Council Bluffs is a city located in the southwestern part of the state of Iowa, in the United States. It is the county seat of Pottawattamie County and has a population of approximately 62,230 people (according to the 2020 US Census). Council Bluffs is located on the east bank of the Missouri River and is a part of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area.
Council Bluffs has a rich history dating back to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and it played a significant role in the development of the American West. The city is home to several historic landmarks and museums, including the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the Western Historic Trails Center.
Council Bluffs is also known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, with several parks, trails, and waterways in the area. The city has a thriving arts and culture scene, with several performing arts venues, art galleries, and festivals throughout the year.
Council Bluffs is easily accessible by road, rail, and air, with several major highways passing through the city and a regional airport providing regular flights to destinations across the United States.
Here are the top 30 fun things to do in Council Bluffs, Iowa:
- Visit the Union Pacific Railroad Museum – The museum showcases the history of the Union Pacific Railroad, which played a significant role in the development of the American West.
- Explore the Western Historic Trails Center – The center provides information and exhibits on the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express trails that passed through Council Bluffs.
- Go for a hike at Hitchcock Nature Center – The park features several miles of hiking trails and stunning views of the Missouri River Valley.
- See a show at the Mid-America Center – The arena hosts a variety of concerts, sporting events, and shows.
- Visit the Historic General Dodge House – The house was once the home of General Grenville M. Dodge, a Civil War veteran and railroad executive.
- Take a stroll through Bayliss Park – The park features a fountain, walking paths, and sculptures, and hosts events and festivals throughout the year.
- Try your luck at the Ameristar Casino Hotel – The casino offers a variety of games, dining options, and entertainment.
- Visit the Squirrel Cage Jail Museum – The museum is housed in a unique rotary jail, which was in use from 1885 to 1969.
- Take a riverboat tour on the Missouri River – Several companies offer scenic tours of the river and its surroundings.
- Go shopping at the Mall of the Bluffs – The mall features over 50 stores, including major retailers and local boutiques.
- Attend a concert or event at Stir Cove – The outdoor venue hosts a variety of musical acts and events.
- Go camping at Lake Manawa State Park – The park features campsites, hiking trails, and a beach for swimming and water sports.
- Visit the Council Bluffs Farmers Market – The weekly market features local vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, and artisanal products.
- Take a tour of the Kanesville Tabernacle – The historic tabernacle was built by early Mormon settlers and played a significant role in their history.
- See a movie at the AMC Classic Council Bluffs 17 – The theater features comfortable seating and a wide selection of films.
- Visit the Western Trails Center Visitor’s Center – The center provides information on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Pioneer trails that passed through Council Bluffs.
- Go golfing at Dodge Riverside Golf Club – The club features a challenging 18-hole course and scenic views of the Missouri River.
- Take a brewery tour at 5168 Brewing – The brewery offers tours and tastings of their craft beers.
- Visit the RailsWest Railroad Museum – The museum features exhibits on the history of railroading in Council Bluffs and the Midwest.
- Attend the annual Celebrate CB festival – The festival features food, music, and activities for all ages.
- See a play at the Chanticleer Theater – The community theater offers a variety of productions throughout the year.
- Visit the Council Bluffs Public Library – The library features a wide selection of books, movies, and other media, as well as educational programs and events.
- Take a walk on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge – The bridge spans the Missouri River and offers stunning views of the city and the river valley.
- Go fishing at Lake Manawa – The lake is stocked with a variety of fish and offers opportunities for boating and water sports.
- Visit the Historic 100 Block – The block features several historic buildings and a variety of shops and restaurants.
- Attend a game at the Harrah’s Council Bluffs Sportsbook – The sportsbook offers a variety of betting options and screens for watching games.
- Visit the Historic Haymarket District – The district features several historic buildings, shops, and restaurants, and hosts events throughout the year.
- Explore the Western Iowa Wine Trail – The trail features several wineries and vineyards in the Council Bluffs area.
- Attend a performance at the Orpheum Theater – The historic theater hosts a variety of performances, including concerts, plays, and ballets.