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Iowa: Shopping and Food Paradise in the Midwest
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Iowa: Shopping and Food Paradise in the Midwest

The US has a mind-boggling variety of tourist attractions that can keep you enthralled and amazed. The Midwest in particular has for long been known for its unique culture, cuisine, scenic biking trails and plentiful lakes.

If a one-of-a kind shopping experience is what you are after, then Iowa is the place to be during these holidays!

If malls and high-street shopping is your thing then the fact that Iowa boasts of 81 malls and almost all well-known designer stores should make you happy. But if you are looking for a more local-flavored shopping experience, Iowa has plenty of specialty boutiques, small-town shops, artisan chocolate shops, antique emporiums, wineries, quirky gift shops and book stores oozing old-world charm.

So if you have a few days on hand where exactly can you have some fun shopping to your heart’s content?


Decorah has more Norwegian flavors than Norway itself and has an intoxicating combination of small-town charm and modern-day amenities. The Nordic Fest celebrated in July attracts tourists by the thousands.

The quaint and historic homes are a must-see and so is the Vesterheim Museum.

Decorah’s Water Street has galleries and home décor shops offering exclusive goods. Pewter, linen and sweaters are must-buy if you visit the lovely bluff country. Art galleries sell traditional hand-crafted items and works of local artists.

The super-charged cultural heritage of Decorah has been attracting artists and musicians for centuries, who come to settle in the scenic town.

Decorah offers tempting and satisfying dining options. Restaurants offer everything from sandwiches, chops, ribs, steaks and ravioli to local beer, farm-fresh traditional food and Persian delicacies.

Des Moines

Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa and is teeming with the best shopping spots and dining options that Iowa has to offer.

The city’s downtown boasts of many boutiques, specialty shops and home decor shops. The outskirts of the busy city are home to huge department stores and franchises.

East Village is an urban neighborhood that is the center of commerce, shopping and fine dining in Iowa. This historic village has more than 80 shops, restaurants and bars where you can spend your time. Des Moines is where you should head to ‘shop cool’ in Iowa.

Village Boutique offers affordable women’s clothing and home furnishings.

Uglytree sells unique furniture items and are hand-crafted from thin gauge metals, reclaimed materials and even bones! Artisan’s Jewelry Designs specializes in exclusive jewelry and customized designs.

The Brass Armadillo Antique Mall should also feature in your itinerary if you plan to take home beautiful pieces of antique furniture, handicrafts or jewelry.  

Now that you have shopped till you literally dropped, would you not love to indulge yourself in some yummy food? Zombie Burger+ Drink Lab, CENTRO Restaurant and 801 Chophouse are some convenient places to drop in.

Cedar Falls

Main Street in Cedar Falls has been certified a cultural district by the state of Iowa and is home to a wide array of specialty shops and boutiques, high-end designer stores and local artisan shops, as well as quaint antique shops.

You also get to shop at the many quilting and knitting specialty stores, country gift shops and pottery shops.

College Square Mall is another shopper’s paradise which houses many top brands in the country including Von Maur, Aeropostale and American Eagle Outfitters. It also has a packed events calendar and amazing dining options.

That’s not all there is to enjoy in Cedar Falls. The Ice House Museum and the endless recreational trails will keep you busy all through your stay in this historical downtown district.

You will also find shops that stock on unique and one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry from local artists. There are many local stores offering antiques, home furnishings and gift items as well.

The Brown Bottle and Montage are popular eateries in Cedar Falls. Cup of Joe espresso bar is the place to head to for a refreshing cup of coffee. 

Amana Colonies

Amana Colonies are a group of seven villages spanning a total area of 26,000 acres. The colony was established in the late 19th century and was a self-supporting community that pledged to living a life of true faith and goodness.

But its history can be traced back to the year 1714 and to the sylvan villages of Germany during that time. Fearing religious persecution, followers of a religious movement called Pietism, traveled all the way to America to find a new and safe home, and eventually after decades, found the perfect one in Iowa.

Today, the Amana Colonies are a National Historic Landmark and is a place where a community way of life is cherished, hospitality comes as second nature and you get to experience the local and traditional culture of the region.

Shopping in Amana Colonies is a truly unique experience where you do not encounter any chain stores or mass-produced items.

Hand-made traditional crafts are the specialty of the region and so are their homely meals made with locally-sourced produce. Dining at the restaurants here will give you a taste of the best local products and spices.

AJ’s Copper Garden and the Amana Arts Guild will please the ardent shopper in you. Amana General Store and Amazing Grace Antiques and Gifts will also confuse you with the endless choices they offer.

Hand-crafted brews, traditional recipes handed down for generations and award-winning local wines are all on offer at Amana’s restaurants.

Colony Inn Restaurant, Heritage Wine, Cheese and Jelly Haus, and Henry’s Village Market are all great places to savor the traditional fare in Amana and take home some of the best regional specialties.


Traveling in Iowa is a truly rewarding experience. Plan a vacation to the Midwest this holiday season and go back home with a treasure trove of amazing experiences.


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