Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Sioux City, IA

  • Published 2022/12/02

Sioux City in Iowa is known for its location, as it acts as a border for three states: Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

It is a place filled with nature, parks, history, art, and entertainment, among others.

What’s more, the Missouri River runs through this city, making it a prime location for water-based recreational activities.

Here in Sioux City, you’ll see different products, such as Sioux Bee Honey and BING candy bar, as well as dozens of prominent celebrities, including Jim Aton, Bread of Stone, Macdonald Carey, Dan Goldie, Kian Lawley, Jerry Mathers, R. Timothy Ziemer, and so on.

But there’s so much you can find in this place, apart from the ones that are mentioned above.

Interested to know more about this stunning city?

Here are the 25 best things to do in Sioux City, Iowa:

Pay a Visit to the Woodbury County Courthouse

Front view of Woodbury County Courthouse

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sioux City houses one of the Midwest’s most beautiful but possibly underappreciated, Prairie School architectural marvels of the late 19th and early 20th century.

It became an official National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1996.

The Woodbury County Courthouse took into completion between 1916 and 1918.

Front view of Woodbury County Courthouse

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The structure takes up a whole city block in Sioux City.

An eight-story tower stands in the middle of the four-story building, which gives the Woodbury County Courthouse its distinctive appearance.

Exterior construction elements include buff brick, granite, and terra cotta.

You may see the Prairie School architectural features in the interior public rooms, including terra cotta.

Exterior of Woodbury County Courthouse

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Wildlife at Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center

Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center is located in a beautiful location, with indoor and outdoor spaces where you can get a closer look at the wildlife.

It also has indoor classes, an outdoor amphitheater, gardens, oaks, a long hiking trail, and a playground for kids.

Here, you’ll also see many live and stuffed animals.

You can also watch turkeys and many birds being fed.

Since it is suitable for people of all ages, this place is truly a must-visit.

Have a Fun Learning at Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is located near the Missouri River.

It is an interactive and animated exhibition of the expedition of Lewis and Carl, so you can do a lot of entertaining activities here while learning some history as well.

It is one of the most enjoyable ways to learn or teach kids about the country’s growth.

Apart from learning stuff, you can also roam around the center’s garden and picnic area.

Revisit History at the Sergeant Floyd River Museum

Exterior of Sergeant Floyd River Museum

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sergeant Floyd River Museum is one of the unique museums in the world.

It is on a ship that was transformed into a three-floor museum.

This museum exhibits various things from Lewis and Clark’s expedition that are all associated with the river.

There is also a little gift shop that has many unique souvenirs.

What’s good about this museum is that the admission is free.

Entrance of Sergeant Floyd River Museum

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Awaken the Artist in You at Sioux City Art Center

Sioux City Art Center is a modern glass-finished three-story building with nice stairs and elevators.

It has around 1,200 permanent paintings, as well as a wooden mural painting on the third floor, many sculptures, and open spaces outside.

Additionally, the center conducts classes.

The center is free of admission, so if you are an art enthusiast, this is the best place to go.

Pay a Visit to Floyds Bluff

Daytime view of Floyds Bluff

Joseph Sohm /

Floyds Bluff is the burial place of Floyds.

A hill in the south of Sioux City that overlooks the Missouri River is named Floyds Bluff, and it is of great historical importance now.

The view from the top of Floyd’s Bluff is one of its kind.

The serene and calm atmosphere makes this place suitable for a peaceful walk.

U.S flag facing Floyds Bluff

Joseph Sohm /

See the Century-Old Railway at Sioux City Railroad Museum

Sioux City Railroad Museum is in the place of a once-active train yard, which is now a museum.

This museum has surviving rail lines and repair shops.

You can go inside and look around the passenger car, caboose, dining car with a kitchen, and many different types of steam engines.

This helps the visitors imagine the life of those early rail workers.

It has a history of over 100 years, which is explained by the volunteers.

They also offer a short rail ride.

