Fun things to do in Iowa

  • Iowa City Mansion near College Green Park
    Iowa City Mansion near College Green...
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  • Old Downtown Iowa City, IA
    Old Downtown Iowa City, IA
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  • Johnson County Courthouse, Iowa City, IA
    Johnson County Courthouse, Iowa City, IA
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Iowa

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    Fenelon Place Elevator Company

    by deecat Written May 30, 2007

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    Jill and I had such a good time seeing and riding the Fenelon Place Elevator. We learned that about 1882, a Mr. J.K. Graves [a wealthy former mayor and State Senator] lived in Dubuque on top of the bluffs. However, he worked at the bottom of the bluffs. At that time, everyone had one and a half hours for lunch. He hated spending so much time getting to and from his home. A world traveler, Mr. Graves had seen incline railways in Europe and thought that it would be a great idea to build a cable car. His private cable car was modeled after those in the Alps.

    After his original cable car burned down, he had it rebuilt; this time [1893], he opened it to the public and charged 5 cents a ride. Unfortunately, the cable burned again. He did not rebuild; however his neighbors [10 of them] formed the Fenelon Place Elevator Company and used a streetcar motor to run the elevator and used steel cable for the cars. They reconstructed it so that two [funicular] could be operated at the same time.

    It was rebuilt in 1977 with a modern gear box and a DC motor. The cable car that we rode is of that era. And the scene of the Mississippi River and the city of Dubuque is excellent. They say that on super clear days, you can see three states: Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

    The Elevator is open from April 1 through November 30, 8:00 a.m.-10 p.m.
    Rates [You pay at the top; you use the rope to ring the bell when you wish to go up]
    Adults $1.00 or $2.00 round trip
    Children .50 or $1.00 round trip
    Bike and rider $1.50
    Children under five go for FREE

    Jill Inquiring about the Elevator Ride View from Inside Elevator Car Elevator going down Scene of Dubuque from atop elevator platform
    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Bricktown Brewery

    by deecat Updated May 30, 2007

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    The Bricktown Brewery [located inside the Historic Cooper Wagon Works] is located right in the center of the historic downtown Dubuque. Inside this one building, you will find places to eat, to drink, and to just hang out and have fun. This is where A. A. Cooper built his legendary empire of wagons called "Old Reliable".

    There are four floors of dining and entertainment:

    The Blackwater Grill
    Bricktown Brewery
    Fat Kat Pizza Pub
    Underground Sports Bar & Nightclub
    Bricktown Banquet & Reception

    The Blackwater Grill is Dubuque's only brewpub restaurant. It's located on the main level. Besides the hand crafted brews, they offer steaks, pastas, burgers, other sandwiches, and seafood. In addition, on Friday nights has live music with no cover charge from 9:00 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

    Fat Kat Pizza Pub offers fresh brewed beer and fresh brewed rootbeer. They have specialty, traditional, and "Fat Kat Deep Dish" pizzas. Also, they have GIANT baked sandwiches, buffalo wings, and fried chicken. They are located in the lower level of Bricktown. They also deliver to local hotels and area business. Evidently, children are also welcome here.

    In the Dubuque Underground Sports Bar has 25 televisions for watching sport's events. They also feature a DJ and a dance floor. They are susposed to have the "best buffalo wings in the area". Live on Main comedy night each Wednesday begins at 9:00 p.m. on the second floor of the complex.

    The Bricktown Brewery makes hand crafted beer in the restaurant. The beer selections change each month. They also have seasonal brews.

    Bricktown Brewery [

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  • Disc Golf

    by Zenpuppy2 Written Feb 25, 2007

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    Disc Golf is very big in Iowa. We have many excellent players, I live in Des Moines and we have 20 courses within a 30 mile radius. My favorites are Grandview, Walnut Ridge, and Ewing. Iowa has 88 courses in the state ranking it 3rd behind California and Texas (last time I looked). Go and try it its relaxing, sociable, and burns calories.

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    Dane Country

    by sunchasers Updated Dec 3, 2006

    The signpost driving into Kimballton, Iowa reads 'Welcome to Dane Country'. In the town park you will find a replica of the Little Mermaid, further down the road you'll find the Posthuset, and a 60 ft. wind mill that had been brought over from Denmark in 1975.

    Note: The mermaid is taken down during the winter season

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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    Amana Colonies

    by sunchasers Written Dec 1, 2006

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    Amana Colonies consist of seven authentic German villages founded as a religious commune in the mid-1800s. This preserved culture is a National Historic Landmark and one of Iowa's most famous travel attractions. Craft shops, wineries, bakeries, woolen mills, etc.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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    Holland...in Iowa?!?

    by sunchasers Updated Nov 30, 2006

    Can't afford a ticket to Amsterdam? Take a trip to Pella, Iowa. Granted you won't likely find a red-light district and 'coffee' houses in middle America, but you will find rustic, reconstructed Dutch buildings, a canal, a windmill, a tulip festival and great pride in the old country. So grab your wooden clogs and join the fun in wacky wacky Pella :)

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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    National Mississippi Museum and Aquarium

    by dlandt Written Jun 18, 2006

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    The National Mississippi Museum and Aquarium was an unexpected find on a road trip. At first we thought it would be a bit hokey, but it turned out to be really well done and quite interesting.

