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The once quiet river community of LeClaire, IA, located just north of Interstate 80 on Highway 67 used to be known for 2 things: NEVER speed, and don’t wear a necktie into Sneaky Pete’s Steakhouse or your server will cut it off and hang it on the wall!
LeClaire has quickly become one of Midwest’s top tourist destinations. Like a cosmopolitan version of a Norman Rockwell painting; LeClaire offers visitors the perfect blend of the traditions of yesteryear with a vibrant contemporary pulse that makes it irresistible to kids of all ages!
Here are 6 reasons why LeClaire is one of the top tourist destinations in the Midwest:
1. Amazing views of the Mississippi River and an eclectic collection of shops and businesses adorn the main street (Cody Rd.).
Take a short stroll back in time by visiting the stores and restaurants. I’m a sucker for a great river view, so that just adds to the experience.
The first time I walked into this store located just two blocks up the hill from downtown on Jones St., I was instantly transported back to the olde time candy stores I remember visiting with my grandparents while vacationing in northern Minnesota. They feature a large collection of popular candies from yesterday, as well as delicious chocolate concoctions that are made daily.
When I first moved to the Quad Cities area and heard about Tugfest, I had visions of a bunch of drunk guys with no necks getting pulled into the river. Nothing could be further from the truth!
For the past 27 years, teams in LeClaire, IA and Port Byron, IL spend months practicing to pull a 2400 ft. long rope across the mighty Mississippi River. More than 35,000 people watch this annual event (August 13-15, 2015), and many more visit the community to enjoy the midway rides, fireworks, live music, and other fun activities.
Antique Archaeology is one of many antique shops in the LeClaire, IA area, but it is by far the most famous. If you are lucky enough to catch two of the show’s stars, Mike Wolfe or Danielle Colby during your visit, you will be impressed with their down-home attitudes and their passion for their community.
6. Great place to enjoy an adult beverage
Mississippi River Distilling Company is Iowa’s first micro-distillery, and offers a “can’t miss” 15 minute tour that will explain the history and process that goes into every bottle of their award winning spirits. It is open to all ages, and is as entertaining as it is informative. Guests 21 and older can enjoy a sample of the spirits (non-alcoholic options for younger people).
I admit that I’m a sucker for a tasty designer cocktail. 129 Coffee and Wine Bar offers an amazing collection of custom martinis and other libations, as well as one of the largest wine selections in the area. Couple that with great music and a friendly staff, and you are kicking off a great evening with friends!
You can also enjoy an ice cold beverage on the front patio of the Blue Iguana and take in the diverse collection of people who visit this river community.
LeClaire has something going on nearly every weekend, and should be a “Must Visit” on your travels, but keep in mind that as far as the speed limit goes…25 still means 25!
Dave "The Shef" Sheffield
Dave "The Shef" Sheffield is a keynote motivational speaker and author.
He is an avid kayaking, mountain biking, and trail running enthusiast. He lives in Pleasant Valley, Iowa, and also loves cooking, playing guitar, photography, and spending time with his kids.
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