Home #WHERETONEXT USA A Guide to the Best Things to Do in Urbandale, Iowa

A Guide to the Best Things to Do in Urbandale, Iowa

Photo by Dennis Bratland

With its array of engaging attractions, Urbandale, Iowa, stands as a prime destination for those in search of fun and adventure. This guide, akin to a roadmap laid out by experienced movers in Urbandale, IA, navigates through the city’s top highlights. From parks that resonate with family-friendly vibes to the exhilaration of outdoor activities, and the warmth of quaint dining locales, Urbandale’s reputation for a hospitable environment and a spectrum of experiences promises enjoyment for every visitor.

Paragon Prairie Tower

The Paragon Prairie Tower stands as a unique landmark in Urbandale, with its impressive 120-foot height and status as the largest glass mosaic mural in the United States. A visit to this towering artwork, especially at night when it’s illuminated, is one of the most mesmerizing things to do in Urbandale, Iowa. The tower, set against a natural Iowan landscape, is not only a feast for the eyes but also a symbol of the city’s dedication to art and culture.

Raccoon River Valley Trail

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Raccoon River Valley Trail is a must-visit. Stretching almost 90 miles and crossing four counties, this paved trail offers a scenic journey through Iowa’s diverse landscapes. Whether you’re cycling, walking, or simply enjoying nature, the trail is one of the most invigorating things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, providing an escape into the heart of the Midwest’s natural beauty.

Walker Johnston Park

Walker Johnston Park is the epitome of family fun in Urbandale. With amenities like a story trail, a large playground, and sports facilities, it’s a place where families can spend an entire day enjoying various activities. The park’s innovative design, including a slide built into a hill, makes it one of the most enjoyable things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, for children and parents alike.

Breakout Games

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Breakout Games in Urbandale offers an immersive escape room experience. With themes like ‘The Kidnapping’ and ‘Mystery Mansion’, visitors can test their puzzle-solving skills in creatively designed scenarios. This attraction stands out as one of the most exciting things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, perfect for groups seeking a thrilling challenge.

Clive Aquatic Center

The Clive Aquatic Center is a summer hotspot in Urbandale, featuring pools, a lazy river, and a splash zone. It’s a mini water park that offers endless fun, especially for families with children. The zero-depth pool and six-lane lap pool cater to all ages and swimming abilities, making it one of the most popular things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, during the warmer months. Their calendar of events, including a dog-friendly pool party to close the season, adds to the center’s appeal​​.

Saylorville Lake

Saylorville Lake, just a short drive from Urbandale, is an ideal destination for water enthusiasts and nature lovers. This 6,000-acre reservoir offers camping, boating, fishing, and picturesque views. The lake’s proximity to Urbandale makes it a favorite spot for both day trips and longer camping adventures. Whether you’re looking to relax on a beach or explore the waters, Saylorville Lake is one of the best things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, for outdoor recreation​​.

Machine Shed Restaurant

The Machine Shed Restaurant near Living History Farms in Urbandale offers a dining experience that’s deeply rooted in Iowa’s agricultural heritage. Known for its hearty, farm-to-table meals, the restaurant provides a cozy and rustic atmosphere. Whether you’re stopping by for breakfast or dinner, the Machine Shed Restaurant is a must-visit for those looking to enjoy traditional American comfort food in Urbandale, Iowa​​​​.

Homemakers Furniture

For shopping enthusiasts, Homemakers Furniture in Urbandale is a destination in itself. As one of the largest furniture stores in the Des Moines area, it offers a wide range of furniture, home decor, and artwork. Beyond shopping, Homemakers Furniture hosts family-friendly events throughout the year, making it a unique and enjoyable place to visit in Urbandale, Iowa​​.

Hotel Renovo

Hotel Renovo, with its luxurious amenities and family-friendly atmosphere, is a top choice for accommodations in Urbandale, Iowa. Featuring one of the largest indoor pools in the area, beautifully decorated rooms, and special events like New Year’s Eve Pool Parties, Hotel Renovo provides a perfect blend of comfort and fun for both staycations and visitors to Urbandale​​.

