These 11 Cities In Iowa Aren’t Big And Aren’t Too Small – They’re Just Right

When it comes to cities in Iowa, there’s definitely an allure to the excitement of a big city and small towns have their own simple, slow-paced charm. But there’s also something to be said for medium-sized cities. They’re just big enough to have a variety in terms of arts, entertainment, restaurants, and other interesting activities. But they’re still small enough to be laid back, manageable, and just generally livable. Here are 11 Iowa cities that aren’t too big and aren’t too small. They’re just right.



What do you think of these medium-sized cities in Iowa? What are some of your favorites? Tell us in the comments below!

Are you more of a small-town person? Read about these 10 slow-paced small towns in Iowa.

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Towns and Cities in Iowa

March 29, 2023

What are the oldest towns in Iowa?

There is plenty of history to the Hawkeye State and many of the cities in Iowa. Check out some of the oldest towns in Iowa:

Dubuque: This town was established back in 1833. It is the oldest city in the state, settled by Julien Dubuque. Visit his monument that overlooks the Mississippi River to learn more. You can also check out the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and a whole lot more.

Davenport: Dating back to 1839, this Scott County locale is an important river town located in the eastern part of the state. Some points of interest here include the 1832 Claim House, the Figge Art Museum, and the Skybridge.

Des Moines: The capital city of Iowa dates back to 1851. For history, you can check out the Big Creek Schoolhouse and the Jordan House. And be sure to visit the Des Moines Art Center.

Council Bluffs: Located in Pottawattamie County, this town was incorporated in 1853. While you can visit the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the RailsWest Railroad Museum here, a great way to take in its history is to visit the West Broadway Historic District, which has over a dozen historic houses.

What are the most charming small towns in Iowa?

If you want to take in some of the more relaxed Iowa cities, check out some of the most charming small towns in Iowa:

Decorah: This town in Winneshiek County celebrates its Norwegian past through museums like the National Norwegian-American Museum. You can also take in the gorgeous scenery at places like Dunning's Spring Park.

Elkader: Located in Clayton County, this is a great area for outdoor lovers, with the Keystone Bridge and the Motor Mill Historic Site to explore. And the Carter House Museum is also great for history buffs.

McGregor: With a prime location along the Mississippi River, this town in Clayton County has something for everyone. Explore Pike’s Peak State Park and all of its recreation or just head downtown to take in the businesses and 1800s architecture.

Which towns in Iowa have the best restaurants? 

Iowa is a great place to be if you’re hungry. Check out some of the best towns in Iowa with the best restaurants:

Winterset: Come for the John Wayne Birthplace Museum and the Winterset City Park and stay to eat at restaurants like the Little Dublin Irish Pub and Mi Pueblito.

Coralville: This town is full of fun things to do like the Antique Car Museum and the Center for Performing Arts as well as great restaurants. Try the Iowa River Power Restaurant and 30Hop Coralville.