Attractions

Investigate the footprints and stories of innovation and vision, wander scenic byways, and marvel at decades of public art in Council Bluffs.

August Beresheim House

621 3rd Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 322-2406
Website

Built in 1899, this house was built for banker and state legislator August Bresheim. The museum is part of the Dodge Museum Complex and includes exhibits including a glass collection and Beresheim family artifacts.

Bayliss Park & Veterans Plaza

1st Avenue & Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 328-4650
Website

This downtown green space is a hub for family activity. The park includes a fountain, performance space, veterans memorials, an interactive water feature with child-activated sprays, and other child-friendly, touchable art. The Veterans Plaza, dedicated on July 4, 2003, was sculpted by famed artist John Lajba. The wall lists those who died or are missing in action from the Civil War through Desert Freedom.

Blockhouse Site Marker

Pierce/Franklin and Union Streets
Council Bluffs, IA 51503

This commemorative marker stands in honor of the first building in Council Bluffs, constructed by U.S. Dragoons in 1837.

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park, 1 N. River Dr.
Council Bluffs, IA 51503

The 3,000 foot-long and 15 foot-wide bridge opened in September 28, 2008 and connects Council Bluffs to Omaha, Nebraska across the Missouri River. It serves as a way for walkers, runners, and bicyclists to access 150 miles of trails within the metro. The bridge provides impressive views of the Missouri River and downtown Omaha. Handicapped accessible

Bregant House

517 S. 4th St.
Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Known as the "Little People's House," the historic Bregant House was built in 1912 for former Vaudeville performers Jean and Inez Bregant to accommodate their height of 42" and 39" respectively. The house features a fireplace mantle that would be about waist high on an average-height adult, and a four-foot-long clawfoot bathtub. The light switches and thermostat were also placed lower to accommodate their height. Funds are being raised to restore the home. National Historic Register

Broadway Fountain

West Broadway & Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Intricate cast iron fountain was built in New York in 1890 and was once the centerpiece of Bayliss Park, the city's oldest park. 21st-century renovations have added a vintage clock tower, lamp posts and flower beds.

California Gold Rush Trail Historic Site

Pioneer Trail & Dumfries Avenue, 8 miles SE of Council Bluffs
Council Bluffs, IA 51503

This marker tells the story of 1849 Gold Rushers and Pioneers.

Children's Square U.S.A.

N. 6th Street & Avenue E
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
(712) 325-5820
Website

Since 1882, the Christian Home Association-Children's Square U.S.A. has been serving children and families of the communities. Guided tours are available by appointment.

Council Bluffs Public Library - Visitor Info. & Services

400 Willow Ave.
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 323-7553
Website

Mon-Thur: 9 AM - 9 PM Fri-Sat: 9 AM - 5 PM Sun: 1 PM - 5PM (Closed Holidays) The library offers visitor information in its brochure rack situated near the main entrance. Like several areas of town, it too provides free Wi-Fi. In addition, it is a hub of activity and resources, not to mention art. A wide range of programming occurs daily for all ages. In addition to a computer lab, it also has a Makerspace with hardware and software tools with which to create. Outside, an impressive brick mural portraying the city's beginnings and a sculpture titled "Imagination Takes Flight" greet patrons as they enter the building. There are also several noteworthy paintings and prints on the library walls. Handicapped accessible.

Fairview Cemetery

308 Lafayette Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 328-4650
Website

With burials dating to 1826, this cemetery includes Mormon pioneer graves, Kinsman War Memorial, and the resting site of Amelia Bloomer, the suffragette credited with promoting the wearing of "bloomers."

Frontier Heritage Library & Museum

622 S. 4th Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 325-9368
Website

The Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society owns and operates this library and museum, open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and by appointment.

Golden Spike Monument

S. 21st Street & 9th Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51501

This 56-foot golden concrete spike was erected in 1939 with the premiere of the film "Union Pacific."

Grand Encampment / Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds Marker

1600 S. Highway 275
Council Bluffs, IA 51501

The Grand Encampment was where the Mormons met after traveling across Iowa. Twelve days after they arrived at the Encampment, the U.S. Army was seeking volunteers. Five hundred men, known as the Mormon Battalion, began their trek to Southern California.

Grant Wood Murals

227 S. 6th St.
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 328-5644
Website

Mon-Fri: 8 AM to 4:30 PM Iowa artist Grant Wood, best known for his work "American Gothic," was commissioned in 1927 to create murals for the Corn Room and Pioneer Room of the new Hotel Chieftain in Council Bluffs. When the hotel was later sold, the murals were taken down in pieces. Beginning in 2000, the Bluffs Arts Council collected and restored pieces of the mural, now displayed in the lobby or the county courthouse.

