Altoona, located a short distance to the east of downtown Des Moines, is among the greatest locations to reside in Iowa.
The Adventureland theme park and the Prairie Meadows racetrack and casino are located near Altoona.
Altoona has a good standard of living, a welcoming atmosphere for businesses, and a vibrant entertainment scene.
Businesses and families flock to this rapidly expanding town not only to live but to prosper.
You will need a guide if you organize a tour of this city to assist you in discovering some of the most beautiful parts of the city.
Below are some fun things to do in Altoona, Iowa.
Things to Do in Altoona, Iowa
1. Cinemark Theatre
Off Adventureland Dr. and within shouting distance of the theme park is one of the best places in the Des Moines area to catch a movie.
This Cinemark theater has luxury reclining chairs on all of its screens. You may need to watch something exciting as it’s easy to drift off to sleep in these seats.
Concession prices are reasonable, too, for modern multiplexes, and the kettle corn is, of course, a highlight.
Tuesdays are discount days, but there are specials for early birds (before 1 pm), families, seniors, the military, and students.
Location: 2227 Adventureland Dr, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
2. Ironwood Park
Cherished by families with younger children, this park in Altoona is commonly known as Pirate Ship Park.
The reason becomes clear when you glimpse the playground, which has a South Pacific theme and is commanded by a giant climbing structure in the form of an old-fashioned sailboat.
A replica Easter Island head stands sentinel a few steps away while a sea serpent rises from the playground’s soft paving.
To the rear, behind the “palm trees,” is a set of rounded hills with slopes that are perfect for sledding when winter comes.
Location: 2222 3rd Ave SW, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
3. Terrace Hills Golf Course
This 18-hole golf course, which has been family-owned and -operated since 1964, is a source of pride for golfers in Altoona.
With its championship layout and variety of tee boxes, Terrace Hills is suitable for golfers of all abilities.
The course ensures you will finish your round within 4 -12 hours. Your next green fee is free if the pace of play is vital to you (applies to rounds before 2 pm on weekdays and noon on weekends).
The practice facility is noteworthy for its cutting-edge putting green and driving range. The fantastic 18-hole miniature golf course here is a much-loved addition for families.
Location: 8700 NE 46th Ave, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
4. Haines Park
East of Altoona along 8th Street is a park that mixes formal gardens and recreational facilities.
These plants are arranged in a series of elliptical beds; each centered on a fountain, connected by a path that ends at a white gazebo at the north.
There is a playground for kids and basketball and tennis courts if you want to be active while you’re here.
Haines Park serves as the setting for the Music in the Park summer concert series, which features free outdoor performances every month on Sundays from June through September.
Location: 3rd Ave SE, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
5. Village Park
Near Prairie Meadows, there is another great public park for families in a quiet area.
The playground in Village Park is distinctive, with a three-story tower with a slide and swings and a toddler-only play area.
If you’re organizing a family gathering, the park provides several picnic tables and a shelter with power.
A basketball court, tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, and a multi-use trail along the north and east edges of the park, among other sporting facilities.
Location: Altoona, IA 50009, United States
6. Sleepy Hollow Sports Park
There is a year-round attraction just east of the Iowa State Fairgrounds that offers something fresh each season.
The only permanent Renaissance hamlet in Iowa is located here; it has more than 40 structures and hosts events regularly.
Additionally, there are haunts, not only around Halloween but also throughout the summer and during the state fair in August, when the park transforms into a campsite with a free shuttle service.
Finally, there is a snow park in the winter with hills for tubing and Zipfy and Stiga sledding.
Location: 4051 Dean Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317, United States
7. Iowa State Fair
Just 15 minutes from Altoona, Iowa’s biggest yearly festival occurs every August. Over a million people attend the 11-day spectacle known as the Iowa State Fair, which has been around since 1854.
The fair, a varied festival showcasing the finest of Iowan agriculture, business, and entertainment, relocated to its current location in 1886.
There is so much going on that it would be impossible to list everything. Still, just to give you a taste, there are some of the biggest livestock, food, and craft shows in the nation, three different carnival areas, the Grandstand Concert Series, a ton of free entertainment, a ton of food vendors, and a kids’ zone packed with activities.
