Apr 6, 2022 Communities

9 Things to Do During the Spring in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Spring has sprung! Looking for ways to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the season in Council Bluffs? We’re sharing some of our favorite springtime activities in the Council Bluffs area, from wildflower hikes to patio hangs — all designed to help you enjoy this season to the fullest.

See how many things you can check off your bucket list before the heat of summer kicks in!

Explore Lake Manawa State Park

Lake Manawa State Park Iowa
Photo Courtesy of Iowa Outdoors Magazine/DNR

Lake Manawa State Park is one of the area’s most popular destinations for outdoor recreation of all kinds, from boating and swimming in the lake to hiking and picnicking along the shore. This massive state park encompassing more than 1,500 acres has miles of hiking trails, plenty of boat ramps, and lots of picnic/shelter areas. The park is also home to Dream Playground, which is the largest ADA-accessible playground in Iowa. When it gets a bit warmer, splash around at the swim beach, which provides a clean area to enjoy the lake. Lake Manawa State Park is the place to be during the spring and summer!

Have a Picnic at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park

Keep it simple with a picnic at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, the 85-acre preserve that rests along the Missouri River, offering uninterrupted views of the Omaha skyline. Sit on the terraced steps or opt for the 5-acre great lawn to provide a clearer view of the city. After your meal, take a stroll along the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge or other trails connected to the park.

Get Ice Cream from Christy Creme

On a hot spring day, treat yourself to an ice cream cone from Christy Creme, a third-generation family-owned ice cream shop that has been serving the Council Bluffs community since 1954. Here, you’ll find an excellent selection of ice cream, sundaes, parfaits, milkshakes, burgers and fries — best enjoyed at the nearby shaded picnic tables. Christy Creme keeps it simple with four ice cream flavors (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and twist), plus a rotating flavor of the day, which you can see in advance on their Sherbet Calendar!

Go to Trivia Night at Barley’s

Spring has the ability to bring us out of hibernation to enjoy some more social activities, like concerts, festivals, and trivia nights at the local brewery or bar. Barley’s hosts a trivia night every Wednesday night, where you have the opportunity to win free drinks and prizes! Plus, Wednesday is Pint Night at Barley’s, which means you can keep the pint glass of any craft beer you order and get $5 off any wine bottle. No matter what day of the week you’re there, Barley’s has a laid-back atmosphere (and an exceptional outdoor patio) perfect for grabbing a beer or one of the best burgers around.

See Wildflowers Along the Chute and Heritage Trail Loop

Chute and Heritage Trail Loop Iowa

Stumbling upon unexpected patches of wildflowers might be one of the most exciting discoveries of spring. Make a point to see wildflowers by taking a stroll along the Chute and Heritage Trail Loop in the Hitchcock Nature Center. This relatively easy 2.3-mile loop trail typically takes just over an hour to complete, and rewards hikers with some breathtaking vistas of surrounding countryside and an up-close view of delicate wildflowers along the way. While you’re at the Hitchcock Nature Center, make a stop at the 45-foot-tall observation tower, the Loess Hills Lodge Interpretive Center, and the playground near the entrance. Click here for information about all there is to see and do at this 1,268-acre park!

Dine on a Patio

Once the weather warms up, there’s only one appropriate response to the “inside or outside?” question upon arrival at a restaurant! Thankfully, there are plenty of amazing outdoor patios in Council Bluffs, where you can dine al fresco, people watch, and soak up the sun. Take a look at some of our favorite restaurant patios in Council Bluffs, which are decked out in a variety of amenities and features, like outdoor TVs, firepits, shade umbrellas, twinkly lights, ceiling fans, and more.

Go to the Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ Market Council Bluffs

As soon as May hits, add the weekly Farmers’ Market Council Bluffs to your calendar! The market pops up in Bayliss Park every Thursday evening between May and September. This lively community tradition features fresh produce, baked goods and talented artists. It is a wonderful place to wind down at the end of the day, grab some last-minute farm-fresh ingredients for dinner, and support local businesses all the while.

Spend the Afternoon on Historic 100 Block

When in doubt, just make your way to Historic 100 Block. This section in downtown Council Bluffs hosts a variety of dining and nightlife options, which means it is an exciting place to be any time of the year. You could spend a whole day here; grab coffee at Em & Liv’s Hard Bean Coffee, shop at the many boutiques, eat lunch at Barley’s, take a stroll through nearby Bayliss Park, and enjoy dinner and drinks at Caddy’s Kitchen & Cocktails. And of course, admire the historic architecture of this charming district all the while!

Pick Up Some New Plants at Diller Greenhouses

Diller Greenhouses Council Bluffs, Iowa
Photo Courtesy of Diller Greenhouses

Gardening season is upon us! That means it’s time to freshen up our outdoor spaces, replacing the lifeless plants from last year with fresh, colorful annuals. Plus, it may be time to plant new shrubs, evergreens or fruit trees! Thankfully, Diller Greenhouses has all your botanical needs covered. This family-owned and -operated nursery is open seasonally from April through June. Diller has quality plants that are grown on-site and a helpful staff that will help you find the right plants for your home and garden.

What else?

What are your favorite things to do during the spring in Council Bluffs? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Apr 6, 2022 Communities
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