The Most Beautiful Town in Iowa, Ranked

Choose the town you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 14, 2024 06:20
Choosing the most beautiful town in Iowa involves more than pinpointing various scenic qualities; it requires understanding the unique characteristics that define each community. By ranking these towns, residents and visitors alike can share their experiences and perspectives, enhancing appreciation for the state's diverse beauty. This process not only promotes local pride but also aids potential visitors in deciding which picturesque town to explore next. Each vote cast in this ranking influences the live leaderboard, creating a constantly updated snapshot of popular opinion. The interactive nature of voting encourages a broad participation base, ensuring the rankings reflect a wide array of views. As more people contribute their opinions, the results become a valuable resource for recognizing the outstanding qualities of Iowa's towns.

What Is the Most Beautiful Town in Iowa?

  1. 1
    Known as the "Masterpiece on the Mississippi," Dubuque has a picturesque downtown area with historic architecture, scenic river views, and numerous attractions such as the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.
    Dubuque is a picturesque town located in the state of Iowa, known for its scenic beauty and historic charm. Situated on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, Dubuque offers stunning views and a vibrant atmosphere. With a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1833, the town has preserved its architectural heritage while embracing modern amenities and attractions.
    • Population: 57,882
    • Area: 30.85 square miles
    • Elevation: 597 feet
    • Major River: Mississippi River
    • Nicknames: The Masterpiece on the Mississippi, The Key City
  2. 2
    Home to Iowa State University, Ames has a charming small-town feel with ample green space, bike trails, and cultural events.
    Ames is a vibrant and picturesque town located in the heart of Iowa. With its charming architecture, lively cultural scene, and natural beauty, it offers a wonderful environment for residents and visitors alike.
    • Population: Approximately 66,191
    • University: Home to Iowa State University
    • Parks: Over 30 parks and recreational areas
    • Farmers Market: Hosts a popular weekly farmers market
    • Academic Excellence: Known for its strong educational institutions
  3. 3
    Nestled in the bluffs of Northeast Iowa, Decorah is known for its natural beauty, quaint shops, and culinary delights. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, and kayaking in the nearby state parks.
    Decorah is a charming town nestled in the scenic northeastern region of Iowa. Known for its picturesque landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history, Decorah offers a sublime experience for both residents and visitors.
    • Outdoor Recreation: Abundance of trails and parks for hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking
    • Population: Approximately 8,000
    • Location: Northeastern Iowa
    • Natural Beauty: Surrounded by rolling hills, scenic bluffs, and the Upper Iowa River
    • Vibrant Downtown: Lined with unique shops, boutiques, and locally owned restaurants
  4. 4
    Iowa City
    Billwhittaker (talk) · CC BY-SA 3.0
    A UNESCO City of Literature, Iowa City is a vibrant college town with a rich cultural and literary scene. The Pedestrian Mall downtown is a popular spot for dining, shopping, and live music.
    Iowa City is a charming and picturesque town located in Johnson County, Iowa. With its rich history, vibrant arts scene, and close-knit community, it is often considered one of the most beautiful towns in Iowa.
    • Population: Approximately 75,130 (as of 2020)
    • University: Home to the University of Iowa, a renowned public research university
    • Natural beauty: Surrounded by scenic landscapes, including the rolling hills of the Iowa River Valley
    • Pedestrian Mall: A vibrant downtown area known as the Pedestrian Mall, featuring shops, restaurants, and street performers
    • Cultural events: Hosts various cultural events, including the Iowa City Jazz Festival and the Iowa Arts Festival
    Iowa City in other rankings
  5. 5
    Founded by Dutch immigrants, Pella is renowned for its picturesque architecture, windmill, and annual Tulip Time Festival. Visitors can also tour the Vermeer Mill or sample Dutch pastries and cheese.
    Pella is a charming and picturesque town located in Marion County, Iowa. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful towns in the state, known for its Dutch influence and stunning architecture. Pella offers visitors a blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty.
    • Tulip Time Festival: Pella is famous for its annual Tulip Time Festival, which attracts thousands of visitors. The charming streets are adorned with vibrant tulips, and numerous events and activities take place during this time.
    • Historic Dutch architecture: Pella showcases unique Dutch architectural styles with its charming brick buildings, iconic windmill, and picturesque canal.
    • Vermeer Windmill: Pella is home to the Vermeer Windmill, which is the largest working grain windmill in the United States. Visitors can tour the windmill and learn about its fascinating history.
    • Pella Historical Village: The Pella Historical Village offers visitors a glimpse into the town's past. It features restored historic buildings, including a traditional Dutch canal house and a working Dutch bakery.
    • European-style town square: Pella's town square is reminiscent of a quaint European village. It features brick-paved streets, charming shops, delicious Dutch bakeries, and inviting cafes.
  6. 6
    Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, LeClaire is a quaint river town with antique shops, restaurants, and the famous American Pickers store. Visitors can also take a riverboat cruise or stroll along the riverfront.
    LeClaire is a charming town located in Scott County, Iowa. It is nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River, offering stunning scenic views to visitors and residents alike. LeClaire is known for its small-town atmosphere, rich history, and unique attractions.
    • Population: Approximately 4,500 residents
    • Location: Along the Mississippi River in Scott County, Iowa
    • Riverboat Days: Annual festival celebrating the town's heritage and connection to riverboat culture
    • Antique Archaeology: Home to the original location of the renowned antique store featured on the TV show 'American Pickers'
    • Buffalo Bill Museum: Museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Buffalo Bill Cody
  7. 7
    Amana Colonies
    Kepper66 at en.wikipedia · Public domain
    Founded by German immigrants, the Amana Colonies are a chain of seven historic villages known for their traditional crafts, furniture, and cuisine. Visitors can tour the communal kitchens, breweries, and woolen mills.
    The Amana Colonies is a picturesque collection of seven small villages nestled in the Iowa countryside. Known for their historic charm, the colonies were initially established as a religious communal society in the mid-19th century. Today, they serve as a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a glimpse into a unique way of life.
    • Historic Significance: The Amana Colonies hold great historical significance, showcasing the communal lifestyle of German settlers who immigrated to Iowa.
    • Architectural Beauty: The colonies feature stunning examples of German-style architecture, with well-preserved buildings and charming cobblestone streets.
    • Craftsmanship: Local artisans in the Amana Colonies produce high-quality traditional crafts, such as furniture, quilts, pottery, and brewing.
    • Scenic Surroundings: Surrounded by lush landscapes and rolling hills, the colonies offer breathtaking views and ample opportunities for outdoor activities.
    • Culinary Delights: The Amana Colonies are renowned for their delicious German-inspired cuisine, including hearty sausages, homemade bread, and delectable pastries.
  8. 8
    Situated on the shores of Clear Lake, this resort town has a lively downtown area with shops, restaurants, and a historic theater. Visitors can also enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming in the lake.
    Clear Lake is a charming town located in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. It is known for its picturesque lake, which is the central attraction of the town. Clear Lake is named after the stunning natural lake that the town surrounds.
    • Population: 7,777
    • Area: 8.94 square miles
    • Elevation: 1,232 feet
    • Lake Size: 3,684 acres
    • Year Founded: 1855
  9. 9
    West Branch
    Elevatorrailfan · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The birthplace of President Herbert Hoover, West Branch has a charming downtown area with shops, restaurants, and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. Visitors can also hike the Hoover Nature Trail or explore the historic district.
    West Branch is a charming town located in Cedar County, Iowa. It is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, historic charm, and friendly community. The town is named after the nearby West Branch of the Wapsinonoc Creek, which adds to its natural beauty.
    • Population: Approximately 2,400 residents
    • Year of Establishment: 1869
    • Presidential Connection: Birthplace of the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover
    • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site: Home of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
    • Historic Downtown District: A well-preserved downtown area with charming shops, restaurants, and historic architecture
  10. 10
    Home to the Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield has a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures with a variety of yoga studios, organic cafes, and spiritual centers. Visitors can also tour the historic Carnegie Library or attend the annual Farmer's Market.
    Fairfield is a charming town located in southeastern Iowa, known for its picturesque landscapes, vibrant community, and spiritual atmosphere. It offers a unique blend of small-town charm and progressive thinking, making it one of the most beautiful towns in Iowa.
    • Scenic Beauty: Fairfield is surrounded by rolling hills, lush green forests, and beautiful prairies, offering stunning views throughout the year.
    • Transcendental Meditation: Fairfield is renowned for being the home of Maharishi University of Management, which emphasizes Transcendental Meditation. The town's collective focus on spirituality and well-being creates a unique and peaceful atmosphere.
    • Public Parks: Fairfield boasts several well-maintained public parks, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, picnicking, and relaxation.
    • Historical Architecture: The town is adorned with numerous historic buildings and houses, showcasing architectural styles ranging from Victorian to Gothic.
    • Cultural Diversity: Fairfield prides itself on its cultural diversity, welcoming individuals from various backgrounds and creating a vibrant and inclusive community.

