Blake Walsh

21 Best Things to Do in Decorah, IA

  • Published 2022/09/07

Decorah, Iowa, is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States for many reasons.

The small-town charm mixed with natural beauty makes it a perfect getaway for city dwellers to relax and enjoy some peace.

As one of the best cities in Iowa, Decorah offers plenty of things to do during any season, including music festivals, hiking trails, unique restaurants, and more.

You can spend time at the beach, exploring the many different beaches, or just take a hiking adventure to explore the wild landscape of the county.

There are over 100 different attractions scattered around both on and off the shore of Lake Ripley, making Decorah an exciting destination for nature lovers and those looking to relax.

Here are 21 best things to do that you might not want to miss while being here in Decorah, Iowa:

Wander Around the Dunnings Spring Park

View of Dunnings Spring Park

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Dunnings Spring Park in Decorah, Iowa, is an attraction in itself.

A beautiful natural park with over 300 acres of protected space is filled with lush trees, mountains, benches, and picnic places.

Bridge at Dunnings Spring Park

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If you enjoy hiking or taking long walks, this is a great park to visit.

The entire park is maintained on a private foundation, so you will not have to worry about being

bitten by wild animals.

View of Dunnings Spring Park

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If you like the sound of rolling waves accompanied by the cool breeze, you will enjoy a trip down the Rock River, where you can stay for the night.

All of these things make the Dunnings Spring Park an attraction in its own right.

You will be glad you did. And you may find you want to come back to this park year after year because it has so much to offer.

Visit Trout Run Trail

Trout Run Trail, located in southwest Iowa near the community of Novi, has been a popular site attraction for visitors for many years now.

Several other Iowa trout streams have found locations worthy of becoming Trout Run Trail attractions as well. But what makes this particular location so unique?

Your Trout Run Trail, Decorah, Iowa pictures are readily available on this website.

Your Fishing Trout, Run Trail photos are also a topic sought after and enjoyed by internet users these days.

You can take pleasure in the company of several native wildflowers, abundant wildlife, the sound of nature, and the location being favored by anglers from all over the world.

Explore Hutchinson Family Farms

Hutchinson Family Farms Decorah, Iowa, has so much to offer the visitors.

Its activities range from camping, hiking, horseback riding, arts & crafts to river boating, hunting, & fishing. Hutchinson Farm Park offers campsite and cabin rental options for a more affordable vacation.

The riverside is also home to several attractions, including the Hutchinson River Fest, an annual celebration of local culture. If you love visiting old-fashioned country homes and farms, you will love coming to Hutchinson Family Farms.

Fish at Decorah Fish Hatchery

View of Decorah Fish Hatchery

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Decorah Fish Hatchery is located near the town of Walk, Iowa.

This hatchery is one of the few in Iowa fully equipped to house all types of fish, including Bass, Sunfish, Largemouth Bass, and Hybrid Caught Fish.

The attraction itself is a three-story building with walkway access for your enjoyment.

There are several exhibits inside the attraction, and they also have a climbing wall for the kids to enjoy as well as concession stands for outside eats.

View of Decorah Fish Hatchery

Jeffrey S Taylor /

If you are looking for a great family day out, this is a great place to take the children.

There are plenty of activities for adults to participate in as well, so the entire family is guaranteed to find something to do here.

Make sure to stop by the Decorah Fish Hatchery for some great family fun!

Decorah Fish Hatchery during winter

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Read and Grab Books at Dragonfly Books

Dragonfly Books was a unique, niche-focused book store located in historic downtown Decorah, Iowa.

There are always many people in and around Decorah, Iowa browsing through the huge book selection, and many visitors stop by to take in the beautiful shops and antique shops.

The eclectic nature of Decorah, combined with the warm personality of its owner and staff, made it one of the most enjoyable bookstores I have ever been to.

The smell of the bookcase was also very comforting, and the price for a hardback book set, including the bound book and the dust jacket, was quite reasonable.

Have Fun in Decorah RiverTubes

The Decorah River Tubes have been a mainstay attraction in the small town of Decorah since the early nineteen twenties.

This place had been a location for many attractions that were part of the Wild West adventure for many years, and the place still holds the place for many boaters of today.

Many people visit the area for the Wild West Tubes and make it a place to relax and rejuvenate.

