Road trip filter: Three friends in Iowa and Omaha over Fourth of July long weekend. What to see, where to eat (Omaha steak and otherwise) and how to celebrate Independence Day?
Three Californians now living in Chicago are planning to head out to Iowa and the Omaha/Council Bluffs region for the first time over the Fourth of July weekend. General outline of the trip so far (we welcome advice!):
Friday: leave Chicago in late afternoon/early evening for southeast Iowa
Saturday: Eldon, IA (for American Gothic) in the morning, get to Omaha by dinnertime
Sunday: Day in Omaha, leave by afternoon/evening
Monday: Fourth of July festivities, back to Chicago; we're fine with a very late night/early Tuesday morning return
We sort of have three broad questions:
(1) What to see? We'd like to stop in at least one of the cities -- it seems to me the consensus online is that Iowa City is a better place to spend a couple of hours than Des Moines. Outside of the cities, kitschy attractions, the more ridiculous the better. (I already have the world's largest truck stop
and James Kirk's future birthplace
, as well as the aforementioned American Gothic house in Eldon.)
Random sampling of interests: local history, architecture/urban stuff/old buildings, literary/art-related, Trekkie, trains, Americana. But really, anything absurd and roadside is welcomed. We're easily entertained.
(2) Where to eat and drink? In particular, we'd like to splurge at an Omaha steakhouse for dinner Saturday night dinner (say up to $80 or $90 per person). For the other meals, we'd like to hit up local specialties as much as possible. We're pretty adventurous eaters with no dietary restrictions. And we're all of legal drinking age, so are there any particular bars/drinking holes to hit up?
(3) Finally, we'd love to be able to hit up a small town Independence Day parade and then fireworks in the evening on Monday. Where should we go/how do we go about planning this? We're fine with arriving back in Chicago very late, e.g. 2 or 3 am would be OK.
I've seen this
thread, which help a lot to answer what to see, but I was wondering if anybody else had interesting answers to our other questions (Omaha steakhouse? Fourth of July?) as well as any general itinerary advice, i.e. which roads to take and how to route things.
Thanks so much!