Experience the Serenity of Trinity Heights

Statue of Mary in Trinity Heights

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Surrounded by many trees, birds, and gardens, Trinity Heights is a huge church with a serene atmosphere.

It has a 30-f00t sculpture of the sacred heart of Jesus, Carmel Mary, The Last supper, and many other beautiful sculptures.

Moses and the ten commandments at Trinity Heights

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They also have a lot of space to walk around and benches to relax and meditate.

Additionally, the chapel also conducts mass in the morning, and it is always open.

Do not forget to visit its shop, as they have many different things you can add to your collection.

A person admiring a statue at Trinity Heights

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Tribal History at Chief War Eagle Monument

Chief War Eagle Monument has transformed from a hill to a cabin for a family to a burial spot and now to a place filled with history.

This spot is the place of one of the first white settlements.

War Eagle represented his tribe and worked with white Americans.

He is buried here, and this place is named after him.

You’ll also see a stylized steel Indian sculpting.

Additionally, it has a phenomenal view of the Sioux river merging with the Missouri River, making it one of the best places to stroll around on a sunny afternoon.

Go Hiking at Stone State Park

Lush greenery at Stone State Park

Ken Schulze /

Stone State Park, as the name suggests, is the state park of Iowa, located near the Sioux River and Dorothy Peacaut Nature Center.

It has a picnic area with grills and tables.

It is also an ideal place for hiking, trails, camping, picnic, and many more activities.

View of a river from Stone State Park

Ken Schulze /

You can spot deer, turkeys, red foxes, coyotes, owls, butterflies, and many other wild lives.

It predominantly has Oak trees, making you feel as if you are in a forest.

Make sure to keep your gadgets charged to record your adventurous trip.

Fishing at Bacon Creek Park

Bacon Creek Park has a lake and a vast space for biking, hiking, fishing, and walking.

The park is very spacious filled with many trees.

It has beautiful scenery, which will make you want to show off your photography skills.

With a picnic area and a playground, this is the best spot to hang out with kids, family, friends, and even to relax alone.

Ice Skating at Cone Park

Cone Park is open all year round and is ideal for a family outing.

They offer various activities, such as tubing, ice skating, a fire pit in winter, as well as splash pad and trail pool in summer.

Even older adults can enjoy their drinks and snack while their kids and grandkids are playing outdoor activities.

If you are down to have fun, this is the place to go.

Swimming at Riverside Park

Riverside Park is situated on the bank of River Sioux.

It is a huge park with different courts for various games.

It includes two volleyball courts, six tennis courts, a soccer field, and many more.

They also have a swimming pool, swimming pads for kids, and a children’s play area.

They also have many picnic spots with grills.

This is almost a mini amusement park where the entire family can have fun.

Explore the LaunchPAD Children’s Museum

LaunchPAD Children’s Museum is an indoor museum for children, which is the place to let them loose.

Here, your kids can practically learn many skills while playing.

This place is colorful and filled with activities, such as Block wall and build zone, flight zone, water zone, Market and Café, Agriculture, air tunnels, and Infant- Toddler area.

Though this place is buzzing with kids all the time, it is so clean.

If you have kids, this is a must-see.

Look Back to the City’s Past at Sioux City Public Museum

Exterior of the Sioux City Public Museum

dustin77a /

There’s a lot to see and do at the Public Museum, which lies in the city’s historic core.

In the beautiful “corn palace theatre,” guests may learn about the “Spirit of Sioux City” by seeing a colorful 12-minute orientation video.

“The Big Dig,” a recreation of a dig site to find fossils, is just one of the many interactive exhibits offered.

An assortment of temporary displays includes local history as shown through objects from our collection or private collections, together with dynamic permanent displays.

Visit the Museum Store for books, toys, and other mementos of your time in Sioux City.

Stroll around the Anderson Dance Pavilion

Anderson Dance Pavilion is open to visitors all year round.

The best time to visit this pavilion is summer.

During summer, this place is filled with vibrant colors and sweet-scented flowers.

They also conduct many private events like weddings, concerts, and parties.