Grant Wood Painting

Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Rd.
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 388-7140
Website

Mon-Fri: 8 AM to 4:30 PM An original Grant Wood painting, "The Early Days of Kanesville," hangs in the lobby of the Looft Hall Conference Center. Handicapped accessible.

Great Plains Wing Museum

16803 McCandless Road
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 322-2435
Website

Located in the Council Bluffs Airport and open Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the museum features three World War II airplanes (P-51D Mustang "Gunfighter II," a Stinson L5, and an Aeronca L3), plus 2,000 military artifacts.

Historic General Dodge House

605 3rd Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 322-2406
Website

This three-story, 14-room, lavish Victorian home was built in 1869 by General Grenville M. Dodge, a Civil War veteran, and the "greatest railroad builder of all time." The home is historically authentic. Open Tuesdays through Sundays; closed Mondays, January and holidays.

Historic Sidewalk Mosaics & Broadway Streetscape Tiles

Downtown Council Bluffs
Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Thirty-four mosaic tiles illustrate historical scenes from Council Bluffs' past, downtown on Pearl and Main streets between 1st Ave. and 9th Ave. More Council Bluffs history is shared on streetscape tiles that replicate postcards dating back to the 1800's, located on West Broadway between 1st St. and 2nd St. Handicapped accessible.

Historic Squirrel Cage Jail

226 Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 323-2509
Website

This 1885 three-story Victorian-Gothic styled brick structure is extremely unique as it is only one of three left existence. It served as the jail between 1865 and 1969. Hours vary by season; visit website for details.

Iowa West Public Art Sites

Locations throughout the city
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 212-9088
Website

Take a self-guided tour of twelve works of outdoor public art which are large-scale and accessible 24/7. These include Bayliss Park Wellspring & Oculus, Big Mo, Circus, Gateway, Haymarket Rabbits, Interstate, Molecule Man, Odyssey, Rays, Rhythm, and Sunrise. Each is interesting and provocative in its own way. Call for an audio tour featuring each artist talking about the inspiration behind their work. Guided and group tours available. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Handicapped accessible.

Joe's Indoor Karting

2121 S. 32nd Street
Council Bluffs, IA 5150
(712) 256-5278
Email · Website

Kanesville Tabernacle & Visitor Center

222 E. Broadway
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 322-0500
Website

This authentic replica was built and dedicated in 1996, near the site where Brigham Young was sustained president by the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1846. Free admission.

Kinsman Monument

308 Lafayette Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Website

This Civil War memorial was built to honor Col. William Kinsman, commanding officer of the 23rd Iowa Volunteer Infantry regiment and veterans of the Civil War.

Lewis & Clark Monument Scenic Overlook

29385 Monument Road
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 328-4650
Website

This site, north of Big Lake Park, was dedicated in 1936 honoring the 1804 expedition of Louis & Clark and their historic meeting with Otoe and Missouria tribesmen.

Lincoln Highway Scenic Byway

County Road L20 and Highway 6
Council Bluffs, IA
Website

America's first coast-to-coast highway passes through Council Bluffs. The highway cut time on a trip that had taken up to 90 days prior to 1913, to just 6 days in 1915.

Lincoln Monument

399 Lafayette Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Website

This impressive pylon was erected in July 1911 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln's visit to the site in 1859. From this site, Lincoln, along with Grenville M. Dodge, viewed and selected the location for the eastern terminus of the nation's first transcontinental railroad.

Loess Hills Scenic Byway

Council Bluffs, IA
(712) 482-3029
Website

Rated among the best in the nation, the 220 miles of paved highway span seven counties along the Missouri River and offer views of the steep, sharply ridged hills, which support a number of rare plants and animals only found in the Loess Hills.

Louis Grell Paintings

Pottawattamie County Courthouse, 227 S. 6th St.
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 328-5644
Website

Mon-Fri: 8 AM to 4:30 PM Exhibit celebrates the work of Louis Grell, acclaimed Council Bluffs-born muralist and portrait artist. Grell studied in Germany, France and Italy and later spent most of the his career in Chicago. The exhibit is a product of the Bluffs Arts Council and is on display in the lobby of the county courthouse. Handicapped accessible.

Public Art in Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs, IA

The City of Council Bluffs features several public art pieces including:

RailWest Railroad Museum

500 16th Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 323-5182
Website

This restored 1899 Rock Island Depot features railroad artifacts, railcars, and an operating HO gauge model railroad. Open Tuesdays through Sunday; closed January and holidays; call or visit website for details. Admission fee.