Corn dogs are the preferred snack in Iowa, while the Giant Slide has been a fair staple for over 50 years. Previous generations of fairgoers have great memories of the Giant Slide.
Location: 3000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317, United States
8. Adventureland Park
The best theme park in Iowa is open from late April through early September. Since 1974, when Adventureland opened for business, the park has introduced new attractions according to the season.
The 4D free spin ride, Dragon Slayer, had just started operating when we made this list, adding to the portfolio of world-class roller coasters. The Monster (2016), an infinite coaster with five inversions, is also on the list.
There are more than 100 rides, attractions, and performances at Adventureland, so everyone who visits will find something to enjoy.
The numerous vintage carnival games and the long-running magic show also offer nostalgic entertainment.
Location: 3200 Adventureland Dr, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
9. Prairie Meadows
There has been a prominent thoroughbred and quarter-horse racetrack in Altoona since 1989.
The casino that Prairie Meadows erected in 2004 currently offers 1,900 slot machines and a variety of table games, including blackjack and roulette.
Recently, the facility has established itself as a major entertainment hub, hosting performances by bands like ZZ Top and REO Speedwagon.
The racing season runs from mid-May through September. This Grade III thoroughbred event, which takes place in late June, offers a $300,000 payout.
Location: 1 Prairie Meadows Dr, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
10. Adventure Bay
Contrary to many theme parks nowadays, Adventureland’s water park, Adventure Bay, is included in the entry price.
With a lazy river, an enormous wave pool, kid-friendly water play features, and some exhilarating slides, this attraction, which opened in 2010, can rival any water park in the area.
Bermuda Quadrangle, a 4-plex of inter-tube slides for single or double-tube riders, fits this bill. Gang Plank & Pirates’ Plummet, two high-speed body slides that drop you 60 feet, are also not to be taken lightly.
The 6,000-square-foot Pirates’ Port Pool, which has a swim-up bar, is perfect for total relaxation.
11. Des Moines River
The capital of Iowa, a cosmopolitan city that is always changing, is never far away and demands your attention for its historic sites, top-tier entertainment, rich culture, and myriad ideas for family activities.
Although the Des Moines River might seem like an odd location to start, the floodplain offers a serene green space where people can go biking and hiking.
The Wells Fargo Arena, close to the riverside and the home court of the Iowa Wolves of the NBA G League, hosts notable touring performers.
The Des Moines Center, which houses one of the Midwest’s finest collections and is in charge of the surreal Pappajohn’s Sculpture Park downtown, is the place to go for cutting-edge modern culture.
Without the Iowa State Capitol (1886), which dominates the city from a hilltop and is topped with a golden dome, no sightseeing tour would be complete.
12. Gay Lea Wilson
This route, which bears the name of its ardent creator, Gay Lea Wilson, has been growing through the east Des Moines suburbs since 1989.
Altoona is one of the two portions along a former railroad route. From 8th St. SW and 7th Ave. SW, you may go 5.9 miles west to Pleasant Hill by walking, jogging, biking, skating, or skiing.
You may join the main path, which travels more than 7 kilometers through serene parks and suburban areas.
Ankeny serves as the northern trailhead, from where you may take the High Trestle or Neal Smith Trails to your destination.
13. Outlets Of Des Moines
This high-end store is a fantastic site that is well worth a trip. So it would be wise to include it on your list of things to do in Altoona.
Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, Michael Kors, Le Creuset, Nike, Old Navy, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Levi’s are well-known brands in the database.
There is a large fireplace here, so you can warm yourself before revisiting the shopping if exploring an outdoor mall in Des Moines during the winter seems intimidating.
Teriyaki Boyz, Auntie Anne’s, and Charley Philly Steaks are a few of the dining alternatives.
Location: 801 Bass Pro Dr. NW, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
14. Brightside Aleworks
A family-run business with over ten years of brewing experience and training in environmental engineering and culinary science, Brightside Aleworks was founded in 2017.
This is only the formula for a menu of beers that balances convention and inventiveness. Consider a wheat beer with a blast of cranberry and orange or an ice cream stout.
However, you can also count on a more well-known hoppy IPA or a traditional Irish Red Ale, and some of the beers on tap are vegan-friendly.
Brightside Alehouse collaborates with nearby food truck vendors to ensure that tasty snacks are frequently available with these ales.
