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Burlington, Iowa Travel Guide

Complete Vacation, Recreation and Tourism Information

Burlington, population 27,208, is a Mississippi River port town with a rich Native American, German pioneer, and transportation history. Prior to pioneer settlement, Native Americans treasured the area's flint supply. In the 1800s Burlington served as Iowa's territory capital. Today it is an agricultural, industrial, and commercial hub for southeastern Iowa.

On the riverfront the Port of Burlington Welcome Center provides an overlook onto the Mississippi River and starting point for exploration of the city. Gaming and entertainment venue, Catfish Bend Riverboat Casino docks here. Just north of town, at Lock and Dam No. 18 visitors can watch barges going by and during the winter see bald eagles. Marinas offer fishing supplies and boat and pontoon rentals for trips on the Mississippi. For a scenic view of the river by auto, travelers can head north or south along the Great River Road.

Downtown Burlington is home to two National Historic Districts, Heritage Hill and West Jefferson Street. The Heritage Hill area is 29 blocks of historic homes and buildings in a variety of architectural styles. Here, Snake Alley, a 27-feet long, crooked, blue-clay bricked path, built in 1894 by three of Burlington's German settlers, is a popular driving and biking destination.

Burlington's summer festivals draw big crowds to the city. In June the week-long Burlington Steamboat Days and American Music Festival features outdoor performances by top musical groups. Also in June, art, crafts, food, and entertainment line the town's curviest street during the Snake Alley Art Fair.

For outdoor recreation, area parks offer camping, hiking, and caving. The city has two public golf courses. Bowling, go-karts, laser tag, restaurants, and a climbing wall supply hours of entertainment at Fun City, an amusement and water park. March through September, 34 Raceways hosts weekend car races.

Burlington is located in the southeast corner of Iowa 110 miles south of Cedar Rapids and 190 miles southeast of Des Moines. Lodging options include national chain hotels/motels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds.


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