Reviews & Comments
Iowa City, IANot the worst place I've lived.
We lived in Iowa City for about 8 years. It has the benefits and pitfalls of most college towns. The University of Iowa brings with it great cultural events and a wide variety of ethnic restaurants, diversity etc. What I loved most about Iowa City was how politically active most people seemed to be (I loved caucusing!), the volunteer culture and overall dedication and pride in being educated.
The biggest draw back is the weather - there is NO good season. Summers are humid and hot, in the Spring in constantly rains, you get about two weeks of nice Fall weather and then it's cold and nasty for two months until it finally snows and then you are miserable until May, when you might, again, get two weeks of nice weather before it turns hot and humid - this obviously isn't specific to IC - but a big drawback of living in this part of the Midwest.
It's a college town - it's going to be expensive. Daycare, housing etc is way more pricey than other places in the Midwest but if you're coming from the coasts this might be normal to you.
My two biggest complaints: safety and rude people. I've lived in several different places in my life (one of them being Phoenix, AZ) and NEVER, NEVER in my life have I called the cops so many times as when we lived in Iowa City. In fact, I don't ever think I had to call the cops before or since. Once was for someone trying to follow me home and trying to get me to get out of my car (dressed from head to toe black in the middle of summer). Another time, someone tried to break in our front door in the middle of the night. One time, a guy started fighting with my husband and threatened to kill him when my husband insisted on getting the license plate back from the car we just sold him. People wandering around in the middle of the highway, etc. There just always seemed to be a lot of sketchy people wandering around.
Rudeness - Most of the friends we made were not from Iowa. They were other transplants searching for other people who do not use phrases like "The Iowa Way" or who did not possess an over-inflated sense of self worth simply because they were born and raised in Iowa. Customer service was horrible. Most people would act like they were doing you a favor instead of understanding that you were paying them for a service. Most of our neighbors were friendly enough but they seemed more interested in knowing our business so they could judge us or make passive aggressive comments instead of actually caring about us.
My kids' experience was pretty good. Parents were really into play dates and my kids had lots of friends to play with - just dealing with the parents was a little challenging - but I'm sure that's true everywhere!
Overall, I remember being really glad to leave.
Plainfield, INIt's okay.
I moved my family (husband and kids) back to IN several years ago to be closer to family. After 6 (7? - I've lost track) years, we are ready to move on. We chose Plainfield for several reasons, the first being to avoid the traffic and overcrowding of the Northeast side (Fishers/Noblesville) where everyone else seems to choose to live. It's hard for me to describe exactly how I feel about this place to I just made a pros and cons list:
1. The town rec center is affordable and offers great classes, Splash Island, child care, gym etc. Well worth the cost.
2. Great library with good community programs.
3. Excellent schools (my kids have had some AMAZING teachers).
4. It takes us about 20 minutes to get to downtown Indy - convenient access to 70 (easy commute to Eli Lilly and IUPUI).
5. Community is very focused on families. Tons of rec sports, music, art classes, community events, farmer's market etc. that are great for families.
6. Beautiful parks and a trail system that connects virtually the entire town.
7. Very safe. Never have to lock your doors. There seems to be about 1 cop for every 10 people!
1. Adults here seem very cliquish. If you didn't grow up in Plainfield, it might take you awhile to make friends.
2. Very conservative - If your child is not a beautiful, hetero, straight A student who is into sports, this might not be the best place for your family (never really picked this attitude up at the schools, more of a general attitude with parents I've met in the community).
3. Culture - very little in Plainfield, itself. Bad chain restaurants, etc.
4. Traffic - the city/county planners did not plan on growth. Getting anywhere takes way longer than it should and is a huge pain in the a$$ for this size of a town.
5. The Cult of Plainfield Christian Church - I'm a christian and have nothing against church goers. However, a few years ago I noticed that if you want to be "somebody" in this town - you must go to this church. I can't explain it - it's just the way it is!
If you are a gregarious PTO mom with athletic children and a super alpha male husband (hobbies must be watching football, fishing and gaining 20 lbs per year) you will probably do great here! For the rest of us...it's not bad, but not a place I'm willing to stay.