Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Best Times to be on Main Street in Downtown Lansing
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Best Times to be on Main Street in Downtown Lansing

LANSING, IOWA--Lansing's Main Street can only be described as the quintessential Midwestern Mississippi River town. Inside the bustling downtown, a person can find anything they desire, but only if one chooses to really look for it.

NOON FRIDAY: To really understand this downtown area, it is best to start at noon on a Friday. Spend the next two hours just browsing the shops and businesses.

2-2:30PM: This time should be set aside to have seat on one of Lansing's downtown benches. Please sit, relax and enjoy the bustle and unspoken excitement as this Main Street, it proprietors, visitors and residents get ready for a weekend at the River.

As you take in this scene, you may begin to see the atmosphere change a bit from your noon walk. You notice a buzz building on Main Street, complete with added energy as the downtown starts to take on a life all it's own.

It's the weekend here in Lansing and many will come to visit. If you look closely enough, you may see the change in people, the added bounce in their step as they start to feel the anticipation of a weekend (a very special Mississippi River Town weekend --- because all of them are special here).

2:30-5PM: It's time to visit the Riverfront and the best place to start is at S&S Marina. Visit with Sue and she will provide you a quick overview of their rentals (if you decide you want to experience the River first hand).

Next head North up to our park/baseball field where you might catch a local game. Whether it's little league or the Lansing Mudcats American Legion team, Lansing is steeped in baseball history (our High School has won more state championships than any other stand alone school in the state).

From the diamond you will be able to see a few gems that many visitors miss. Directly to west of the Fire House sits a stone building with a blown glass shop/gallery. Also in this building is a baseball museum, so if they are open during your visit, it's a must see.

Looking up to the right of the firehouse from the diamond you will see a row of buildings on the riverfront. This area has small shops and a River Museum (make sure you pick up a schedule for the Mississippi Explorer River Tours).

Next, to the North on the Riverfront is Sweeney's. Take a break and have a cold drink with a great view of the River.

A block or two north brings you directly under the Black Hawk Bridge. This is a perfect setting for pictures and to read about our bridge's inception.

Next stop north would be Lansing's City Marina, along with the Tiki Bar. Midday weekends or dusk are the best times to catch the flavor and views from our Tiki Bar.

Friday Evening: Now that you've perused Lansing's main hub it's time for dinner and drinks. Dinner choices are Pizza at The Safe House Saloon, Milty's and Sweeney's for a full menu or a Fish Fry (hint: below Sweeney's is Bikini's --- a Riverfront open-air bar).

If you want to venture a mile and a half west you can experience The Red Barn Campground & Resort for a decent dinner.

Saturday Mornings on Main Street: Find the Farmers Market downtown and enjoy the some of the shops you missed yesterday. The town will be abuzz with activity and one shouldn't miss a visit to Horsefalls Variety Store.

Midday til' Dusk: Go west on Main Street and take a right at the Mt. Hosmer Park sign. Take the park road up to two viewing areas. These provide a great setting for pictures, along with views of three states at once.

Saturday Evenings: Usually something going on for those that like live music or the nightlife. I suggest making a circuit of Milty's, Sweeney's, The Safe House and The Other Place. For a quieter atmosphere stop in at The Lounge, smack dab in the middle of Main Street.

Sundays in Lansing brings us to church, a country ride down the River Road, or maybe a river excursion.

After this kind of variety of experience, one realizes that a weekend on the river should really be a week long visit---maybe two.

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.






  1. Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    What a fantastic post! We're itching to get to Lansing now! Thanks for sharing. Speaking of sharing: we're posting this to the Imagine Northeast Iowa Facebook page as we speak. Feel free to share it with you friends, family, & fans. Cheers!
  2. turalouise
    Couldn't have written this better.. it really covers this wonderful river town perfectly.
  3. RovingPatrick
    As the final town in RAGBRAI's 2017 journey, Lansing will really be hopping. Visit it on RAGBRAI day, but you might also want to visit it on a less populated day.

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