7 Reasons to Get Into Grinnell Iowa

I recently told you about our stay at Hotel Grinnell in Grinnell, Iowa. It was the first time I had been to the town in almost 25 years and I’m glad we made the trip! Grinnell is named one of the Top Ten Coolest Small Towns in America and after visiting recently I have to agree! If you need the nudge, here are 7 reasons to get into Grinnell Iowa for your next getaway!

(I was not provided with anything other than a hotel stay in Grinnell. Places to go and restaurants to eat at include 100% my own opinions.) 

Things to Do in Grinnell Iowa

7 Reasons to Get Into Grinnell Iowa

#1 Delicious Food

I love trying local restaurants when I travel. Before heading to Grinnell I made a list of several places to try and we made it to three of them. One of the neat things about some of the restaurants is that they are converted buildings. Relish is inside of a house and The Peppertree at Depot Crossing is located in the old Rock Island Station that opened in 1893.

Restaurants in Grinnell Iowa

On this trip, we dined at Pagliai’s, Prarie Canary, and Candyland Station. All had amazing food and great vibes inside. The first night we went shopping and dodged into Pagliai’s for dinner when it started raining. I’m glad we did because there’s a reason this family-owned pizzeria serves thousands of pizzas each week!

Pagliai's in Grinnell Iowa

We couldn’t take a trip to Grinnell Iowa and not try one of the three popular ice cream shops. This time we stopped in Candyland Station and this is the cutest little soda fountain I’ve been too! Serving up sandwiches and lots of ice cream – I highly suggest an ice cream float! Heads up, they only take cash or check and still run with paper ticket orders. I’m telling ya, it’s so neat!

Ice Cream Shops in Grinnell Iowa

Candyland Station in Grinnell Iowa

On our last day, we had lunch at Prairie Canary where they have a local food focus and a full bar. I had the Canary Salad with a delicious dressing apricot dill dressing. My daughter went with the Pesto Chicken Club and had none left to share with me. I highly recommend all of these restaurants if you are looking for great places to eat in Grinnell.

#2 All Kinds of Art

Grinnell Iowa is becoming quite the creative arts community and you can see that all around. From murals to sculptures, to Grinnell Arts Center and the Faulconer Art Gallery on the Grinnell College Campus. We took all of it in that we could find and I’m sure we didn’t see it all.

murals in Grinnell Iowa

One place you’ll find a lot of art and sculptures is Faulconer Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden on the Grinnell College Campus. There are over 20 sculptures on campus that date as far back as the 19th century. You’ll find them located in the Holden Sculpture Courtyard, Haight Courtyard, Rotunda and other locations inside and outside the buildings.

Sculptures at Grinnell College in Grinnell Iowa

While we were there, the art gallery had two artists and they rotate. One was Charlies Bierk and his work was AMAZING! It’s on display until September 15th so if you get a chance you should go see it! Charles Bierk’s exhibit in Grinnell is the first exhibit in the US to feature photorealistic portraits and figurative paintings of Bierk.

Faulconer Gallery in Grinnell Iowa

#3 Fun Shopping District

There is a cute little shopping district in Grinnell that’s a couple blocks long and wide. You’ll find a bookstore, tattoo shop, clothing boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, a grocery store, and even Strand Theater! That’s right built in 1916, Strand Theater is still alive in Grinnell! You’ll even find a small museum of strand artifacts is located in the northeast corner of the lobby.

Strand Theater in Grinnell Iowa

#4 Lots of Outdoor Activities

Grinnell has lots of parks, an aquatic center, golf courses, and beautiful green space in several areas. Plus, the town is very close to Rock Creek State Park and Krumm Nature Preserve.  Needless to say, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Grinnell Iowa!

Outdoor Activities in Grinnell Iowa

#5 Slow-Paced and Relaxing Environment

Most of the people I saw in Grinnell were walking or biking. People that I did see driving weren’t in a hurry and everything felt really laid back and relaxed in Grinnell. It has everything you could need on a vacation without all the hustle and bustle of a big city!

#6 Beautiful Historic Architecture

There’s quite a bit of history throughout Grinnell Iowa. I fell in love with Merchants National Bank. Built in 1914, it’s one of eight “Jewel Box” banks Louis Sullivan created in the final decade of his life. It is now home to Grinnell’s Chamber of Commerce and you can stop and marvel at the gorgeous stained glass and neat features inside and out.

Jewel Bank Box in Grinnell Iowa

Back in 1991. the Grinnell Historic Commercial District was placed on the National Registry for Historic Places. It’s a great place to both walk and shop!

#7 Unique Hotel Grinnell

I already to told you all about Hotel Grinnell and it’s just one more reason to get into Grinnell for your next vacation in Iowa. Where else can you stay in an old school building built in 1921?!

Beds at Hotel Grinnell in Iowa

Grinnell is just short 3 hours or less drive from Council Bluffs and one worth the trip if you want to get away and releax in a place that offers great food, a fun vibe, and a variety of things to do!

Grinnell is known as “Jewel of the Prairie” with some of Iowa hottest independent restaurants, unique retailers, a tattoo shop, and legendary downtown. World-class athletic and recreational fields, oodles of parks, thriving arts and culture community. Get into Grinnell!

7 Reasons to Visit Grinnell, Iowa - One of the Top Ten Coolest Small Towns in America!

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