Insider’s Guide To This Month’s RAGBRAI

The Wells Visitor Center & Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars is a must-do while in town for RAGBRAI’s overnight stop. Photo: Wells Visitor Center & Ice Cream Parlor

Another casualty of the year that was 2020, the favorite cycling event in the state is back on July 25-31 with a few new stops from last year’s plan. We scouted a majority of the trip pre-pandemic. Here are our suggestions.

Le Mars
If you haven’t been, this town is sweet. Literally—it’s home to Blue Bunny ice cream and the downtown near the factory wafts with vanilla goodness. Park it downtown and head to Wells Visitor Center & Ice Cream Parlor to sample some of the town’s treat. For barbecue and patio fans, fuel up for the ride ahead at Iowa Barbecue.

Fort Dodge
Blanden Art Museum packs an artful punch. Enter and see Chihuly glass, special exhibits (2020 highlighted women artists from 1890 and beyond), and modern sculptures outside. If want to go back, plan on a short trip to Dolliver Memorial State Park for a hike.

Iowa Falls
Sited on the Iowa River, the town of about 5,200 has a thriving downtown and is now home to a cool new brewery, Timbuckbrü—the perfect after-ride stop. We visited their home base in Clarion and loved the laid-back vibe, cool owners and staff, arty interiors and, of course, the beers. They opened the Iowa Falls location during the pandemic.

Downtown is going to be funfest during RAGBRAI week. Head first to Singlespeed Brewing for a flight of local brews and light bites. We love the flatbreads and brussels sprouts with hoisin and cilantro. Kombucha fans should check out Verve nearby. And for the ultimate carb load, head to the Brown Bottle, a Waterloo institution that serves up old-school pasta.

Home to the state penitentiary, you can visit the museum and purchase prison memorabilia as a reminder to keep on the straight and narrow. Motorcycle fans can check out the National Motorcycle Museum.


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