Council BluffsUnited States of America

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.

Top Hotels in Council Bluffs

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hampton Inn @ Ameristar Casino
Hampton Inn @ Ameristar Casino
2.5 out of 5
2204 River Rd, Council Bluffs, IA
The price is $84 per night

Situated in Council Bluffs, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Joe's Karting, Horseshoe Council Bluffs, and Mid-America Center. Dodge Riverside Golf Club and ...

4.3/5Excellent! (894 reviews)

"Nice place. Wish we could of spent the night at the casino and had a hot breakfast. But considering everything the world is going through, we had a nice clean room and a place to rest our head."…"

Reviewed on Jun 2, 2020

Hampton Inn @ Ameristar Casino
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Omaha Airport, IA
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Omaha Airport, IA
2.5 out of 5
2210 Abbott Dr, Carter Lake, IA
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $76 per night

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. CHI Health Center Omaha and Orpheum ...

4/5Very Good! (1,257 reviews)

"Clean. Up to date, close to food. Bed was not amazing, but still slept great."…"

Reviewed on Mar 26, 2020

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Omaha Airport, IA
Hilton Garden Inn Omaha East Council Bluffs
Hilton Garden Inn Omaha East Council Bluffs
3 out of 5
2702 Mid America Drive, Council Bluffs, IA
The price is $84 per night

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Horseshoe Council Bluffs and Mid-America Center. Joe's Karting and Dodge Riverside Golf Club ...

4.1/5Very Good! (558 reviews)

"Friendly staff, bathroom is rather small. Good selection for TV channels. Close to Horseshoe."…"

Reviewed on Jul 12, 2020

Hilton Garden Inn Omaha East Council Bluffs

Popular places to visit in Council Bluffs

Historic General Dodge House
Image for Historic General Dodge House

Historic General Dodge House

Learn about the local history of Council Bluffs with a stop at Historic General Dodge House. Add the area's well-known zoo or casinos to your travel plans.

Desoto National Wildlife Refuge
Image for Desoto National Wildlife Refuge

Desoto National Wildlife Refuge

5/5(2 reviews)

Explore the great outdoors at Desoto National Wildlife Refuge, a lovely green space in Missouri Valley. While you're in the area, wander around the natural setting.

Lake Manawa State Park
Image for Lake Manawa State Park

Lake Manawa State Park

Explore the great outdoors at Lake Manawa State Park, a lovely green space in Council Bluffs. Visit the area's shops or amble around its college campus.

Reviews of Council Bluffs


Guest rating

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent 21.997755331088666%
4 - Good
4 - Good 49.046015712682376%
3 - Okay
3 - Okay 25.476992143658812%
2 - Disappointing
2 - Disappointing 2.244668911335578%
1 - Terrible
1 - Terrible 1.2345679012345678%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Jun 2, 2020

Ghost town area. Weird vibe.

3/5 - Okay


May 20, 2020

I was only at the hotel. Didn't get to see much else.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Mar 31, 2020

Didn’t explore the area

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Mar 9, 2020

We enjoy council bluffs on a regular basis but will stay in Omaha in a bit we property next time.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 2, 2020

The Spillway bar and grill next door was great.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Feb 25, 2020

We always enjoy coming here. There is always something to do.

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