From Halal Explorer

Story County Iowa banner

Iowa, a state with gently rolling green hills in the Midwest region of the United States, was admitted to the Union in 1846 as the 29th state. The people are very friendly, enjoy good food, and enjoy being in the political hotbed every four years when the Caucuses roll through the state. The state is quite rural, with plenty of fields of corn and soybeans and hog farms, although some cities, namely Des Moines, have a strong metropolitan feel.

An Introduction to the regions of Iowa

Other Muslim Friendly Cities in Iowa


  • Des Moines GPS: 41.590833,-93.620833 - state capital and largest city, considered to be the "insurance capital of the U.S.".
  • Ames GPS: 42.034722,-93.62 - A half hour's drive north of Des Moines, home of Iowa State University
  • Cedar Falls GPS: 42.52352,-92.446402 - home of University of Northern Iowa and on the western edge of the larger Waterloo
  • Cedar Rapids GPS: 41.983056,-91.668611 - Iowa's second-largest city


  • Council Bluffs GPS: 41.25,-95.866667 - western city along the Missouri River
  • Dubuque GPS: 42.504444,-90.686944 - a hilly city along the Mississippi River
  • Iowa City GPS: 41.6601,-91.5342 - home of University of Iowa, just south of Cedar Rapids


  • Quad Cities GPS: 41.516667,-90.533333 - Davenport and Bettendorf are in Iowa, other half in Illinois (Iowa can't have it all)
  • Sioux City GPS: 42.498056,-96.395556 - northwest city along Missouri River bank, where Palmer Candies pumps out Twin Bings cherry candy

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Iowa

Demonstration for Palestine and Gaza in Iowa

Dear Supporters of the Palestinian Cause in Iowa,

We are excited to announce a peaceful demonstration in support of the People of Palestine, set to take place in Iowa over the next three days. This event is an opportunity for us to come together and raise our voices and the Palestinian Flag for a just and peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict.

We want to emphasize that this demonstration is intended to be a peaceful and respectful gathering. Our goal is to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and call for a peaceful solution to the conflict. It is crucial that we maintain a peaceful and respectful atmosphere throughout the event.

Important Guidelines:

To ensure the success of our demonstration and to maintain a peaceful environment, we kindly ask all participants to adhere to the following guidelines:

Peaceful Protest: This is a non-violent demonstration. We do not condone any form of violence or vandalism.

Respect for Law Enforcement: Please treat law enforcement officers in Iowa with respect and follow their instructions. Do not engage in confrontations with them.

Leave No Trace: Dispose of any trash responsibly and leave the demonstration area clean.

Thank you for your commitment to our peaceful demonstration in Iowa, and let us stand together for a better future for all.

In solidarity, eHalal Iowa

Iowa Halal Travel Guide

Purchased from France as part of the Louisiana purchase, Iowa officially became a state in 1846. True to form in the Midwest, European settlers tended to gravitate toward rivers and established their communities there. Today, many of the State's major cities are based on rivers including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Davenport, Dubuque, Sioux City and Council Bluffs. For many years, agriculture was the primary industry of the state but recently and the State's population has tended to urbanize resulting in a diverse mixture of industries. Agriculture, though significantly diminished as the economic driver of the state, is still a major economic component.

Though Iowa has long been considered a rural state, it has a surprisingly rich cultural scene. The University of Iowa in Iowa City is home to a number of major programs including the Iowa Writers Workshop, a program that has trained a number of America's great modern writers. Iowa State University in Ames is also a major driver of culture in the central part of the State. Prominent liberal arts college also dot the state, including Grinnell, Cornell, Coe and Luther.

Travel as a Muslim to Iowa

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Iowa

The biggest airport in Iowa is centrally located, in the state capital of Des Moines (IATA Flight Code: DSM). The second most popular is the Eastern Iowa Airport (IATA Flight Code: CID) in Cedar Rapids, on the east side of the state. There are also very small airports in Dubuque (IATA Flight Code: DBQ), Sioux City (IATA Flight Code: SUX), Waterloo (IATA Flight Code: ALO), and Burlington (IATA Flight Code: BRL) that support scheduled passenger service.

For travellers flying their own planes, there are dozens of general aviation airports, and hundreds of flying strips.

