• 2017 Visitors Guide

    2017 Visitors Guide

    Request your free copy today

  • Cedar Valley Coffee Shops

    Cedar Valley Coffee Shops

    Dig a coffee shop that fits your style

  • Waterloo Black Hawks Hockey

    Waterloo Black Hawks Hockey

    Dig home games in Party Town

  • Tea Parties

    Tea Parties

    Dig tea parties at the Snowden House

  • Winter Wonderland

    Winter Wonderland

    Dig a winter wonderland

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

As we showed you last February, Paco Rosic is an amazing artist. Painting the way he does, with all of the intricate detail, with spray paint, is an amazing talent. The art that made him famous, though, is the painting that covers the ceiling of his restaurant, Galleria de Paco.

Blog Galleria de Paco Episode 32

Paco spent a month in Rome, staring at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When he returned home, he spent months with spray cans in hand, laying on scaffolding, recreating Michaelangelo’s masterpiece. He shared his process and highlighted how you can see, in the Sistine Chapel, where Michaelangelo started and stopped (the figures got larger as time went on). Paco actually started on the opposite end of the painting, and finished where Michaelangelo began.

Galleria de Paco has garnered worldwide attention because of the artwork. We have had people from Los Angeles walk into our office looking for the restaurant because they read about it in the Los Angeles Times. People from Europe have visited. Paco has appeared on numerous television programs. He told us people from Chicago drove 4 ½ hours to dine and they drove home that same evening.

Blog Aaron & Paco Episode 32

Over the years, Paco has taken over as the head chef of the restaurant, and the artwork has continued to the plates. Paco looks at plates as canvases and said he almost feels bad when people dig in to the food. He loves creating and has become an unbelievable chef.

While the atmosphere, because of the artwork, is extraordinary already, it is enhanced because Paco and his family are there every night. You get the chance to see him work and talk to him about the paintings and the food. And Paco’s dad Jacky, who is the host at Galleria de Paco, proudly tells the family’s story, talks about Paco’s talent and is incredibly interested in making sure your experience is unique and amazing.

Blog Catacomb Lounge Episode 32

Galleria de Paco is one of Waterloo’s most recognizable attractions around the world, and worth the trip from wherever you’re traveling from.

Galleria de Paco & Catacomb Lounge
622 Commercial St
Hours: Tues-Sat 4:30-10pm

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Read More

Valentine Fun 2017 Blog Post

Whether it be with your family, your gal pals, or maybe just a little time to yourself (because we can all use some of that too) - we hope you enjoy some Valentine fun this year. See what's happening on and around Valentine's Day in the Cedar Valley. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! ♥

Fun with the Family

Who says Valentine's Day can't be about the kids too? Spread the love and plan a fun afternoon or night out to remember with the family. 

Blog Valentines Ansborough Hy-Vee

Grandma et Moi (and me) Art & Etiquette Class

Feb 11 | 10am
Ansborough Hy-Vee, Waterloo

Cost: $10 per child

Blog Valentines Cedar Falls Hy-Vee

Kids 'N the Kitchen: Love Your Heart Party

Feb 11 | 10am
Cedar Falls Hy-Vee, Cedar Falls

Cost: $10 per child

Blog Valentines Barnes & Noble

Saturday Storytime: 'The Secret Life of Squirrels'

Feb 11 | 11am
Barnes & Noble, Waterloo

Cost: Free

Blog Valentines Hy-Vee

Daddy Daughter Date Night

Feb 11 | 5-7pm
Hy-Vee (AnsboroughCedar FallsCrossroadsLoganUniversity)
Cedar Falls & Waterloo

Cost: $20-$25 for 2 ($5 per additional daughter)

Blog NYE Black Hawks

Waterloo Black Hawks vs Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Feb 11 | 7pm
Young Arena, Waterloo
Cost: $11.39-$20

Blog Valentines Chick-fil-A

Family Night at Chick-fil-A

Feb 14 | 5:30-7:30pm
Chick-fil-A, Waterloo

Cost: Free Activities

Gal-entine's Activities

Make plans with the girls this Valentine's Day! Celebrate with delicious wines, decadent chocolates or tea for two (or more) at one of these fun events.

Blog Valentines CF Downtown

Downtown Delights

Feb 9 | 6-9pm
Downtown, Cedar Falls

Cost: Free

Blog Valentines Grout

Valentine Tea

Feb 11 | 10am-Noon
Snowden House (Grout Museum District), Waterloo

Cost: Members $8; Non-Members $10

Blog Valentines Laughing Tree

Valentine Tea

Feb 12 | 3-5pm
Laughing Tree Cafe (Waterloo Center for the Arts), Waterloo

Cost: $10

Blog Valentines Tea Cellar

Valentine's Day Decadence

Feb 14 | 3-9pm
Tea Cellar, Cedar Falls

Cost: $10-$15

Get Creative

Relax, unwind and enjoy an evening of art and wine. Get crafty with friends or that special someone at one of the following Valentine themed activities.

