When summer sun shines on Council Bluffs, Iowa, the city truly blossoms. Nestled on the east bank of the Missouri River, Council Bluffs serves up a hearty mix of nature, culture, history, and fun. From lush, green parks and historic railroads to engaging museums and a thriving gaming scene, here’s your essential guide to summer in Council Bluffs.
Enriching Art and Culture
Kick off your cultural tour at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center, home to the Chanticleer Community Theater and Kanesville Symphony Orchestra. The summer calendar is bursting with performances, exhibitions, and special events.
Bayliss Park in the heart of the city isn’t just a beautiful green space. It also boasts an interactive fountain, a veterans plaza, and a performance space where free concerts take place all summer long.
Festivals and Events
Council Bluffs’ summer is marked by its vibrant community events. Loessfest, held at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, is a celebration of the community and the Loess Hills, offering free concerts, movie nights, and other exciting events.
Don’t miss the Westfair in July, a traditional county fair with an array of entertainment, including live music, rodeo events, and 4-H exhibits.
History and Heritage
To delve into the local history, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum is a must-visit. The museum housed in the beautiful Beaux-Arts-style Carnegie Library building is packed with artifacts showcasing the 150-year history of the railroad that unified America.
Head to the Historic General Dodge House for a glimpse into the Victorian era. This well-preserved, 14-room mansion is a testament to Council Bluffs’ rich past.
The beauty of Council Bluffs really shines through in its outdoor attractions. At the Hitchcock Nature Center, explore miles of trails through the Loess Hills, and don’t miss the climb up the observation tower for panoramic views.
For those who fancy a bit of boating or fishing, Lake Manawa State Park is your summer playground. You can also enjoy hiking, biking, and picnicking amid its serene environment.
A Taste of Council Bluffs
Local cuisine is an essential part of any visit to Council Bluffs. The Farmer’s Market at Bayliss Park offers the freshest in local produce, baked goods, and other delightful treats.
When it comes to dining out, Tish’s Restaurant is a local favorite, serving up a mix of Southern, Cajun, and Tex-Mex cuisine. For a more upscale experience, Cellar 19 Wine & Deli offers an excellent selection of wines paired with delicious dishes.
Gaming and Nightlife
Council Bluffs is also home to a thriving gaming scene. Try your luck at one of the city’s several casinos, such as Ameristar or Harrah’s, both of which offer a range of gaming options, live entertainment, and excellent dining experiences.
For a night of live music, head over to The Horseshoe’s Whiskey Roadhouse, offering a mix of local bands and touring acts.
Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, a culture vulture, or a foodie, there’s no shortage of things to do in Council Bluffs during the summer. From its colorful festivals to its bustling farmers market, its rich history to its vibrant nightlife, Council Bluffs offers a unique blend of small-town charm and big city fun. So pack your bags and prepare to be enchanted by this gem of Western Iowa. Summer in Council Bluffs is a season of endless possibilities!