Council Bluffs, IA

Travel Guide
This city, which played a major role in emigrant trails and railroad expansion, is home to museums, casinos and a diverse countryside.

Council Bluffs, a quaint city on Missouri River’s east bank, played a key role in 19th-century emigrant trails and rail transportation. Legalized gambling later became an important factor in the area’s economy and tourism. Delve into Council Bluff’s past and see the intriguing blend of landscape, including wetlands, savannas and forests.

Go to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum for information about the city’s role in the expansion of transportation across the U.S. Learn about the construction of the transcontinental railroad, completed in 1869. Visit the Lincoln Monument, a statue that honors the former president’s trip to the area.

The Squirrel Cage Jail & Museum is another institution that reveals the area’s fascinating past. Marvel at the 19th-century building’s “squirrel cage” design. The 10 cells rotated so that only one at a time was accessible to the jailer.

After legalization of gambling, casinos sprang up around the city. Try your luck at the Ameristar Casino Hotel, based in a three-story boat on the Missouri River. Stay for a show after trying some of the 1,000 slot machines at Harrah’s Hotel & Casino and dine at the Horseshoe Casino after hitting the jackpot.

To enjoy the diverse scenery outside the city, drive 15 miles (24.1 kilometers) north to the Hitchcock Nature Center. Explore green sloping fields and prairies in the Loess Hills. The park, which stretches across 1,268 acres (513.1 hectares), preserves the region’s flora and fauna. See the Historic General Dodge House from the 1900s. It contains the original fixtures installed by a civil war veteran.

Try typical Iowan cuisine, such as the pork tenderloin sandwich and the “Walking Taco,” a blend of crushed chips and a taco-seasoned hamburger.

The area has extreme variations in temperature from summer to winter. The city is quite hot between June and August and freezing cold with snow from November through March.

The larger city of Omaha, Nebraska sits just on the other side of the Missouri River. The nearest large transportation hub is Eppley Airfield, a 10-minute taxi ride from Council Bluffs.

Intriguing emigrant history, diverse scenery and casinos lure travelers to Council Bluffs on the Missouri River.

Courtyard by Marriott Omaha East/Council Bluffs, IA
Courtyard by Marriott Omaha East/Council Bluffs, IA
3 out of 5
2501 Bass Pro Drive, Council Bluffs, IA, 51501
Fully refundable
The price is $93 per night from Aug 21 to Aug 22
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in Council Bluffs. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (799 reviews)
"It had very nice furnishings and was super clean."

Reviewed on Aug 16, 2022

Courtyard by Marriott Omaha East/Council Bluffs, IA
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Council Bluffs, IA
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Council Bluffs, IA
2.5 out of 5
17 Arena Way, Council Bluffs, IA, 51501
Fully refundable
The price is $93 per night from Aug 21 to Aug 22
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Council Bluffs. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (1,002 reviews)
"Check in was good, staff lacked professionalism in my opinion. There was joking, talk about smoking, and eating “f-ing good” cookies. The room was clean and modern but bed was way too hard and pillows made for very uncomfortable rest. The parking lot and access to doors is quite a distant walk. The ..."

Reviewed on Aug 12, 2022

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Council Bluffs, IA
My Place Hotel - Council Bluffs/Omaha East, IA
My Place Hotel - Council Bluffs/Omaha East, IA
2.5 out of 5
2281 South 35th Street, Council Bluffs, IA, 51501
The price is $93 per night from Aug 24 to Aug 25
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Council Bluffs. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (1,008 reviews)
"Didn't like that breakfast was mentioned, but not mentioned that it not a free breakfast."

Reviewed on Aug 15, 2022

My Place Hotel - Council Bluffs/Omaha East, IA
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Fully Renovated, Luxurious unit awaits you!
Fully Renovated, Luxurious unit awaits you!
Council Bluffs, IA
The price is $80 per night from Aug 18 to Aug 19
Stay at this apartment in Council Bluffs. Enjoy free WiFi, onsite parking, and a balcony. Popular attractions Henry Doorly Zoo and Horseshoe Council Bluffs are ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (5 reviews)
Cute & Cozy
"This place was clean, decorated beautifully and made us feel right at home during our weekend stay! It was a short 10 minute drive to the Omaha Zoo where we spent one of our days as a family. Eric was also prompt and friendly when answering all of our questions. 5 stars from us!"

Reviewed on Jul 10, 2022

Fully Renovated, Luxurious unit awaits you!
Cozy Cottage Close to DT Omaha/Zoo; Gardens
Cozy Cottage Close to DT Omaha/Zoo; Gardens
Council Bluffs, IA
Stay at this family-friendly vacation home in Council Bluffs. Enjoy free WiFi, a water park, and a spa tub. Popular attractions Henry Doorly Zoo and Horseshoe ...
5/5 Exceptional! (18 reviews)
Honeymoon Getaway
"The manager was very kind and had Champagne and chilled glasses and a charcuterie board of delicious treats waiting in the frig. Everything was clean and updated. Property waa close to everything we did. We would definitely stay again."

Reviewed on Aug 9, 2022

Cozy Cottage Close to DT Omaha/Zoo; Gardens
NEW! Council Bluffs Cottage: Proximity to Parks!
NEW! Council Bluffs Cottage: Proximity to Parks!
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Stay at this cottage in Council Bluffs. Enjoy a TV, cable/satellite TV, and a kitchen. Popular attractions Henry Doorly Zoo and Horseshoe Council Bluffs are ...
NEW! Council Bluffs Cottage: Proximity to Parks!
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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