Around the pavilion, there are wooden benches, circular walkways, grassed terrace, and many more.

It also has a view of the river and bridge.

Relax at Chris Larsen City Park

Chris Larsen City Park is a riverfront park with walking and biking trails.

It also has three play areas for kids, as well as the Flight 232 Memorial, a huge air crash where more than a hundred people died.

This memorial has the Spirit of Siouxland statue.

Sometimes, it may be flooded in winter, so the best time to visit this park is in summer.

Take Photographs at Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation

Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transport exhibits its collection of a wide range of vintage automobiles, including bicycles, fire engines, and even full-size aircraft.

It is one of the best places to learn about the evolution of the transport system as a whole.

They have a car show where many different vintage cars are displayed.

There is also a garden dedicated to the people who lost their lives in Flight 232 accident.

Don’t forget to snap pictures near these vintage vehicles.

Golfing at Crystal Cove Park

Crystal Cove Park is located in the south of Sioux City.

There is a lake here teeming with various fish, as well as biking and hiking trails.

There is also a pathway to go around the lake, and there are plenty of benches to rest.

Additionally, there is an 18-hole disc golf course.

It also has many species of birds and other wildlife.

Treat Your Sweet Tooth at Palmer Candy

Sioux is home to Palmer Candy.

Their products include twin bings, bark, pretzels, chocolates, and toffees.

You can also try their free samples before buying the products.

In addition, they have tons of old candy machines and information on how they were used.

Treat your sweet tooth and feel like being 12 again!

Have Fun at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Exterior of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Bboy100, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is where to go if you seek entertainment.

It has hundreds of slot machines and a lot of tables to play with.

It also has three restaurants, an outdoor pool, and over 50 rooms with a rock-an-roll theme.

You can grab a drink and watch a band performance.

Though the stay is quite expensive, it is really worth it if you are down for entertainment.

Explore Sioux’s Natural History at Betty Strong Encounter Center

As a part of the Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, the Betty Strong Encounter Center serves a long-term goal of “commemorating a history of contacts” that happened before and after the trip.

For free, visitors may see photographic and artistic exhibits and participate in a variety of educational and entertaining programs focused on the area’s geography as well as its people, rivers, and wildlife.

Mighty Mo fishing, agriculture, music and food, and native games are just some of the topics covered.

There are galleries, an activity studio, toilets, a theater, and places for outdoor activities and events in the Encounter Center’s 10,000 square feet.

The Stanley Evans Auditorium holds various events, including lectures, music and theater performances, films, and panel discussions.

You may also find the Missouri River in maps and photographs along “The River Connection,” an enclosed walkway.

Stroll Towards the First Bride’s Grave

South Ravine Park is tucked away in the woods, with a set of steps leading up into the trees.

The route ends with the grave of the First Bride.

The Woodbury County Pioneer Club erected a memorial to Rosalie Menard Leonais, the first bride, in 1938.

The Pioneers Club referred to her as the “first bride” since they believed that she was the first non-Native American bride in the region to become Sioux later on.

In 1865, just after the birth of their son William, Rosalie succumbed to her illness.

She was 27 at the time of her death.

The First Bride’s Grave in Sioux City is a great place to take a brief stop for lunch.

It’s a better option than a simple rest break to get some fresh air and stretch your legs.

This attraction is well worth checking out as a convenient side trip from Sargent Floyd’s Monument.

Watch a Performance Held at the Orpheum Theatre

Exterior of the Orpheum Theatre

Nagel Photography /

The Orpheum Theatre combines traditional elegance with contemporary luxury!

Sioux City Orpheum was built in 1927 as a component of the Orpheum Circuit and was created by the well-known Chicago architectural company Rapp & Rapp.

The theater offers the Siouxland community the chance to see performances by various fantastic talents.

Grand lobby of the Orpheum Theatre

Nagel Photography /

Additionally, the Orpheum Theatre, strategically situated in Downtown Sioux City, is the best venue for organizing your forthcoming event in a traditional style.

It offers a flexible room that creates a suitable atmosphere for you and your guests.

