By Colin Woodward
The capital of Iowa has long had a reputation as one of the least hip, least interesting and least dynamic cities in the Western world, a dull insurance town set amid the unending corn fields of flyover country, a place Minneapolis looks down on and the young and ambitious flee as soon as they graduate. “Usually you are born here or marry into here or get transferred here,” says local entrepreneur Mike Draper. “Not many people come to chase their dreams. If they did, you’d be like, ‘What, you want to be an actuary?’”
But unbeknownst to many outside the Midwest, over the past 15 years Des Moines has transformed into one of the richest, most vibrant, and, yes, hip cities in the country, where the local arts scene, entrepreneurial startups and established corporate employers are all thriving.
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