I am lucky to call Decorah, Iowa, my hometown. I spent a good deal of my childhood there and graduated from Decorah High School (go Vikings!). Growing up in Decorah, I knew it was a beautiful place. Now I live elsewhere, but every time I return, I see the town more as a visitor, and I am amazed at the good fortune I had to come from a place with so much to offer in terms of history, culture, and natural beauty. I’m excited to share this little slice of Iowa’s amazing Driftless Area and hope you’ll come along for the journey.

A handsome, historic town of just over 8,000, Decorah’s connection to its Norwegian heritage runs as deep as the Upper Iowa River valley, and it is a picturesque destination for a Small Town Getaway.

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Is Decorah Worth Visiting?

How To Get To Decorah

Getting Around Decorah

Best Time To Visit Decorah

Any time is a great time to visit, as there are always plenty of things to do in Decorah throughout the year. That said, I do have some preferences.

Where To Stay In Decorah

There are a few hotels in Decorah to choose from, as well as several available vacation rentals. These are my two favorite places to stay in town, and each has its own benefits.

Day 1 Itinerary

On your first day, you’re going to get a sense of the natural beauty that surrounds and defines Decorah – all of it located within the city limits, just a few minutes from the center of town. You’ll also get to eat and drink at some of our favorite spots in Decorah.

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Day 2 Itinerary

On your second day, we’re going to start off by sticking close to town. You’ll see all that historic and charming Decorah has to offer, and visit some spots that, for us Decorahans, are iconic.

After a pair of action-packed days in Decorah, I certainly hope you’ll see what’s so special about this town – and that you’ll come back soon (or even stay a little longer this time to spread things out a bit more). We’ll look forward to it. Takk for laget!

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More to Explore

Things To Do In Decorah, Iowa

Even apart from the itineraries I’ve discussed above, there are many things to do in Decorah, Iowa - at just about any time of the year. When it comes to all-around destinations in the Hawkeye State, I don’t think you can do much better than Decorah. Here are a few other things to do in and around Decorah that you may want to consider, along with some additional details on places that I may have already mentioned.

  • Spend a day shopping on Water Street. Water Street is the main commercial thoroughfare in Decorah, and it’s along this street and its side streets that you’ll find dozens of locally-owned businesses, ranging from boutiques to bookstores, bars to bistros. Anytime you visit Decorah, be sure to carve out part of a day to explore what’s been called one of the best main street shopping districts in the country.
  • Go spelunking in fascinating Ice Cave. Ice Cave has been a Decorah landmark for almost as long as Decorah has been a city. Sharing the same bluff as Dunning’s Spring, Ice Cave is a geological wonder that, during many years, stays cool enough that ice layers which build up in the winter can remain through August or, even year-round. Once a city park, Ice Cave is now a state preserve, and the road that used to permit vehicle access to the cave has been closed. Now, visitors park in designated areas nearby, and the preserve is open to hiking and snowshoeing, and it’s a popular mountain biking destination in an area renowned for its singletrack.
  • Enjoy a seasonal dining experience at La Rana. Although the space is small, La Rana is a big presence in Decorah’s culinary scene. The menus change with the seasons and use locally-sourced ingredients to create dishes that will delight your palate any time of the year.