THE 11+ FUN Things To Do In Lansing Iowa

Are you looking for the most fun things to do in Lansing Iowa? You have come to the right place.

Imagine yourself nestled amidst rolling hills and limestone bluffs, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River.

That’s Lansing, Iowa – a charming town where history, natural beauty, and small-town hospitality intertwine.

Located in the northeast corner of Iowa, within the unique Driftless Area, Lansing offers a delightful escape from the everyday.

Whether you’re drawn to outdoor adventures, historic landmarks, or simply a taste of Midwestern charm, Lansing has something to surprise and delight you.

This guide will uncover the very best things to see, do, and experience in this captivating town, ensuring an unforgettable visit.

Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center

The Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center offers a deep dive into the region’s fascinating history, culture, and environment.

Located at the base of scenic limestone bluffs overlooking the river, the center’s exhibits explore topics like geology, river systems, archaeology, wildlife, the growth of river towns, and the impact of American Indian cultures.

Spanning three levels and 10,000 sq. ft., the center provides ample space for visitors to wander, view displays, and discover the Driftless Area’s distinctive features. Best of all, admission is free!

Come explore this unique region and immerse yourself in its rich history and natural beauty. 🌲🌉🍷

Mount Hosmer Park

Mount Hosmer Park in Lansing, Iowa, is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates stunning landscapes.

Perched 450 feet above the charming downtown area, the park offers awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Mississippi River Valley. Imagine gazing out across fifty miles of natural beauty on a clear day!

The scene unfolds with the Mississippi River snaking through the valley, the historic Black Hawk Bridge standing tall, and the rolling hills of neighboring Wisconsin and Minnesota completing the picturesque panorama 🏞️ 🌉.

Blackhawk Bridge

Look out for the impressive Black Hawk Bridge (also known as the Lansing Bridge) while you’re in Lansing, Iowa.

This historic landmark stretches across the Mississippi River, connecting Lansing to the rolling hills of Crawford County, Wisconsin.

Named for the legendary Chief Black Hawk, the bridge carries not just history, but also serves as a vital transportation route for traffic on Iowa Highway 9 and Wisconsin Highway 82.

One look, and you’ll see why it’s a top attraction! This riveted cantilever through truss bridge boasts a unique design unlike many others crossing the Mississippi.

Construction began in 1929 and was completed just two years later.

Despite its age, the Black Hawk Bridge remains a beloved landmark, offering breathtaking panoramic views for photographers and anyone seeking a memorable experience 📸🚗.

Madigan Winery

In the heart of Iowa’s scenic Driftless Area, Madigan Winery beckons wine lovers of all kinds.

Nestled amidst rolling hills, this historic winery offers award-winning wines in a charming setting 🍷.

Step inside their quaint tasting room, housed in a picturesque granary dating back to 1895.

Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of wines, Madigan Winery has something to tantalize your taste buds.

Don’t miss relaxing on their outdoor seating, where you can sip your selection and take in the beautiful countryside views.

Cheers to a delightful wine experience at Madigan Winery!

Ready to start exploring Lansing?

Download my expertly-crafted itinerary PDF for unforgettable experiences and insider tips! 

Church of the Immaculate Conception

Step back in time at Immaculate Conception Parish, a historic church nestled in the rolling hills of northeast Iowa.

Founded in 1851 by an Irish priest, it proudly stands as one of the earliest Catholic parishes established west of the Mississippi River.

Irish immigrants, longing for a connection to home, named the parish after their homeland in County Wexford, Ireland.

With over 160 years of history, the church itself is a beautiful testament to both faith and craftsmanship.

Step inside to admire the intricate metalwork and numerous statues adorning the interior.

Surrounded by a well-kept cemetery, it remains a vibrant part of the community.

Visitors are welcome to explore this historic gem during normal hours, taking in its timeless beauty and the enduring legacy of faith.

Broken Paddle Campground & RV Park

Escape into the quiet beauty of Lansing, Iowa, with a stay at Broken Paddle Campground & RV Park 🏕️.