Location: 480 Center Pl, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
15. Chichaqua Valley Trail
On its 26-mile journey from Baxter to Berwick, this National Recreational Trail goes via the north side of Altoona.
The Chichaqua Valley Trail follows the Skunk River’s forested banks and bluffs for a large portion of its route.
On a journey through rural Central Iowa so close to Des Moines, these long stretches of hardwood woodland are broken up by wide fields and pastures.
A few miles north of Altoona, at Ira, Mingo, Northeast 88th Street, and Bondurant, there are several other trailheads along the route.
The Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, which spans thousands of acres of pristine wilderness and is ideal for outdoor activities, is located east of Bondurant and is where the route becomes wild.
16. Enabling Gardens
One activity in Altoona that you shouldn’t skip is Enabling Garden. The City of Altoona and the Polk County Extension District Master Gardeners run the garden.
The garden was started in 2002 by a group of locals who wanted to do something good for their neighborhood.
The Master Gardener Enabling Garden initiative seeks to develop a space that showcases gardening for persons with physical disabilities.
Together, they labored to grow flowers and vegetables on a tiny ground in their backyards.
Locals established the Enabling Garden to improve the neighborhood and instruct visitors about horticulture and environmental sustainability.
Despite being accessible all year round, the gardens are often at their most breathtaking in the spring and summer when flowers are in bloom.
17. Pine Hollow Stables
The grounds have been designed to make your visit as simple and enjoyable as possible.
While you wait for your lesson, you may enjoy lunch or early breakfast at the picnic tables beside the stables.
The stable’s well-known horseback rides are its major attraction. While leading you on an exhilarating tour around the countryside, their knowledgeable guides will educate you about the history of horses.
Anyone wishing to spend time outside, discover something new, and develop a greater respect for animals will find it a wonderful experience.
Additionally, they provide instruction for all levels of motorcyclists, including novices.
You may locate a horse that suits your needs and expertise at this stable if you’re interested in having your horse but aren’t sure where to begin.
Location: 5055 NE 96th St, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
18. Bass Pro Shop
If you enjoy the outdoors and the natural world, you may be familiar with Bass Pro Shop. It is a big-box outdoor retailer that offers fishing equipment and hunting goods.
You’d be amazed to learn how much more there is than simply a store if you’ve never been there. It resembles a dynamic exhibit of the natural world. The shop is a sight to behold in and of itself.
Its 145,000 square foot area houses a museum, aquarium, educational facility, center for entertainment, art gallery, and antique shop.
They have tanks filled with local freshwater fish. Bass, catfish, trout, and a wide variety of other species may be found in the aquariums at Bass Pro Shop.
You may observe these animals via glass windows as they swim within their tanks if you want to get up and personal with them without getting wet.
Location: 1000 Bass Pro Dr. NW, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
19. Jethro’s n Jake’s Smokehouse Steaks
Jethro’s ‘n Jake’s Smokehouse Steaks, which serves some of the greatest barbecues while still providing all the typical pleasures of home-cooked food, is one of the nicest places to visit in Altoona, Iowa.
Fresh salads, baked bread to accompany your meal, various beverages, and more are all available.
Everything from appetizers to sandwiches to main entrees and sides is included on their menu.
Every meal served here is freshly made daily, so you know you’re receiving delicious food.
Jethro’s has something for everyone, whether you want to order a party platter for your upcoming get-together or enjoy a delicious dish for lunch or supper.
Jethro’s will deliver delicious food no matter what you order.
Location: 2601 Adventureland Dr, Altoona, IA 50009, United States
20. Altoona Skatepark
A legitimate skate park, the Altoona Skate Park features a great bowl, a huge quarter pipe, rails, ledges, and jumps.
To skateboard, you must be free to travel anywhere, whenever, and however you want.
You may ascend a pyramid-shaped ramp’s stairs at the Altoona Skate Park and descend into a basin below.
If not, leap off a different ledge after hitting the quarter pipe at the bowl’s edge. Then maneuver around a few rail gaps as you spin along the ground.
Even while it’s not as showy as other of the more well-known skate parks, such as Des Moines or Bettendorf, the park is well-kept.
If you’re ready to go from flat ground and ramps but aren’t quite ready for street skating or anything too challenging, this can be a great place to start.