Ruth Ann Dodge Memorial

400 Willow Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Website

Locally known as the "Black Angel," this solid bronze structure was inspired by three visions experienced by the wife of General Grenville M. Dodge in the fall of 1916, before her death. Daniel Chester French, who created the seated statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Washington D.C. Lincoln Memorial, sculpted a likeness of this angel in Mrs. Dodge's vision.

Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
(712) 328-4650
Website

River's Edge Park is the City of Council Bluff's premeire community park that hosts concerts, movies, sporting events, annual community and family events.

Union Pacific Railroad Museum

200 Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 329-8307
Website

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is housed in the former 1903 Carnegie Library, a Beaux Arts-style building. Artifacts include photographs and documents that trace the development of the railroad and the American West. The immersive "Building America" exhibit features video-game technology; relive the height of passenger rail travel, and learn how Union Pacific and America's progress have been inextricably linked for 150 years.

Western Historic Trails Center

3434 Richard Downing Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
(712) 366-4900
Website

This center contains 200+ sculptures by Timothy Woodman to interpret Louis & Clark, Mormon Pioneer, California, and Oregon trails. Hiking and biking trails wind through 400 ares of prairie along the Missouri River.

Nearby Communities in Pottawattamie County

Arrowhead Park

29357 310th Street
Neola, IA 51559
(712) 485-2295
Website

This 147-acre park surrounds a 17-acre lake offering modern camping, cabin rentals, picnicking, equestrian facilities, snowmobiling, ice skating, playground, shelter rentals, overlook shelter, sand volleyball, and much more.

Botna Bend Park

42926 Mahogany Road
Hancock, IA 51536
(712) 741-5465
Website

Breezy Hills Vineyard & Winery

31735 Tamarack Road
Minden, IA 51553
(712) 485-2083
Website

Stop for a glass of one of their award-winning wines, while enjoying panoramic views of the Western Iowa countryside. Music events are held periodically throughout the summer.

Carstens 1880 Farmstead

32409 380th Street
Shelby, IA 51570
(712) 544-2341
Website

This 1880 farmstead is a living history exhibit of how farming practices have moved from hand labor to horse machinery to tractors giving visitors a look at the things that have formed our rural heritage. Their motto is "preserving and celebrating Iowa's farm history." Unique seasonal activities and demonstrations make the rural spirit come alive. On the National Register of Historic Places; tours by appointment.

Community Center - UMBA Hall

300 2nd Avenue
Underwood, IA 51576
(712) 566-2222
Website

This 9,600 square-foot hall is available for receptions, dancing, and meetings. Regular roller skating sessions are held Friday nights from October through April.

Dreamland Theatre

107 Broadway Street
Carson, IA 51525
(712) 484-2281
Website

The 166-seat, newly-restored Dreamland Theatre shows new-release movies every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at 7:30 p.m., with admission starting at $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for kids.

Eagles of Honor Project

Pottawattamie County, IA
(712) 485-2618
Email · Website

Since 2007, hand-crafted bronze eagles have been dedicated across Pottawattamie County as a symbol to thank all veterans and families. Displays include:

East Pottawattamie County Courthouse

203 N. Elm Street
Avoca, IA 51521
(712) 343-2477

Constructed in 1885, this secondary Pottawattamie County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been proclaimed to have "the most beautiful courtroom in the state." Featuring a 200-year-old bench and canopy from an old English castle, the courthouse is available for tours by appointment.

Farmall-Land USA Museum

2101 N. LaVista Heights Road
Avoca, IA 51521
(712) 343-6354
Website

This 26,000 square feet museum houses a collection of more than 150 IH full-size tractors, pedal tractors, toy tractors, artist prints and other IH memorabilia, in addition to a beautiful doll collection in the "Tractor Windows" lounge. Open April through October, Tuesdays through Sunday, and by appointment. Cost ranges from $3 to $8; visit website for more details.

Hitchcock Nature Center

27792 Ski Hill Loop
Honey Creek, IA 51542
(712) 545-3283
Website

Five miles north of Crescent, off the Old Lincoln Highway, the Hitchcock Nature Center consists of 1,268 acres within the Loess Hills. Park admission is $2.00 per vehicle per day, or a $10.00 annual permit is available.

Iowa's Antique City Welcome Center

607 Highland Street
Walnut, IA 51577
(712) 784-2100
Website

The city of Walnut features turn-of-the-century brick streets, antique globe lights, and hitching posts, plus over 15 antique shops open year-round.

Loess Hills Lodge Interpretive Facility

at the Hitchcock Nature Center
Council Bluffs, IA 51542
(712) 545-3283
Website

This unique exhibit gallery features a variety of hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. Children can visit Curiosity Cove to make animal prints, build their own habitat, read nature stories, and complete a scavenger hunt. See website for hours. Free with park admission fee.

