It would probably be a good idea to be more granular about where you are currently living in Des Moines. As someone who has worked in the city for about 5 years, and grew up near the area, I have to say I've had a very different experience than you.
First off, looking at the site you posted this review on, Des Moines average rental price is $183.80/mo less than Charlotte and $206.60/mo less than Dallas. Likewise, purchase prices are generally lower as well. This is why I suggested you add the area you are in, as certain neighborhoods are going to be more expensive than others. Same as any other city.
In terms of amenities, it's pretty much to be expected a city like Des Moines won't have as much to offer. Des Moines has a population of 215,472, where Charlotte has a population of 842,051, and Dallas is about 1.3 million. Larger populations will draw more range for amenities such as high level fine dining restaurants.
From the tone of your review, I would posit that you are seeing in your neighbors a mirror of yourself. You complain about how the people are "super judgemental and obnoxious" and then you turn around and judge them for a number of perceived faults.
I will not say this area is perfect. No where is. I will say that I have had a completely different experience from you. I know most of my neighbors by name, and can have pleasant conversations with them, even around taboo subjects like religion and politics. Outside of the incredibly high-price areas where the large financial bigwigs live, I have not seen or heard many try to be "California."
I noticed you have a similar review of Mt. Vernon, over by Cedar Rapids. My guess is that, instead of trying to immerse yourself in the culture of the area you live, you are trying to impose the culture you want. That's never going to happen. Might I suggest doing some research on the area? If you like BBQ, you should try Smoky D's. It's nothing fancy, but these are people who started a restaurant from a competitive BBQ career. Their food is proven against some of the other large BBQ restaurants across the country. If you want something a little more upscale, check out some of the downtown restaurants run by the Orchestrate group. They take different cuisines and add a bit of fine dining flair. Richard
| Indianola, IA