The town of Waterloo, Iowa features a vibrant and fun downtown district full of locally-owned and operated restaurants, award-winning museums, shops, and even a riverside amphitheatre. In addition to downtown, Waterloo also boasts several other things to do for visitors and locals of all ages, such as exploring the Cedar Valley Nature Trail or George Wyth State Park, catching a game at the Riverfront Stadium, shopping at the Crossroads Mall, or grabbing a slice of pizza at the Mama Nicks Circle Pizzeria. The town also hosts several events throughout the year.

1. Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum

Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum
© Grout Museum District

The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum in Waterloo, Iowa was established to honor the sacrifice and service of all veterans from Iowa, dating back to the Civil War up through to present day. Visitors can learn about their stories through the electronic Wall of Honor, interactive activities, and traditional exhibits. The museum includes more than thirty-five interactive exhibits that share the stories of veterans, as well as more than 1,500 interviews with veterans collected through the Voices of Iowa Oral History Project.

503 South St, Waterloo, IA 50701, Phone: 319-234-6357

2. Cedar Valley Nature Trail

Cedar Valley Nature Trail
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Spanning across sixty-seven miles, the Cedar Valley Nature Trail connects Ely to Evansdale, running through a number of small towns along the way. From the town of Evansdale to the McFarlane Park, the surface of the trail is asphalt, however, from McFarlane Park to Center Point, the surface is made of compacted limestone. The trail also connects the metro area of Linn County to the town of Waterloo, traveling through farmland, forest, and wetlands. While the limestone section of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail can be easily used to travel by a bicycle with narrow tires, watch for muddy conditions.

Waterloo, IA

3. George Wyth State Park

George Wyth State Park
© Al/

The George Wyth Memorial State Park is situated near Cedar Falls and Waterloo in Iowa, a large woodland expanse abundant with outdoor activities and a wide variety of wildlife. Established as a National Urban Wildlife Sanctuary, over two hundred species of birds have been spotted within the state park. Visitors may also spot white-tailed deer throughout the year. In addition to wildlife viewing, George Wyth State Park offers several recreation activities, including more than five miles of multi-use trail for walking, in-line skating, and biking, along with six miles of hiking trails. During the winter, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are popular activities as well.

3659 Wyth Rd, Waterloo, IA 50703, Phone: 319-232-5505

4. Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens
© Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

The Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens encompasses approximately forty acres of beautiful grounds for visitors of all ages to explore, which include the Master Gardener’s Orchard, the Stout Daylily Collection, Iowa Native Prairie, the four-acre Butterfly Garden, the award-winning Children’s Garden, and much more. The Master Gardener’s Orchard consists of four different types of fruit trees, and the Cedar Valley Arboretum also features more than fifteen formal gardens. More Iowa weekend getaways

1927 E Orange Rd, Waterloo, IA 50701, Phone: 319-226-4966

5. Crossroads Mall

Crossroads Mall
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The Crossroads Mall in Waterloo, Iowa is conveniently situated near the intersection of US 20 and Interstate 380, about one mile from the Isle of Capri Hotel and Casino and the Lost Island Waterpark. In addition to being surrounded by several quality hotels and restaurants, just outside of Crossroads Mall is the Crossroads 12 Theatre. Popular shops located within the mall include Bath & Body Works among several others. Other shops surrounding the Crossroads Mall include Bed, Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble, Super Target, Best Buy, Hobby Lobby, DIck’s Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx, and Super Walmart. More places to visit in Iowa

2060 Crossroads Blvd, Waterloo, IA 50702

6. Riverfront Stadium

Riverfront Stadium
© Daniel Thornberg/

Built originally in 1946 as the Municipal Stadium, the Riverfront Stadium in the town of Waterloo is used primarily for the sport of baseball, acting as the home field for the local Waterloo Bucks baseball team, which plays as part of the Northwoods League, a summer collegiate baseball league. The Riverfront Stadium is able to host a maximum of five thousand people for attending games. The stadium has also served as the home of the Waterloo Hawks, a minor league baseball team and was the site of the Midwest League All-Star Game in July of 1978.

850 Park Rd, Waterloo, IA 50703, Phone: 319-232-5633

7. Mama Nick’s Circle Pizzeria

Mama Nick’s Circle Pizzeria
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Serving the local Cedar Valley community for over fifty years, Mama Nick’s Circle Pizzeria has long held a time-honored tradition of offering quality pizza, sandwiches, and pasta. The restaurant uses only high quality ingredients piled on top of their made-to-order pizzas, such as fresh ground sausage and beef mixed with family spices, freshly chopped vegetables and sliced meats, real mozzarella cheese, and the pizzeria’s secret seasoning. Other menu options included hand-breaded pork tenderloins, sandwiches on fresh baked French bread, and fresh-cut French fries. There is also an all-you-can-eat buffet available for lunch with a wide variety of food.

