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Iowa ist bekannt für seinen Maisanbau und ländliches Gebiet, Bild: Lucas Oglesbee / shutterstock

Art, culture, nature and dreams: this is the US state of Iowa

Located in the Midwest, the US state of Iowa might seem a little boring at first glance. But far from it. Although Iowa is rural and known outside its own state borders mainly for corn cultivation and sprawling fields and landscapes, Iowa nevertheless combines some interesting to curious sights on its grounds. For example, the largest bull statue in the world and the longest double-track railway line in the world can be found there.

In addition, there are some first-class art museums to visit in Iowa, such as the Des Moines Art Center. And nature lovers will not miss out in Iowa either. With the Missouri River and the Mississippi River, there are two rivers here that can be navigated by ships. In addition, there are a large number of lakes and hiking areas. In the two major cities of the state, in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, art and culture await visitors from all over the world.

Discover the federal capital of Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa
View of Des Moines, Image: f11photo / shutterstock

The Moines has about 215,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in Iowa. The city was named after the river of the same name that flows through it. Des Moines is internationally known above all for the Des Moines Art Center. This world-class art museum opened in 1948 and specializes primarily in paintings and sculptures. The works of American and European artists are primarily exhibited here. There are works by Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, Claude Monet, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko and Paul Gaugin to marvel at.

Architecturally impressive is the Iowa State Capitol, located in the city center, which is considered the most historic building in the entire state. It can be visited both from the inside and from the outside. Particularly popular with visitors is the somewhat enchanted-looking library of the Iowa State Capitol. Des Moines is surrounded by several parks where you can hike and enjoy nature. Recommended here are, for example, the Des Moines Water Works Park and the Walnut Woods State Park, where you can also camp. In winter, the slopes of the Sleep Hollow Sports Park are full of fans of skiing and snowboarding.

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The Effigy Mounds National Monument

If you are going to visit the state of Iowa, you should not miss the Effigy Mounds National Monuments on your way. This is a nature reserve that comes close to a national park in its structure and attractiveness. The Effigy Mounds National Monument is located directly on the Yellow River, on the border with the neighboring state of Wisconsin. The nature reserve is a popular destination that invites you to go camping, among other things. Bird lovers can meet a variety of different bird species here. For example, warblers, bald eagles or wood thrushes cavort here. The Effigy Mounds National Monument Information Centre provides interesting information about the Native Americans who once lived in the area. Furthermore, several well-signposted hiking trails crisscross the Effigy Mounds National Monument. These can be discovered on your own or walked as part of a guided themed hike. The local rangers offer, for example, so-called bird migration hikes, during which information is provided about the bird species that can be seen in the park.

Sports and film fans make a pilgrimage to the Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams, Dyersville
The Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Image: Steve Cukrov / shutterstock

There is hardly anyone who does not know the 1989 film success Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, which was filmed in Iowa. The film, which was nominated for three Oscars at the time, is one of the most famous and at the same time one of the most emotional sports films ever made in the USA . In the film, a baseball field was built in the middle of a cornfield, on which players who had returned from the past were soon cavorting, who had been victims of a sporting bribery scandal 68 years earlier. The filming location of this cinematic worldwide success is in Dyersville.

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Guided tours are offered here, which lead over the original baseball field of the film, the adjacent corn fields and through the farmhouse, which is very present in the film. If you arrive in September, you can also watch high-ranking athletes at work here. Because then a baseball tournament takes place on the Field of Dreams , where no longer active baseball stars once again grab baseball bats, baseballs and gloves.

Breathe in art and culture in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is the second largest city in Iowa with just under 140,000 inhabitants, and it has a lot to offer. And not only because a whole host of great actors were born here, of which Ashton Kutcher and Elijah Wood are only the two most popular. Cedar Rapids combines several art museums and galleries in its city area. You should definitely visit the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. The permanent collection includes more than 7,800 works from a wide variety of eras. From Roman antiquity to the present day, everything is represented here. In addition, there are temporary exhibitions that focus primarily on North American artists. The city’s Czech Village is buzzing with life. Bars, restaurants and small shops are lined up here. In the past, a large number of Czech and Slovak immigrants lived here. Some of their descendants still reside in Cedar Rapids. The Czech heritage of the district is still recognizable and tangible in many cases today. For example, in bars that exude European flair or in bakeries that offer Czech baked goods. In the evening, the Czech Village turns into a paradise for night owls who love bar concerts, stand-up comedy and theatre.