10+ Things To Do In Waterloo Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa, is a small but vibrant city in the northeastern part of the state. Home to approximately 66,000 residents,

Waterloo offers visitors and locals alike a plethora of fun and exciting things to do. Whether looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or historical exploration, Waterloo has something for everyone.

Things To Do In Waterloo Iowa

Waterloo is known for its vibrant music scene, outdoor activities, and rich history and culture. From world-class museums to stunning nature trails, you can find something for everyone in this charming city. And if you’re looking for a great place to eat or shop, plenty of options are available.

Grab your family and friends and get ready to explore the sights and sounds of this beloved Iowa community.

Visit the Riverwalk

When you visit Waterloo, Iowa, the first thing to do is to head out for a stroll on the Riverwalk Loop. This walking trail connects downtown Cedar Falls and Waterloo and skirts George Wyth State Park and Washington Park in Cedar Falls. It’s a great way to explore the historic riverfronts of both cities, with plenty of stops along the way for picnics, sightseeing, or just taking it all in.

The Riverwalk Trail System follows the Cedar River through downtown Waterloo and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. There are plenty of opportunities to explore nature; take a hike along the banks of the river or enjoy a stroll down one of the many paths surrounding it. Keep an eye out for wildlife along your journey – even bison have been spotted in this part of Iowa! And check out some great local restaurants and bars as you explore!

Explore the Grout Museum of History and Science

If you’re looking for some history and science exploration in Waterloo, the Grout Museum District is the place to be. It comprises four unique museums open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday. There’s something for everyone—from educational experiences like historical city tours to rotating exhibits featuring local artists.

Additionally, The Grout Museum has collected stories from Iowa veterans since 2003. This oral history project allows visitors to understand better the experiences of those who served our country.

Whether you want to learn more about Waterloo’s cultural roots or meet some of its colorful characters, be sure to add a visit to the Grout Museum District to your Iowa itinerary. You’ll find it at 503 South St in Waterloo!

Check Out the Arts and Culture Scene

Waterloo is a great place to experience the Midwest’s artistic and cultural side, with various activities to entertain you. Whether you’re looking for a gallery experience or something more interactive, Waterloo has something for you.

For the art enthusiast, the Grout Museum District has you covered. Just minutes from downtown Waterloo are six unique museums—ranging from a vintage car museum to a traditional art museum—so there’s something for every type of visitor. Plus, guided tours and educational programs are offered year-round at each museum.

The Waterloo Center for the Arts is another must-see spot in the area. This former hotel boasts an impressive 40 interactive exhibits highlighting Iowa’s local arts and culture—from virtual reality displays to artifacts from the city’s past and much more.

If you’re in Cedar Falls, take time out of your day to visit Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. This premier arts center in Northeast Iowa showcases programming worldwide, including plays and musicals throughout the year. No matter your artistic preference, there’s sure to be something here for everyone!

Indulge in Local Cuisine

Waterloo, Iowa, offers a wide variety of dining options for visitors and new residents. From local restaurants to fast-food chains, Waterloo will surely have something to satisfy every type of hunger. Waterloo has over 14 different dining categories, with 7 restaurant options within walking distance of the city center.

If you’re looking for a taste of local cuisine, you can’t go wrong with one of the many restaurants that call Waterloo home. One such organization offering a traditional breakfast is Highway 63 Diner, which specializes in classic dishes like pancakes, eggs, and sausage. No matter what you’re craving, something available in Waterloo is sure to tantalize your taste buds!

Take a Biking or Walking Tour of Waterloo

Waterloo is home to the Cedar Valley Trails, a network of trails winding through the area that was named Iowa’s Outstanding Tourism Attraction in 2019. A great way to explore Waterloo is by taking a bike or walking tour along the Riverwalk Loop. The Riverwalk Loop, consisting of new and existing recreational trails, will take you on a picturesque journey through downtown Waterloo.

If biking is more up your alley, Trek Bikes has your back. The company offers groups of 10 or more a chance to explore Trek’s Waterloo headquarters with their 90-minute guided tour here. You’ll learn about the company’s history and see how much modern engineering and technology goes into making every one of Trek’s bikes. You’ll also get an exclusive peek behind the scenes at their manufacturing process!

Spend Time at George Wyth State Park

When traveling or visiting Waterloo, Iowa, you must spend some time at George Wyth State Park. This park is named after J. George Wyth, a long-time supporter of conservation efforts in the area. The park offers a variety of recreational activities, such as fishing in two lakes, camping, and picnicking.

