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    Lost Island Waterpark

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    Summer Concerts

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    2017 Visitors Guide

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  • Summer Camps

    Summer Fun

    Dig summer camps for the kids

  • John Deere Attractions

    John Deere

    Dig John Deere attractions in Waterloo

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

Summer Music_Friday'looFriday’Loo, Lincoln Park

Friday’Loo

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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Spring is here, which means school will be out soon. Are you looking for ideas to do with your children this summer?  Do they like sports, arts, science, history, cooking or being outdoors?  Then we have you covered. We hope you find this guide helpful in your summer planning. 

Summer Camp Golf
Waterloo Leisure Services, Waterloo

SPORTS

Football, basketball, soccer, swimming, baseball, softball, golf and more. Oh my! The Cedar Valley has many sports camp options for all ages and skill levels.   

Summer Camp Cooking
Three Pines Farm, Cedar Falls

ARTS

Is your child the imaginative type who likes to act, cook, or create projects? Check out all the ways they can get their creative juices flowing this summer.

Summer Camps Rockets
Grout Museum District, Waterloo

SCIENCE & HISTORY

Do you have a science or history buff in your house? There are several camp options that can help them get their geek on this summer.

Summer Camp Hartman
Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Cedar Falls

OUTDOORS

How about some good old fashion outdoor fun? These locations are offering camps about nature, agriculture, and the great outdoors.

If you have a child that enjoys books or reading, check out the places that are offering special story times this summer, including Cedar Valley Arboretum, both Waterloo and Cedar Falls libraries, and Cedar Falls Historical Society.

Summer is one of the best parts of growing up in the Cedar Valley. It can also be a very busy, so don’t miss out on these fun summer camps. Reserve your spot and sign up today!


- Annette Freeseman, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: Waterloo Leisure Services, Three Pines Farm, Grout Museum District, Hartman Reserve Nature Center. 

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There are a few places in Waterloo that people told us we HAD to feature on an episode of Travel Waterloo, and D&K Hickory House was tops on that list. No better way to close out our second season than a trip to a Waterloo mainstay.

Hickory House opened in 1952 and it has remained in the same family for those 65 years. The recipes for soups, salad dressings and the barbecue sauce are family secrets they have used since the restaurant opened. And at some point in those 65 years, perfection was achieved.

Blog Hickory House Ribs Episode 34

Hickory House serves dinner, but that doesn’t mean that the staff hasn’t been there since early in the day prepping the food and making sure everything is exactly what their regulars have come to expect. 

The atmosphere is perfectly throw-back. It is comfortable and welcoming. You’re going to see some of Waterloo's history on display, with dozens upon dozens of John Deere tractors all around you. There are also some antique toy trucks that showcase Rath Packing and Waterloo Industries. It is a fun trip down memory lane. Customers have brought many of the items on display as gifts, in fact.

Blog Hickory House Family Episode 34

One of the most surprising, but best, things we learned was that the Hickory House staff has incredible longevity. Wait staff has been part of the “family” for years…decades. There are staff members who have been with Hickory House longer than I’ve been alive, and that’s a rarity in restaurants. But when everyone, from staff to guests, is treated like family, it shouldn’t be surprising.

I could gush about the food. But instead watch the episode. You’ll get a better sense of how impressed I was, and how impressed we all were. Rather, I want to draw your attention to a couple really fun and unique attributes. The drink menu features a lot of old school cocktails and ice cream drinks. You can order a Rusty Nail, a Pink Squirrel, or both. The relish tray (pickles, carrots, celery and olives) is served before the meal and is a great treat. It is something I’ve heard many people comment about, right after they tell you Hickory House features the “best ribs anywhere.” And finally, your dinner is complete with the signature finger bowls. You’re served a bowl of warm water to use to rinse your hands, ensuring that you’re not taking the sauce with you unintentionally.

Blog Hickory House Aaron Episode 34

A couple of quick tips for your Hickory House experience: Come hungry. Like grandma’s house, you’re not going to push away from the table without being full. Also, you can (and should) take home a bottle of the homemade barbecue sauce. And it is cash only. If you forget, there is an ATM on site, so you won’t have to wash your own dishes.

D&K Hickory House
315 Park Rd
Hours: Tues-Thurs 4:30-9pm; Fri-Sat 4:30-10pm

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


- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Do you like to browse around in search of that perfect antique or vintage item? How about finding that perfect piece of ‘junk’ that you can repurpose into something new? The Cedar Valley has many options to help you do just that, including two events coming up this month. Use the map above to help plan your trip. 

Antique Spectacular - Vintage Market will be at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on March 17-19. Collectors and antique enthusiasts will find the unexpected at Iowa’s largest indoor antique and collectors show. The market runs from 4-9pm on Friday, 10am-6pm on Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sunday. Admission is $8 and parking is free. ($1 off coupon available online).

