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Ottumwa Stories: This One's For the Families

Published November 1, 2023

The holidays are almost upon us, and it's time to start planning how to spend your time in Ottumwa and Wapello County with your friends and family. Our communities have so many attractions, restaurants, shops, activities, and events to explore as a family. We've done the heavy lifting for you - here are just a few itineraries to get you started.

For the History Buffs: Whether it's The American Gothic History Trail,  the Antique Airplane Association's Air Power Museum, a tour of Wapello County's Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients, a visit to the Iowa Heartland History Connection Museumor a drive to see all the points of the Wapello County Freedom Trail, we'll keep you steeped in our communities' history.

For the Kids: Kids of all ages will love the indoor/outdoor Beach Ottumwa, the variety of sweet treats at Candy Caboose, the challenge of eight courses for Disc Golf, the instruments at Harmony ParkOttumwa's Old School Pinball & Arcade, and Spud's Emporium of Comics and Games.

For the Music Lovers: Ottumwa is the perfect backdrop for world-renowned performers and shows, as well as a stage for local musicians and artists. Check out Bridge View Center, Southeast Iowa’s premiere performing arts venue. The Indian Hills Community College Fine Arts Department offers free concerts and shows throughout the year. The Ottumwa Area Community Chorus performs several times each year, including their own concerts as well as collaborative performances with the Ottumwa Symphony OrchestraSoutheast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, and other regional choirs, the Ottumwa Municipal Band, and as part of the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival and Temple of Creative Arts.

For the Foodies: Dine around the world without ever leaving Wapello County! Enjoy authentic Asian buffets at China Star and Jade Palace. Try sushi and hibachi favorites at Shiki Hibachi Sushi. Order Mexican street food and treats at Botanitas Isa-Abys. Get your burrito fix at Burritos Los Roy. Explore the Guatemalan menu at Ganacheria y Taqueria Ebenezer. Try the award-winning tacos at Mimi’s Taqueria. Discover Salvadorian papusas at Pupuseria Juanita’s Restaurant. Get some real-deal barbecue at Bubba-Q’s and Warehouse Barbecue Co. Order award-winning burgers at Morgan’s Corner. Be part of Ottumwa’s history at Canteen Lunch in the Alley. Sample the variety of menu items at Mike’s Pizza & Steakhouse. And don't forget the sweet treats! Try the ice cream and signature decorated sugar cookies at Ashby’s Bakery & Ice Cream Shop. Go back in time with a handmade shake at Southside Drug’s Soda Fountain

For the Art Aficionados: Start at the American Gothic House & Center to see the house that started it all. In addition to being a performing arts venue, Bridge View Center also has public art displays, including the Freedom Rock, a Michael Lemberger photography collection, an oil on canvas by Fred Easker, the Ferber sculpture, and Harmony Park, an interactive musical exhibit located between the Bridge View Center and the Des Moines River. The Indian Hills Community College Art Gallery on the Ottumwa campus continually houses some of the finest art in southeast Iowa. The gallery hosts national traveling exhibits, as well as works created by local artists, including Indian Hills Community College faculty and students and Ottumwa High School students. And make sure you take the Self-Guided Street Art Tour. Along both sides of the Des Moines River, visitors will find an extensive street art collection, including Canteen Alley, Main Street, and Bridge View Center. There are pieces created by local, state, and national artists, as well as lighted metal art, interactive displays, and one-of-a-kind murals.

For even more itineraries for couples, the outdoor lovers, the shop-o-holic, and just some downtime to rest and relax, you'll find everything you need by clicking HERE.

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