6 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Iowa

Jul 22, 2021

When you travel to the United States of America (USA), the most popular destinations to visit are the huge cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. But there are also some beautiful destinations that you don't hear about as much.

Iowa is one of them. Located in the Midwest of the USA, just south of Minnesota, the state is renowned for its "mud," or loess, soil. This very fertile, loose soil means that it is also perfect for growing the world's most prized crops, such as corn and soybeans, which are in demand all over the world. It is the world's biggest producer of both of these foods, but also has many other foods and farming items which visitors enjoy.

This scenic agricultural state has a lot to offer when it comes to natural attractions and sports, and has great people as well. Be sure to add it to your travel list when you visit the USA, along with all of the others beautiful destinations. Plan your trip with this list of the top attractions in Iowa.

Des Moines Art Center

Photo of Des Moines Art Center
Des Moines Art Center: en.wikipedia.org

Des Moines Art Center's program offers programs for people of all ages, from toddlers through adults. The works in the permanent collection include paintings and sculptures, including those by artists such as Andy Warhol and Louise Nevelson. The IMS Performing Arts Series, founded in 1947, presents music, dance, theatre, and visual arts performances throughout the year. Some of the outdoor attractions of the area include museums, parks, art centres, parks, and gardens. One of the first permanent structures built in the United States was in Des Moines, beginning with Fort Des Moines in 1854, and West Des Moines in 1860. Some of the state's oldest institutions include the Des Moines Art Center and the Des Moines Art Center, and the National WWII Museum, and many of the state's larger employers, such as John Deere, have offices in the metropolitan area. The three campuses of Iowa State University and a variety of private schools give the city a college town feel.

Iowa State Capitol

Photo of Iowa State Capitol
Iowa State Capitol: en.wikipedia.org

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Iowa State Capitol is the only dome-topped, golden-colored limestone capitol in the United States. In front of the building on the Avenue of the States is a "Secret Garden" of bougainvillea with a urn holding the ashes of Iowans who died serving in the U.S. armed forces during World War I and II. Wright's old home on the Avenue of the States, the Unity Temple, designed and built during the 1910s, is another worth a visit. The Governor's Mansion, as it's known locally, is undergoing restoration until 2017.

Iowa State Fair

Photo of Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair: en.wikipedia.org

This huge fair held annually in the middle of the summer features old-fashioned carnival rides, live country music, food, fireworks, and all-American fairground fun. Horse racing is a big part of the entertainment, with live shows in a huge stadium, races on different tracks, and exciting finish lines. The fairgrounds include the State Exhibition Building, the temporary Coronado Motorcycle Expo Center, an agricultural and rodeo arena, an armory, the Governor's Mansion, the Auditorium Building, the Gilman Barns, and the Old Capitol State Historic Site. Throughout the fair, several days of music and entertainment are offered in different venues.

Mall of America

Photo of Mall of America
Mall of America: en.wikipedia.org

The Mall of America, originally the largest mall in the United States, opened on November 19, 1992. Built on an incredible 440-acre (180-hectare) plot in Bloomington, Iowa, the Mall of America is home to the Minnesota Vikings' stadium, the Hennepin County Government Center, and also features a shopping mall with more than two dozen department stores, a food court, a performing arts theater, and the nation's largest aquarium. Although the Mall of America is often seen as a sort of theme park, its 27 indoor amusement rides and an outdoor roller coaster are only part of the reason visitors come here. While many simply visit to see what it's like inside a mall, many others come to learn more about the history of the region and about Iowans. They can visit the Iowan Living History Farms, see a re-creation of Cedar Falls or Grinnell, or ride the Blue Grass Railroad. Tourists can see a variety of other nearby attractions, including the world's largest Mall and Aquarium, The Mall of America Aquarium, featuring more than 4,000 aquatic species, and the Minnesota Zoo, with more than 2,000 animals.

Creighton University

Photo of Creighton University School of Law
Creighton University School of Law: en.wikipedia.org

An early pioneer in American academic studies, Creighton University was founded in 1887 by Methodist minister John Richard Young, who became a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in 1913. Now one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the Midwest, the university draws a diverse student population from over 25 states and more than 40 countries. Some of the main points of interest in Creighton University include: the John F. Kennedy Library, which is housed in the historic Romanesque landmark Johnston Hall; the ornate Water Works Building, which dates to 1884 and originally featured water-powered presses used to print Creighton's student newspaper, The Blue and White; and the University Art Museum, which hosts regular art exhibitions and holds regular readings and lectures, all the way to the Free Expressionism Sculpture Garden and the Frederick Law Olmsted Sculpture Garden. Students will want to attend the famous Corncob Candlelighting event on the Quad, where people gather to sing songs and roast corncobs on a giant campfire during the fall semester. Visitors can also get an up-close look at the University's celebrated bulldog mascot, Cupid, as he has his twice-a-week grooming service.

Iowa City

Photo of Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa: en.wikipedia.org

Iowa City is a great place to live or visit, offering a variety of attractions and events, and a thriving arts scene, as well as great dining and shopping. Things to do include the Iowa City Public Market, a four-block section of downtown Iowa City where you can pick up local produce, handicrafts, and other items. The Iowa City Museum of Art is located at the University of Iowa campus, along with a number of other fine art galleries and various cultural events and classes. Iowa City is also known for its many charming and historic neighborhoods. The Lake Street area offers a view of the scenic Iowa River, the Wolf Biological Area, and is home to historic district landmarks such as the Mansfield Hotel and the Exchange. The Mississippi River is Iowa's chief waterway, a breathtaking view at sunset, and a great place to relax on the riverboat. Iowa City is served by several airfields and serves as a gateway to both the Iowa River and Missouri River as well as the Mississippi and St. Louis regions, from where trains and buses can reach Chicago, New Orleans, and more.