If you love junkin’ or repurposing old items, you won’t want to miss Funky Junk-a-loo on March 25-26 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in downtown Waterloo. Saturday doors are open from 10am-4pm and Sunday 10am-3pm. Early bird shopping is available on Saturday beginning at 9am. Admission is $3 in advance and $5 at the door, Kids ages 10 and under are free. Saturdays’ early bird admission is $20. This marketplace highlights antiques, repurposed designs, and creations for home and garden. There will also be seminars and door prizes throughout the two-day event.

You can also spend the day exploring shops throughout the Cedar Valley. You can find antiques, repurposed masterpieces, junkin’ parts for your next project, home décor and more.

Shoppe on the Corner
209 W 5th St | Waterloo
Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm
This unique little shoppe is located in the historic Russell Lamson building. It features antiques, gifts, and quality consignments.

Calico Hen House
Calico Hen House, Waterloo

Calico Hen House
1022 Alabar Ave | Waterloo
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5:30pm; Sun Noon-4pm.
This two-floor shop has over 8,500 square feet of shopping with 45+ vendors. There is a wide variety of antiques, collectibles, upcycled items, furniture, new home decor, florals, candles, handmade items, seasonal items and more.

Barn Happy
11310 University Ave | Cedar Falls
Hours: (Mar-Dec) Wed-Sat 9am-3pm
This old dairy barn, built in 1925, has been converted into a unique shopping experience. The main level features Iowa made products, homemade soup, sandwiches, baked goodies, and a coffee bar. Antiques and collectibles can be found upstairs in the hayloft.

The Rusty Bucket
The Rusty Bucket, Cedar Falls

The Rusty Bucket
127 E 23rd St | Cedar Falls
Hours: Thurs-Sat 9am-5pm
They specialize in raw salvaged, recycled, reclaimed materials as well as primitive, rustic, and vintage decor. A one stop shop for reclaimed materials, hardware, antiques, and some custom furniture and decor designed and created right in the store while you shop.

Fig & Frolic
114 W 5th St | Cedar Falls
Hours: Mon-Wed & Fri-Sat 10am-5pm; Thurs 10am-7pm
This shop has a quirky style bound to make you smile. The shop is full of fun unique gifts and upcycled home décor and furniture. They also are an official stockist Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® and have workshops to help inspire your creative side.  

Miss Wonderful
216 Main St | Cedar Falls
Hours: Mon-Wed & Fri 11am-5pm; Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 1-4pm
This Main Street shop has a unique mix of vintage finds as well as newer goods with vintage inspiration.  They also carry a custom furniture line that can be tailored to fit your needs.

Little Prairie Girl
206 Main St | Cedar Falls
Hours: Mon-Wed & Fri 11am-6pm; Thurs 11am-7pm; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun Noon-4pm
Little Prairie Girl has two floors of vintage items, new home goods, and ladies fashion and jewelry.

Little Prairie Girl
Little Prairie Girl, Cedar Falls

Pink Peony Studio
200 State St, #102 | Cedar Falls
Hours: Mon 11am-5:30pm; Tues-Wed & Fri 10am-5:30pm; Thurs 10am-7pm; Sat 10am-5pm
Pink Peony is located in the new 200 State Street building. They have several vendors that bring in upcycled, refinished, and original pieces. They also carry an eclectic mix of antiques, candles and décor for home and garden.

Townie Vintage
215 Franklin St | Cedar Falls
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5:30pm
Located in a historic home in downtown Cedar Falls, this shop is full of industrial decor, rustic wares, vintage, retro, furniture, mid-century gems, salvage, shabby chic, repurposed, jewelry and more. During the summer months, they open at 8am on Saturday to accompany the farmers market that is held across the street from their shop. 

If you're looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon or weekend, add the Cedar Valley antique shops to your travel plans.  


- Annette Freeseman, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: Calico Hen House, Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau, The Rusty Bucket.

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As you’re making your travel plans for the year ahead, we hope you’ll add Waterloo to your list. New attractions, new events, new restaurants and more – 2017 is sure to be another exciting year to visit Waterloo. So whether you’re traveling with family, friends, your significant other, or solo, here are six reasons to visit Waterloo in 2017. Plus, things are always changing and our offerings vary throughout the year, so we encourage you to come back and visit us often.

1. Culture
Downtown Waterloo is home to several wonderful museums all with in a one-mile radius. Here is a highlight of some of the new exhibits happening this year.

Grout Museum of History and Science will honor veterans with two new exhibits this year. From the Prairie to the Trenches: Iowans in the Great War shows the role of Iowans in WWI. The exhibit, on display June 27 – February 16, 2018, utilizes rare images, documents and objects to examine WWI from multiple angles.  The second exhibit, The Cold War Ablaze: Iowans in the Korean War, tells the story of the “Forgotten War” directly from those who served and shows how the Korean War shaped the Cold War and current foreign affairs. Photographs, documents, interviews and objects will reveal what happened in Korea and why. The exhibit will be on display from July 14 – July 14, 2018.

