​Have you ever been to Cresco, Iowa?
Well, you should. Located in Northeast Iowa, Cresco offers a landscape designed for all four seasons and a variety of activities throughout the year to experience. Whether resident or visitor, we’ve got something for everyone!

Ag Education - Have you ever been to a bio-secure Ag Education Center? Probably not, because Cresco has the first of its kind in the nation. Experience baby pigs from birth to market as area youth learn valuable lessons raising animals. The Center features a swine, dairy, and sheep facility with state-of-the-art technology, innovative practices promoting agriculture in Iowa, and an air quality purification system designed to be environmentally and community friendly.

Barn Quilts - Wrapped in a kaleidoscope of color, Howard County is becoming a showcase of Barn Quilts. Whether driving to work or leisurely meandering through the county, you’ll be able to spot a unique quilt along the way. As with all good ideas, individuals throughout the county have started their own businesses making barn quilts. Community partnership, tourism, and entrepreneurship go hand in hand in Howard County!

Beadle Park Train
- Have you ever seen a vintage train up close and personal? Now you can! Admired & photographed by visitors, this uniquely restored 101A/Model FP7 diesel electric locomotive serves as a reminder of our community’s founding based on local rail service. Built in LaGrange, Illinois, in 1951, it was the first model ever sold to the Milwaukee Road Railroad line. It was purchased in non-operating condition in 1984 by community-minded citizens. It was restored to operating condition and donated to the Cresco Park Board in 1985. Stop at Beadle Park, Hwy 9, in Cresco to see this magnificent display.

Bronze Statues - To raise community and visitor awareness to a form of art not often seen outside museums and galleries, Cresco and Howard County is dotted with over 45 sculptures of children featured outside of historic buildings and landscapes. This is a great walking tour of a picturesque town in Northeast Iowa that residents and visitors alike enjoy all year round! 

Cresco City Parks - For those looking for a free outdoor pastime, look no further than Cresco’s East Park where a 9-hole disc golf course awaits you. Ball field, playground complex, indoor ice rink, and bean bag boards make this city park a favorite for everyone. Kessel Park offers a playground complex, basketball hoops, ball field, outdoor fitness equipment and Kessel Lodge; a popular event facility. Serving as the trailhead for the Prairie Springs Recreational Trail is Balk Park. This charming park is close to the Cresco Farmers Market. Tennis anyone? Evans Park features a newly resurfaced tennis court as well as ball field, picnic shelter, beanbag boards, and playground complex. If you are looking for a quirky little park in Cresco, look no further than Beadle Park. Featuring a WWI mine dedicated to Cresco’s Five Admirals, an historic log cabin, a statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug sculpted by Cresco native, Karen Laub-Novak, a vintage train, and the ‘Space Tree’, a sycamore tree near the picnic shelter whose seeds flew aboard the US Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1988.

Cresco Country Club
- Get your clubs out and take in this beautifully maintained course with rolling terrain, spectacular views and several greens protected by water. Signature hole #9 with a towering oak guarding the green is a must-play. Cresco Country Club is the only course in Northeast Iowa with a public driving range!

Cresco Farmers Market - Stop in at the Cresco Farmers’ Market, Tues/Fri at 2:00pm, one block north of Hwy 9 on 1st Ave. W. and check out the local fare. Search for the latest market information as well as the numerous greenhouses available to visit. Look for openings of area Farmers Markets in the spring.

Cresco Fitness Center - Need more exercise time? We’ve got day, week, or membership passes at the Cresco Fitness Center. Offering activities almost every day of the year including a zero-entry swimming pool, large hot tub, walking track, basketball court, batting cages, golf driving range cage, exercise equipment for all ages and much more. There is something for everyone at this premier wellness center, 316 3rd Ave East.

Cresco Historic Buildings - All towns have old buildings. Cresco is no different, but what is unique is that Cresco has two, 100-year-old-plus buildings still being used as they were intended. The Cresco Public Library, built in 1914 at the cost of $17,500 as a gift from the Carnegie Foundation is still being used as a library today. The Cresco Opera House & Theatre, also built in 1914, was built to showcase live performances and movies. Recent improvements are a source of pride in Cresco.  The marquee is restored to its original look with LED lighting, a new state-of-the-art projector offers 2-D and 3-D movies, and the spectacular interior will take your breath away! Entertainment at the Opera House & Theatre is an experience you won’t want to miss.

​Located in the heart of Cresco, on its original footprint, the Kellow House built in 1880 is a fine example of a Second Empire style home. Enjoy the subtle grace of its period furnishings, several are Kellow family heirlooms. Fun for all ages, tour the Log Cabin in Beadle Park located on the north side of Hwy 9. Occupied continuously from 1854 to 1964, this cabin features original hand-hewn logs, and is furnished with early artifacts. Feel what it was like to live in this two room cabin donated to the Howard County Historical Society. To set up tours call 563.547.3434.

