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Ottumwa Stories: Come for Holiday Nights 'N Lights, Stay for the Day!

Published December 2, 2019

So you’re planning to take a tour through Holiday Night ‘N Lights? That’s great! The 1-mile drive through Greater Ottumwa Park is an amazing way to see dozens of displays and thousands of twinkling lights all in one place. It’s become a holiday tradition for so many families over the past 15 years, and we can’t wait to have you come visit Ottumwa.

But wait, there’s more! Don’t just come for the evening and then head home. Make a day trip out of it and see everything Ottumwa has to offer while you’re here.

Something Cool: Try out the games at the Old School Pinball and Arcade in the Quincy Place Mall. Located in the Quincy Place Mall, you’ll enjoy a 4,000-square-foot video game and pinball arcade just waiting to be explored! This family fun-centered arcade has more than 60 arcade games, pinballs and console games, so there is something for everyone to play.

Something Historic: Take a driving tour of the Wapello County Freedom Trail. The Trail includes the Wapello County Freedom Rock in front of the Bridge View Center on Church Street, the All Veterans Memorial in Greater Ottumwa Park, the Wapello County Historical Museum at 210 W. Main St., the Wapello County Soldiers Monument in Central Park and the Civil War Soldier Wood Carving in Ottumwa Cemetery.

Something Outdoors: Brave the cold weather and play one (or all) of the county’s seven disc golf courses. Disc golfers will find beautiful landscapes and challenging holes, and each course has special qualities that make them favorites for different reasons. In Ottumwa, you’ll find courses at Indian Hills Community College, Memorial Park, Franklin Park and Wildwood Park. Courses around Wapello County can also be found at Sandy Dunes in Eddyville, Chippewa Creek in Eldon and just south of Ottumwa at the Pioneer Ridge Nature Area.

Something Retail: Shop your way along Main Street Ottumwa, which is filled with retail shops, antique malls, restaurants, historic districts and so much more. The Quincy Avenue shopping area combines local shops, national chains and some great dining with the Quincy Place Mall at its hub. Follow Highways 34 and 63 in all four directions and you’ll be surprised at all the shopping opportunities just waiting for you!

Something Musical: From world-famous performers and award-winning bands to local bands and community symphonies, there is always something playing in Ottumwa. In the month of December, Bridge View Center is hosting A Magical Cirque Christmas and the Ottumwa Community Children’s Playhouse’s musical Bah, Humbug! Market on Main has local musicians every Friday night, and Pallister Brothers Brewing Company fills their weekly calendar with area talent, too. And Indian Hills Community College has holiday events scheduled throughout the month. Check out www.greaterottumwacvb.org/events for all the dates and times.

Something Edible: Ottumwa has more than 40 locally owned and operated restaurants, showcasing food and beverages from around the world. Try a one-of-a-kind Canteen, real-deal barbecue, Filipino cuisine, a Hawaiian menu, out-of-this-world desserts and many more local favorites. Whether you’re grabbing lunch while you’re out and about town or you’re planning a special, elegant meal before driving through Holiday Nights ‘N Lights, Ottumwa will surprise you with all its local and ethnic dining options.

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