Waterloo Center for the Arts (WCA) has a new exhibit by the lead singer of The Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne. Works by Wayne Coyne features the King’s Mouth, which is a highly immersive larger-than-life audio visual installation. It also includes prints, drawings, collages, Coyne’s full-length film Christmas in Mars, and more. The exhibit will be at the WCA through April 23.  

Reason to Visit Waterloo_King's Mouth
Works by Wayne Coyne, Waterloo Center for the Arts

2. Sports
Waterloo is home to several different sports teams including Cedar Valley CourtKings Basketball, Black Hawks Hockey, Bucks Baseball, the Waterloo Open Golf Tournament and Dekhockey. But a new sporting event coming to Waterloo this year will be the NASP State Archery Tournament on December 9 at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex. Nearly 900 youth archers in grades 4-12 from across the state will compete in the one-day event. NASP is a joint venture between the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Education. The program promotes student education and participation in the lifelong sport of archery.

3. Local Beer
Craft breweries are on the rise all over the nation and Waterloo is no different. SingleSpeed Brewery, which has been in downtown Cedar Falls since 2012, will be opening their new brewery, taproom and restaurant this spring in the historic Wonder Bread building in downtown Waterloo. The space will feature a traditional Beer Hall and Beer Garden for those looking for a social dining experience, as well as a dining room for your ‘typical’ dining seating.  While you’re in the area, be sure to visit Lark Brewery as well which opened in 2016.

Reason to Visit Waterloo_SingleSpeed
Beer Hall, SingleSpeed Brewery

4. Festivals
Waterloo is host to several major festivals each year. My Waterloo Days (MWD), June 7-11, is one of the first festivals of the summer. New this year will be activities at the RiverLoop Amphitheatre, including Movies on the Cedar, Music on the Cedar, and a lighted boat parade followed by fireworks. Your MWD button will also get you some additional discounts at participating businesses the week following MWD. There are several other festivals during the summer months including BBQ’Loo in July, Iowa Irish Fest and Cedar Valley Pridefest in August, and National Cattle Congress Fair in September. You can check out a complete, up-to-date list of events on our website.

5. Outdoors
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens is a 35-acre oasis that showcases a variety of plants, flowers and trees that are native to the area. They have over 15 different gardens to explore, including a butterfly meadow, rose garden, rock garden and more. All three of their mosaic garden sculptures, a peacock, a buffalo and a frog, will be on display this summer. One of the newest features in the Children’s Garden is a Hobbit House. The house is over six feet tall at its center, so it is big enough for even adults to play along. The surrounding garden will be finished this spring and will include a winding trail providing a space for imagination, exploration and play. 

Reasons to Visit Waterloo_Hobbit House
Hobbit House, Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

6. Fun for Kids
Bluedorn Science Imaginarium is a place where science comes alive with three floors of hands-on exhibits and animals. You can pet a 12-foot python, fire an air cannon, create your own laser show and much more. This year’s summer exhibit, Attack of the Bloodsuckers, explores the science of bloodsucking parasites. You can examine the what, when and how of mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, leeches and other parasites. It is creepy fun for all ages from May 26-September 4!

Lost Island is Iowa’s largest waterpark featuring 14 major slides, a lazy river, wave pool, 3 children’s play areas, gift shop and great food. They are always keeping things fresh and new at Lost Island. This year, they have renovated the infant Blue Iguana Lagoon and added lights and sound to the Jade Rapids tube slide. Their snack locations will feature fresh ingredients (nothing frozen) and they’ve added a sauce station with flavors like BBQ, bourbon siracha, garlic parmesan, mango habanero or buffalo sauce. The golf and go-kart area outside the park is open weekends in May. The waterpark opens June 2 and will remain open, weather permitting, until August 27.

Get Air Waterloo, an indoor trampoline park is coming to Waterloo. It will be located at 3731 University Ave and is expected to be open in late spring. It will feature wall-to-wall trampolines, slack line, foam pit, ninja obstacle course, and a section for toddlers. Check their Facebook page for the latest information.

But That's Not All...
While you’re in the area, why not check out our many different shopping options too. From antiques to bargain hunting, or maybe you're just looking for something new, we have options for you. And don’t forget the food. We have great breakfast options like Morg’s and Newtons Cafe. Basal Pizza has great sandwiches, salads and pizza. If you’d like something a bit more, visit Waterloo Brown Bottle, Bryan’s on 4th, or explore a bit of Europe without leaving Waterloo at Galleria de Paco. Artist and chef, Paco Rosic has recreated Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel masterpiece on the ceilings and walls of the restaurant.

We could go on and on about all the great things to see and do in Waterloo. Why not plan a trip to Waterloo and discover them yourself? 


- Annette Freeseman, Waterloo Convention and Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, SingleSpeed Brewery.

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