This peaceful haven offers a variety of ways to experience nature, whether you prefer the comforts of a private lodge, the convenience of an RV hook-up, or the simplicity of a spacious campsite.

Nestled just a short distance from the mighty Mississippi River, it’s your gateway to outdoor adventures.

Lose yourself in the rugged beauty of the Driftless Area – hike scenic trails, gaze at starry nights, and find moments of genuine tranquility.

At Broken Paddle, let the sounds of rustling leaves and gentle breezes reset your rhythm and create lasting memories.

Horsefall’s Housing Variety Store

Step into a treasure trove of discoveries at Horsfall’s Housing Variety Store in the heart of Lansing, Iowa 🛍️.

Located at 300 Main St, this unique shop offers an eclectic mix of necessities and delightful surprises, making it a favorite for locals and tourists alike.

The friendly staff will make you feel welcome as you explore their shelves – prepare to find everything from practical items to quirky treasures!

Whether you need something specific or just want to browse, Horsfall’s is a must-visit.

And don’t forget to soak up the small-town charm of Lansing, tucked away in the scenic northeast corner of Iowa within Allamakee County.

Gracie’s Hutch

Step into the delightful world of Gracie’s Hutch, a charming shop tucked away in scenic Lansing, Iowa.

Housed in a historic riverside building, this store exudes a cozy, welcoming atmosphere 🏡.

Explore shelves brimming with country-style home decor and a curated selection of collectibles.

The friendly staff at Gracie’s Hutch makes your visit even more enjoyable.

Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift, that special piece for your home, or simply browsing for inspiration, Gracie’s Hutch is a must-visit.

And after your shopping adventure, be sure to soak up the small-town charm of Lansing, nestled in Iowa’s picturesque northeast corner.

River N Ridge Outdoors

Get outfitted for adventure at River N Ridge Outdoors, perched right on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River in Lansing, Iowa 🎣.

This full-service bait shop is a haven for anglers and outdoor lovers.

Find all the fishing gear you need, get insider tips from the friendly staff, or simply soak up the laid-back riverside vibe.

Whether you’re casting a line or planning a scenic hike through the Driftless Area, River N Ridge Outdoors is your starting point.

It’s more than just a store, it’s a place where the love of the outdoors is shared.

Shep’s Riverside Bar And Grill

Discover good food and riverside views at Shep’s Riverside Bar and Grill in Lansing, Iowa.

Nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River, this welcoming spot is a favorite for locals and visitors alike.

Enjoy a delicious meal on the patio and watch the river flow by – it’s the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring.

Whether you’re grabbing a casual bite or celebrating with friends, Shep’s offers satisfying dishes and a lively atmosphere.

Friendly staff and the scenic backdrop create a memorable dining experience in the heart of Lansing. 🍔 🍺

Safe House Saloon

Unwind and experience the flavors of Lansing at the Safe House Saloon.

This cozy gastropub is known for its impressive craft beer selection, delicious homemade thin-crust pizza, and a tempting array of appetizers (their hot wings are a local favorite!).

The unique atmosphere and friendly staff add to the charm, making it a favorite hangout for both locals and visitors. 🍔🍺

Whether you’re looking for a casual meal with friends or a lively spot to try new brews, Safe House Saloon is a must-visit while exploring the scenic Driftless Area.

NutMeg’s Cafe & Bakery

Start your day with the delicious aromas of Nutmeg’s Cafe & Bakery in the heart of Lansing, Iowa.

Located at 367 Main St, this cozy spot is beloved for its homemade baked goods and satisfying meals.

Treat yourself to a giant pancake, indulge in their signature maple cinnamon rolls, or fuel up with a hearty breakfast burrito. ☕️

The friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere create a memorable experience.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Nutmeg’s is the perfect place to savor the flavors of Lansing within the beautiful Driftless Area.

Where to stay in Lansing, IA

Lansing’s smaller size means you won’t find chain hotels on every corner, but that’s part of its charm!

