Iowa is probably most famous for growing corn; however, this largely rural state in the upper Midwest also offers some quaint little cities. Additionally, Iowa is home to North America’s most extensive and fascinating collection of effigy mounds. Effigy Mounds National Monument is home to gigantic mounds made thousands of years ago in the shapes of eagles, falcons, bison, deer, turtles, lizards and bears.
Des Moines is the capital of Iowa and also it is the largest in the city, nestled at the junction of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers. Here, a major sight is the Des Moines Art Centre. The centre of Science and Industry, and the Iowa Museum of Agriculture is of interest too.
The second largest city in the state is Cedar Rapids. Attractions here include the charming 1884 Masonic Library, an art museum with an extensive collection by the artist Grant Wood, and the National Czech and Slovak Museum.
The historic city of Davenport was the site of the signing of the 1832 treaty ending the Black Hawk War. Here, you’ll also find Credit Island Park, a far western battle site in the War of 1812 between the British and Americans for control of the American Old Northwest. Iowa City is a thriving cultural centre with a university town atmosphere, complete with trendy local coffee shops and bars. Perhaps a bit bizarre, one of the largest gathering of ‘Trekkies’ takes place in June at the tiny town of Riverside, which is the official ‘future birthplace’ of Captain James T Kirk of the USS Enterprise.
The state’s largest airport is Des Moines International Airport. Many passengers coming to Iowa from overseas will be routed through Minneapolis, Chicago or St Louis. Additionally, there are regional airports at Cedar Rapids and Fort Dodge. By rail, Des Moines is on Amtrak’s Chicago-San Francisco route.