By car

Most people enter (and leave) Iowa via Interstate 80 if coming from the east or west, or I-35 from the north or south. Both interstates are easy to navigate, as are many Midwestern states. A couple of 50-mile-long straight sections on the former has done more to perpetuate the stereotype that Iowa is nearly flat and empty than just about anything else, but the perception is not true: Iowa wouldn't even make a top-10 list for flattest states. Its neighbor Illinois would, however; Illinois is flatter than any state except Florida and Louisiana.

If you want to see the true face of the state, get off the interstate, ignore the fast-food signs, and find one of the small towns that make the Midwest so charming. State maps are available free of charge at state "Welcome Centers" and rest areas. State maps list such points of interest as Cedar Rock, a rare Usonian example of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and scenic routes, often found on county roads.

Travel on a Bus in Iowa

  • Burlington Trailways
  • Greyhound
  • Jefferson Lines

Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Iowa

  • Amtrak - Amtrak code OSC - I-35 South to US-34 E exit, turn right at South Ridge Road +1 800-USA-RAIL - Rail travel in the Amtrak station, in Osceola at Main and E Clay Sts, is 45 mi (72 kilometers) due south of Des Moines via I-35. In the town there are not many traveler services. Greyhound runs through Osceola.

Amtrak's Chicago/Denver/San Francisco route also makes stops at Omaha (just across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs), Creston (southwestern Iowa), and Ottumwa, Mt. Pleasant and Burlington in southeastern Iowa. The Chicago-Los Angeles route stops in Fort Madison as it clips across the southeasternmost corner of the state in route to Kansas City.

By foot

  • The American Discovery Trail connects Iowa with Nebraska, Illinois, and both coasts.

How to get around in Iowa

Most people get around Iowa by car. The roads in much of Iowa – like much of the Midwest – are laid out on a grid pattern. Drive on any of the state's outer highways, and you will quickly come to realize that there is an intersection at nearly every mile. This makes figuring out where you are, and getting from there to where you need to be, a relatively simple undertaking. It also means that if you ask for directions, people are likely to give directions according to the points on a compass. If someone says to go one mile east and three miles north, and you're feeling all turned around, don't be shy about asking which way you need to go.

Travelers unaccustomed to ice and snow may have trouble driving in Iowa winters. Plan ahead if you need to travel during the colder parts of the year. Special snow tires or chains aren't usually needed, but you do need to know Winter driving|how to drive in winter conditions. Check the weather reports and road conditions well in advance, and give yourself plenty of time. If the snowplows have been called out, you should wait until they've cleared the roads. Drive slower than normal, and triple the amount of space you leave between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Turn and brake gently, and be ready to cope with an unseen patch of ice, especially on and around bridges.

Major routes in the state include:

What to see in Iowa

Des Moines City Hall

Points of interest

  • Field of Dreams - Dyersville. Considered one of baseball's most-treasured monuments. The field is the same used in the film, Field of Dreams, nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Film of the Year of 1989. The film, based upon W.P. Kinsella's book Shoeless Joe, starred Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. The field is owned by two families amid much controversy. No admission is charged to visit the field. Various events, including baseball and softball games, take place on the field at various times during the year.

Top Muslim Travel Tips for Iowa

Fort Dodge High School Dodger stadium August 2008

  • RAGBRAI - the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa - Cycling enthusiasts from across the nation descend on the state for this road bike event. Riders start in a different town each year. They take seven days to cross the state, dipping their wheels in the Missouri River on one side and the Mississippi River on the other.
  • State Fair - Des Moines is host to the nation's largest state fair, renowned for its music and cuisine. Many call it the best opportunity to get all that Iowa has to offer.


  • Living History Farms - Urbandale Exit 125 off of I-80 ☎ +1 515 278-5286 - An outdoor interactive agricultural museum, Living History Farms gives people of all ages a new way of enjoying history. It is open to the public from May to October and has special events throughout the year. Historical interpreters explain and demonstrate the lifestyles of the 1700s Ioway Indians and the 1850 pioneers and the townspeople of 1875, and 1900 farmers.
  • Des Moines Art Festival - The Des Moines Arts Festival traces its beginnings to 1958, and takes place in the heart of Des Moines surrounding the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Western Gateway Park. Each year and the Festival features visual art, live music, performing arts and activities, along with the Interrobang Film Festival.

