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Dig Deeper in Waterloo

Explore our vibrant downtown district featuring award-winning museums, locally-owned restaurants, and an impressive riverside amphitheatre. Tour the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum, visit the Isle Casino, and enjoy the Cedar Valley Trails via bicycle or kayak. Catch exciting sports teams and immerse yourself in arts and culture. And did we mention we're home to Lost Island Water Park? It's Iowa's largest! Plus, dig a little deeper and check out our family-friendly festivals and events.

Watch episodes below from our travel series - "Travel Waterloo".
Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau Blog

Shop Downtown Saturdays_Finery
Finery Bridal & Trend Boutique, 620 Commercial St

Small businesses all across the country recently celebrated Small Business Saturday, a shopping holiday that encourages people to support small businesses by shopping small and shopping local during one of the busiest shopping times of the year. Downtown Waterloo got in on the “Shop Small” movement as well and even kicked off a brand new event this year called Shop Downtown Saturdays.

From now until December 23, Main Street Waterloo will be hosting Shop Downtown Saturdays from 11am-5pm throughout the downtown district. Not only will you be able to shop at a variety of existing downtown retail shops, there will be ten pop-up shops selling antiques, furniture, home décor, holiday gifts and more.

A couple of things to note…
1. Be sure to revisit the pop-up shops throughout the holiday season. Many will be adding new items to their inventory each week.
2. Some of the shops will be open additional hours or available by appointment, so visit their Facebook page for hours of business.

Shop Downtown Saturdays Pop-Up Shops:

Downtown Waterloo Store
212 E 4th St
Share the Waterloo love this holiday season and outfit your family and friends with a Downtown Waterloo or #IDigWaterloo t-shirt. Or, stuff their stocking with a Waterloo stainless steel tumbler.

Elite Status
208 E 4th St
Shopping for that special someone or maybe that special someone is you. Stop by Elite Status for designer handbags (Coach, Kate Spade and Michael Kors just to name a few) in all styles and sizes.

Shop Downtown Saturdays_Epic Finds
Epic Finds, 229 W 4th St

Epic Finds
229 W 4th St
From seating to wall art, owner Greg Brown has some pretty Epic Finds. He specializes in Mid-Century modern furniture and home décor, and he’s “picked” some amazing pieces for his holiday pop-up shop.

615 Sycamore St
This pop-up shop is full of unique home décor elements and features handmade goods made by 14 different local makers. Plus, each Saturday you’ll have the opportunity to meet one of their makers and see first-hand how these items are made.

Shop Downtown Saturdays_Goods
Goods, 615 Sycamore St

Ladybug Antiques
219 W 4th St
Deck the halls with antique and vintage finds from Ladybug Antiques. Or, maybe you’re looking for the perfect item to repurpose into something new this winter.

Laughing Tree
607 Sycamore St
Step inside the Laughing Tree pop-up shop for delicious, hand-blended teas like Holiday Spice (aka “Christmas in a Cup”). Shop owner Eliz Guyer is an avid tea enthusiast and has over 30 different tea varieties to choose from. 

Shop Downtown Saturdays_Laughing Tree
Laughing Tree, 607 Sycamore St

Paparazzi Jewelry
208 E 4th St
Find the perfect accessory to go with your holiday attire at Paparazzi Jewelry. This pop-up shop features a variety of women’s necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

501 Sycamore St
Located inside the Black’s Building, this pop-up shop has an eclectic mix of furniture and home décor items. Accessorize your home for the holidays with a one-of-a-kind piece from Poppycock.

Shop Downtown Saturdays_Simply Artful
Simply Artful, 212 E 4th St

Simply Artful
212 E 4th St
Enjoy simple, yet artful holiday gift items from Simply Artful. Hand-painted furniture, signs, pillow covers, tea towels and more can be found inside this cozy little shop.

Two Line Jump
216 E 4th St
Looking for that customizable gift this Christmas? Look no further than Two Line Jump. You’ll find tons of handmade gifts and treasures, including drinkware, dish towels, and pillow covers.

While you’re downtown, be sure to stop by all of the other retail shops and grab a bite to eat too. For a complete list, visit the Shopping and Dining sections on travelwaterloo.com.