What has made this place special is the number of exciting places to go and things to see.

It’s a definite must-visit place on your trip to Iowa.

Get Lost in the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum

Signage of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum

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Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, located in Decorah, Iowa, has many different offerings to visitors of all ages.

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum is located in Decorah, Iowa.

The attraction draws people from all around the world because of its beautiful scenery, cultural heritage, and artistic value.

View of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum

Jonathunder, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visitors will enjoy the spectacular exhibits and extensive programs that highlight American Indian art, culture, history, cuisine, sports, and many other Native American arts and culture aspects.

Over one million visitors visit the attractions every year, including two summer gardens, nature trails, and the Wild West cowboy trail.

With its rich culture and tradition of peace, Vesterheim is a place of learning and enjoyment.

The Museum is housed in two historic buildings and is filled with exciting exhibits.

It’s a good place for a family vacation or even an enjoyable day out with friends.

Stroll Through Phelps Park

Phelps Park covered with snow

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Phelps Park Decorah, Iowa, is a quaint little attraction in south-western Iowa that offers some great attractions for visitors.

In the early 1990s, this small town made news nationally when the family of John D. MacArthur defeated presidential candidate William Alexander Hamilton on their third try.

Today visitors stop by this beautiful little park just a short drive from downtown.

Like many other parks and museums around the area, the main playground, picnic tables, and restrooms are kept well maintained with some nicely done landscaping and beautiful trees.

Walk Around Porter House Museum

The Porter House Museum in Decorah, Iowa, is an attraction that many visitors to that area enjoy.

The Museum has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and several other buildings and landmarks in the area.

After completing a significant renovation, the houses were listed after they met the standards set forth by the register.

This Museum is one of several that are located within walking distance of the historic Porter House.

Enjoy a Visit to Ice Cave Hill Park

Ice Cave Hill Park is located in downtown Decorah, Iowa, and remains considered 0to be one of the best places for outdoor sports in Iowa City, Iowa.

It is also a popular attraction for hunters who visit downtown.

View of Ice Cave Hill Park

Karen Noecker, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you plan to go there this summer season, we suggest you plan and make your reservation, as there is little room available for every four people who plan to visit.

The Ice Cave Hill Park is an excellent place for young children to play because there are several attractions to explore.

You can also have the place to yourself during winter to get to know the area where you are


Admire Historical Arts at Locust School Museum

Locust School Museum is a charming historical structure located just north of Decorah, Iowa.

Built in 1854, the dilapidated one-room schoolhouse comprises broken brick, gray ashlar stone, and topped with a gray gable roof.

The front doors are fashioned like castle gates and have intricate iron grilles.

The building’s interior is decorated with murals depicting various biblical scenes.

A belfry with ornate round Arch openings above the main front door adds to the attraction of the Museum.

Pay a Visit to Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah, Iowa, has opened its doors for another year.

This time, it will feature the all-new Do It Yourself Brewing System.

With many of the same recipes as last year and some new offerings as well, this should be a very

successful year for the brand.

There will also be plenty of guest talks, demos, and guest bartending throughout the year.

The new attraction will run for three nights each weekend in addition to both the regular four-night run.

Be sure to book your time in advance as this special event often sells out very quickly.

Visit the Evergreen Hills Tree Farm

Evergreen Hills Tree Farm is a unique attraction like few others in the area.

For more than 40 years, the owners have maintained a small greenhouse on the edge of the Evergreen National Grassland, a location that provides them the best possible growing conditions for trees and bushes.

The farm offers visitors a chance to see live cotton, apple trees, hollyhocks, black cherry berries, and many other varieties of beautiful flowering plants.

Located in Decorah, Iowa, the farm is open most of the year, but visits are encouraged from May through October.

Experience the Best in Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm

View of Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm

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The Seed Savers Exchange is a beautiful attraction for those who are looking for a place to visit.

Located in historic downtown Decorah, Iowa, the Seed Savers Exchange specializes in agriculture, history, education, and more.

Visitors can explore the many hands-on activities, including farm shows, tractor rides, and educational presentations.

You can also shop at the Gift Store, which features local gifts and food items.

View of Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm

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They want visitors to enjoy the uniqueness of the area while making some money doing so.

They have a great assortment of programs designed to be a good fit for children, teenagers,

adults, and senior citizens alike.

