Iowa , a state in the Midwest of the United States of America, was admitted to the Union in 1846 as the 29th state. The people are very friendly, enjoy good food, and enjoy being in the political hotbed every four years when the Caucuses roll through the state. The state is quite rural, with plenty of fields of corn and soybeans and hog farms, although some cities, such as Des Moines, have a strong metropolitan feel.
- Northwest - Siouxland
- North Central
- Central - Greater Des Moines area
- South Central
- Ames - home of Iowa State University
- Cedar Rapids
- Council Bluffs - "Iowa's Leading Edge"
- Des Moines - state capital and considered to be the "insurance capital of the US" and third in the world
- Iowa City - home of University of Iowa
- Quad Cities
- Sioux City - home of Morningside University
- Amana Colonies
- Effigy Mounds National Monument
- Antique Car Museum of Iowa - Coralville/Iowa City
- Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail - Between May 1804 and September 1806, 32 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery
You should find Midwestern English quite easy to understand.
Most people enter (and leave) Iowa via Interstate 80 on their way towards points east or west of the state. I-80 will get you where you're going, but you won't see much. In fact, that highway has done more to perpetuate the myth that Iowa is "flat" than just about anything else. If you want to see the true face of the state, get off the interstate, ignore the fast-food signs, and find one of the small towns that make the Midwest so charming. State maps are available free of charge at state 'Welcome Centers' and rest areas. State maps list points of interest such as "Cedar Rock" (a rare Usonain example of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture) as well as scenic routes, often found on county roads.
Most people get around Iowa by car. Certain, more rural parts of Iowa - like much of the Midwest - are laid out on a grid pattern. Drive on any of the state's outer highways, and you will quickly come to realize that there is an intersection at every mile. This makes figuring out where you are and getting from there to where you need to be a relatively simple undertaking.
Travellers unaccustomed to ice and snow may have trouble driving in Iowa winters - plan ahead if you need to travel during the colder parts of the year.
- RAGBRAI  (the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). Cycling enthusiasts from across the nation descend on the state for this road bike event. Riders start in a different town each year. They take seven days to cross the state, dipping their wheels in the Missouri River on one side and the Mississippi River on the other.
Iowans still consider themselves the "breadbasket of the world," and their cuisine reflects this. Get ready for pork chops, corn-on-the-cob, casseroles, and more just-plain-good Midwestern cooking than you can possibly eat in a lifetime. Most rural towns have a fast-food restaurant or two if you absolutely have to have McDonald's, but the best places to eat are often found by chatting with the locals. Note that there are many fast food places in more urban parts of the state.
Towns with strong ethnic identities sometimes have restaurants devoted to a particular country's cuisine. Iowa has a substantial Latino population, and there are many family-run Mexican restaurants which generally have quite good food.
Iowa City is known for its wide variety of ethnic cuisine and finer dining.
Before Prohibition, Iowa had a healthy wine industry, which is growing once again. There are vineyards scattered throughout the state, each producing their own wines.
Bustling college towns of Cedar Falls, Ames and Iowa City provide the most avid nightlife in the state. Scores of young adults pack local bars and clubs Thursday through Saturday nights.
The rural parts of Iowa are quite safe, to such an extent that many people don't bother to lock their car doors. This is not a good plan in more metropolitan areas, however. You will find that most Iowans are friendly, warm, and happy to help you if you have trouble.
Iowa does have many tornadoes, though rarely severe. Check the Tornado safety page if you are visiting Iowa.
Iowa has been a historically progressive state. It is an unusually political state, owing in large part to its unusually large role in the presidential nomination process. While Iowans tend to welcome political discussion more than most, their usual friendliness does not allow for much hostile or particularly contentious debate. Feel free to ask Iowans about the caucuses, and don't hesitate to offer your own opinion about political matters, but be respectful.
- Nebraska - Iowa's western neighbor has a rich agricultural heritage, offering visitors a glimpse into America's heartland.
- South Dakota - Home to such natural and cultural wonders as Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park and Mount Rushmore, Iowa's neighbor to the northwest offers a surprising amount for travelers to see and do.
- Minnesota - Known for cold winters and its ten thousand lakes, Iowa's northern neighbor is an ideal destination for wilderness enthusiasts.
- Wisconsin - The Cheese State borders Iowa to the northeast.
- Illinois - America's crossroads and home of Chicago, Illinois lies across Iowa's eastern border.
- Missouri - The state's southern neighbor is home to St. Louis, the Gateway to the West.
This page was last edited at 03:26, on 28 February 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Ryan Holliday, D. Guillaume, M. Hogue and Bill Johnson, Wikitravel user(s) (Bala Cynwydd), Episteme, Ypsilon, Morph, Texugo and Tygartl1, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.