Your Guide to Council Bluffs RAGBRAI 2019

Council Bluffs is so excited to be an overnight town of RAGBRAI this year! Council Bluffs is the starting point of the ride that will lead on to the overnight towns of Atlantic, Winterset, Indianola, Centerville, Fairfield, and Burlington with the ride concluding in Keokuk. The full RAGBRAI 2019 route can be found here.

This blog post is your one-stop shop for all the information you need for your stay in Council Bluffs with us: accommodations, places to eat, and things to do!

Where to Stay

Visit our RAGBRAI page for a full list of hotels in town, including those with special discounted rates for the events! You can also visit our accommodations page to view other options like campgrounds or cabins.

Where to Eat

You’re about to burn a lot of calories biking; you can afford to indulge and Council Bluffs is a great place to do so with options like 712 Eat + Drink, 360 Steak House, and many more delicious eateries. Be sure to check out the 100 Block in downtown with favorites like Barley’s, Caddy’s Kitchen & Cocktails, Lincoln’s Pub, and more! Many of the 100 Block businesses will be open early, serving breakfast and drinks on RAGBRAI morning as riders leave town.

You can check out our full list of restaurants or read some of our blog posts for quick lists of quality tacos, breakfast spots, where to get your pizza fix, and where to grab a cup of coffee.

What to See

Join us for the weekend to check out our city’s rich history, art scene, and lots of outdoor recreation options from to hiking to biking—though you may want to wait until Sunday for the latter.

It’s not a complete visit to Council Bluffs until you explore the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, named Iowa’s best. The museum features exhibits exploring the history of the transcontinental railroad, passenger travel, and more. Continue on your railroad journey with a stop at the General Dodge House before completing your historic tour with a visit to the Squirrel Cage Jail, one of three jails left with its rotary-style construction.

After your museum tours, enjoy the summer sun bobbing at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge or enjoying a hike or bike along one of our many trails. If you come into town early, you can join our weekly Thursday night Taco Rides on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail. There's no better way to enjoy tacos then after a bike ride through the Loess Hills!

Cool off at one of our water parks or take the kids to one of our splash pads at Bayliss or Fairmount Park. They’ll have a blast playing with the parks’ interactive water features. Here’s a list of ways to cool off in Council Bluffs.

One of the Haymarket Rabbit heads in downtown Council Bluffs.

You could also spend a day exploring all of the art in the city, taking photos with our UNsculptures and viewing public art like the Haymarket Rabbits or the Molecule Man. From historical pieces like our restored Broadway Fountain to modern sights like our aluminum larger-than-life sculptures around the Mid-America Center, there’s a lot of beauty to see here in Council Bluffs. You can even download the handy Otocast app to help guide you on your art tour!

Check out our full list of attractions for more ideas of things to do during your stay, and check out our calendar for a list of events occurring the weekend RAGBRAI comes to CB.

Additional Blogs of Interest for Riders: 


Continue to check back at and for more RAGBRAI coverage leading up to the event! For information about the route, please visit RAGBRAI's website.

This post was originally published on January 26, 2019 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.