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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

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

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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