clubs of America. Johnston has more than a dozen parks and miles of trails.
What is your favorite part about raising kids here?
We love the school system and the local library. The community recently passed a $41 million bond referendum for a new three-year high school opening for the 2017-2018 school year, as well as other school improvements.
What makes Johnston family friendly?
The city has wide open spaces, large crosswalks, and easy access to parks and bike trails. It makes it easy and safer for kids to get out and enjoy the outdoors. I also feel good about knowing we have both a strong police and fire department. And there are many family-friendly events held throughout the year.
What events does your community have?
Green Days is an annual community celebration held next to the Johnston Public Library. Activities include a parade, carnival, children’s activities, entertainment, Taste of Johnston, Bill Riley Talent Search, 5K walk and run, and other events. The event incorporates all the school system’s, so students play a special part in the festival
We have an annual picnic in the park in our neighborhood, Green Meadows West. The picnic is in the beautiful Dover Park gazebo.
Every spring, crabapple and dogwood blooms explode in pink and white along our tree-lined boulevards. In summer months, you can access 12-acres of prairie land via a municipal trail system.
Why would you recommend Johnston for other families?
It is amazing to see so many families outside playing and interacting with each other. Banks, churches, schools, supermarkets, medical, and other services are within easy walk, bike, or car ride.
What makes your community unique?
The Iowa National Guard is headquartered in Johnston; the Camp Dodge military installation serves as a regional and national training center for both active-duty and reserve units.
Johnston is a 5-minute drive to the popular Living History Farms, an interactive outdoor history museum which educates, entertains, and connects people of all ages to a true Midwestern rural life experience. It is located on 500 acres of land and explores life from 1700 to 1900.
What are some of your favorite local businesses, restaurants, or shops?
Jethro’s BBQ n’ Pork Chop Grill
Jethro’s has some of the best BBQ in town!
Cupcake Addict is a cute local dessert shop.
Winestyles is a perfect place for a “Girl’s Night Out” or a “Date Night.” You can enjoy several different types of wines, teas, cheeses and chocolates. Wine tastings are offered regularly. It’s a perfect place to go for some adult time.
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This post is part of a 10 part series about why Des Moines and the surrounding suburbs are a great place to raise a family. Check out the other communities featured in our Ultimate Guide to Des Moines Neighborhoods and Suburbs and learn more about our series sponsor, Ingrid Williams.