Get to Know: Polk City 

The small town of Polk City is known for its town square, where many of its family-friendly festivals and events take place, including the Farmers’ Market, Fall Festival, Light Up Polk City and the Four Seasons Festival. “A City for All Seasons,” Polk City embraces its many things to do, from recreation at Big Creek State Park to dining at Papa’s Pizzeria. Cross the mile-long bridge over Saylorville Lake to visit Jester Park in nearby Granger, where a visit to the nature center, outdoor recreation and wellness center, equestrian center, golf course or mini golf course is fun for all ages. Rentals at the Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center include cross-country ski, snowshoe and paddling equipment. 

image of a community gathering in a park

Polk City at a Glance 

  • Population: 5,751 (2021, US Census Bureau) 
  • Location within Greater Des Moines: North 
  • Distance from Des Moines: 15.8 miles 
  • Type of Community: Town 
  • School District: North Polk Community School District (Serves the communities of Alleman, Elkhart, Polk City, Sheldahl and northern Ankeny) 
  • County: Polk 

Polk City in one sentence: Polk City is a city for all seasons. 

The top five best things about Polk City: The top things about Polk City include its small-town feel, but proximity to big-city amenities, its location near many recreational amenities (including Saylorville Lake, Big Creek State Park and Lake, Tournament Club of Iowa golf course, Neal Smith and High Trestle Trails), its great school district, that it’s easy to get involved in many of the community events and civic organizations and that the community is growing with a lot on the horizon. 

Hidden gems and unexpected finds in Polk City: Polk City has the only designated Arnold Palmer Signature Course in the state of Iowa (Tournament Club of Iowa) as well as the only town square in Polk County, which, incidentally, is also a park.  The Square is rated one of the nine prettiest in Iowa. Saylorville Lake Marina sports the only floating bar/restaurant in the region. 

Community traditions and annual events: Polk City loves their festivals, and the community sure shows up. Current major events include the Four Seasons Festival (held the third weekend in July), Fall Fest (typically held the first weekend in October) and Light Up Polk City (first Friday in December). 

a biker riding through townl

Best ways to get connected: Go Polk City is the city’s chamber + economic development organization that connects and promotes local business and civic organizations. Active local organizations include the Friends of the Parks, Polk City Women, Kiwanis, American Legion, Friends of the Library, the Police and Fire associations. Volunteering at local events is another great way to connect. 

Big things on the horizon for Polk City: A trail connecting the High Trestle Trail (on the north side of town) to the Neal Smith Trail (on south side of town), running right through the heart of the community, the Square, is in the works. 

If you’re coming to check out the community, be sure to spend your day ... visiting one of the many outdoor spaces surrounding Polk City and swinging by the Square to visit local establishments and retail spaces. Let the kids play on the Square’s playground and get ice cream from the Creamery on a hot summer day … it’s idyllic! 

Some of the ways Polk City advances diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): Every effort is made to have gender balance reflected on all our city committees. Polk City swore in its first female fire chief in the history of the community in 2022. Recognizing the need for housing for all age groups, Polk City will soon be the new home for the Leonard Place Senior Living community, which combines independent living with assisted living and memory care.   

view of a dock near a lake