For a full listing of holiday events taking place in the Cedar Valley, check out our events calendar. Plus, share your holiday photos with us or tag them with the hashtag #IDigWaterloo. You can find Travel Waterloo on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Santa Blog Post_Crossroads Mall
Crossroads Center, Waterloo

It wouldn't be Christmas without a visit from Jolly Old St. Nick. Lucky for us, Santa will be making appearances at several locations and special events throughout the Cedar Valley. You might even get to meet Mrs. Claus, his elves and live reindeer too!

College Square Mall
Nov 27-Dec 10 | Sun Noon-5pm, Mon-Thurs 4-8pm, Fri Noon-8pm, Sat Noon-7pm
Dec 11-24 | Sun Noon-5pm, Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Christmas Eve 11am-4pm
1 College Square Mall, Cedar Falls
Stop by College Square Mall and share your Christmas wish list with Santa. Or, bring your furry friends for one of their Pet Days (Nov 28, Dec 5 & 12 only).*

*No reservations required, but animals must be in a carrier or on a leash.

Crossroads Mall
Nov 27-Dec 24 | Mon-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun Noon-6pm
2060 Crossroads Blvd, Waterloo
Visit Santa's winter wonderland this holiday season at Crossroads Mall. And, don't forget pets can snap a pic with Santa too on Tuesdays in December from 4-7pm.*

*No dangerous animals and all animals must be in a carrier or on a leash.

Santa Blog Post_Downtown Cedar Falls
Santa's Workshop, Downtown Cedar Falls

Downtown Cedar Falls
Nov 30-Dec 23 | Nov 30, Dec 7, 14, 21 6-8pm; Dec 2, 9, 16, 23 11am-2pm
4th & Main Sts, Cedar Falls
Just in case you missed Santa's surprise arrival during the Holiday Hoopla kick-off celebration, you can also see him on select Thursdays and Saturdays at his workshop in downtown Cedar Falls. Plus, remember to bring your letter for Santa and drop it in his mailbox.

Downtown Waverly
Dec 2-23 | Dec 2 2-6pm; Dec 7 & 21 5-8pm; Dec 9, 16, 23 2-4pm; Dec 14 6-8pm
Kohlmann Park, Waverly
Help welcome Santa to Waverly on Saturday, December 2. Bring your wish list and a camera to capture priceless memories with the Jolly Ol’ Fella himself. Also, stop by the North Pole Party (1-3pm) prior to Santa’s arrival and write letters, listen to holiday music and mix-up your own special blend of reindeer food for Christmas Eve. And, be sure to visit Santa on Saturday, December 16 as he’ll have all of his reindeer with him too.

Santa Blog Post_College Square Mall
College Square Mall, Cedar Falls

Kris Kringle's Tree Farm
Nov 27-Dec 8 | Weekends 9am-5pm; Weekdays 1-5pm
5220 W Bennington Rd, Cedar Falls
Looking for a real tree this Christmas? Check out Kris Kringle's "cut your own" Christmas tree farm and say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus too! Enjoy cookies and hot drinks as you warm your toes by their fire pit. Don't worry, there are plenty of elves available to help you cut and load your tree. Pre-cut trees, wreaths and greenery are also available to deck the halls.

Other events to see Santa and friends:

For a full listing of holiday events taking place in the Cedar Valley, check out our events calendar. Plus, share your holiday photos with us or tag them with the hashtag #IDigWaterloo. You can find Travel Waterloo on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Thanksgiving Dinner 2017

It's that time of year when family and friends come together to give thanks and enjoy a Thanksgiving Day feast. While some prefer to prepare the meal themselves, others would rather make a reservation and leave the cooking to someone else.

Check out some of the following restaurants serving up a delicious dinner this Thanksgiving in the Cedar Valley. And, be sure to call ahead for reservations as many of the restaurants will fill up on Thanksgiving Day.

Beck's Taproom Grill
3295 University Ave, Waterloo
Opens at 11am
Adults $14.99; Kids $6.99
(319) 234-4333
Oven roasted turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner roll, and pumpkin pie. Enjoy their taproom wall, complete with 16 pour-yourself beer handles, in addition to plenty of football action.

Bryan's on 4th
320 E 4th St, Waterloo
Adults $14; Kids 12 & under free
(319) 274-8888
Thanksgiving buffet with pot roast and turkey. Steaks will be available for order as well. Plus, enjoy live music from 6:30-11:30pm by Bob Door and the Limestoners downstairs in the Limestone Lounge.