1934 Washington St, Waterloo, IA 50702, Phone: 319-233-3323

8. John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum

John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum
© John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum

The whole family will enjoy a visit to the John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, where interactive exhibits bring history to life. Located on the Tech Works Campus in downtown Waterloo, the John Deere Museum is home to countless priceless historic farming exhibits and artifacts which all ages can enjoy. Although many of the exhibits are vintage, you can also see some modern farming equipment to learn how the industry has developed over the decades since the first John Deere tractor was produced back in 1837. You can prepare for your visit by downloading the John Deere Interactive Mobile guide. Visits to the museum are free for all ages. More Iowa parks

500 Westfield Ave, Waterloo, IA 50701, 319 292 6126

9. Lost Island Water Park and Adventure Golf

Lost Island Water Park and Adventure Golf
© Mariakray/

Offering seasonal fun for all ages, the Lost Island Water Park and Adventure Golf venue will provide hours of fun for the whole family. The Water Park is open from early June to Labor Day and will transport you to a faraway tropical island, complete with swaying palm trees and relaxing island music. There are 11 major water rides and slides to explore as well as a special area for younger children. After your have enjoyed all the rides you can have a go at racing the Go Karts or enjoying a fun game of mini-golf at Adventure Golf, which boasts 2 18-hole mini-golf courses.

2225 E. Shaulis Road, Waterloo, IA 50701, 319 455 6700

10. Phelps Youth Pavilion

Phelps Youth Pavilion
© Phelps Youth Pavilion

Forming part of the Waterloo Center for the Arts, the Phelps Youth Pavilion is a wonderful children’s museum designed to provide stimulating and educational fun for children of all ages. The pavilion is packed with more than 40 hands-on interactive exhibits which will fascinate children as well as educate them about art and culture. Just a few of the experiences include milking a life-size cow, driving a tractor, finger painting and playing musical instruments. After touring the exhibits children under 12 can enjoy 3 wonderful levels of active play in the Playscape – remember to bring socks to use in Playscape.

225 Commercial Street, Waterloo, IA 50701, 319 291 4490

11. The Waterloo Center for the Arts

The Waterloo Center for the Arts
© The Waterloo Center for the Arts

The Waterloo Center for the Arts is a must-visit attraction for families and art enthusiasts. The center is located alongside the Cedar River in downtown Waterloo where it provides an invaluable resource for all art lovers. The centre hosts regular themed art exhibitions besides showcasing their permanent collection of all genres of art including Mexican Folk Art and Haitian Art. In addition, everyone over the age of 3 years is welcome to join their stimulating courses on a wide range of artistic crafting including jewelry making, pottery, drawing, digital art and much more. The center also has a selection of spaces which can be hired for private parties or events.

225 Commercial Street, Waterloo, IA 50701, 319 291 4490

12. Isle of Capri Casino

Isle of Capri Casino
© Isle of Capri Casino

Regardless of what kind of gaming you enjoy, you are bound to have hours of fun at the Isle of Capri Casino in Waterloo. The casino boasts more than 800 slots machines and 20 tables as well as a sports book, where you can bet on your favorite sporting events. Thrilling table games include roulette, craps, blackjack and baccarat. There is also E-Roulette and a video poker bar. When you need a break from the slots or tables you can enjoy a meal at Hidden Pizza, the Brew Brothers or the Simply Yummy Baking Company. The casino also has a brilliant games arcade.

777 Isle of Capri Blvd, Waterloo, IA 50701, 877 475 3946

13. Dan Gable Wrestling Museum

Dan Gable Wrestling Museum
© Parilov/

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma but it also operates the Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, which is mainly dedicated to local Waterloo hero Dan Gable. The museum offers visitors an interesting and educational glimpse of the world of wrestling, both amateur and professional. Dan Gable was born in Waterloo in 1948 and is often considered to be the greatest amateur wrestler in the history of American wrestling. He went on to compete in the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 where he won a gold medal. He later became famous as a wrestling coach. You can learn all about his brilliant career at the museum.

303 Jefferson St, Waterloo, IA 50701, 319 233 0745

14. Rensselaer Russell House Museum

Rensselaer Russell House Museum
© Meaw_stocker./

You can take a nostalgic walk down memory lane when you visit the Rensselaer Russell House Museum in the Grout Museum District of Waterloo. The historic old house is considered to be one of the best surviving mansion houses in the city and is certainly the best example of Victorian Italianate architecture. The house is one of the oldest in Black Hawk County and was home to three generations of the Russell family. Today it operates as a museum which visitors can tour by appointment. The elegant home is filled with period pieces and original furniture. Your guided tour will be both informative and fun.

520 W. 3rd Street, Waterloo, IA 50701, 319 234 6357

15. Palmer’s Family Fun

Palmer’s Family Fun
© standret/

Seasonally open from March to October each year, Palmer’s Family Fun has something for every member of the family. This is the ideal attraction to combine fun and healthy exercise as you make your way around the various activities. The fun starts with 36 holes of mini-golf spread over 2 18-hole manicured courses. Golfing enthusiasts can hone their skills on the driving range which offers 30 stations. Young athletes can also improve their game skills in the batting cages, while children can have hours of fun on the huge bouncing pillow. There are also Go-Karts, Laser Tag and Archery Tag.

1666 West Airline Hwy, Waterloo, IA 50701, 319 232 9384

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