Blog Valentines Ansborough Hy-Vee Wine

Wine Glass Painting Party

Feb 10 | 6pm
Ansborough Hy-Vee, Waterloo

Cost: $15

Blog Valentines WCA

Art & Wine: Card Making

Feb 10 | 7pm
Waterloo Center for the Arts, Waterloo

Cost: Members $20; Non-Members $26

Blog Valentines CV Art & Wine

'Love's Expression' & 'Cherry Blossoms'

Feb 8 & 14; 11 & 17 | 7pm
Cedar Valley Art & Wine, Cedar Falls

Cost: $35

Let's Make a Date

Looking for a unique twist to that traditional Valentine's night out? Try a beer dinner, cooking class or dinner theater performance with your sweetheart.

Blog Valentines Isle

Murder Mystery

Feb 11 | 5pm & 8pm
Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo, Waterloo
Cost: $40 per person

Blog Valentines Hearst

Valentine's Serenade

Feb 11 | 7pm
Hearst Center for the Arts, Cedar Falls
Cost: $25

Blog Valentines SingleSpeed

Show the Love Beer Dinner

Feb 14 | 6pm (Beer Hour 5pm)
SingleSpeed Brewing Co., Cedar Falls
Cost: $60

Blog Valentines University Hy-Vee

Heart Healthy Adult Cooking Class

Feb 14 | 6pm
University Hy-Vee, Waterloo
Cost: $15 or 2 for $25

Blog Valentines Jamesons

Valentine's Beer Dinner

Feb 16 | 6:30pm
Jameson's, Waterloo
Cost: $75

As always, there are a variety of local restaurants offering dining specials to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We recommend making your dinner reservations in advance though to guarantee a spot.

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

- Beth Keeney, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Read More

Since opening their doors just a couple years ago in downtown Waterloo, Popcorn Heaven has grown significantly, with presence and stores in several Midwestern cities and states. As you might think, the name was divinely inspired. Reshonda told us that as she was contemplating names, she heard Popcorn Heaven spoken out loud into her right ear. And since that divine inspiration, she and her team have been producing delightful treats that have earned her national recognition.  

Blog Popcorn Heaven Episode 31

Popcorn Heaven features more than 50 flavors of popcorn, ranging from traditional to more extreme. You can get regular, kettle, caramel or cheese popcorn. You can also get hot wings, loaded baked potato, dill pickle (Reshonda’s personal favorite) and birthday cake. The birthday cake was featured in a Food Network Magazine article called “Any Way You Pop It…” that featured the country’s best popcorn flavors. Since that time, Reshonda has shipped popcorn all over the country.

A tip about Popcorn Heaven: You can sample as much as you’d like. The staff wants to ensure that you walk out with the treat you want, and sampling allows you to do just that. You can also customize your own popcorn. There is a group of guys who found that they like mixing hot wings and birthday cake popcorns.  As we noted in the video, the staff is always testing new flavors and they’re happy to take suggestions.

Blog Popcorn Episode 31

None of the flavors that have been sampled by my family and by the Travel Waterloo team have not been thoroughly enjoyed. You can get sweet, savory, traditional or experimental. If you need a place to start, we’d all recommend the Iowa mix, which is caramel, and two types of cheese popcorn. It is a beautiful combination!

Popcorn Heaven
3025 Kimball Ave
Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-7pm; Fri-Sat 10am-8pm

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Read More

Sidecar Coffee opened its second Waterloo location earlier this month, when it moved into the historic Wonder Bread building downtown. Not only did Sidecar open a coffee shop, the Sidecar Coffee Roasters operation also moved there too. As demand has grown over the past five years, from Jed’s basement to downtown Waterloo, the opportunity to supply more coffee to fans and friends worldwide has also grown significantly.

Blog Sidecar Coffee Shop Episode 30

While you can grab freshly roasted beans to take home and enjoy, or to send to friends around the world, there’s nothing better than having a fresh cup of coffee brewed with extremely fresh beans. Sidecar’s newest location offers just that opportunity. Not only do you get to drink a great cup of coffee, you can see where your coffee comes from, all the way from green coffee beans to your cup.

Blog Sidecar Coffee Barista Aaron Episode 30

Hearing about the roasting process is fascinating, and we’d encourage you to go in and watch as beans are roasted. Even more interesting is seeing the green coffee beans in gigantic bags that have made their way to Waterloo from around the world. Coffee comes from all areas of the world, along the Equator. The beans are organic and the way Sidecar sources and purchases coffee, the farmers are paid more and better than they often are with “fair trade” coffees.