Here’s a breakdown of where to find that ideal mix of comfort, location, and value:

Seeking a Spacious Splurge? The XL Cabin with Pool, Hot Tub, and Jacuzzi offers a luxurious escape for groups and families. Stretch out in its expansive interior, unwind in your private hot tub under the stars, and make memories in this upscale Driftless Area retreat. >>Check Rates and Availability.

🌟 The Best of Both Worlds: The Lansing Loft blends modern comfort with historic charm. Located right in downtown Lansing, it offers spacious accommodations and rave reviews. Walk to shops, restaurants, and riverfront views! >>Check Rates and Availability.

💰 Budget-Friendly Basecamp: Scenic Valley Motel is a no-frills option with a focus on value. If your priority is being close to Lansing’s attractions and you don’t mind basic accommodations, it’s worth considering. Always check recent guest reviews for the most up-to-date info! >>Check Rates and Availability.

Helpful Hints:

  • Book Early: Especially during peak seasons, Lansing’s best places fill up fast!
  • Read Reviews: Get the real scoop from other travelers before you book.
  • Consider Your Needs: Traveling solo, as a couple, or with a group will influence the best fit for you.

Best Restaurants in Lansing Iowa

Whether you’re a local foodie or exploring Lansing for the first time, these five restaurants offer a delicious taste of what this charming town has to offer:

Also Read: THE 20 BEST Travel Accessories for Women

Shep’s Riverside Bar and Grill

Scenic Mississippi River views, classic American fare, and friendly service make Shep’s a favorite. Enjoy burgers, sandwiches, and more on their riverside patio. 🍔

Safe House Saloon

A gastropub with a twist! Indulge in thin-crust pizzas, tasty appetizers (try the wings!), and a huge craft beer selection in a lively atmosphere 🍕🍺

NutMeg’s Cafe & Bakery

Start your day right with giant pancakes, sweet pastries, and hearty breakfast options. Their friendly service and cozy ambiance are a winning combination. 🥞☕️

Madigan Winery

Experience award-winning wines in a historic setting. Relax on their outdoor patio and enjoy the scenic views of the Driftless Area – a perfect spot for a special occasion. 🍷

Pops Main Thang Cafe

Discover homestyle favorites at Pops Main Thang Cafe! Their menu is filled with classic comfort foods, satisfying breakfasts, and don’t miss their famous fried chicken.

Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or settling in to linger, the friendly atmosphere makes Pops a perfect spot for fueling up and feeling welcomed in Lansing. 🍽️😊

Best Place to go Shopping in Lansing Iowa

Lansing’s Main Street offers a charming blend of history and delightful discoveries.

Here are five shopping destinations that showcase the town’s unique offerings:

Also Read: THE 25+ BEST Travel Accessories For Men

Horsfall’s Housing Variety Store

A true treasure trove! This iconic shop is filled floor to ceiling with practical items, quirky vintage finds, and everything in between. Prepare to lose yourself browsing its aisles. 🛍️

Gracie’s Hutch

Housed in a historic riverside building, this shop delights with its curated collection of country-style home decor, gifts, and collectibles. The friendly staff adds to the welcoming atmosphere. 🏡

Driftless Gypsy & Shoreline Print

Two shops in one! Explore locally-inspired apparel, handmade jewelry, art prints, and unique souvenirs celebrating the beauty of the Driftless Area. 🎁

The Good Life Gallery and Frame Shop is a treasure trove of local finds! Step inside and discover a charming selection of handcrafted art, unique gifts, and one-of-a-kind home décor.

It’s the perfect spot to find a special souvenir from your Lansing visit or get inspired with their custom framing services. 🖼️🎁

River N Ridge Outdoors

Even if you’re not an angler, this riverside shop is worth the visit. Browse outdoor gear, snag a unique Lansing t-shirt, or just soak up the relaxed, nature-loving vibe. 🎣

Best Time to Visit Lansing Iowa

Choosing the perfect time to visit Lansing, Iowa, depends on what kind of experience you’re hoping for.

