Charles City Iowa is located 30 miles east of Mason City and 50 miles north of Waterloo. It’s a small town that I visited while staying in a nearby cabin rental. Unfortunately Red Cedar Lodge is no longer in operation, but it was a great trip with some of the other Midwest Travel Bloggers! So here are some fun things to do in Charles City, Iowa!
Disclosure: My stay was hosted by Red Cedar Lodge and Charles City. As always, opinions are 100% my own.
Things To Do In Charles City Iowa
🗺222 N Main St, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
Me and Katy (from Flint & Co) attended a drop-in early morning yoga class at Snap Fitness. It focused very much on core strength and balance rather than relaxation or mediative yoga, so this is something to keep in mind!
Payment to a class will also give you access to the regular gym machines and equipment throughout the day (you can even go away and come back later). If you are a member, you can purchase a heart rate monitor which is synced with a TV in the gym which I thought was a cool idea.
I also had a go on an EcoMill treadmill which is a self powered curved running machine, which is SO comfortable to run on! It even has an onboard generator where your movement powers the display panel and can even charge a phone! Amazing!
The Rustic Corner
🗺413 N Main St, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
As part of a girlfriend getaway, shopping could well be on your radar! I really liked The Rustic Corner which has a huge range of gifts (and joke items!), home decor items and even a whole area for personalised gifts which can be laser engraved then and there right in the shop! They also have guided painting and craft classes during the week.
🗺409 N Main St, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
Next door to the Rustic Corner is the Charles Theatre which dates back to the 1930’s! They show a movie every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7pm on a weekly rotation. It’s a bargain for $3 for an adult and $2 for children and seniors! (Movies are ‘new’ releases but are shown around a month later than the large cinema chains).
Wandering around the Main St area there are several other small businesses to shop local, various sculptures in Central Park and Little Free Libraries dotted around!
🗺1313 Gilbert St, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
I’m also a bit of a closet fan when it comes to garden centres. Otto’s Oasis has some unique gifts and home decor, as well as a greenhouse full of plants. During December they hold ‘The Festival of Trees‘ where local businesses and organisations decorate a Christmas tree that people can then vote for.
Charles City Public Library
🗺106 Milwaukee Mall, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
Charles City Library has a permanent art gallery which houses the ‘Mooney Art Collection‘ with art prints by artists such as Picasso, Rembrandt and Dali. Arthur Mooney was born in Rockford, Illinois but spend a portion of his life in Charles City. He gifted his art collection to Charles City Public Library before he passed away in 1941. The art gallery is open during the regular library opening times.
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Girlhood Home
🗺2379 Timber Ave, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
Those on a girlfriend getaway may get a kick out of visiting the Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Girlhood Home. It is located on the outskirts of Charles City. Carrie Lane Chapman Catt was a large influence in the woman’s suffrage movement in the early 1900’s. This resulted in the 19th amendment in women being given the right to vote in the USA. The house has many displays and exhibits about what it was like living during this time and of Carrie’s life.
As someone that has no right to vote in the USA, I felt that I could relate to how women felt back in the day. I live, work and pay taxes in America yet have no right to vote on things that affect my life too. It’s frustrating and makes you feel like you’re not good enough for your opinion to matter.
The Girlhood Home is open to the public Memorial Day to Labor Day. Entrance is free. To find out more, visit the Carrie Lane Chapman Catt Girlhood Home website.
Charles City Whitewater Park
If visiting in the summer season you may be interested in experiencing Iowa’s first whitewater park! Can you believe that yes, it is possible to go surfing in Iowa!? Charles City Whitewater park stretches for 1/4 mile along the Cedar River and is free to use. You can tube, kayak, canoe and paddle board! It’s open year-round but during the winter you will need to wear a dry suit. They also hold events and competitions during the summer.
There’s another whitewater park in Manchester Iowa, along a section of the Maquoketa River.
Lion’s Field Pool
🗺20 Lions Dr, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
If you were looking for something a little calmer than ‘white water’, Lion’s Field Pool is an outdoor pool open during the summer season. There’s a zero depth entry pool perfect for little kids, a main swimming area and a pool with a large slide. General swim is daily from 1pm – 7pm. Adults entry is $3, under 18s are $2 and under 5’s are $1.
Bayou Bend Mini Golf
🗺1304 Gilbert St, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
Just down the road from Lion’s Field Pool is Bayou Bend Mini Golf. This is an 18 hole mini golf course which has batting cages too.
Where To Eat and Drink in Charles City
Cedar River Pizza Co
🗺105 N Main St, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
As mentioned, I was staying in a nearby cabin. However one evening we had takeaway pizza from Cedar River Pizza Co which we brought back to the cabin and ate at our leisure. They even catered to my no cheese needs and smashed it out the park.
The Pub on the Cedar
🗺101 N Jackson St, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
If you want somewhere to dine in, The Pub on the Cedar is a great option. They have a beer menu with lots of options from local breweries. I had ‘Tip The Cow’ which came from SingleSpeed Brewing in Waterloo. The menu has typical pub dishes, such as: burgers, pizza, salads, pasta and more.
Aromas Coffee Shop
🗺214 N Main St, Charles City, IA 50616, United States
Aromas coffee shop is worth a stop in too! They are a family owned and operated small business that are passionate about the ingredients they useI opted for a cherry vanilla latte (possibly the first one ever made…lets say it was a bit of a custom order!) and it was very tasty. There’s plenty of space to either sit in or you can take away.