Top things to do

Top Choice Italian in Cedar Valley

Galleria De Paco

It took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but it took Evelin 'Paco' Rosic just four months to make a half-sized reproduction of it in spray paint on the ceiling of his Italian eater…
Top Choice Fair in Des Moines

Iowa State Fair

Much more than just country music and butter sculpture, this festival draws a million visitors over its 11-day run. They enjoy the award-winning farm critters and just about every food that can be shoved on a stick …
Top Choice Southern US in Iowa

Potter’s Mill

This converted grain mill draws folks from across the region with both its made-from-scratch Southern cooking and live blues and jazz music (Saturday and Sunday). There are three well-appointed rooms upstairs (from …
Top Choice Park in Des Moines

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

This curvaceous public park has great skyline views and features sculptures by 22 celebrated artists, including Sol LeWitt, Keith Haring and Willem de Kooning. Fine-dining restaurants and boutique shops line its per…
Top Choice Museum in Dubuque

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

Learn about life (of all sorts) on the Mississippi at this impressive museum, part of a vast riverfront development. Exhibits span steamboating, aquatic life and indigenous Mississippi River dwellers.
Top Choice Historic Site in Iowa

Effigy Mounds National Monument

Hundreds of mysterious Native American burial mounds sit in the bluffs above the Mississippi River in this gorgeous corner of far northeast Iowa. Listen to songbirds as you hike the lush trails.
American in Dubuque

Brazen Open Kitchen

The poetic menus at this stylish amber-lit restaurant in the Millwork District are organized like so: roots + soil, flour + water, farm + fish. The resulting New American cuisine, which draws inspiration from around…
Gastropub in Iowa City

Clinton Street Social Club

This swanky 2nd-floor gastropub boasts locally sourced meals and killer libations at the long cocktail bar. Classic movies play on Monday nights and there's live jazz at least twice a month on Thursdays. Professors …
Museum in Iowa

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

On August 20, 1804, Sergeant Charles Floyd became the only person to die on the Lewis and Clark expedition team, probably from appendicitis. You can learn much more about this and other aspects of the journey at the…
Nature Reserve in Dubuque

Mines of Spain Recreation Area

This vast expanse of Mississippi River Bluffland just south of Dubuque offers 12 miles of hiking trails with scenic overlooks, picnic facilities and even a wildlife observation blind. Head to the EB Lyons Interpreti…