Missing your favorite town?


Ranking factors for beautiful town

  1. Natural beauty
    Consider the surrounding landscape of the town, such as rivers, lakes, forests, or rolling hills that contribute to the town's overall beauty.
  2. Architecture
    Take into account the style, character, and historical significance of the buildings in the town. Are there well-preserved historic buildings, charming main streets, or distinctive local landmarks?
  3. Cultural richnes
    Assess the town's variety of cultural and recreational activities, such as museums, art galleries, theaters, and festivals.
  4. Green spaces and parks
    Examine the availability and quality of parks, gardens, and other green spaces that provide opportunities for relaxation and recreation.
  5. Cleanliness
    Assess the overall cleanliness and upkeep of the town's streets, public spaces, and buildings.
  6. Walkability and accessibility
    Consider how easy it is to explore the town on foot, the availability of bike lanes and pedestrian areas, and the convenience of public transportation.
  7. Community and friendliness
    Evaluate the sense of community and the friendliness of local residents. A beautiful town is often one where people feel welcomed and connected.
  8. Safety
    Determine the safety of the town, looking at crime rates and general feelings of security among residents and visitors.
  9. Amenities and services
    Account for the availability and quality of essential services such as schools, healthcare, and shopping facilities.
  10. Tourism appeal
    Consider the town's popularity with tourists, as well as the quality and variety of accommodations, restaurants, and attractions for visitors.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful town in Iowa. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or town is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 203 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each town once every 24 hours. The rank of each town is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most beautiful town in iowa

Iowa is known for its picturesque landscapes, charming small towns, and friendly communities. With so many beautiful towns to choose from, it can be hard to pick just one. Whether you're looking for a quaint downtown area, scenic views, or historical landmarks, Iowa has something for everyone. In this article, we'll be exploring some of the most beautiful towns in Iowa, as voted by our StrawPoll community. From the historic Amana Colonies to the vibrant culture of Iowa City, there's no shortage of stunning destinations to discover. So sit back, relax, and let's take a journey through some of the most breathtaking towns in the Hawkeye State!

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