Here’s a breakdown of the best times of year and what they offer:

Also Read: 25+ Unique and Useful Gifts For Travelers

☀️ Spring (May-June): The weather starts to warm up, flowers bloom, and the town awakens from winter.

This is ideal for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who want to beat the summer crowds.

Explore scenic trails, enjoy longer daylight hours, and take advantage of the Driftless Area’s natural wonderland.

🌻 Summer (July-August): Peak season in Lansing means sunny days, lively festivals, and the best conditions for water activities like kayaking and fishing.

If you love bustling small-town vibes and don’t mind sharing the scenery with other tourists, this is the time for you.

🍂 Fall (September-October): As the leaves turn, Lansing transforms into a picturesque haven of fall colors.

Hike the bluffs for breathtaking views, drive scenic roads, and maybe even catch a fall festival!

If cozy vibes and stunning foliage are your thing, fall is a magical time to visit.

❄️ Winter (November-April): While the outdoor activities slow down a bit, winter in Lansing offers a peaceful, small-town charm.

Enjoy holiday events, warm up in cozy cafes, and experience the quiet beauty of the snow-covered Driftless Area landscapes.

No matter the season, check Lansing’s events calendar for special events that might coincide with your ideal dates!

Navigating Lansing, Iowa & Beyond: Your Transportation Options

While Lansing’s charming downtown is best explored on foot, here are ways to get around and see even more of the area:

🚗 Rental Cars: For maximum freedom to explore the Driftless Area’s hidden gems, a rental car is the way to go. Discover Cars lets you compare prices and book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

🚌 Buses: For scenic journeys and connecting to other nearby towns, check out regional bus lines or the 380 Express Bus with convenient routes. Find schedules online.

📱 Ridesharing: Iowa Rideshare is a great resource for finding carpool partners, vanpool routes, and even cycling buddies. It’s a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around.

🚲 Biking: Embrace a healthy and eco-conscious way to explore! Lansing is bike-friendly. For longer commutes, programs like Clean Commute Options can help you find a Bike Buddy.

Insider Tip: Stay up-to-date on traffic and travel alerts by visiting

Is Lansing Iowa Safe to Visit for Tourists?

Is Lansing, Iowa, safe? The answer is a reassuring yes! Here’s why you can feel at ease while exploring this charming town:

🔒 Low Crime Rate: Iowa consistently ranks as one of the safest states in the nation, and Lansing benefits from this. Crime rates remain well below the national average.

🏡 Rural & Peaceful: Lansing’s small-town atmosphere contributes to its safety. You’ll find a welcoming community where serious incidents are rare.

⚠️ Basic Safety: Like with any travel, use common sense (locking your car, being aware of surroundings). Even in larger Iowa cities like Des Moines, crime remains below the national average.

🚌 Transportation Safety: Public transportation is mostly limited to larger cities, but pickpocketing is uncommon across the state.

🌍 Be Insured: While Lansing itself is safe, consider travel insurance like World Nomads for unexpected events throughout your trip.

🌪️ Weather Awareness: The Midwest can experience severe weather (tornadoes, flooding). Staying informed about alerts minimizes risks.

🚫 Terrorism Risk: Iowa’s rural nature makes terrorism exceptionally unlikely.

Overall, Lansing offers a peaceful and relaxing getaway. By exercising basic safety practices, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring!

Wrapping Up!

Whether you were charmed by the historic Black Hawk Bridge, reveled in the stunning views from Mount Hosmer Park, or savored the flavors of Lansing’s cozy eateries, this town leaves a lasting impression.

It’s a place where Midwestern warmth and the natural beauty of the Driftless Area create an unforgettable escape.

So start planning your Lansing, Iowa, adventure today! What is your favorite thing to do in Lansing? Please tell us in the comments below!

Ready to start exploring Lansing?

Download my expertly-crafted itinerary PDF for unforgettable experiences and insider tips! 

Disclosure: Heads up! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click ’em and buy stuff, we might earn a little coffee money. Don’t worry, we only recommend what we love. Thanks for keeping us fueled and fabulous!

Leave a Comment