Get to Know: Windsor Heights

Windsor Heights is a prime location in Greater Des Moines (DSM), perfectly nestled between its larger neighboring cities of Clive, Des Moines, Urbandale and West Des Moines and a quick drive to Downtown DSM along I-235. It’s easy to support local businesses in Windsor Heights, with unique items from Skippy Fantastic’s Pop-Culture Emporium and dining options like Kathmandu Restaurant. Host to annual events including Movies in the Park and Windsor Wonderland, Colby Park is also home to the Windsor Heights Community and Events Center and the outdoor Pavilion as well as a 10-dock BCycle station near the butterfly gardens. Not only that, Colby Park is accessible using the Walnut Creek Trail, which connects to the Clive Greenbelt Trail, Bill Riley Trail and several others — creating miles of walking, running and biking opportunities from Windsor Heights to Urbandale, West Des Moines and Downtown DSM. Homes in Windsor Heights provide historical and vintage charm, where unique architecture ranging from Spanish-style, Craftsman and ivy-clad brick cottage homes to midcentury modern and one-story ranch homes are easily visible with a quick stroll through the area’s neighborhoods. Additionally, Windsor Heights is where Cowles Elementary School is located — Iowa’s only public Montessori school, which serves pre-K through 8th grade students. 

image of bikers riding on a road

Windsor Heights at a Glance

Windsor Heights in one sentence: Windsor Heights is a small city in the heart of DSM, a place where access to educational institutions, Downtown and other amenities is unmatched. 

The top five best things about Windsor Heights: At the top of the list is a strong sense of community. Windsor Heights is near Drake University, a top Midwest private university. Visit Colby Park, Windsor Heights’ largest outdoor space where the entire family can play. Ongoing developments in the area continue to provide growth and attract young professionals, families and long-term residents. Sharing ideas for improvement is easy here — Windsor Heights leadership is always on the lookout for ways to shape the city for the future, keeping an open dialogue with residents. Finally, housing is both affordable and full of historic and vintage charm, allowing community members a high quality of life here. 

Hidden gems and unexpected finds in Windsor Heights: Windsor Heights is a gem for local, only-found-here eateries. Try a sweet treat made from scratch from the Bake Shoppe. Grounds for Celebration is the go-to for fresh-roasted coffee, and the Windsor Heights location bakes pastries daily. Little Brother is a relatively new restaurant to the area but quickly has become a local favorite, with incredible brunch and diner food made from family recipes with Jewish influence. Both Kathmandu and Puerto Rico Restaurant serve up tasty and authentic dishes, drawing locals from around the region. 

an individual and their dogl

You might also be surprised by the beauty of this suburb in the spring, where its neighborhoods transform into an oasis of blooming flowers such as daffodils, tulips and Virginia bluebells and colorful trees including the purple flowering Eastern redbud, pink and purple crabapple blossoms and fragrant magnolia tulip bushes. The well-established tree canopy in Windsor Heights makes for breathtaking fall colors as the leaves turn to yellow, orange and red during the autumn months. 

Community traditions and annual events: Movies in the Park at Colby Park takes place once a month from spring through the end of the year. Nights in the Heights is the Windsor Heights annual summer community celebration, featuring food trucks and live music. Windsor Heights Fall Fest is fun for the entire family, with inflatables, a parade and more to enjoy. Waveland Golf Course is just down the road, where locals love to go sledding on a snowy day during the winter months. 

Best ways to get connected: The Windsor Heights Foundation is a great way to get involved within the community and support activities and projects that enhance life in the city. 

Community leaders to know: Mike Jones, Mayor of Windsor Heights, and Mark Arends, President of the Windsor Heights Foundation 

Big things on the horizon for Windsor Heights: An Aldi store opened in 2022, and plans are being reviewed to consider adding and enhancing park space in Windsor Heights such as increasing amenities, improving ADA-compliance and other park-specific improvements. 

If you’re coming to check out the community, be sure to spend your day ... wandering through Colby Park where you’ll find inclusive Harmony musical instruments for the kids, a playground, walking trail and more to keep you busy. Rent a BCycle in Colby Park and ride the local trails, too. 

Some of the ways Windsor Heights advances diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): Windsor Heights holds a Veterans Day celebration in honor of its veterans during an annual luncheon. The city’s Harmony Park creates a multisensory experience for all children who visit Colby Park.  

a park pavilion