Things to Do in Decorah, Iowa

Places to visit in Decorah, IA.

If you want to learn more about what to do in Decorah, you have come to the right place. There are many things to do in Decorah, Iowa, that will delight and entertain you.

Decorah, Iowa, is a vibrant town with several things to do. It is an excellent spot for a weekend getaway. This Midwest city is home to several museums, parks, and trails. Whether you’re a nature lover, foodie, or history buff, you’ll find something to enjoy.

Best tourist attractions in Decorah, Iowa

Dunning’s Spring Park

A visit to Dunning’s Spring Park in Decorah, Iowa, is a must for any nature lover. With the spring and ample hiking trails, there is no shortage of ways to explore this rural locale.

So whether you are looking for the best place to grab a bite to eat or relax in the sun, there are many options. You can even try out the many zip lines, which is a great way to exercise if you don’t have the bug to hit the gym.

Dunnings Springs Decorah Iowa
Dunnings Springs Decorah Iowa

Dunning’s Spring Park is located near the hamlet of Freeport. The park is open to the public and offers several amenities, including a picnic area, restrooms, and an informative trail map. The park is often jammed during the summer months, especially during weekends.

Vesterheim The National Norwegian-American Museum

Vesterheim is a Decorah museum dedicated to Norwegian and Scandinavian heritage. The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts and a library. It also hosts educational events.

The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum

Vesterheim’s mission is to preserve and promote the traditional folk arts of Norway and Scandinavia. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also offers Norwegian and Scandinavian arts classes. Classes are available for adults and kids. You can learn about the Norwegian language, woodcarving, metalwork, cooking, and more. There are over 100 classes a year; you can even sign up for online courses.

Wood carving at the Vesterheim
Wood carving at the Vesterheim

Vesterheim has been in existence for more than 120 years, and it continues to cultivate living traditions. For instance, it hosts Nordic Fest in July. Aside from classes and programs, the museum also holds lectures and special exhibits.

Decorah Fish Hatchery

The Decorah Fish Hatchery is located at 2321 Siewers Spring Road. It is open to the public seven days a week, 365 days a year. For a fee, you can see the operation of a fish hatchery.

There are many cold water springs in Northeast Iowa, including those in the Decorah area. This is an attractive spot to take in the scenery and sample some of the wide trout varieties in the area.

Decorah Trout Hatchery
Decorah Trout Hatchery

In addition to trout, the Decorah fish hatchery offers a nice view of the Oneota Valley, one of the state’s better-known watersheds. And while the hatchery has plenty to offer, the city of Decorah has several other attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Aside from the fish, the hatchery also boasts a small but interesting collection of other items. For example, the Trout Run Trail loops through the area, passing by abandoned rail beds and private farmlands while offering visitors views of the limestone bluffs on either side.

Phelps Park

Phelps Park in Decorah, Iowa, is a place for families to enjoy the outdoors. There are picnic shelters, playground equipment, and various hiking trails. The park also has stunning views of the river valley.

This park is one of the largest parks in Decorah, Iowa. Its trail begins at the Larsen Fountain overlook and continues through wooded areas. You can walk through unique rockwork and cross wooden bridges.

Phelp's Park
Phelp’s Park

Phelps Park is home to the Decorah Prairie, a community garden. You can also visit the Decorah Hatchery, a former chicken hatchery.

Phelps Park is part of the Broadway-Phelps Park Historic District. This district is a seven-block area once the heart of Decorah, Iowa. Some of the buildings in this historic district were constructed in the late 1850s.

Phelp's Park
Phelp’s Park

Porter House Museum in Decorah

The Porter House Museum is located in Decorah, Iowa. This museum is a warm-weather destination. It features artifacts, gemstones, and fossils from around the world. There are also several exciting displays of the city’s history. A tour of the grounds is an enjoyable experience.

The Ellsworth-Porter House
The Ellsworth-Porter House

The Winneshiek County Historical Society runs this museum. They are a non-profit group that is administered by a board of directors. Although the museum is closed during the fall, some fun, unique events are open. In 2010, the organization celebrated 40 years of service.

The Porter House Museum is the site of a former home of a nationally known naturalist and collector. His passion for the natural world is evident in the house he left behind.

Best Things to Do in Decorah, Iowa

  1. Dunning’s Spring Park
  2. Vesterheim The National Norwegian-American Museum
  3. Decorah Fish Hatchery
  4. Phelps Park
  5. Porter House Museum in Decorah
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