    The aquarium features giant catfish and shovel-nosed gar along with alligator and turtles.As the greeter told me, "If it lives in the Mississippi, it's on display here." They even had ducks, though my wife and baby liked the turtles a lot. Far and away the best display was the catfish. They have the world's largest collection of catfish, and have made a semi-interactive, very child-friendly, exhibit.

    The staff is ot only helpful and friendly, but plentiful! The museum is spic and span, well cared for, and you can see loving care in the displays.

    5' catfish gar Catifish exhibit Giant catfish ducklings
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Aquarium

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    free wire less along the highway

    by cochinjew Written Mar 12, 2006

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    I was driving on I 29 north to the Indian Reservations from Omaha, I saw this sign at the rest stop. Wire Less Internet. Sure enough there is free wire less Internet at high way stops in Iowa. Good On you, Iowa.. i am writing this and adding this to virtual tourist from a highway stop along 1 29 near Onawa turn off I think, around exit 112.. what a luxury indeed..thank you state of Iowa..

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    Sioux City

    by Tom_Fields Written Oct 3, 2005

    Sioux City has several interesting sights, including the Fourth Street Historic District, the Sergeant Floyd River Museum, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, and the War Eagle Monument (pictured below).

    The War Eagle Monument has a splendid vista overlooking the Missouri River, providing views of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

    The War Eagle Monument
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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  • We rednecks...

    by melissaK Written Mar 28, 2005

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    We rednecks are really big into our racing and you just can't come to Iowa in the summer without going to one race. I have grown up going to races but haven't been to one in a couple of years. It is the most thrillign thing to watch. I personally love the smell of burning alcohol (instead of gas racecars burn alcohol). The one track to definitely check out is Knoxville, the Sprint Car Capital of World. (Sprint cars are the little ones with wings on the top). And it is probably one of the better kept track in Iowa. But if Knoxville isn't in the area for you, don't fret. There's at least one race track in each county.

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    BONAPARTE MILLS

    by mtncorg Written Oct 6, 2004

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    You can see from across the river some of the old buildings of the 19th century. It is easy to imagine back when steamboats plied the river and mills puffed away. Today, the only sound is the rustle of the waters of the Des Moines River.

    Old mills of Bonaparte from across the Des Moines
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

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    BONAPARTE

    by mtncorg Written Oct 6, 2004

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    Another former thriving riverport town along the Des Moines River, Bonaparte, with its 458 people, seems to be a metropolis when compared to Bentonsport. The little downtown section has been recognized as the smallest Main Street community in the US – don’t ask me what the criteria is ;-] – and the National Trust for Historic Preservation includes Bonaparte as one of 12 Distinctive Destinations within the country. Several gift, specialty and antique shops, as well as a well-known local restaurant – Bonaparte Retreat, found in an old flour/grist mill – attract lots of regional tourists.

    'Downtown' Bonaparte - Main Street USA
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    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Road Trip

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    MAHARISHI VEDIC CITY

    by mtncorg Written Oct 6, 2004

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    Transcendental meditation has discovered rural Iowa here. The movement started by Maharishi Mahesh Yoga – guru for the Beatles and countless others – first came to nearby Fairfield, Iowa to transplant the Maharishi (pronounced ma-HAR-shi) University of Management from Santa Barbara, California to the vacant grounds of the defunct Parsons College. Almost 30 years later, Vedic City – soon renamed Maharishi Vedic City – became Iowa’s newest city and the Global Capital of World Peace. Utopias are alive and well among the cornstalks of Iowa.

    See my Vedic City tips for more.

    The Mansion at Vedic City
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    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

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    DES MOINES RIVER

    by mtncorg Written Oct 6, 2004

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    If you drive I-80 across the State, you might be surprised at the roller coaster nature of the route – up one hill and down another. The hills are never very large – Iowa’s highest point is only 1670 feet high up in the far northwest next to the Minnesota border – but compared to the drive through Illinois or much of Nebraska, Iowa’s hills seem Himalayan. The hills originate from the river distribution – roughly north-south in orientation, paralleling the Mississippi in the east and the Missouri in the west. I-80 runs east-west at right angles to many of the rivers. The interior of the State is dominated by two river systems: the Iowa and Des Moines. These rivers provided early settlers with power and as a transportation alternative.

    Bentonsport bridge spaning the Des Moines River
    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    BENTONSPORT BRIDGE

    by mtncorg Written Oct 6, 2004

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    Built in 1882, this one-lane iron bridge is the oldest standing truss bridge crossing the Des Moines River. It served vehicular traffic until a newer bridge was completed a few years ago a short distance upstream. Today, the bridge – renovated in the mid 1990’s - serves the occasional pedestrian who wants to wander out and ponder over the rustling waters below.

    Looking towards Bentonsport across the bridge
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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Iowa Hotels

See all 734 Hotels in Iowa

Top Iowa Hotels

Dubuque Hotels
52 Reviews - 130 Photos
Des Moines Hotels
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Muscatine Hotels
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Iowa Things to Do

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