Indoor Activities in the Council Bluffs Area

The weather may be a bit unpredictable this time of year, but that doesn't mean you need to stay at home! There are numerous fun and exciting things to do in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County, regardless of the temperature. We've made a list of some of the best things to do on cold, wet, and snowy days from escaping from an award-winning escape room to visiting a local museum.  

After a long day uncovering all that Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County have to offer, unwind with a relaxing stay in a Council Bluffs hotel. Click on our hotel options to browse and book today! 

Use our interactive trip planner tool to help plan your unforgettable getaway in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County! As you browse the website, look for the pin icon to save things to do, places to eat, events to attend, blogs, and more. Once you've curated your list, you can send it to yourself, share it with friends or family, and easily access it at any time! 

Uncover Railroad History & More

Union Pacific Railroad Museum 

As mile zero of the Transcontinental Railroad, Council Bluffs is rich in history, and we're proud to show it off! Uncover the past at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the Historic General Dodge House , the Squirrel Cage Jail, and many other museums and historical sites. 

Check out the "You're Home: A History of Pottawattamie County" exhibit currently on display at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center! This show invites you to experience some of the amazing pieces of historic artifacts found throughout the county and includes treasures from local museums, including the Pioneer Trail Museum, Walnut Creek Historical Museum, RailsWest Railroad Museum, Sweet Vale of Avoca, and more! The gallery is open Fridays from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays from noon - 4:00 p.m. 

Click here for a complete list of museums and historical attractions in Council Bluffs, and click here to learn about those in rural Pottawattamie County. 

Get Creative & Explore The Hoff

Photo courtesy of PACE 

The Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center serves as a hub for creative activity in Pottawattamie County. It features educational classes for young learners, including ceramics, painting, and a STEAM makers lab. Adults will enjoy the ever-changing art exhibitions in the gallery and live performances by the American Midwest Ballet, Chanticleer Community Theater, and Kanesville Symphony Orchestra.

Race Around the Track at Joe's Indoor Karting

Photo courtesy of Joe's Indoor Karting

Council Bluffs' first and only indoor karting facility, Joe's Indoor Karting, offers fast and furious kart racing with European indoor karts racing up to speeds of 45 mph! In addition to races, Joe's also offers classes and leagues.

Learn About Our Local Ecosystem 


Take a break from Hitchcock Nature Center's great outdoors in the Loess Hills Lodge Interpretive Facility! This unique exhibit gallery features a variety of hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. Children can visit Curiosity Cove to make animal prints, build their own habitat, read nature stories, and complete a scavenger hunt! 

Currently, they have a special Tallgrass Prairie exhibit on display that walks you through the past, present, and future of our local prairies. Click here for hours and admission details. 

Escape from The Cryptic Room

The Cryptic Room is a live-action, team-based escape room game. Once you are inside of one of the five-themed rooms, the clock starts ticking, and you have limited time to work together, find and use clues, solve the puzzles, and "break out." You must hurry, though — once the clock hits zero, it is all over!

Jump Around at The Hub!

Photo courtesy of The Hub CB 

The Hub CB is the place to be for year-round family fun! The Fly Zone Trampoline Park features an open bounce area, dunk hoops, dodgeball court, a battle beam to joust on, a large arcade, and so much more! The Hub also offers five lanes of axe throwing with an interactive game system for those 12 years and older. 

Antique Shop til You Drop!

b restored
B Restored in Walnut

If you love antiques, you came to the right county! In Council Bluffs, you can shop for antiques at The Swallows Nest, which carries several eras of antiques and retro items, as well as handmade gifts. Jan-Tiques in the Historic Haymarket District of CB specializes in restored oak furniture, crocks, and cupboards. On the other side of Pottawattamie County is the small town of Walnut, better known as Iowa's Antique City. The town is booming with antique stores and specialty shops. Check out favorites, including B Restored, Barn Mall, and Antique Furniture Emporium! 

Sit Back and Enjoy a Movie!

@lucasjcorbett on Instagram

Enjoy your favorite flicks in comfort at one of several theaters in Pottawattamie County! In Council Bluffs, relax in unforgettable recliner seats at AMC. The theater offers reserved seating, a bar, Dolby Cinema, and RealD 3D and IMAX viewing options. In Carson, you can enjoy a film on the big screen at Dreamland Theater. This quaint 166-seat theater shows new-release movies every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. Visit them on Facebook for scheduled showings. In Neola,  visit the Phoenix Movie Theater to enjoy a movie in a restored 1913 theater! Visit them on Facebook for showtime information. 

Test your Luck at Our Casinos!

Photo courtesy of Harrah's Casino and Hotel

Council Bluffs is home to three casinos, Ameristar Casino and Hotel, Harrah's Casino and Hotel, and Horseshoe Casino. All three casinos offer slot games, table games, and sports betting! Each property features several dining options like Amerisports Bar at Ameristar, 360 Steakhouse at Harrah's, and Jack Binion's Steak House at Horseshoe. Test your luck at Prairie Flower Casino, just minutes away from Council Bluffs in Carter Lake, where they have more than 200 of the hottest slots and great food! 

But Wait! There's More

Looking to see what the rest of the city of Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County has to offer? Check out Thunderbowl or Minden Bowl for an afternoon of friendly competition. Visit the Historic 100 Block of West Broadway for a delicious bite to eat or shop until you drop at Metro Crossing Shopping Center! Use the buttons below to find local attractions, restaurants, and hotels.

Attractions in Council Bluffs

Restaurants in Council Bluffs

Attractions in Pottawattamie County

Restaurants in Pottawattamie County

Don't forget to book your hotel stay with one of our properties by clicking here!

*Cover photo taken by @sarahwmorris on Instagram

This post was originally published on November 15, 2022 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.