Iowa

United States of America
Dubuque featuring a sunset, a bridge and a river or creek

Sandwiched in between two rivers on its east and west borders, Iowa is a state characterized by fertile plains and old-world farms. Experience classic Americana in the form of bald eagles soaring through the sky and covered bridges traversing rivers lined with forests. For a slice of authentic America, visit the rural and welcoming “Hawkeye State.”

The state is named after the Ioway Indians who inhabited the region for over a millennium before French explorers landed here in the 1600s. Browse the displays of the State Historical Museum of Iowa to learn about its accession to statehood in 1846 and its history ever since.

Explore Iowa’s cities for a variety of museums and galleries. Dubuque has the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, documenting the biology and industry associated with the grand river. Cedar Rapids offers the African American Museum of Iowa while the state capital, Des Moines, has the State Historical Museum and the Science Center of Iowa, a great destination for families.

Retreat to the tranquility of Iowa’s farming plains, where the landscape is covered in wooden wind turbines and vast, traditionally designed barns. Visit farms across the state where kids can pet animals and see what life is like on the plains. Adults will enjoy touring the vineyards and breweries of the region.

Embrace the beauty of nature in different pockets of Iowa’s countryside. Stroll through the Loess Hills for undemanding walks that lead to stunning views. Trek along rivers and cliffs in scenic Ledges State Park.

In the south-central region, cross the cinematic Bridges of Madison County. These covered rail and road bridges are inherently romantic and can be visited on a self-guided tour.

Fly into Des Moines International Airport for access to the rest of the state. Travel around in a car, enjoying one of the nine scenic byways that weave throughout the state. Iowa comes to life in fall, when harvests are reaped across the state and farms celebrate with family-friendly activities.

Popular cities in Iowa

Des Moines showing a bridge, a skyscraper and a sunset
Des Moines
Known for Festivals, Sports and Live music
Admire beautiful buildings and indulge in boutique shopping in Iowa’s capital city, which is also close to hiking trails and adventure parks.

Reasons to visit

  • Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
  • Iowa State Capitol Building
  • State Historical Society of Iowa Museum
Fourth Street Elevator featuring landscape views and a small town or village
Dubuque
Known for Rivers, Casinos and Historical
Take a ride on Iowa’s only authentic paddle wheeler, visit a casino or enjoy the many miles of recreational trails in this historic port town.

Reasons to visit

  • National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
  • Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Cedar Rapids featuring a river or creek, modern architecture and skyline
Cedar Rapids
Known for Dining, Shopping and Theaters
Come to Cedar Rapids, a blossoming cultural and artistic hub, to see its gorgeous parklands, expansive galleries and the beloved Brucemore heritage mansion.

Reasons to visit

  • Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
  • Brucemore
Davenport featuring a city and a river or creek
Davenport
Known for Rivers, Live music and Entertainment
Whether you want to stroll through glorious botanical gardens or learn about the history of the American Midwest, this area in Iowa is the ideal place.

Reasons to visit

  • Vander Veer Botanical Park
Council Bluffs
Council Bluffs
Known for Dining, Casinos and Family-friendly
This city, which played a major role in emigrant trails and railroad expansion, is home to museums, casinos and a diverse countryside.
Waterloo
Waterloo
Known for Waterfalls, Shopping and Universities
Trip time! Discover the university life, waterfalls, and live music in Waterloo.