2022 T-Bone Trail · Grownup Getaways · Historic US Route 20 · Museums and History · Northwest Iowa · Outdoors All Year

Endless Woodbury County, Iowa Discoveries: Iconic Taverns, Thick Cut Memories & the History of America

*The largest metro area in Western Iowa is the Sioux City area, and we covered a ton of ground in this great American town and much more throughout this huge county! Our trip to Woodbury County was sponsored and funded by the Western Iowa Tourism Region. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

The show is always about to start in Sioux City and all over Woodbury County! Let’s explore…..

Woodbury County, Iowa

Coffee-Up & Taco Time

Highway 20 was my route into Sioux City coming in from the east. However, not just the main drag of HWY 20 that shows up on your map. It’s good to wander off and get a little history lesson of the state from time to time, and you’re not required to get out of your car sometimes. Just staying on a certain historic path gives you a view into Iowa’s past. I headed onto Historic US Route 20 (Or Old 20), for much of the stretch into Woodbury County, to see some areas I haven’t visited in quite awhile. Mainly because I wanted an insane amount of coffee!

A huge sip of Moville, Iowa at Movillatte! Directly on Old 20 and loaded with refreshing caffeinated beverages for your Gallivant into NW-Iowa!
Great job of keeping me going, Movillatte!

That’s how you get the party started in Woodbury County, but you could use a refill. A quick change of scenery and all of a sudden you’re in Downtown-Sioux City! You know there’s going to be a coffee option here!

Hardline Coffee Co held out its welcoming arms and had that roasted aroma luring me into the neighborhood. Another ice coffee craving fulfilled!

Coffee is a wonderful thing and it’s without a doubt on my top 5 list of enjoyments that make my travels so enjoyable no matter where I go. Tacos are right up there and especially when they arrive in breakfast form!

Brightside Cafe & Deli is located in Downtown-Sioux City and has one of the most heartwarming concepts you can imagine.
Breakfast taco alert! Brightside’s kitchen made quite an impression on me when I took a bite of this holism taco. Flavorful chorizo, freshly scrambled eggs and house-made salsa in every bite!
Brightside Café & Deli has a concept you don’t see in every restaurant. They proudly display thank you notes from folks who’ve benefited from the gratuity of hundreds of customers that have added a complimentary meal option to their bill. I was pleased to do the same before paying, and it felt good to know that we could give back to the community in unique way by just stopping for a taco in Downtown-Sioux City.

Roadside America & History

Traveling Old 20 through Woodbury County will bring you to Correctionville with its bevy of roadside attractions. A great welcome sign and service stations that take you back in time are just a few of the roadside pieces of Americana you’ll find. Then there’s what we stopped for below!

Correctionville’s stretch of Old 20 goes right past this park and all its arsenal.
Next to the jets and artillery is this boulder memorializing local veterans. These roadside pieces are getting people to stop more often all over Iowa, and our cameras are filling up with these opportunities during our travels.

The Sioux City area has been one of Iowa’s most important and historic regions for hundreds of years. Even before this NW-Iowa city existed. Time for a history lesson on the river!

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is directly on the muddy banks of the Missouri River where their expedition explored in 1804 and in 1806.
Be sure to stop by the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center even if you show up during times the buildings are closed. There’s plenty of public art and photo ops all over these grounds!
Modern art dinosaurs mixed with statues of wildlife you’d find all over the quest to find a pacific passage. Made more spectacular by those incredible NW-Iowa skies in the background!
Showcasing scenes, historic artwork, and materials that would have been used during the expedition are inside the interpretive center.
This colorful piece wraps around the wall while illustrating the importance of Native American cultures the Corps of Discovery encountered during the long expedition from St Louis to the northwestern Pacific coastline and back.
Connected to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is the Betty Strong Encounter Center with its own uniqueness and exhibits. One of them is this long hallway with wonderful photography of Native American children.

Don’t worry about getting into your car for awhile in this historic section of Sioux City. All along the banks are ways to stretch your legs and continue your Western Iowa site seeing!

One of Iowa’s most interesting welcome centers is here in Sioux City. This is the Sergeant Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center!
An old riverboat repurposed to keep the Iowa visitors intrigued, entertained and stocked up with Hawkeye State paraphernalia and souvenirs! And this was only the bottom deck…
The mid-deck is loaded with more of the area’s history and Native American influence. One thing you can count on is getting a casual education when you visit Sioux City, Iowa.
Top deck is the original pilot house. This is for all you folks that have dreamed about being a real river boat cap’n!


The Avid Hotel in Downtown-Sioux City was the Woodbury County-HQ for our T-Bone Trail expedition! This colorful, modern, and down right awesome hotel was perfectly positioned for our day in Sioux City and Woodbury County.

