Get to Know: Adel

What comes to mind when you think of sweet corn? Well, if you’re in Iowa, the city of Adel should! With its annual Sweet Corn Festival taking place the second Saturday in August, this growing community knows how to celebrate what makes it special. Founded in 1847, Adel is also the birthplace of 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, who played for the University of Iowa and for whom Kinnick Stadium is named. While in Adel, visit the Raccoon River Valley Trailhead where you can ride, walk, roll or run on 89 miles of paved trail. Visit Adel’s oldest and largest park, Kinnick Feller Park or take a short drive to the Bob Feller Museum in nearby Van Meter to find out about the baseball legend’s life and hometown in Iowa.  

image of bikers riding on a road

Adel at a Glance

  • Population: 6,276 (2021, US Census Bureau) 
  • Location within Greater Des Moines: West 
  • Distance from Des Moines: 26.6 miles 
  • Type of Community: Town 
  • School District: ADM Community Schools (Serves the communities of Adel, DeSoto and Minburn) 
  • County: Dallas 

Adel in one sentence: Adel is a beautiful small town, just close enough to the big city, with a heart of its own where charm meets adventure 

The top five best things about Adel: The best things about Adel are the ability to walk to almost everything you need (from groceries to healthcare, schools and restaurants, most locally owned), the community’s excellent school district (consistently ranked in top 10 in the state), the size of the community (it’s small enough to know each other, big enough to offer some diversity), the connected Raccoon River Valley Trail and dedication to improving outdoor spaces and its proximity to Des Moines. 

Hidden Gems and Unexpected Finds in Adel: Adel’s beautiful courthouse square, the historic Adel Museum, the connected Raccoon River Valley Trail, the top-ranked school district, a growing number of small independently owned businesses and blend of long-term Adelians with new community members make Adel an unexpected one-of-a-kind community. 

Community Traditions and Annual Events: Check out the Adel Sweet Corn Festival, Holiday Sip and Sample event and the garden and home tours. 

Best Ways to Get Connected: There are active Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs, a women’s club, the Chamber and many church groups in Adel to connect with other community members. The active school district is also involved with booster programs for both athletics and fine arts.  

Big Things on the Horizon for Adel: The growth in and around Adel offers excellent opportunities for small businesses to thrive. Adel's portion of the Raccoon River Valley Trail is becoming busier and will continue to increase visibility to new populations. 

If you’re coming to check out the community, be sure to spend your day ... Eating breakfast at Patricks (an Adel classic), walking along the Raccoon River Valley Trail, grabbing a coffee at The Morning Grind, walking around the historic square, enjoying lunch at Fiesta (a Mexican restaurant), bowling at the Adel Family Fun Center, playing disc golf in Evans Park and then grabbing dinner at Lemongrass (a Thai restaurant) or Brickyard Burgers and Brews. Attend an ADM athletic or fine art event in the evening or make a trip out to Keuhn Conservation or Brenton Arboretum to look at the stars. End your night with ice cream at Billy’s. 

Some of the ways Adel advances diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): Adel’s Parks and Recreation department is working to make all playgrounds inclusive, and the local food pantry is working closely with nonprofits and the community to help with food insecurity. The Chamber supports women and minority-owned businesses with many resources. 

image a map showing the Greater Des Moines regions