In 2013, Facebook began construction of a new data center here and requested that a wind farm be installed to offset the carbon footprint by putting more energy into the system than it used!
Altoona is a small town with a big heart. You aren't going to find skyscrapers here, but you will find friendly people, a relaxing environment and plenty of entertainment. Small doesn't have to mean boring and Altoona has worked hard to prove that! You will find everything from Facebook data centers to horse racing; now that is diversity!
Renting in Altoona
This is Altoona, not New York. It's not unusual to submit a rental application, hand over a check and get the keys to your new place all in one 15 minute visit. Owners or property managers may or may not run a credit check, but if you are in a hurry and have a reference from your past landlord, you can probably have the keys pretty fast. You will need first and last months' rent, a security deposit and possibly a pet deposit if you have a pet and the landlord requires a deposit. Just be prepared to write the check when you find your dream place.
Cut to the chase. If you are looking for neighborhoods that are more than a tax designation, look in another city. This one is small enough that even real estate neighborhood designations are virtually pointless. There is a pronounced residential area with a scattering of housing for rent in other areas. The idea of right or wrong side of the tracks just doesn't exist. Those who were born and raised here probably attended school with the same people from start to finish. That makes for a close knit community that is still welcoming to others; they need fresh blood after all!
City Center: This is the largest area of Altoona and, much like the rest of Altoona, you will find a wide range of options here. Most of the options in this area will be from single family home rentals, duplexes and a scattering of apartment buildings offering one and two bedroom apartments for rent. If you are looking to rent a modest sized apt for rent in Altoona, this is going to be a great place to look. Just be sure and pay attention to the size of the yard; you are the one that will be mowing it in the summer!
80th Street: Close to the city center, 80th street is your best bet for finding apartment complexes. There are a few more here than the other areas but you might have to look hard. They are not the high rise type that you might be used to in a larger urban area and they tend to blend in with the surrounding single family homes.
1st Ave: This is close to both the city center and 80th street; the town really isn't that big! but here you will find mostly single family homes with big yards. Really big yards. Grow your own garden and keep a horse or two big. When looking at homes here you might want to factor in the cost of a riding mower.
The Local Hotspots
Dining and Nightlife
There are some things in life you argue about and some you don't. You don't argue about whether to go to Jethro's BBQ in Altoona; you just go. One of the most outstanding barbecue places you will ever visit; be sure and get the chicken. The steaks and pork are outstanding but it's the chicken that drives folks insane.
If you insist on being difficult and refuse to visit Jethro's, go see Uncle Buck. Uncle Bucks Fishbowl and Grill is, simply put, wonderfully weird! First the food is outstanding. It's hard to decide if it's the burgers or the fish and chips that people crave the most. What makes this place so weird is that it's a full restaurant and a bowling alley! You can have a nice dinner and bowl a few frames. Nightlife doesn't get much better than that!
Recreation and Activities
If you have had your fill of BBQ, Burgers and Bowling, look around the town for other attractions. If your thing is amusement parks, this is the home of Adventureland! This is sure to bring out the kid in anyone and is a great way to spend your weekend. If you are more of a risk taker than Adventureland can handle, there is plenty of gambling to be had at the horse track and the local casino. Just be sure to save some money for the first Bass Pro Shop in Iowa!
If you are a newbie, Bass Pro Shops are fun for everyone. Feel like you are being watched? That's probably the duck on aisle 5. Yes, a real live duck. It's not the duck? It's probably one of the fish swimming by in the enormous aquariums. Or maybe the chickens. Bass Pro Shops are not just for shoppers. They are great fun to just wander through and examine the wildlife running loose in the store. It's hard not to love a place that lets wildlife run around loose!