Wedding receptions, banquets, private parties, and business events can be held in the theatre’s elegant setting featuring an exquisite backdrop.

Interior of the Orpheum Theatre

Nagel Photography /

Expect a Unique Experience at Oscar Carl Vineyard

Since 1989, Roy & Melanie Olsen, residents of Sioux City and childhood sweethearts, have resided on a remote 15-acre parcel of land.

They finally chose to establish a vineyard between their home and the pond after years of deliberation and study on how to best utilize the mountainous area.

They developed a special structure to house the vineyard processes that comprise a wine tasting room, a unique location for various meetings, a terrace looking out over the early vineyard and pond, and an enclosed patio just steps from the grapevine to further enjoy the experience.

Viewing the sunset from 100-year-old window panes or the large patio that looks out over the vineyard and pond may be stunning.

A unique experience awaits you when you arrange your event at the Venue at Oscar Carl Vineyard, beneath the covered terrace and only steps from the vineyard.

Discover Something to Purchase at Southern Hills Mall

The best place to shop in Siouxland is Southern Hills Mall, situated in the Morningside section of Sioux City, Iowa.

Ideally, they serve western Iowa, southeastern South Dakota, and northeastern Nebraska tri-state regions.

Close to 100 stores are available in the mall, with JCPenney as an anchor and your beloved specialty shops, including Body Works and Victoria’s Secret.

Have a bite to eat in their Café Court and catch a movie at the AMC Theatres after a day of browsing and shopping.

Visit this climate-controlled indoor complex with enough parking and enjoy shopping at all the shops, dining at the restaurants, and watching movies.

Pair your Drinks with a Snack at Marto Brewing Company

Marto Brewing Company offers tasty appetizers, entrées, and sweets in addition to craft beer to relieve your thirst.

Traditional fashions are available at Marto with fresh, contemporary designs.

They sell enormous barrel-aged stouts, wild fermented sours, and misty IPAs.

In addition, they’ll add nearly anything to a beer if it produces a unique flavor, including fruit, coffee, coconut, peanut butter, and more.

To pair its beer with cuisine, Marto Brewing Company presents a menu of meals made, if feasible, with locally sourced ingredients.

Place an order for real Neapolitan-style pizza or anything else the skilled chefs can prepare in the wood-fired oven.

Entrees, salads, pizza, pasta, and even homemade pretzels made with brewery waste grains are on the menu.

Reap the Benefits when you Host an Event at Sioux City Convention Center

The Courtyard Sioux City Downtown / Convention Center hotel is directly linked to the Sioux City Convention Center, ideally situated in the middle of downtown.

The Sioux City Convention Center, which hosts over 200 events annually, provides a versatile event layout and simple traffic flow, making the facility perfect for events of all sizes.

Sophisticated and adaptable, the conference center’s floor space measures 40,000 square feet.

The site hosts various events, including weddings, birthday celebrations, anniversaries, business meetings, seminars, and trade fairs.

When you choose the Sioux City Convention Center to cater your event, you’ll get a few benefits, including access to skilled event organizers and delicious food.

Take advantage of the fact that they will help you with all aspects of planning, including choosing the right cuisine and setting up the audio-visual equipment.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Boating at McCook Lake

McCook Lake is a form of the Missouri River.

It is a U-shaped Lake, making it one of the natural oxbow lakes formed naturally.

It is a large and deep lake suitable for boating and fishing.

It has a wide range of fishes, including crappie, bass, catfish, pike, bluegill, walleye, and so on.

The lake is surrounded by many trees that give a picturesque view while boating and fishing.

Visitors can also walk around the lake and engage with nature.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot to see and do in Sioux City, Iowa, for those who enjoy history and culture.

It has a variety of activities, local eateries, 70-mile recreational trails, music and art festivals, live theater, concerts, and significant sporting events that will keep you entertained throughout the year.

Use this definitive guide on your next getaway, and you’re in for a treat!

See also: Best Restaurants in Sioux City, IA

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