Why This One Little Town Is Iowa’s Best Kept Secret
Nestled away in the heart of Northeast Iowa, in the middle of the scenic Upper Iowa River Valley, is one of Iowa’s true hidden gems – the city of Decorah.
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Decorah, population 8,127, is a cultural hub known for its strong Norwegian heritage, as well as its charming and quaint Main Street shops and abundance of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages, during all seasons.
Whether you’re looking to spend a day or a decade in Decorah, there will always be something to do. If you’re a fan of festivals, you can’t miss Nordic Fest.
Every year for the last 50 years, Decorah has held their own Nordic celebration called Nordic Fest.
The festival features delicious Norwegian food, traditional crafts, a cultural parade, lively entertainment, sporting events, a fireworks display and more. This year's festival will be held from July 28-30.
If you’re someone who enjoys the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place as well. When in Decorah, it's a must to spend a day canoeing down the scenic Upper Iowa River.
Or fishing on the Trout Run Trail at Siewers Spring.
Discover one of Decorah's beautiful waterfalls, such as Dunnings Spring Falls, shown above. Don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy as you relax by the waterside.
Or you could explore the Decorah Ice Cave State Preserve and climb through one of the largest glacières in the Midwestern United States.
Another spot to visit is the Decorah Community Prairie and Butterfly Garden.
This prairie along the Upper Iowa River spans 34 acres and offers paths shared by hikers, bikers, runners, skiers and snowshoers. The Butterfly Garden features specimens of plants found in the prairie.
Don't forget to check out one of the many parks in town. Phelps Park, shown above, is a great spot to spend a sunny day soaking up some Vitamin D.
Take a tour of the Seed Savers Heritage Farm and Garden.
Take a walk through the Heritage Orchard, which features over 900 varieties of apple trees, wander through the display gardens, or visit the livestock out in the yard.
If you're a fan of culture, history or museums - don't miss out on the Vesterheim.
The Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah is a premiere museum for anything Norwegian American. They were recently named one of the "15 Best Small Town Museums in the U.S."
Grab a bite to eat at one of Decorah's many delicious eateries.
One must-visit spot is Rubaiyat Restaurant, which is a unique, upscale restaurant that offers unbeatable food and plenty of local craft beer on tap.
Sip some local wine at the Winneshiek Wildberry Winery.
And if you plan to stay overnight, the Hotel Winneshiek is a beautiful and historic option that offers fabulous rooms and a close proximity to all the downtown fun.
Not to mention Decorah has been rated as one of the safest cities, as well as one of the best cities to raise a family in. What more could you ask for in a town?
We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty sure this might be one of the best towns in the entire state, if not the country…