Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Sioux City, IA

  • Published 2023/01/11

Sioux is a city located within the Woodbury and Plymouth counties in Iowa.

It is the fourth largest city in the state, with most of its land mass located in Woodbury County.

Its early settlers spoke the Sioux languages, while the first documented inhabitants were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Sioux City is now famous as the regional hub for business, retail, medical, and educational opportunities.

Many people live in this area due to its suburban feel and exciting establishments.

Sioux City is also dotted with museums, parks, and other recreational destinations, perfect for a day out with friends and family.

This city is worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for a place to relax and try new adventures.

You won’t even have to spend a dime to have a great time here.

Take a look at some free things to do in Sioux City, Iowa.

Feel the Serenity at Trinity Heights

Sunny day at Trinity Heights

Caleb Jones Photo /

Trinity Heights is an 18-acre serene destination on 33rd St.

It was founded in 1992 as a prayer center that aims to bring the community closer to God.

This place is filled with towering statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Peace.

Statue of Mary at Trinity Heights

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

This is also where you can find a life-size sculpture of the Last Supper.

Trinity Heights is the perfect place to relax and have a quiet time with nature and God.

Feel free to explore Trinity Heights’ pathways and shrines and savor the moment of peace and tranquility.

Statue of Moses at Trinity Heights

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

Explore the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is located on Larsen Park Rd.

This interactive and animated center measures 20,000 square feet.

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is home to some exciting permanent exhibits that tackle the expedition’s journey from July to September 1804.

Your kids will be fascinated with its Keelboat Theater, realistic animatronic characters of Thomas Jefferson, Sergeant Charles Floyd, Captains Lewis and Clark, and more.

This attraction is also connected to the Betty Strong Encounter Center, where you can find a collection of photos and art displays.

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center also offers programs and activities to educate you and your family about the region’s rivers, lands, and people.

Check Out the Sioux City Art Center

Sioux City Art Center is located on Nebraska St.

It was a Works Progress Administration project which started in 1937.

Sioux City Art Center’s goal is to bring visual arts as close to the community.

It features contemporary artists’ exhibitions, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, pottery, and more.

These also vary from one person, group, and both local and regional juried exhibitions.

You shouldn’t miss out on Sioux City Art Center’s display of Grant Wood’s Corn Room Mural on the third floor.

Learn History at Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center

Front view of Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center is a historic museum boat on Larsen Park Rd.

It was named after Sergeant Charles Floyd of Kentucky, a Lewis and Clark expedition member.

Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center feature various exhibitions about the history of transportation on the Missouri River and the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Exterior of Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here, you can also find the Restored 3rd Deck, where you can see the powered vessel, engines, and deck of the Motor Vessel in its original appearance.

This section within Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center will let you experience what it’s like to become a ship captain!

Entrance door of Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn to Protect the Environment at Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center

Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center is an outdoor nature area on Sioux River Rd.

It is surrounded by 1,000 acres of loess hills, prairies, and woodlands.

This family-friendly destination will teach you how to protect and appreciate the environment more.

Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center offers exhibits to educate you about plant and animal life.

You’ll also explore these plants’ and animals’ natural habitats through the center’s three-mile trail.

The Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center has 14,000 square feet of classrooms, offices, and exhibits: Loess Hills natural history exhibits, native reptiles, fish exhibits, and a bird viewing area.

It also has an outdoor amphitheater, butterfly and wildflower gardens, and meeting rooms available for rent.

Admire the War Eagle Monument

War Eagle Monument is a historic landmark on War Eagle Dr.

It is commonly known as the Wambdi Okicize.

War Eagle Monument commemorated Wambdi Okicize, who once worked as a riverboat guide on the upper Mississippi.

He also served as a government messenger during the War of 1812.

He also received a silver medal from the President of the United States, Martin Van Buren, in 1837.

Today, Wambdi Okicize is remembered through a steel statue of him wearing an eagle feather bonnet and ceremonial pipe.

These ornaments in War Eagle Monument symbolize his leadership and commitment to peace.

Spend the Day at Sioux City Public Museum

Exterior of Sioux City Public Museum

dustin77a /

Sioux City Public Museum is a historical and cultural museum on 4th St.

This is a highly recommended destination that your family can visit and enjoy.

It is ADA-accessible and is suited for all ages.

Sioux City Public Museum is home to large and colorful exhibits, interactive displays, and much more.

At the museum entrance, you’ll be welcomed with a modern glass facade, vertical marquee, and orange terra cotta.

Before entering the exhibit rooms, you’ll also need to watch an orientation video in Sioux City Public Museum’s 48-seater theater.

Some of the things you’ll see here are collections of Native American artifacts, with some that date back to 1100 A.D.

Your little ones can also have a chance to interact with others in Sioux City Public Museum’ Native American lodge houses.

Go Fishing at Bacon Creek Park

Bacon Creek Park is located on Correctionville Rd.

This 239-acre park is centered around the captivating Bacon Creek Lake.

It features trails, play areas, and a dog park.

