9 Best Places and Things To Do in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Council Bluffs, Iowa offers a range of attractions and activities that cater to diverse interests. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Council Bluffs:

1. Union Pacific Railroad Museum

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Delve into Council Bluffs’ rich railroad history at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. Learn about the significance of the Transcontinental Railroad and admire historical artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays.

2. Lake Manawa State Park

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Spend a day outdoors at Lake Manawa State Park. Engage in water activities like boating, fishing, or swimming, or explore the park’s hiking and biking trails. The park also offers picnic areas and camping facilities.

3. Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum

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The Squirrel Cage Jail is a rare example of a rotary-style jail, one of only three known to exist in the United States. Built in 1885, it served as a functioning jail until 1969. Its innovative design allowed for more efficient prisoner management.

4. Western Historic Trails Center

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located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is a museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of the historic trails that passed through the region. Here’s what you can expect when visiting this informative and engaging attraction:

5. Bayliss Park

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The park is adorned with elegant fountains and water features that add to its charm and provide a soothing ambiance. The centerpiece of the park is the grand Col. F.M. Bayliss Fountain, an iconic landmark that dates back to 1890.

6. Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park

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Situated along the Missouri River, River’s Edge Park offers stunning views of the water and the Omaha skyline. Its prime location provides a picturesque backdrop for various activities and events. The park features a state-of-the-art amphitheater that can accommodate thousands of spectators. This outdoor venue is designed to host concerts, theatrical performances, and other entertainment events, providing a memorable experience for attendees.

7. Lake Manawa State Park

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The park centers around Lake Manawa, a 772-acre lake offering a variety of water-based activities. Visitors can go boating, kayaking, fishing, or swimming in the lake’s designated areas. The lake is known for its calm waters and scenic surroundings.

8. Big Lake Park

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The lake is stocked twice per year with rainbow trout. Trout stocking usually occurs in October and February. Big Lake Park amenities include a playground, walking trails, a fishing dock, a picnic shelter, and ample parking

9. Golden Spike Monument

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The Golden Spike Monument commemorates the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, which connected the eastern and western coasts of the United States. The railroad’s final spike was driven into the ground at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, signifying the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads.

Iowa offers a blend of history, outdoor recreation, cultural attractions, and entertainment options. Whether you’re interested in museums, parks, or the lively downtown scene, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Council Bluffs.