Loess Hills Vineyard & Winery

1120 Old Lincoln Highway
Crescent, IA 51526
(712) 545-3054
Email · Website

Sample some of Iowa's finest wine while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Scenic Loess Hills of Western Iowa.

Loess Hills Woodworks

191 Old Lincoln Highway
Crescent, IA 51526
(712) 545-4455
Website

Features handcrafted furniture pieces and custom cabinetry using locally-grown hardwoods. Local art on display with demonstrations on third Saturdays, otherwise by appointment.

Monroe One-Room County Schoolhouse

610 Highland Street
Walnut, IA 51577
(712) 784-2100

1920s country schoolhouse; contact the Welcome Center for tour information.

Neola Phoenix Theater

307 Front Street
Neola, IA 51559
(712) 485-8051
Website

This newly-restored 1913 theatre was the first talking-picture showplace in Pottawattamie County. Ticket prices are just $2 for children 12 and under and $4 for adults.

Nishna Heritage Museum

117 N. Main Street
Oakland, IA 51560
(712) 482-6802

Take a trip back in time when life was simpler. This museum has has several displays, including collections of dolls, tools, clothing from the Victorian era, households items, etc. Don't miss the quilted map of Iowa created in 1900. Call for hours and/or appointments.

Octagon House

Graceland Cemetery
Avoca, IA 51521
(712) 343-2477

Located in Graceland Cemetery, this unusual octagon building was built around 1875 to house mourners during inclement weather. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Original Mormon Trail Settlement Site

Macedonia, IA

This 10,000-pound, red granite boulder commemorates Old Macedonia, where the Mormons approached the West Nishnabotna River crossing on June 12, 1846.

Penny's Vision Gallery

510 Front Street
Neola, IA 51559
(712) 485-2618

For over 30 years, artists Russ and Penny Christiensen have been creating bronze sculptures and paintings, including the various Eagles of Honor sculptures across Pottawattamie County.

Pioneer Trail Museum

316 Main Street
Macedonia, IA 51549
(712) 486-2568

Pottery by the Creek

13063 432nd Street
Carson, IA 51525
(712) 486-2324
Website

Nestled in a valley just outside of Carson, you'll find potter Paul Koch creating unique pieces of hand-thrown pottery and ceramic sculptures.

Prairie Crossing Vineyards & Winery

31506 Pioneer Trail
Treynor, IA 51575
(712) 487-3812
Email · Website

A family-operated vineyard and winery perched atop rolling hills. Panoramic views of the vineyard and countryside while enjoying some of the best wines in Iowa.

Rolling Hills Bank

300 Antique City Drive
Walnut, IA 51577

Built in 1880, this structure features Mission/Spanish Revival and Classical Revival styles of architecture.

SCOLA

21557 270th Street
McClelland, IA 51548
(712) 566-2022
Email · Website

SCOLA is a non-profit educational organization that receives and retransmits television programming from around the world in native languages. Tours of the facilities with an orientation to the SCOLA programming world are available by appointment.

Steeple Bird Collection

311 Main Street
Macedonia, IA 51549
(712) 486-2323
Website

A collection of more than 300 mounted birds including many rare species and some over 100 years old. Known as one of the finest in the state, Dr. Steeple, a self-made authority in the area of ornithology, has left a legacy to future generations to observe species rapidly become endangered and/or extinct. Tours by appointment.

Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum

504 N. Elm Street
Avoca, IA 51521
(712) 343-2477
Email · Website

Step back in time and see what life was like when Avoca was young. In addition to a variety of displays depicting historic events, more than 75 mounted heads from animals across the world are in the museum. Of special interest are the musk ox and arctic wolf. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day; call for specific hours.

The Painted Camel

320 Main Street
Macedonia, IA 51549
(712) 486-2323
Website

Fine art and craft gallery featuring regional artwork.

Thistle berry Cottage, LLC

17429 390th Street
Oakland, IA 51560
(712) 484-3696
Website

A comfortable, interesting, and affordable shopping experience for things you love.

Walnut Creek Historical Museum

304 Antique City Drive
Walnut, IA 51577
(712) 784-2100

Open weekends Memorial day through Labor Day, or by appointment, many of the items in this museum date to the 1870s and 1880s, when Walnut was a thriving prairie town of 1,000 people. The museum is housed in the former Masonic Lodge and includes kitchen and parlor room exhibits, furniture and clothing.

Walnut Mural Tour

Walnut, IA

Twenty-seven artists used their imagination and creativity to develop murals and signs, enhancing the ambiance of "Iowa's Antique City." While visiting, make it your project to find them all and find the letter on each one to spell "WALNUT." This can be a fun, family adventure!

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