11 summer Iowa day trips to try
Roll down the windows and watch the cornfields sway on your way out of the city to visit these 11 Iowa attractions tailored to your tastes — all within day-trip distance of the Des Moines metro.
In Search of Wine, Whiskey and Local Brews
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? free
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Tour the facility's production area, barrel warehouse and bottling line, before capping it off with a sample of the famous Iowa rye whiskey in the tasting room.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: A shot of the classic, wooden whiskey barrels.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Satisfy your whiskey craving at The Still.
Cedar Ridge Vineyards
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Free
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Stroll through Cedar Ridge's distillery and vineyards on a free tour complete with wine and whiskey tastings. Afterward, grab a bottle and head out to the patio to enjoy a view of the vineyard.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: The European-esque vineyard on the hill.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Looking to make a night of it? Try Shooters on Second.
Peace Tree Brewing
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Free; $5 cover on live music nights
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Enjoy Peace Tree's cult favorite blonde fatale in the intimate taproom or outdoor beer garden. Tours are offered on demand, and live music from a variety of Iowa bands energizes the space several times a month — check its calendar to plan your visit.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: Your freshly-poured-with-just-the-right-amount-of-foam beer.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Ready for something less hoppy? Head over to Dingus Lounge for a cocktail.
Where you can dance in a cornfield or on a riverfront:
WHERE: Lone Tree, July 16-18
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $66 (one day) $90 (two days) $105 (three days)
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Dance in the cornfields to the festival's energetic and funky founding band Eufórquestra and other headliners: Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, the Wood Brothers, Jeff Austin Band, Split Lip Rayfield and The Big Wu.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: You and your friends adorned in your perfectly cliché festival attire; flower crowns, anyone?
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? The Cedar Ridge Whiskey and Sangria bar at the festival.
River Roots Live
WHERE: Davenport, Aug. 28-29
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $10 (day pass) or $15 (weekend pass)
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Satisfy your friends' varied musical tastes with an eclectic line-up that includes Hellogoodbye, Kacey Musgraves, Luke Bell Orgone, and The Suffers among others in Davenport's LeClaire Park. Hungry festivalgoers are in for a treat as the event coincides with Rib Fest, a veritable barbecue feast.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: The riverfront stage — graced with your favorite headliner — at sunset.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Pick up a local craft beer from Great River Brewery at the event.
Road trip for this restaurant
WHERE: Iowa City
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Entrees average $15
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Take a Saturday road trip to this Iowa City spot for a fresh take on classic Midwestern diner dishes made with local ingredients. We recommend their roasted marrow bones with fresh herbs and flaky, crusted bread.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: If there ever was a time to Instagram your plate, this is it.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Stay right where you are for a Moscow mule.
In search of adventure:
Sky Tours Zipline
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Regular weekend rate is $72
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Fly down nine distinct zip lines that crisscross the gorgeous and historic Union Park. A guide directs you on hikes between the zip lines, giving you views of the park from both the ground and the trees.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: Bring your selfies to the next level —50 feet in the air.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Stop in at Monks Kaffee Pub for a caffeine-kick before zip lining and come back later when you'll need a real drink.
Elkader Whitewater Park
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Canoe, kayak and tube rentals run from $35-$55
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Choose your preferred water-based activity from kayaking to boogie boarding, canoeing and tubing. The park's several natural waves, such as the featured gobbler wave, foster a great area for challenging yourself or developing new skills.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: A shot of your kayak breaking through the rapids *not accountable for sunken phones.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Enjoy some atypical diner fare and a beer at Schera's Algerian-American Restaurant.
Nurture your creative side:
First Friday Art Walk
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Free.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? If you didn't get your fill at the Des Moines Art Festival then check out downtown Fairfield on the first Friday of every month, where you can tour a multitude of local art galleries, sample a variety of foods and catch some live music and performances.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: Fake your own artistic talent with a predesigned filter over your favorite artwork.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Pull a stool up to the wooden bar at The Burning Oak.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Varies according to event, though often free.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? The Arthaus nurtures the visual, performing and literary arts, hosting events throughout the year, such as the upcoming summer art fair and annual homebrew contest as well as a variety of musicians.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: The handcrafted print you scored at the art fair.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Keep up your refined style with a martini at Rubaiyat.
WHERE: Arnolds Park
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $26.95 (day pass)
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Try to stay upright while you traipse through the tipsy house, people watch on the bustling boardwalk and ride the legendary roller coaster, the 13th oldest wooden roller coaster in the world.
MUST-INSTAGRAM MOMENT: The "point of no return" sign before the first drop, as you question your judgment for riding the 13th-oldest wooden roller coaster in the world.
WHERE CAN I SCORE A COCKTAIL? Sip by the lake at The Ritz or The Gardens.