The Creamery in Polk City makes for a perfect pit stop after a ride through town. Photo: Duane Tinkey
Thousands of cyclists from across the world are heading here later this month for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. They’ve been training for months, packing their bags, daydreaming about rolling green hills and small-town hospitality.
So consider this: As an Iowan, you can see all that whenever you’d like. Here are just a few highlights from this year’s route, which you can visit whenever you have a free day to hit the road.
During the annual Stone Pier Summer Concert Series — continuing Aug. 5 and Sept. 3 — the lake view is just the beginning. The sound of music, the flutter of the breeze, the taste of barbecue and potato salad all add up to a pretty good evening. Bands perform right on the pier, which was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, while crowds gather on lawn chairs along the shore and in boats out on the water. Folks can order dinner from the “burger boat” on the water or from food trucks on shore.
Take the family or some friends to the Creamery, a charming worth-the-drive shop on the northwest corner of the square. On summer nights, folks line up on the sidewalk for hard pack, soft serve, frozen yogurt, shakes, malts, floats, sundaes and pup treats.
Just off Interstate 80, the Iowa River Landing offers a fun mix of hotels, restaurants and a neo-Main Street of stylish boutiques. If you prefer nature to shopping, take a walk through the Iowa River Landing Wetland Park, where elevated walkways cross through an aquatic plant and wildlife habitat near the Iowa River. Coralville also offers more than 20 miles of recreational trails, including the Sculpture Walk at the Iowa River Landing Development, which skirts the Iowa River and showcases a dozen sculptures by Iowa artists, each inspired by a literary work written by former students and faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.