Kids Warrior Gym

The Kids Warrior Gym is a dynamic and fun-filled destination in Urbandale. Catering to young adventurers, the gym offers activities like obstacle courses and open play, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, for children. Their birthday party packages provide a unique way to celebrate special occasions with active fun​​.

Living History Farms

Living History Farms in Urbandale is a gateway to the past, offering interactive and educational experiences. This open-air museum allows visitors to explore Iowa’s agricultural history through hands-on activities and historical reenactments. It’s not just educational but also one of the most fascinating things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, for all age groups​​​​.

Metro Ice Sports Facility

For ice sports enthusiasts, the Metro Ice Sports Facility in Urbandale offers a range of activities including public skating times, hockey, and figure skating lessons. This facility is a hub for winter sports and a great destination for families looking for fun things to do in Urbandale, Iowa​​.

Miracle on 86th Street

The holiday season in Urbandale is made special with the Miracle on 86th Street event. Located in Charles Gabus Memorial Tree Park, this event features stunning light displays, creating a magical atmosphere. It’s a perfect setting for family photos and one of the most enchanting free things to do in Urbandale today​​.

National Night Out

National Night Out is an annual community event hosted by the Urbandale Police Department, aimed at fostering relationships between the community and law enforcement. It’s a family-friendly event with activities like K-9 demonstrations and a petting zoo, highlighting the community spirit and making it one of the essential things to do in Urbandale, Iowa​​.

Northview All-Inclusive Park

Northview All-Inclusive Park is a testament to Urbandale’s commitment to accessibility and fun for all. With features like a zip line and playgrounds designed for children of all abilities, it’s a space where everyone can play and enjoy. This park stands out as one of the most inclusive and fun things to do in Urbandale, Iowa​​.

Once Upon A Child

Once Upon A Child in Urbandale is a haven for parents looking for budget-friendly shopping options for their growing kids. This store specializes in buying and selling gently used children’s items, including clothing, toys, and baby furniture. It’s a great spot for families to shop for quality items at affordable prices and also to sell items their children have outgrown. Visiting Once Upon A Child is not just economical but also one of the practical things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, for savvy parents​​.

Painting with a Twist

Painting with a Twist in Urbandale offers a creative and social experience for both adults and children. This venue combines art with fun, allowing participants to paint while enjoying a casual atmosphere. They host various events, including family-friendly painting sessions, making it a unique and enjoyable activity. For those seeking a mix of creativity and relaxation, Painting with a Twist is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Urbandale, Iowa​​.

Unique Experiences in Urbandale

Urbandale, Iowa, is also home to unique experiences like hot air ballooning and exploring the Brenton Arboretum. These activities provide visitors with a different perspective of the city’s beauty and nature. The Urbandale Public Art Program, showcasing local artistic talent through various installations, adds to the city’s cultural allure​​.

Shopping and Dining in Historic Valley Junction

For a distinctive shopping and dining experience, Historic Valley Junction in Urbandale offers a blend of boutique shops, antique stores, and cozy eateries. This historic district exudes charm and character, making it a delightful destination for those looking to explore local businesses and enjoy a unique culinary experience​​.

Clive Greenbelt Trail

The Clive Greenbelt Trail is a paradise for outdoor adventurers, offering a scenic route for hiking, biking, and nature walks. This trail, with its lush landscapes and tranquil environment, caters to both beginners and seasoned adventurers, making it one of the most rewarding things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, for nature lovers​​.

Family Fun at the Urbandale Indoor Playground

The Urbandale Indoor Playground is an ideal spot for families with young children. This playground provides a safe and fun environment where kids can play and engage in various activities, regardless of the weather outside. It’s a perfect place for families to have fun and create lasting memories, solidifying its position as one of the top things to do in Urbandale, Iowa, for families with young children​​.


In conclusion, Urbandale, Iowa, emerges as a vibrant and diverse city teeming with activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests and ages. From the artistic splendor of the Paragon Prairie Tower to the serene trails of the Clive Greenbelt, Urbandale offers a unique blend of cultural, historical, recreational, and family-friendly experiences. The city’s commitment to providing inclusive and accessible attractions, like the Northview All-Inclusive Park, ensures that all visitors, regardless of age or ability, can enjoy the best of what Urbandale has to offer.