Things to Do in Iowa's Amana Colonies
In the green east-central Iowa River Valley along Interstate-80 (100 miles east of Des Moines), the seven Amana Colonies have clung to their roots with German steadfastness since 1855. Almost half the residents are descendants of the original German colonists; inns, restaurants and shops draw heavily on traditional foods and handicrafts.
Click or tap ahead to learn about some of our favorite attractions in the Amana Colonies. More information: amanacolonies.com
Amana Heritage Society
Start your Amana exploration with one of the tours offered through the Amana Heritage Society (check to see when tours are offered; the COVID-19 pandemic has put many activities in the Amana Colonies on hold). The Heritage Package takes you through the Communal Kitchen Museum, Community Church Museum, Agriculture Museum, Homestead Store Museum and Amana Heritage Museum. Or check into custom tours, with topics ranging from architecture to agriculture. amanaheritage.org.
Local ham, bacon, sausage and cheese fill Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse. amanameatshop.com
Hahn's Hearth Oven Bakery offers treats such as fresh bread and cinnamon rolls—but be aware that this little Middle Amana gem has irregular hours and often sells out by 10 a.m. on summer days (pictured). amanacolonies.com
Wineries and breweries
Heritage Designs Quilting and Needlework
Classic quilts hang from the beams of this 1895 granary in the historic Amana Colonies. Heritage Designs Quilting and Needlework offers a variety of quilting, cross-stitch, punch needle, embroidery and tatting supplies. Fabrics include reproduction lines from the Civil War and the 1930s. heritagedesignsquiltshop.com
Old Creamery Theatre Company
Iowa's oldest professional theater has been performing in the Amana colonies since 1988. The Old Creamery Theatre Company typically performs a variety of comedies, dramas and musicals, such as I'm All Ears (pictured). Also look for the Christmas show and monthly cabaret. Shows are expected to return in 2021 as the theater celebrates its 50th anniversary. oldcreamery.com
Shopping in Amana
Popular shopping options include the High Amana General Store (pictured), offering old-fashioned candy, handmade soaps and antique toys. amanaheritage.org
At Amana Woolen Mill, visitors can tour the facilities and watch the looms in action, as well as purchase products such as blankets. amanawoolenmill.com