Bacon Creek Park also boasts relaxing and luscious woodland and wetlands.

It also boasts several trails that connect to a large loop circling Bacon Creek Lake.

These trails are stroller-friendly and ADA-accessible, so everyone in the family can enjoy this peaceful attraction.

Bacon Creek Park has a playground with slides, swings, and other fun play equipment.

After hours of exploring and playing, you can use Bacon Creek Park’s picnic tables to grab a bite and relax.

Bacon Creek Park stands out from others because you can catch several fish in its lake.

Kayaking and canoeing are also allowed.

Take a Closer Look at the Sergeant Floyd Monument

Silhouette of the Sergeant Floyd Monument

Wirestock Creators /

Sergeant Floyd Monument is situated on South Lewis Blvd.

Sergeant Floyd Monument was built to commemorate Sergeant Charles Floyd, Jr., who died on August 20, 1804, and was buried at the same site.

He was the sole member of the Corps of Discovery who died on the journey.

Daytime view of the Sergeant Floyd Monument

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

His reported cause of death was peritonitis caused by a rupture in his appendix.

Sergeant Floyd Monument is built on a 23-acre Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail.

This 100-foot obelisk of Kettle River sandstone is now one of the city’s most important landmarks.

Look for the First Bride’s Grave

First Bride’s Grave is nestled in South Ravine Park.

You’ll quickly locate this landmark at the end of this park.

The First Bride’s Grave was built in 1938 by the Woodbury County Pioneer Club close to the grave of Rosalie Menard Leonais.

Its name was inspired by Leonais, believed to be the city’s first-ever bride of a non-Native American.

First Bride’s Grave monument contains Leonais’s date of birth and death.

Commune with Nature at Stone State Park

A river at Stone State Park

Ken Schulze /

Stone State Park is a 1,069-acre natural oasis on Talbot Rd.

It is beautifully situated adjacent to the Big Sioux River.

Stone State Park is an urban wildlife sanctuary perfect for hiking, biking, walking, sightseeing, and nature photography.

You can wander in its 15-mile trail, but cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are also perfect during winter.

Landscape of Stone State Park

Ken Schulze /

Stone State Park is also known for its camping cabins on its campgrounds.

You can use these cabins’ heating and air conditioning units.

If you want to feel closer to nature, you can set up your tent in Stone State Park’s campgrounds, equipped with a common restroom, shower, and electric outlets.

Just keep in mind the campgrounds are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Take a Photo of the Spirit of Siouxland Statue

The Spirit of Siouxland Statue is built on Larsen Park Rd.

Spirit of Siouxland Statue is a statue of a rescuer carrying a boy.

This statue is a memorial commemoration of the people of Sioux City and its nearby communities who rescued the 1989 Flight 232 crash victims.

DC-10 attempted to perform an emergency landing at the Sioux Gateway Airport but unfortunately crashed, leaving casualties and 185 survivors.

Spirit of Siouxland Statue is also called the “Flight 232 Memorial”.

This statue is made of large rough-hewn stones nicely situated at the center of a path that will lead you to a plaza.

Each stone in this status has a brass plaque engraved with a quote of locals who rescued the victims of the plane crash.

Stroll around the Fourth Street Historic District

Buildings along Fourth Street Historic District

dustin77a /

Fourth Street Historic District is a historic location in the city of Sioux.

This is the right place to spend the day strolling around the city while catching up with friends and family.

Fourth Street Historic District is dotted with fifteen late-nineteenth-century commercial buildings between Virginia and Iowa Streets.

These structures date back from 1889 to approximately 1915.

The road of Fourth Street Historic District

Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also bring your camera while exploring Fourth Street Historic District and practice your street photography skills.

This historic district stands out from others due to its establishments inspired by Romanesque Revival architecture.

It also has plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars.

Step inside the Palmer’s Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe Museum

Palmer’s Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe is on Wesley Pkwy.

You’ll enjoy this place, especially if you have a sweet tooth.

This attraction will also teach you about the exciting history of the Palmer Candy Company.

Also, don’t miss Palmer’s Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe’s small museum, where you can find old and vintage candy-making equipment, old photos, and other items.

Admire the Woodbury County Courthouse

Exterior of the Woodbury County Courthouse

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Woodbury County Courthouse is located on Douglas St.

It is “one of the finest Prairie School buildings in the United States.”

This must-see attraction is also known as a National Historic Landmark due to its impeccable architecture.

Entrance door of the Woodbury County Courthouse

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

William LaBarthe Steele designed the courthouse building from 1918 to 1918.

You’ll easily recognize Woodbury County Courthouse’s four-story structure through its Roman brick facade with granite and terra cotta trim elements.

You’ll also marvel at its 157-foot eight-story tower decorated with Alfonso Iannelli sculptures over its doors.

Top part of the Woodbury County Courthouse

Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

From parks, museums, historic landmarks, and more, the city of Sioux City have you covered.

You can visit this place alone or with loved ones for an unforgettable bonding experience.

Use this guide of free things to do for your next adventure in Sioux City, Iowa!

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