10 Best Things to Do in Iowa

Top Tourist Attractions in Iowa USA

Iowa is a great place to visit. You can find many things to do in Iowa, from experiencing this Midwestern state’s rich agricultural heritage to exploring the charming small towns that dot the sprawling countryside.

Gourmets will enjoy Iowa for its farmland and farm-raised products, while history buffs will appreciate the state’s important role in the development of America.

Iowa is a state filled with history, art, entertainment, and fun for the whole family. From the capital city of Des Moines to the famous Field of the Dreams baseball diamond in Dyersville to the Amana Colonies, the top tourist attractions in Iowa are here.

Iowa is one of the most beautiful and naturally diverse states in the United States. There are numerous places to visit in Iowa, but if you want to experience the best Iowa offers, these places must be at the top of your bucket list.

10 best places to visit in Iowa for your next vacation

  1. Iowa 80 – The World’s Largest Truckstop
  2. Adventureland Park
  3. Blank Park Zoo
  4. Pappajohn Sculpture Park
  5. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
  6. Field of Dreams Movie Site
  7. NewBo City Market
  8. Amana Colonies
  9. Vander Veer Botanical Park
  10. Maquoketa Caves State Park

Iowa is a Midwestern state that embodies the core characteristics of the heartland of America. Iowa depends on agriculture with some of the most productive farmland globally but has a diverse economy that includes biotechnology, manufacturing, and green energy production.

Its landscape of rolling plains provides the setting for several outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and canoeing.

Best things to do in Iowa
Best things to do in Iowa

Des Moines

Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines, offers many attractions, including various museums, historic sites, and gardens. The downtown area has several free attractions for families, including the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the State Historical Museum.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden features one of North America’s largest collections of orchids. Sunken Gardens in Sioux City is another beautiful garden with a wide selection of flowers and plants. See more attractions in Des Moines.

Places to see in Iowa
Places to see in Iowa.


Just east of Des Moines is Adventureland – one of the top amusement parks in Iowa. This park was recently named a Top 20 Amusement Park by the Travel Channel and featured over 100 rides, shows, and attractions for all ages. It’s also home to Hurricane Harbor – one of the largest outdoor waterparks in the Midwest!

Mississippi River

The Mississippi River forms a large portion of Iowa’s eastern border, and several small towns are located along its shores. Burlington has numerous riverfront parks, including Crapo Park, where you can ride a paddlewheel boat or cruise down the river on a riverboat casino.

Nearby Nauvoo offers wagon rides, candle-dipping demonstrations, and other old-fashioned activities at Heritage Village and Pioneer Trail Center.

Top places to visit in Iowa
Top Places to Visit in Iowa

Amana Colonies

Located in east-central Iowa, Amana Colonies is an exciting place to visit. Here, seven villages were founded by German Pietists who immigrated to America in 1854.

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Originally established as a communal society, the colonies now offer a peek into the past with German-style architecture and homemade foods and crafts.

Iowa museums

The University of Iowa Museum of Art houses more than 13,000 pieces, including an extensive collection of works by Grant Wood. Visitors can also explore the history of this institution at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art or participate in workshops held at John B. Turner Gallery.

Tourist attractions in Iowa, USA
Tourist attractions in Iowa, USA

Des Moines Art Center is a world-class visual arts center with 12 galleries showcasing significant works by Matisse, Warhol, Monet, and Picasso and masterpieces from other notable artists in its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions featuring works worldwide.

To the east of Des Moines, Iowa City is home to the renowned University of Iowa and the Old Capitol Museum.

Once, the latter was Iowa’s State Capitol and housed a Victorian art and furniture collection. Several beautiful parks offer lovely cityscape views, including City Park and Hickory Hill Park.

Where to go in Iowa
Where to Go in Iowa

Iowa national landmarks

Iowa is home to several national landmarks, including:

  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site featuring a museum about this U.S. president who was born in Iowa;
  • Effigy Mounds National Monument, where visitors can see 2,500-year-old Native American mounds;
  • Amana Colonies National Historic Landmark District showcases 19th-century communal settlements that thrived into the modern era.

Agriculture in Iowa

Agriculture is Iowa’s economic mainstay. Approximately 88,500 farms in Iowa produce corn (maize), soybeans, oats, hay, beef cattle, dairy products, hogs, and pigs.

The state is the country’s top producer of corn, second in soybeans, third in pork, fourth in eggs, fifth in turkeys, and sixth in hogs. Tourism, manufacturing, and financial services also contribute to Iowa’s economy.

What to see in Iowa
What to See in Iowa


Iowa is a great state to visit. Its location in the midwest makes access from all parts of the country easy. Iowa is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. There are many places to visit in Iowa, but these are the best ones to see on your next trip to Iowa.

Iowa is known for its agriculture, but that doesn’t mean there’s not more to do than just farm tours. From a world-class art museum to one of the best zoos in the country, you’ll never run out of things to do. But with so many options, it can be hard to know where to start.

Iowa Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it named Iowa?

Iowa is named after the Iowa River, after the indigenous Ioway people who inhabited the region. The name “Ioway” comes from the French word for the Bah-kho-je Indian tribe that lived in the area.

Some popular tourist attractions in Iowa include the Amana Colonies, Iowa State University in Ames, Des Moines—the state’s largest city—the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and various historical sites and museums across the state.

What is the state of Iowa known for?

Iowa is known for its agricultural economy, being part of the Corn Belt. Over time, it has transitioned to a diversified economy that includes advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, information technology, biotechnology, and green energy production.

What is the capital of Iowa?

The capital of Iowa is Des Moines.

What is the population of Iowa?

According to the 2023 census, Iowa has a population of 3,207,004.

What is the state nickname for Iowa?

The state nickname for Iowa is the Hawkeye State. It was adopted early in the state’s history as a tribute to Indian leader Chief Black Hawk.

What are the main industries in Iowa?

Iowa’s main industries include agriculture (especially corn and soybeans), advanced manufacturing and processing, financial services, information technology, biotechnology, and green energy production.

What is the climate like in Iowa?

Iowa has a humid continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. It experiences all four seasons with significant precipitation throughout the year.

What is Iowa’s state bird, flower, and tree?

State bird: Eastern Goldfinch
State flower: Wild Rose
State tree: Oak

Is Iowa a good place to live?

Iowa has been listed as one of the safest U.S. states to live in. It offers a mix of urban and rural living, a strong sense of community, and various opportunities across different industries.

What is U of Iowa known for?

The University of Iowa is known for its writing-related resources and research opportunities for undergraduate students.

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