Farmer's Pick Buffet
777 Isle of Capri Blvd, Waterloo
Adults $19.99; Kids $10; Kids ages 3 & under free
(319) 429-7146
Sliced turkey, honey glazed ham, rosemary marinated roast beef, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and a full dessert bar. This farm-to-table buffet features locally-grown food and was recently voted the Cedar Valley's "Best Sunday Brunch" and "Best Salad Bar".

Hilton Garden Inn
7213 Nordic Dr, Cedar Falls
Adults $22; Seniors $20; Kids ages 6-12 $8; Kids ages 5 & under free
(319) 859-3851
Carving stations with roasted turkey and smoked ham, cornbread stuffing, cauliflower mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, turkey giblet gravy, Waldorf salad, green bean casserole, dessert table and more.

Hy-Vee Market Grille (Cedar Falls)
6301 University Ave, Cedar Falls
Adults $19.99; Kids ages 6-12 $6; Kids ages 5 & under free
(319) 266-6678
Thanksgiving Day brunch buffet with all the fixin's.

Hy-Vee Market Grille (Waterloo)
1422 Flammang Dr, Waterloo
Adults $19.99; Kids ages 6-12 $6; Kids ages 5 & under free
(319) 274-0407
Thanksgiving Day brunch buffet with all the fixin's.

J's Homestyle Cooking
1724 W 31st St, Cedar Falls
11am-3pm (open 5:30am-3pm)
Adults $14.99; Kids ages 10 & under $7.99
(319) 266-3199
Choose from turkey or ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, dinner roll, pasta salad, and pumpkin dessert.

Noble Oak
314 Main St, Cedar Falls
Adults $17.99; Kids $7.99
(319) 266-5285
House smoked or roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry chutney, and pumpkin cobbler. Mmm, mmm good! Plus, prime rib and $4 Bloody Mary's and Mimosas to top it all off.

Village Inn in both Cedar Falls (open 6am-3pm) and Waterloo (open 6am-2pm) will be offering a turkey dinner special on Thanksgiving Day as well.

Looking for more dining options? Visit the Dining section on travelwaterloo.com or call the Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 728-8431.

Happy Thanksgving!

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SingleSpeed Blog_Beer Garden

A lot has changed since our last blog post about the Wonder Bread building and SingleSpeed Brewing’s new site in downtown Waterloo! They officially opened in April and have been busy ever since. In case you haven't visited yet or you're planning a return visit, here's a "Six-Pack of Fun Facts" on why we're loving this new brewery. Cheers!

1. Historic Preservation
The renovations and historic preservations are beyond impressive. They repurposed as much as possible from the Hostess Wonder Bread building, including original flooring, proofing room doors in the restrooms, some of the original oven controls, parts of the conveyer belt, and much more. The building is also LEED Certified - using less energy and water. Want to know what the building looked like prior to the renovations? Check out these cool before and after photos.

2. Tables, Benches & Bar Stools
The wood for tables, benches, and bar stools may not be repurposed from the old factory; however it is repurposed from old ash trees cut down due to the Emerald Ash Borer. The 20-foot long communal tables in the beer hall, and the 6-week installation is all thanks to the guys at Rovan Hand-Crafted Furniture (based in St. Paul, MN, with company founders originally from the Cedar Valley).

SingleSpeed Blog_Decor

3. Bike-Friendly
From the moment you step in, it’s very apparent that SingleSpeed is bike-friendly. From the bike rim lighting fixtures, to the bike rack (repurposed from the Wonder Bread conveyor belt), to bike maintenance tools, and the bike trail map on the wall. Plus, every first and third Thursday of the month (through October), you can enjoy a leisurely ride to SingleSpeed for a bite to eat and a beverage or two. Thursday "Pint Night Rides" are not only fun, but FREE!

4. Events
From live music to free tours, you'll find yet another reason to visit SingleSpeed. Get a behind-the-scenes look at their operations and meet the team that brews the beer. Tours are offered every Saturday at 2pm and 3pm. Simply register online to secure yourself a spot. Be sure to check out their events calendar too for a complete list of upcoming events, including YogaBrew and Crafts + Crafts (Craft Project + Craft Beer).

