Iowa is a bastion of Americana in the Heartland, starting off as an agricultural hub, moving into an industrial area, and now housing a surprising number of cities that are signifi cant in their historical, culinary, and artistic endeavors. Midwest Meetings had the pleasure of talking to a few experts across the breadth of this culturally wealthy slice of midwestern pride. Starting with Julie Kronlage from Travel Dubuque, we asked her about some entertaining spots in her city.
For nightlife look no further than the Diamond Jo Casino with entertainment through most of the week ranging from comedy to dueling pianos at the Mississippi Moon Bar. The casino has also seen some great national acts such as Here Come The Mummies and Bret Michaels. One spot in this area that, according to Kronlage, “kind of help[ed] put us on the map,” is the Field of Dreams that was featured in the movie of the same name. If you can’t make it out to the fi eld then head towards the river and check out the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium which is the only Smithsonian associated museum on the upper Mississippi.
Travel south down the Mississippi and you’ll find yourself in the Quad Cities area, home of Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa. If you’d like to go cavortin’ in Davenport then make sure to head over to the big river and crawl the sprawl from the Figge Arts
Museum to the River Music Experience. Check out the Redstone Room which is a great spot for up-and-coming artists and has seen rising stars like The Menzingers, Mason Jennings, and Martin Sexton. Lynn Hunt of the Quad Cities CVB knows a bit more about the marvels along the Mississippi and describes the area as “rich in history…We have the Chief Blackhawk history, to the Civil War, and the Rock Island Arsenal. It’s one of our largest employers and they have the second oldest army museum in the country. We take pride in preserving and restoring our historic buildings.” There are also guided tours along the river, if you’d like to lone-wolf the journey then you can follow along with a handy app that will point out the landmarks.
There’s always time to sneak away for a drink or two and there really couldn’t be a better place to do that then Le Claire, Iowa. Take in a taste of fi ne local spirits at the Mississippi River Distilling Company and maybe one of their hourly tours if you’re not too wobbly in the knees. If you’ve the strength then head over to Green Street Brewery and sample some of the hand made craft beers and according to Lynn, “If you roam around you may also find the Buffalo Bill Museum.”
The more centrally located Des Moines, Iowa is a much more recognizable name to most outside the Midwest being the capital and most populated area. It produced famous heavy metal band Slipknot, it’s home to the Des Moines Arts Festival, and the Des Moines Performing Arts which routinely hosts professional theater and even Broadway shows.