There are also programs for families that want to share the experiences of farming with others.

Picnic area at Seed Savers Exchange Heritage Farm

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Brew Some Beans at Pulpit Rock Brewing Company

When you are looking for a place to enjoy a cold one with friends or family, why not visit The Pulpit Rock Brewing Company?

This is located in Decorah, Iowa. You will find that it is a very quaint atmosphere as it is set in an old brick Church.

People come from all walks of life to visit and enjoy this lovely attraction.

If you are interested in touring the facility while you are there, then you can take a tour of the historic buildings while you are there.

But do not worry about the architecture; you will not be able to walk around any of it.

Feel Inspired at Agora Arts

Agora Arts, a gallery showcasing more than 30 local and regional artists, began operations in main street Decorah in 1992.

Owner Gail Bolson-Magnuson took great care in selecting each piece in the collection.

Gail realized the need for a venue for local artists to display and sell their artwork after experiencing work as an artist for a short time and participating in local and regional art-related events.

Many of the gallery’s artists have been exhibiting their work there for more than 25 years, and Gail works directly with most of them.

Agora Arts provides a high-quality, carefully picked, handcrafted assortment showcasing the finest American workmanship.

Just entering the gallery will make you realize what a unique feeling it is to be inspired by attractive items made by highly skilled artists.

Purchase Presents at Winneshiek Wildberry Winery

In Decorah, Iowa, a Winneshiek Wildberry Winery family-managed winery produces table wine made from Midwest grapes and top-notch fruits.

The winery is situated between Decorah, Iowa, and Mabel, Minnesota, on 150-year-old family property.

Enjoy the food and beverage selection, including cheese and cracker baskets, stews, pizzas, sandwiches, and more.

If you’re searching for the ideal wine presents, check out their gift shop for all your wine-related accessories, including glasses, apparel, and other goods.

Have a joyful, welcoming wine encounter amidst Northeast Iowa’s stunning, rolling hills.

Drink wine while watching the changing seasons from the terrace.

Book an Event at Silvercrest Golf Course

The Silvercrest Golf & Country Club offers a breathtaking view of the area and is situated on a picturesque mountainside outside the city borders of Decorah, Iowa.

A group of young men from the area decided to buy the Silvercrest Golf Course, situated near the highway and conveniently located just northwest of the city.

Bob Elderton, a golfing expert in Independence, first constructed the area into a golf course several years ago; it is a beautiful, active course.

The nine holes on the course include beautiful fairways and difficult greens, making it a great place for golfers of all ages to explore.

The Silvercrest Golf & Country Club clubhouse is available for booking various events, including weddings, graduations, birthday celebrations, class reunions, and more, with 200 people.

Sit Back and Relax at Hotel Winneshiek

The Hotel Winneshiek has set a bar for luxury since it opened its doors in 1905.

Upon approaching the three-story octagonal dome covered by stained-glass windows, visitors walked through large mahogany doorways between limestone pillars.

Its majestic architecture and exceptional amenities make it a remarkable setting with a long history.

While all of these features distinguish Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah, their gracious hospitality and a strong commitment to the neighborhood set them apart.

The Hotel Winneshiek is situated on the bustling main street, home to several local stores, eateries, galleries, parks, and distinctive sites such as the Vesterheim Museum.

The hotel furthermore provides some of the greatest destination wedding venues in the area, such as the historic Opera House, including its historic tin interior walls, lovely mezzanine area, and spectacular staging.

Spend Your Afternoons at Magpie Coffeehouse

At Magpie Coffeehouse, the service, food, and coffee are all of the highest quality, and the objective is to create a welcoming, pleasant atmosphere.

They provide a wide assortment of coffees, varying from drip coffee to a unique espresso.

Their baristas can make customers’ drinks to their specifications because they are experts in the craftsmanship of brewing espresso.

Their kitchen prepares homemade soups, freshly baked goods, salads, and sandwiches using only the freshest ingredients.

At Magpie Coffeehouse, they adhere to the motto “buy from locals, buy fresh produce” since they value the support of their neighborhood.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to vacations, no other place in Iowa performs better than Decorah, Iowa.

If you have not yet visited Decorah, there is plenty of information to help you get ready for your trip.

No matter what you enjoy most about your vacation, you will be sure to find something to do in Decorah, Iowa, that you will not forget.

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