We love living and working in Council Bluffs, a city with a true small-town feel. But that’s not to suggest it’s lacking in attractions. From exploring the city’s rich history to exploring the natural abundance and beauty of Southwestern Iowa and beyond, we’re certain you’ll find plenty of things to do in Council Bluffs. Here’s a list of a few of our favorites; if you have some of your own we’ve left out, please feel free to come by the dispensary anytime to let us know!
Top Things to do in Council Bluffs
Lewis and Clark Park, Monument and Scenic Overlook
Council Bluff—the city’s original name—got its start when the Lewis and Clark expedition met representatives of the indigenous Otoe tribe about 20 miles northwest of modern Council Bluffs on August 2, 1804. Nowadays, this sprawling green space features pristine hiking trails, an expansive westward view of the Missouri River valley, bike paths, and much more. We find it to be a lovely and peaceful way to while away some time and let your mind drift off to the quiet of the distant past.
Squirrel Cage Jail
No, it’s not a home for wayward rodents. Rather, this unique lockup, dating back to the late 19th-century, is one of only three remaining examples of a bygone penitentiary experiment. According to Wikipedia: “It was built as a rotary jail with pie-shaped cells on a turntable. To access individual cells, the jailer turned a crank to rotate the cylinder until the desired cell lined up with a fixed opening on each floor.” It’s a truly unique (and kind of darkly fascinating) idea of how to best house the criminal element. Do note that if you’re not already a member of the Historical and Preservation Society of Pottawattamie County, admission is $7 for adults.
Ditmars Orchard & Vineyard
Though it began life in the 1990s as a self-described “family project,” Ditmars has blossomed into a beloved family attraction, featuring a cafe serving up apple-centric treats, U-pick fruits, and live music events. Note: The Orchard is currently closed for the Winter season, but check the website for opening dates and times come Spring.
Union Pacific Railroad Museum
The railroad played a huge role in the history of Council Bluffs, and this impressive museum does its fascinating story justice. You’ll learn about the machines and the people who opened the region to commerce, travel, and development. There are plenty of kid-centric activities as well as guided tours, interactive exhibits and special events. Even if you’re not a fan of the “Iron Horse,” chances are you’ll leave this museum surprised by all the things to do in Council Bluffs.