SingleSpeed Blog_Kid's Area

5. The Food
If the large open kitchen and the huge stove weren’t impressive enough, the food that comes from them sure is! There are several “Wonder”ful things on the menu, including wings, flatbread pizzas, and the ever-popular Chicken & Waffles. And be sure to stop back as they will be introducing new menu items from time to time.

6. The Beer
Of course, we can’t forget to talk about the beer! There is something for everyone’s taste buds. There are currently 13 beers on tap, including several new beers - Jane Fondo (a German pilsner brewed especially for a local bicycling event called the Gran Fondo Cedar Valley & FondoFest), Karen (an Amercian blonde ale), and Anna Marie (a strawberry infused blonde ale).

Bring the little ones and enjoy the large kid’s zone, or have it be your new go-to spot with friends, enjoying shuffle board, darts and more. The beer garden is open as well and features a stage and its own bar. And, don't forget to stop by the gift shop for your very-own SingleSpeed souvenir. 

SingleSpeed Brewing
325 Commercial St
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-Midnight; Sat 10am-Midnight; Sun 10am-10pm
(319) 883-3604
No reservations. First come, first served basis. Dog allowed on the outdoor patio if friendly.

- Paige Nieman, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Summer Music_Friday'looFriday’Loo, Lincoln Park


Downtown Waterloo’s own ‘T.G.I.F. Party’. It's always free, always fun and always Friday! The concerts showcase an eclectic line-up of local, regional and touring artists. It is held in Lincoln Park, 201 E 4th St, in downtown Waterloo. The party begins at 5:30pm and goes until 9:30pm. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

RiverLoop Rhythms

Join the fun at Waterloo Center for the Arts’ summer outdoor concert series. The concerts are held at the RiverLoop Amphitheatre, 225 Commercial St, along the Cedar River. Enjoy the free music and dancing with food and beverages available for purchase. Concerts take place from 5:30-9:30pm. Plus, there is free fun for the kids right next to the Amphitheatre at Mark’s Park splash pad and playground.

Summer Concerts_RiverLoop Rhythms

RiverLoop Rhythms, RiverLoop Amphitheatre

Waterloo Municipal Band

The Waterloo Municipal Band, under the direction of Bill Shepherd, will hold a series of free concerts every Thursday evening in June and July. Concerts begin at 7:30pm at the RiverLoop Amphitheatre or inside the Waterloo Center for the Arts in case of inclement weather. Both venues are located at 225 Commercial St, along the Cedar River in downtown Waterloo.

Summer Concerts_Bike Night

Bike Night, Downtown Waterloo

Street Thunder Bike Night

Enjoy great friends and good times. Bike Night is held every Thursday evening from 6-10pm, May-September, on the street outside Screaming Eagle (inside during rainy weather) at 228 E 4th St. It features live music and great food and drink specials.

  • May 4 | 3rd Street
  • May 11 | Rush Cleveland Trio
  • May 18 | Magnetos
  • May 25 | Ice Breakers
  • June 1 | At a Glance
  • June 8 | Jason Leroy
  • June 15 | Hack Sabbath
  • June 22 | Vice Box
  • June 29 | CB & Co

Be sure to check our website for the rest of the summer line-up at Bike Night.

Summer Concert_Isle

Outdoor Concert, Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo

Isle Outdoor Summer Concerts 

Rock out to some of your favorite hits from the 80’s at the Isle’s Summer Concert Series. Concerts are held outdoors at the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo, 777 Isle of Capri Blvd, so don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs. Gates open at 7:30pm and the show begins at 8pm.

My Waterloo Days

There will be two stages with music during this year’s My Waterloo Days festival, as well as other family-friendly entertainment. The festival runs June 7-11. Visit their website or Facebook page for a complete schedule of events. 

  • Friday, June 9 & Saturday, June 10 | Lincoln Park, 201 E 4th St | See website for times
  • Saturday, June 10 | RiverLoop Amphitheatre, 225 Commercial St | Noon-Midnight

Cedar Falls also has a variety of live music events taking place throughout the summer, including Live to 9, Municipal Band Concerts, and the Cedar Valley Acoustic Guitar Association at Movies Under the Moon. For a full listing of live music events taking place in the Cedar Valley, check out our events calendar.

 - Annette Freeseman, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: Main Street Waterloo, Waterloo Center for the Arts, Screaming Eagle American Bar & Grill, Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo. 

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