Iowa Nightlife

Select Local Merchants

It's usually Mullets' mascot that first catches guests' eyes, flashing its gill-to-gill grin from its post-top perch. Then there's the big neon sign, which further befits the establishment's roadhouse atmosphere. Situated at the confluence of the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, Mullets draws in patrons with pub staples such as burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas as well as plentiful seafood options that include catfish, bluegill, crawfish, and frog legs. Servers can bring these dishes out to the wood-paneled dining room or up the stairs to the two-level outdoor patio, where banners for the Chicago Cubs and Boulevard Brewing Company ripple in the wind like the tongue of a skydiving dog. The staff encourages patrons to make their own marks on the pub’s playful atmosphere by posting photos of their mullets—whether haircuts or state-fair-winning fish—to the Mulletin board.

1300 SE 1st St
Des Moines,
IA
US

The Science Station illuminates the minds of children and adults on the workings of science, math, and technology with hands-on exhibits, puzzles, and games. Play paleontologist with the Dinosaur Exploration Station, complete with time tunnel and dig box, or visit the Math Mania room to help kids hone number skills through games. In the Animal Clinic, tots can play doctor with faux-furry friends and learn how to care for real ones. The Science Station houses a Museum Store with education games for ongoing imagination stimulation. The Science Station is open Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

4444 1st Ave NE
Cedar Rapids,
IA
US

The Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickles ears with beautiful melodies and spectacular performances during its annual "Holiday Pops" concerts. Guest conductor Michael Butterman takes charge of an all-star cast that features six-time U.S. figure-skating champion Todd Eldredge as he shows off his moves and carves his version of a perfect tumbleweed into the ice. Actor and Quad Cities native John Getz lends his vocal talents to festive proceedings, and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Jon Faddis jazzes up orchestral pieces with fiery improvisation. The show takes place at the i wireless Center, with guests choosing from lower-bowl seats for straight-ahead sightlines or upper-bowl perches for enviable views of conductor stage dives.

327 Brady St
Davenport,
IA
US

During galaxy bowling, Cadillac Lanes turns futuristic with the help of a space-age-evoking light and sound show. Even under the glow of traditional lighting, the alley brims with modern technology, such as automatic scoring and retractable bumpers. A trove of lightweight to heavy bowling balls allows players of all muscle masses to scatter pins without straining their muscles. In between 10-frame games, patrons can maneuver joysticks in the arcade or refuel at the snack bar. The venue also welcomes birthday celebrations with party packages complete with decorations that create a joyful atmosphere, rather than celebrating with impromptu bowling-ball confetti.:m]]

650 Laporte Rd
Waterloo,
IA
US

The same venue that hosts weddings and upscale dinners also welcomes established comedians and rock bands, making First Avenue Club a go-to destination for all manner of events. Inside, a full-service bar overflows with 12 draft beers, 40 bottled beers, and a wealth of mixed drinks. Further behind the scenes, the kitchen fires up hearty entrees such as roast pork loin and baked cod.

1550 S 1st Ave
Iowa City,
IA
US

Cellar19 compiles a menu of freshly made sandwiches, salads, and appetizers to pair with their array of international wines. Select a bottle from the wooden racks lining the restaurant, or settle in for a laid-back lunch with an order of baked brie topped with apple slices, almonds, and berry preserves ($9) or cool shrimp cocktail ($8). Slices of bread bind high quality meats and fresh toppings to create 19 different hot and cold sandwiches, such as chicken cordon bleu with swiss-cheese-topped chicken breast and tavern ham ($6.99). The veggie crisp courts coy herbivores with a medley of avocado, sprouts, and other greenery on a baguette spread with white-wine mustard ($6.99). Glasses of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling ($6) compliment crisp vegetables; the Windmill zinfandel ($7) boasts bold raspberry flavors to match heartier fare such as Cellar19's French dip ($6.99) or flannel salads.

928 Valley View Dr
Council Bluffs,
IA
US