Halal Restaurants in Iowa

Halal food is available in the larger cities. Please visit indevidual city pages for a listing of all Halal restaurants.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Iowa


The rural parts of Iowa are very safe, with many people not bothering to lock their vehicle doors. A traveler should take a more common-sense approach when visiting more populous areas, such as Council Bluffs, Davenport, or Des Moines, as these areas have crime rates resembling those of typical mid-sized American cities.

For the most part, a traveler will find that most Iowans are friendly, warm, and happy to help if you have trouble.

Severe weather

Iowa experiences all four seasons in abundance: Winter, Mud, Road construction, and Football. Football season produces few travel-related problems beyond a weekly traffic jam near each football field and the occasional pointed remark – usually made by people who are "from away" – that this sport shouldn't be called football, since it involves almost no ball and even less foot. The first hard frost arrives during football season, which makes things a bit slippery underfoot early in the morning, but it also releases thousands of people from the months-long grip of hay fever. However and the other three seasons can present travelers with severe weather and unexpected changes in conditions.

Thunderstorms are common. Thunderstorms are possibly at any time, as long as the temperature is above the freezing point.

Flooding can block roads. This is mainly a problem in the spring, when the combination of melting snow and additional rain saturates the ground and fills the rivers.


Iowa resides in the unofficial "tornado alley" and sees about 50 tornadoes each year. The tornadoes are mostly considered weak (which is still very strong, by everyday standards for wind) and typically damage some trees, break a few windows, and blow over signs and other things. They primarily appear in the southwest edge of the state, but tornadoes can be found occasionally elsewhere in the state, especially in spring and summer months.

With that in mind, pay attention to weather conditions and frequently update yourself via television or radio of any potential severe weather threats while traveling to or through the state. Conditions can change rapidly, and you do not want to find yourself inadvertently in the path of a dangerous storm.

Winter storms

While perhaps neither as cold nor as windy as the Dakotas, Iowa winters can still be brutal. Frequent heavy snow storms are feasible throughout the winter and even occasionally into April. Ice storms and freezing rain can make roads extremely treacherous. Most major highways are well maintained, but driving on country roads in the wake of a winter storm can be nerve-racking to say the least. If you choose to travel in winter, keep yourself informed about local weather and road conditions through television, radio.

Most heavy snow storms in Iowa aren't quite windy enough to qualify as blizzards, but the best advice for traveling during these storms is the same: avoid leaving your home, hotel, or other building, if at all feasible. If you do go out, take extra clothes or blankets, bottled water, a cell phone, and a shovel in your vehicle. If you find yourself stranded, stay with your car, bundle up, and wait for help to arrive. Low visibility makes it easy to get turned around and lost if you set out on your own, and dangerous wind chill can cause a person to freeze very quickly.


Historically, Iowa has been a politically varied state, known for liberal and conservative politicians alike. It is also an unusually political state, owing in large part to its early role in the presidential nomination process. While Iowans tend to welcome political discussion more than most and their usual friendliness may at times give way to more hostile responses, especially around the time of the Iowa caucus, which happens in January or early February, about ten months before the quadrennial presidential election. Every four years, Iowans are subjected to every U.S. presidential candidate parading the state, hosting town forums and debates, and soliciting their votes, for a much longer time than the rest of the states are forced to withstand. Feel free to ask Iowans about their view of the presidential caucus, and don't hesitate to offer your own opinion about political matters, but be respectful and don't take it personally if they don't want to discuss politics due to "caucus weariness".

Go next

Iowa is surrounded by 6 states.

  • Illinois – America's crossroads and home of Chicago, lies across Iowa's eastern border.
  • Minnesota – Known for cold winters and its 10,000 lakes, Iowa's northern neighbor is an ideal destination for wilderness enthusiasts and shoppers destined for the Twin Cities and Mall of America.
  • Missouri – The state's southern neighbor is home to St. Louis and the Gateway to the West.
  • Nebraska – Iowa's western neighbor has a rich agricultural legacy, offering visitors a glimpse into America's heartland. Omaha, one of the largest cities in the Midwest, is a 2-hr drive from Des Moines.
  • South Dakota – Home to such natural and cultural wonders as Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park and Mount Rushmore, Iowa's neighbor to the northwest offers a surprising amount for travelers to see and do.
  • Wisconsin – "America's Dairyland" borders Iowa to the northeast, and offers several lakes and Milwaukee for fun. Nearly the entire eastern border of Wisconsin is surrounded by two of the Great Lakes.

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