Blog Sidecar Coffee Menu Episode 30

What to drink, you ask? Honestly, you can’t go wrong with brewed coffee. You’re going to get fresh and local coffee and it tastes fantastic. If you want to try something else, Andy highly recommended the cappuccino. Sidecar steams the milk a little differently than other coffee shops, making for a really awesome flavor and texture. Sidecar has perfected some “experimental” flavors, too. The Van Fleet (named after local businessman and friend Andy Van Fleet) is an orange infused latte. They offer a lavender mocha that is truly spectacular as well. And the seasonal drinks are all absolutely outstanding. The cool thing about Sidecar is that they’ve taken great care to use natural and local ingredients, like milk from Hansen's Dairy in nearby Hudson. They make their own vanilla syrup, for instance, and the vanilla latte is the best you’ll ever have.

Whether you’re on your way to the office, need to schedule a meeting, or swing in for a Saturday morning treat, Sidecar is a great coffee shop in a really unique atmosphere that you absolutely must try.

Sidecar Coffee | Waterloo - Wonder Bread
325 Commercial St (entrance on W 3rd St)
Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30am-5:30pm; Sat 8am-3pm

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Read More

Going out for coffee can be many things…a time to relax, a time to be productive outside the office, a time to meet friends, a time to make memories with kids/grandkids, or maybe a combination of several of the above. Whatever your reason is, the Cedar Valley has a variety of local coffee shops to choose from. 

Coffee Blog_Sidecar

The Getaway

Sometimes you find you need a place to get away from it all. Whether it’s cramming for that exam, checking emails, or preparing for a meeting, Sidecar Coffee has locations that can fit the bill. Their location on College Hill in Cedar Falls is close to the UNI campus and a quiet spot to study or to meet a friend. If you’re looking for an office away from the office, check out their two Waterloo locations, one on Ridgeway Avenue and their newest location in the historic Wonder Bread building in downtown Waterloo. They offer local, handcrafted coffee and housemade treats too.

Coffee Blog_Cottonwood

Coffee Break

Let’s face it sometimes you don’t want a cup of coffee, you need that cup of coffee to get you going in the morning, for reinforcement before your big meeting, or for that afternoon pick-me-up. A stop at your local coffee shop is the perfect place to clear your head, enjoy a warm beverage, a tempting treat, and free Wi-Fi. With their motto ‘Don’t work, be happy!’ Cottonwood Canyon will leave you feeling just that. Located in both downtown Waterloo and Cedar Falls, it is a unique and colorful shop where every drink is made to order including their drip-brewed coffee. They feature freshly roasted coffee, home-baked pastries, lunch-sized sandwiches, salads, wraps and rice bowls.

Coffee Blog_Cabin Coffee

Where Good Friends Meet

Life is busy with work, kids, social obligations…you name it, so sometimes you need a place where you can spend some quality time with your friends (or family). Cabin Coffee on Kimball Avenue in Waterloo offers warm smiles, fresh aromas, and a cozy atmosphere to sit down and stay awhile. You can enjoy your favorite drink or a delicious breakfast or lunch. They consider themselves an upscale coffee house designed to serve coffee lovers and non-coffee lovers alike. They also have a kid’s corner to keep your little ones occupied while you chat. 

Coffee Blog_Cup of Joe

Date Night

Whether it is a date with your special someone, or a date with family or friends, Cup of Joe, in downtown Cedar Falls could be your ideal destination for catching up. This one-of-a-kind espresso bar has a 1950’s flair and features fair-trade and organic coffee, local pastries, and weekly live music events. They also have a great selection of board games for everyone’s enjoyment. If you don’t find one of their delicious, locally-made treats tempting, you can venture down the street and give the chocolates or gelato at Chocolatier Stam, popcorn at Here’s What’s Poppin, or cupcakes and cookies at Scratch Cupcakery a try.

Not a Coffee Fan?

Is tea more your style? Then look no further than one of our two, local tea shops. 

Laughing Tree Café, located inside the Waterloo Center for the Arts in Waterloo, specializes in hand blended loose leaf tea. They serve a lunch of soup, sandwiches and salads Tuesday through Friday. They can also cater your next meeting or event.  

The Tea Cellar is located below Basket of Daisies in downtown Cedar Falls. They offer loose leaf tea as well as tea accessories. Their cozy café is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy one of their many delicious treats.  

- Annette Freeseman, Waterloo Convention and Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: 
Cup of Joe photo courtesy of Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau.

Read More