Cresco Veterans - Cresco honors distinguished veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country. Learn about the Five Admirals born and raised in Cresco, how Cresco became a designated World War II Commemorative Community, Cresco’s connection to the world’s first female General (Coral Conway Pietsch), and the site of the Howard County Freedom Rock display honoring all our servicemen and women. Learn about American Legion, VFW, and Auxiliaries at

Cresco Welcome Center - Stop by the Cresco Welcome Center, your one-stop resource for business and tourism experiences. Located at 101 2nd Ave SW, call us at 563.547.3434, find us on the web at, or search Cresco and Howard County on facebook for more information on the rich heritage and history of the Cresco area. See you soon!

Dr. Norman Borlaug - Tour the Boyhood Farm and Birthplace of Dr. Norman Borlaug and see why this gentle man is only one of seven people in the world to ever be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Congressional Gold Medal. Dr. Borlaug is credited with saving millions of lives by developing a hybrid of wheat that could be grown in places that previously could not. Join Cresco the 3rd full weekend in September for the Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest and Inspire Day on the Borlaug Farm. Learn about the Borlaug statue in Statuary Hall in Washington DC as one of Iowa’s only two statues.

Ellen Church (The World’s First Stewardess) - Cresco is home to the first stewardess in the world! Ellen Church made many contributions to aviation and one of them was to devise a pilot program to bring nurses on board the newly proposed “passenger plane” back in the 1930’s. Convincing the airlines that nurses on board would instill confidence in their passengers, they allowed Ellen to go forward with her program. It became such a success the first “Air Hostess” was born which then evolved into the “Stewardess”, and today the “Flight Attendant”.

Howard County Historical Museum - Are museums your thing? Cresco’s got just what you are looking for. Take a tour of the Historical Museum at the Howard County Fairgrounds featuring a Civil War era flag, original marquee and memorabilia from Lyric Hall; proceeding today’s Opera House & Theatre, military and agricultural displays reflecting our rich heritage, and an original pump organ that still works. A rich history of military service is featured as well as displays for Dr. Norman Borlaug, The Five Admirals, Ellen Church, and Dr. George Kessel. Get a chance to visit a one-room schoolhouse located on the Fairgrounds and experience public education from a rural perspective!

Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame - Genuine and amazing Iowans along with their athletic success in wrestling have a strong foothold in Cresco and the State of Iowa. Wrestling has always been in Iowa’s bloodlines and the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame tells this story second to none. The Hall of Fame honors native-born Iowans who have contributed to amateur wrestling. Don’t forget to check out the 40 foot mural just outside the Hall of Fame and see Dan Gable’s autograph! 

Prairie Springs Recreational Trail, Prairie Farmer Recreational Trail & Cresco’s Fitness Trail - Whether walking, biking, or nature watching, the Prairie Springs Recreation Trail (PSRT) is a 3 mile paved trail accessed from downtown Cresco at Balk Park to Vernon Springs winding along the Prairie’s Edge Nature Center next to the Turkey River. Along the trail are benches and picnic tables to stop and enjoy your moment outdoors. Breathtaking beauty and glorious displays of nature can be seen the entire length of this trail surprising the delighted recreational enthusiast with prairie grass, flowers, rolling farmland, and shaded woods that brings you back to a less complex world. But the trail doesn’t stop there! Connecting to the Prairie Farmer Recreational Trail, this paved 22 mile experience traverses through an old railroad bed offering views of rich Iowa farmland along the way. Cresco’s Fitness Trail possesses outdoor fitness equipment strategically placed along the recreation trail (PSRT) and offers a workout for all ages and levels. Enjoy a run/walk and workout all along the trail because this scenic experience now adds a challenge to all fitness levels! 

Prairie’s Edge Nature Center, Rock Arch Rapids & Turkey River Campground - Take a walk & maybe a fishing pole, on Iowa’s first Rock Arch Rapids. This innovative fish ladder replaced a 150 year old spill-water dam reconnecting hundreds of miles of river habitat. Over 280 feet of pools and rapids showcase this stunning new recreation area and is located at the end of the Prairie Springs Recreational Trail. While you are there, leave enough time to tour the Prairie’s Edge Nature Center and check out the newly renovated and spectacular displays of wildlife and plants native to our area. Next door is the ever-popular Turkey River Campground enjoyed throughout the camping season.

Winter Fun - For the sportsman Pheasant & Deer Hunting are popular throughout the county. It is by no means the only hunting available as turkey hunters, along with waterfowl hunters, also are frequently successful. Winter weather presents the outdoor enthusiast the opportunity to play in the snow on fantastic cross-country ski trails through woods and prairies and groomed to perfection.  Enjoy the extensive 200 miles of snowmobile trail system maintained by the Driftrunners Snowmobile Club and is rated the best in Iowa.

Open For Business - Whether you’re hungry or just in the mood to shop, Cresco is ‘Open for Business’! You will find everything from quilting to clothing to outdoor fun and more throughout this picturesque city we call home.

​Stop by the Cresco Welcome Center, 101 2nd Ave SW, Cresco IA 52136, call us at 563.547.3434, find us on the web at, or search Cresco and Howard County on Facebook, crescoia on Twitter for more information on the rich heritage and history of the Cresco area. See you soon!