The sunlight is no stranger to the Avid Hotel in Sioux City! Pouring into the lobby and welcoming us to town! 101 Court Street 712-522-3640
The decor of the Avid Hotel puts out some major positive vibes. I was already looking forward to breakfast the next day!
The Avid Hotel welcoming didn’t stop at the front desk! Upon walking into my room, I noticed that my flat screen TV was greeting me to Sioux City as well!
Have you ever hugged a hotel? You can hug the Avid in Sioux City! Inside this lovely box are some fun gifts, but the best part is that it doubles as nightlight!
I can’t thank everyone enough for the delicious gift basket we received. Sioux City, Iowa is home to some of the best professionals in the fields of popcorn and candy!
My room at the Avid Hotel with the Sioux City sunshine participating in the Woodbury welcoming. The bed, bathrooms, TV and everything in this room was comfortable and modern. The staff made me feel happy with their kindness and humor when checking in, and the staff I couldn’t see prepared an incredibly clean and inviting room. And we still have more to show you!

Museum Hopping

The Sioux City area is jam packed with museums and I was lucky to have the chance to see some of them in the short time I had. I first headed off to see a museum that needs an airplane hanger to showcase its collection. True story!

The Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transpiration is a HUGE addition to the area’s many museums campuses. I wasn’t kidding about that hanger part!
Outside are the aviation relics that will always call to my imagination. There’s been very few times in my life when I haven’t stopped by scenes like this on a road trip.
Inside the museum is the historic elements that make this facility so unique. Planes of all generations, helicopters, military jeeps and more are on proud display.
One event I was reminded of was the crash of United Flight 232 in July of 1989. One of the most harrowing days in Sioux City’s history. The Flight 232 story is retold at this exhibit inside the museum with seats and other materials from that vary crash all around you.
Lives were lost on that July day, but there were several that were saved. The people of the area did an amazing job of aiding the victims and their families during this crisis. A true testament of how the Siouxland locals came together are so many levels.
The FedEx jet instantly pops out when you arrive. And you get to go inside, too!
Inside the cockpit of the FedEx addition to this museum. I couldn’t help but think of Tom Hanks and Wilson when I was inside this exhibit!

From planes to trains! The Sioux City Railroad Museum is on the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway and a must stop for any history buff. A whole day could be spent here and I had to talk myself into eventually leaving because I wanted stay much longer and keep discovering.

The history of America’s railroad history can be observed, felt, heard, and all with the whiffs of the aromas that made these beasts go choo-choo!
Each car, engine and caboose has a story and the folks who manage this museum can tell you all about them.
I kept outside for most of the time, and by the look of this picture you can probably see why. The Sioux City day was warm but beautiful. Those puffy clouds and endless blue skies accompanied this Woodbury County expedition the entire time I was here.
The dining car was open for anyone to get a glimpse of what glamorous traveling looked like in the golden age of riding the rails.
I was most intrigued by the kitchen of the dining car. The tight conditions were something I couldn’t get over, but I knew the cooks and porters had to be some of the most efficient workers you could trust in these spaces. Seeing them in action would have been incredibly interesting to watch.

Back to Downtown-Sioux City and another museum on my list. You can accumulate a lot of miles on foot, while touring this district, and your step counter is going to keep going up when you visit the Sioux City Public Museum!

Interactive, historic, and full of wonders. A perfect addition to a downtown district full of ways to stay entertained.
The Sioux City Public Museum offers an air conditioned rest from a summer day outside. The culture of Sioux City in full view with every turn.
Batter up, Sioux City! One of my favorite corners of the museum. Sioux City’s rich history in baseball and the local celebrities that go with it.
I like the fashion sense of these subjects behind me. We’re having an “overall” great time at the Sioux City Public Museum!
This area of Iowa should be on your list if you’re one who seeks Native American culture. From downtown, the welcome center, interpretive and encounter centers, public art and sculptures, Sioux City exhibits an unbelievable amount of this extraordinary history.


“Legendary” is one of the words that stuck out from folks who described the restaurant I was going to for a lunchbreak. Tucked inside a Sioux City neighborhood is the iconic Miles Inn and their legendary Tavern sandwiches!

People have been meeting at this corner for generations and there’s sure to be generations more to come. Time to put on some smiles from Miles! 2622 Leech Ave-Sioux City
I was also told that Miles Inn would have the coldest beer in town, and I believed the hype after I was served this frosty delight in front of me.
Meet, Charley Boy! The one in kind loose meat sandwich that Miles Inn has become famous for. Well seasoned peppery ground beef cooked to perfection while served on a freshly steamed bun. I added cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup and mustard to mine.
The magical loose meat creations don’t stop with Tavern sandwiches at Miles Inn. Check out these loaded nachos! Watch the video below and get another look at Miles Inn!
That’s a lunchbreak I could get used to in Sioux City!
The locals love this place and I now I do, too! Thanks for the Taverns and coldest beer in the Siouxland area!