What’s more? This state park is abundant with wildlife. Over 200 species of birds have been observed in the park, including red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, and purple martins. The two lakes allow visitors to enjoy motor boating and non-motorized sports such as sailing and canoeing. There are also numerous trails for cyclists, hikers, and horseback riders to explore the area’s natural beauty.

George Wyth State Park is an ideal destination for families looking for outdoor activities and those interested in bird watching. Whether you spend a day or a week here, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

Attend Waterloo Bucks Games

If you’re looking for a fun activity to do in the summer, why not attend a Waterloo Bucks game? The Waterloo Bucks are a summer baseball team based in Iowa, and they have two Northwoods League Championships (1996, 2002). Games are played at the Riverfront Stadium, a great place to relax and see some great baseball.

There’s no shortage of excitement during a game as the crowd fills up with passionate team supporters. Whether you want to hang out and drink beer or participate in some of the promotions, attending a game is almost guaranteed to be an enjoyable experience. Plus, you can usually get tickets for as low as $5, so it won’t cost an arm and a leg!

Unwind at SingleSpeed Brewing Co.

When you need some rest, head over to SingleSpeed Brewing Co, one of the best breweries in Iowa. Located in a renovated facility, you’ll find a 20 BBL BrewHouse where you can enjoy some samples of their brews! Plus, they’ve got a traditional Beer Hall with cozy seating and a Beer Garden with plenty of space to hang out with friends.

SingleSpeed Brewing is conveniently located only minutes from the University of Northern Iowa campus. So if you’re looking for an enjoyable evening after a long day, this brewing company has just what you need!

Here’s what you can expect at SingleSpeed:

  • An impressive selection of craft beers prepared on site
  • Delicious bar appetizers like artisanal cheese boards and charcuterie plates
  • Special events like Open Mic Nights for local talent to showcase their skills
  • Seasonal specialties like pumpkin ales are served during the autumn months
  • A great location near the UNI campus, so you can enjoy it whenever the mood strikes.

No matter what your vibe is, SingleSpeed Brewing Co. has something for everyone!

Catch a Show at Young Arena

For a fun night out in Waterloo, check out the Young Arena! Located in the heart of town, it is the home of the Waterloo Black Hawks hockey and also hosts figure skating shows.

If you love hockey, then the odds are you will love this place. It has a 3000-seat Olympic-sized ice sheet, making it ideal for watching or competing. The Arena also offers additional space, such as a concession stand and seating area. Whether you’re looking to watch a game or practice your figures on the ice, Young Arena will surely have something that appeals to everyone.

Shop Local Boutiques and Thrift Stores

The Cedar Valley has plenty of shopping options for visitors and new residents. One of the most unique shopping experiences can be found in the local boutiques and thrift stores.

Bonita Things Quality Consignments

For starters, there are Bonita Things Quality Consignments. Founded in 1993, this locally owned consignment shop offers a wide variety of gently used items, including furniture, appliances, tools, home decor items, sporting goods, and more. Along with unbeatable prices and great customer service, this store is worth a visit.

8+ Options for Thrifting in Waterloo

If you’re looking for something vintage or second-hand, there are 8+ thrift stores and resale shops in Waterloo. Whether it’s the Goodwill Super Thrift Store or the New 2 You Kids Resale Boutique, there are plenty of options to find something unique that speaks to your style.

Play Mini Golf and Other Fun Outdoor Activities

Waterloo, Iowa, offers a variety of fun activities for visitors and residents alike. If you’re looking for family-friendly outdoor fun, there are two hot spots worth checking out: Palmer’s Family Fun and Lost Island Waterpark.

At Palmer’s Family Fun, you can enjoy a round of mini golf on either their 18-hole Safari Adventure course or 18-hole South Sea Adventure course. Plus, it offers many other attractions like go-karts, a jumping pillow, archery tag, and bumper boats.

Lost Island Waterpark, one of the best Iowa waterparks is another great place to visit in Waterloo. With over 17 water slides and rides, there’s something for all ages! The Indian Nations Activity Pool features interactive water features such as sprayers and squirt guns. And don’t forget Lost Island’s two challenging mini golf courses! This is the perfect way to spend a day with your family outdoors.


Waterloo, Iowa, has something for everyone, from outdoor exploration to the best places to eat. Whether you’re looking for a place to take your family or just looking to explore what the city offers, you won’t be disappointed. Waterloo is the perfect destination with a rich cultural history, various things to do, and places to explore. So come explore everything this city offers and make your adventure!