The town of Winterset, Iowa and its iconic covered bridges were made famous by the film “Bridges of Madison County.” Numerous visitors come every year to explore the six famous bridges by car, bike, boat, and foot, as well as to experience the quaint historic town square and the peaceful parks. Along with the scenery, Winterset also offers quality retail stores, theater, and local wineries. The town is home to the Iowa Quilt Museum as well and is the birthplace of John Wayne, American film icon. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.John Wayne Birthplace & Museum
© John Wayne Birthplace & Museum
The John Wayne Birthplace Museum is located adjacent to John Wayne’s birthplace home. Since 1982, the year that the John Wayne Birthplace Society was founded, over one million people have traveled to Iowa’s historic Madison County to see the birthplace of this famous film icon, including film legend Maureen O’Hara, President Ronald Reagan, and John Wayne fans from all fifty states and forty countries. The John Wayne Birthplace and Museum features the largest diversified display of John Wayne artifacts in the world, which includes artwork, letters, contracts, scripts, film wardrobe, original movie posters, and a customized automobile.
205 S John Wayne Dr, Winterset, IA 50273, Phone: 877-462-1044
2.Iowa Quilt Museum
© Iowa Quilt Museum
A popular place to explore for quilting enthusiasts, the Iowa Quilt Museum is situated on the southern side of historic Winterset’s town square. Occupying a unique storefront, the quilt museum showcases a number of changing exhibits throughout the year highlighting both new and vintage American quilts. The mission of the Iowa Quilt Museum is to promote an appreciation of the art of quilting and the American quilt through a number of exhibits providing information about the history of quilting, as well as many beautiful quilts. The historic building is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
68 E Court Ave, Winterset, IA 50273, Phone: 515-462-5988
The Cedar Bridge is one of Madison County’s world-famous covered bridges, situated within the Cedar Bridge County Park around three miles outside of Winterset, Iowa. The area consists of grassy expanses for a picturesque setting, as well as two gathering areas. The Jerry Schwartfeger Memorial Courtyard picnic area is on the southern side of the Cedar Bridge, while the Gazebo is on the northern side. There are also restrooms to the southwest of the bridge near the parking area. The current “Cedar Bridge” is actually the third Cedar Bridge of Madison County, with the previous two bridges destroyed by arsonists.
1874 Nature Ct, Winterset, IA 50273, Phone: 515-462-1185
© Winterset Cidery
The first of its kind anywhere in the state of Iowa, the Winterset Cidery is housed within a post-and-beam structure next to an apple orchard boasting more than thirty varieties of dessert, cider, and heirloom apple trees. The cidery provides a spacious tasting room for guests to sample some of their delicious products within an informal and comfortable setting. Visitors can also take in beautiful views of the countryside and the apple orchard from the large outdoor deck. Nestled within Madison County’s rolling hills, the Winterset Cidery offers an idyllic place to escape from busy Des Moines.
1638 US-169, Winterset, IA 50273, Phone: 515-493-9756
5.Covered Bridges Winery
© Covered Bridges Winery
Another one of Winterset’s local wineries within the rural rolling hills of Madison County, the Covered Bridges Winery is a family-owned and operated winery that gets its name from the many local iconic covered bridges. Wine enthusiasts can stop by the Covered Bridges Winery for wine tastings of handcrafted, award-winning wines made with 100-percent Iowa grown grapes and get-togethers with friends during the weekends. In addition to wine samples, bottle purchases, and wines by the glass, the winery also offers Music at the Winery concerts, yoga classes, cooking classes, and many other classes and special events.
2207 170th Trail, Winterset, IA 50273, Phone: 515-729-9463
© Iowa Theatre
The historic Iowa Theatre is in the town of Winterset, Iowa is a non-profit, multi-use performance space and movie theater, established as a place for both visitors and locals alike to gather and be entertained. New movies are shown at the Iowa Theatre Thursday to Sunday, while classic movies are shown to the public on Wednesday evenings. Unless noted otherwise, the doors of the movie theater open approximately thirty minutes before showtimes. A number of special events are also held at the Iowa Theatre throughout the year. For what’s showing at the local Winterset theater, it’s best to check their website.
121 John Wayne Dr, Winterset, IA 50273, Phone: 515-462-2979
6 Best Things to Do in Winterset, IA