Let’s Eat Steak

Later that night we embarked into the Loess Hills for another popular restaurant the locals can’t get enough of. There’s also a legion of visitors that are discovering this little community that’s home to giant sandwiches at the Oto Pub & Grub!

The old bank turned into a pub that’s full of mouthwatering delights from its inspiring chef! 10 Washington Street-Oto, Iowa
One of the huge, juicy, and beautiful burgers at the Oto Pub & Grub. Their cheeseburgers creations can include jalapeño poppers, shrimp, Korean BBQ sauce, onion rings, fried eggs, queso and more!
To this day I haven’t received a steak sandwich like the one I was served at the Oto Pub & Grub. Thick cut ribeye cooked to a wonderful medium rare and served with melted Swiss cheese and grilled onions! I was also given a rich and creamy sauce that had a pleasant peppercorn bite with every mouthful. Click on the video below and get to know the Oto Pub & Grub!
A sandwich nearly the size of Oto itself!
Only a thick-cut ribeye sandwich and a hill of tater tots could make me smile like this! Thank you, Oto Pub & Grub!
From Wales to rural Woodbury County! Matt, you and the crew did an incredible job!

Stay Active

Those were some tasty meals you saw from the metro area of Sioux City to a rural outpost in the Loess Hills. Our travels are always filled with unforgettable restaurants, but we also look for scenic opportunities to stay active. Woodbury County has no shortage of natural wonders to enjoy!

One of the plush overlooks at Stone State Park. Your Loess Hills adventure could really use a hike through this beautiful park.
Another stop we took on the Loess National Scenic Byway was here at Fowler Forest Preserve near Smithland. Directly off of HWY 141 and with its own beauty that goes into the woods of the Loess Hills! Click on the video below to see what I mean by that….
The stagecoach stop of yesteryear and still a beautiful pitstop in the Loess Hills.
Near Oto is this patch of prairie in the Oak Ridge unit. Directly off the blacktop, this preserve opens up to an easy hike while you’re traveling the Loess Hills.
I stop by these preserves more and more with every passing summer. Each one seems to call out to me when I notice the brown signs pop up from the blacktops.

Activate Your Sweet Tooth

Another way to get a taste of Sioux City history is by stopping into Palmer’s Candy Company! There will always be time to visit this candy shoppe….

It’s like a JayJay at a candy store! But it really is! Countless choices for your sweet tooth at historic Palmer’s!
The most famous selection at Palmer’s is their iconic Twin Bing Bars! These are known from corner to corner in Iowa and beyond!
A true legend indeed….


The day was a great one in Woodbury County, and I took the time to stop for a birds eye view at Sioux City. From the Crown Rooftop Bar, I enjoyed this spectacular view with an IPA from Jackson Street Brewing below. Cheers to you, Woodbury County!


Back to Avid and my wonderful room. There was no problem falling asleep. Btw…that Avid box nightlight came in very handy…

The morning came and so did one of the best complimentary breakfast meals I’ve had at a hotel. Avid’s modernization of this concept was on delicious display!

There’s selection after selection for all kinds of breakfast lovers. Just circle around and start filling up!
Cereal, bagels, yogurt, muffins, boiled eggs, granola bars and more!
One of the coolest coffee machines I’ve encountered was right here at the Avid Hotel in Downtown-Sioux City. Push a few buttons and get your perfect hot cup of joe!
Jimmy Dean and hot coffee. That was a delightful combo at Avid!

The staff on every level did a fantastic job at the Avid Hotel. The room was exactly what I needed, the decor was impressive, and breakfast was hot and plentiful. Be on the look out because this isn’t the last we have to show you from Avid Hotel in Downtown-Sioux City!

Before I left the lobby I noticed they had on one of the best Chris Farley movies ever! Avid, that’s how you put a smile on my face before departing!

Bonus Beef

On our way back to Iowa City, we stopped at a place I knew well. A T-Bone Trail stop from 2021 was in order and a return trip to the Fireside Steakhouse & Lounge in Anthon, Iowa!

A gorgeous 8oz filet was presented and I was extremely pleased with our decision to return to the Fireside. Tender, juicy and so flavorful.
Steaks are a popular choice at the Fireside and so is the broasted chicken! Let them cool off a little and dig into those cheesy hash browns first!

Holy smokes that was a an entertaining, scenic, historic, delicious, and satisfying Gallivant through Woodbury County! A pleasant whirlwind into Downtown Sioux City, exploring rural NW-Iowa, cruising down the byway, museum hopping, old highways and discovering more of my beloved Loess Hills. If you look at Woodbury County on a map, you’ll notice that we still have hundreds of miles of this massive county to still see. An impressive journey into this area will be on the horizon once again!

Make your reservations for Avid Hotel in Downtown-Sioux City on their website.

Be sure to like the T-Bone Trail-Western Iowa on Facebook!
What a view from the Bronson Bar! Let’s tour HWY 141 again!
Thank you to everyone at Explore Sioux City for hosting us in Woodbury County!

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