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« Previous Edition   |   This Iowa Travel Edition Posted on 07/01/16

Visiting Central & Western Iowa

Summer and fall mean wealth of outdoor fun throughout the central and western regions of the state. From Des Moines-area communities like CliveAnkeny, and Altoona to the far-west towns of Cherokee and Council Bluffs, the Hawkeye State promises all kinds of family-friendly fun in the form of special events, sports, and more.

Creative types young and old gather at Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park on August 29th. That's when the 7th Annual Sidewalk Chalk Festival fills the concrete with color, while live entertainment, kids’ activities, and games add to the festivities.

Sunny days present an opportunity for visitors to the Des Moines area to get out and explore attractions like the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, home to over 1,200 species of plants, and the Blank Park Zoo, which encompasses over 250 acres near Des Moines International Airport. Schedule your zoo visit for September 24th to be a part of Zooktoberfest 2016 and enjoy live music, seasonal beers, and Bavarian-themed food amongst new animal friends.

To the northwest, Fort Dodge visitors can find a sense of the town’s rich history by visiting the Fort Dodge Museum & Frontier Village, open now through October 11th. Just a short distance up U.S. Route 169 in the Oak Hill Historic District, the Blanden Art Museum is another Fort Dodge treasure, boasting a vast collection of European and American art.

Travel north on Interstate 35 to reach the community of Clear Lake. The town’s sparkling namesake lends itself to an exciting range of waterborne fun, and the weather’s still right for boating, fishing, and more. While you’re in town, see a show at the iconic Surf Ballroom. Just off the shores of Clear Lake, the venue’s calendar promises an eclectic mix of performers this season – from Breaking Benjamin on September 30th to Sara Evans on December 5th.

Cherokee, in northwestern Iowa, invites families to celebrate Halloween at the 2016 Trick-Or-Treat Parade. On October 31st, kids come in costume, lining Main Street for the spooky spectacle, which embarks from Cherokee Fire Station at 12:30 p.m.

Situated on the shores of the Missouri River on Iowa’s western border, the Council Bluffs area is the perfect place to experience an all-American holiday season. Neighboring Omaha hosts over a month’s worth of special holiday events throughout downtown, in conjunction with the 2016 Holiday Lights Festival – all kicked off by the CenturyLink Thanksgiving Lighting Ceremony on November 27th.

Central & Western Iowa Hotel Map

Best Western Rewards

11 Best Western Hotels
in Central & Western Iowa

  • BEST WESTERN Plus Altoona Inn


  • BEST WESTERN Plus University Park Inn & Suites

  • BEST WESTERN Plus Omaha Airport Inn

    Carter Lake

    La Grande Hacienda


    Holiday Lodge

    Clear Lake

  • BEST WESTERN Plus Des Moines West Inn & Suites

    Crossroads of the Bluffs

    Council Bluffs

    Starlite Village

    Fort Dodge

    Pioneer Inn & Suites


    Regency Inn


    Williams Hotel


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Central & Western Iowa Events

August 2016

August 12 – November 3, 2016
Anna Gaskell/The Mirror Exhibit Visit Des Moines soon and check out an excellent art show. Head for the Des Moines Art Center and explore the Anna Gaskell/The Mirror Exhibit. The show runs from August 12th through November 3rd, though the DMAC is closed on Mondays.

September 2016

September 9, 2016
Jerry Seinfeld – Live!

Don’t miss your chance to see iconic comedian Jerry Seinfeld this summer in Des Moines. Head for the Des Moines Civic Center on September 9th starting at 7 p.m. – sit back, relax, and prepare to laugh as Seinfeld muses on the minutiae of life. Tickets available now ranging between $50 and $125.

November 2016

November 3, 2016
Iowa State Cyclones vs. Oklahoma Sooners Fall in the Iowa means many things, but don’t you forget about Iowa State Cyclones football. Head into Ames on November 3rd and visit Jack Trice Stadium, where the Cyclones will be hosting the Oklahoma Sooners in a Big 12 match-up. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
November 2, 2016
Sturgill Simpson – Live!

Arguably one of the premier voices in country music performing today, Sturgill Simpson brings show into Des Moines on November 2nd. With his unique blend of classic country vocals and modern blues, funk, and rock, this is a can’t-miss show in central Iowa.

December 2016

December 15 - 17, 2016
A Christmas Story – Live!

Plan a visit to Fort Dodge this holiday season and treat the family to an evening of laughs. Head for the Hawkeye Community Theatre from December 15th through 17th for a live performance of the classic “A Christmas Story.” Shows start at 7 p.m., and families are welcome.

December 1, 2016
Cherokee Lighted Christmas Parade

In western Iowa, visit the charming city of Cherokee this holiday season for a real treat. Head for downtown Cherokee on December 1st at sundown, and be dazzled by their annual Cherokee Lighted Christmas Parade, presented by the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce.

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