Have you ever been to the Amana Colonies in Eastern Iowa? At less than 2 hours from Des Moines, it’s a great destination for a day trip.
My family has taken many day trips to the Amanas over the years. Each time, we have found something new and fun in the unique area full of rich history.
We have family who lives in Cedar Rapids and further into eastern Iowa, so the Amanas is a meeting spot for celebrations. We always eat lunch at a German restaurant, do some shopping, and end with some treats at the Chocolate Haus. Here are more tips on how to enjoy a fun trip to the Amanas.
History of the Amanas
The Amanas are made of seven villages that still have their original architecture and traditional crafts. They were established in the 1850s by a group of German Pietists. Initially, the colonies were self-sufficient with community members each contributing their talents. Today, visitors can experience some of the ways the original settlers lived. Fun fact: Amana even means “remain true” in German.
One of the best ways to experience the Amanas is to walk down the village street and pop in and out of the shops. You can find traditional crafts, modern art, quilts, gifts, and so much more.
By far my favorite store is the Christmas Store! That’s right – Christmas YEAR ROUND! It’s a magical store with dozens of decorated Christmas trees. There are themed trees and you can just grab an ornament or bauble to take home.
The food and drinks in the Amanas are the main attraction for me. You can enjoy authentic German food at the local restaurants. The schnitzel was very close to what my German grandma used to make.
You MUST stop at the Chocolate Haus for delicious treats. There are also a handful of breweries including Millstream Brewing Company.
In addition to all of these options, you can also explore the Amana Heritage Museum, hike through the nearby wooded trails, and even take a horse-drawn carriage ride.
No matter what your age or background, you can find something to enjoy in the Amana Colonies.