The lighter side of real estate

30 Things You Need To Know About Sioux City, Iowa Before You Move There

Once a booming center for agriculture and industry, Sioux City Iowa now builds on its utilitarian roots through arts, culture and preserving the surrounding landscape.

Leah McBride Mensching

15 articles, 0 comments

1. What SUX? Not The Sioux Gateway Airport

Sioux City Iowa airport

Source: Flickr user dana robinson

This small airport is owned by the city and serves the public and military. Its airport designator SUX has been called an “embarrassment” to the city. However, after a few alternatives were discussed, the city decided to laugh about it and keep the very memorable acronym.

2. Sioux City’s Got A Quadfecta of Colleges

Source: Instagram user higheredimages

There are four, count ‘em, FOUR higher ed institutions in Sioux City: Morningside College, Briar Cliff University, Western Iowa Tech Community College and St. Luke’s College. I don’t think I need to tell you that students are everywhere.

3. Pay Tribute To Chief War Eagle

A statue of Chief War Eagle Wambdi Okicize in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Wikimedia user Tloftus

Chief War Eagle Wambdi Okicize, which means Little Eagle, was a peacemaker, but when whites started calling him War Eagle, the name stuck. After being elected chief of the Ihanktowan, or Yankton Sioux, he traveled to Washington D.C. with other tribal leaders to negotiate peace treaties and received a silver peace medal from President Martin Van Buren. You can visit his burial site in War Eagle Park.

4. Get An Ear-Full At The Sioux City Symphony Orchestra

A man plays the organ in the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra

Source: Sioux City Symphony Orchestra via Facebook

Since its beginning as a humble 30-piece college ensemble in 1915, the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra has tripled in size to include 90 professional musicians. The SCSO has performed with world-famous violinist Joshua Bell and alongside superbly talented acrobats and aerialists in the show “Cirque de la Symphonie.”

5. You’ll Be Exiled If You Don’t Profess Your Undying Love For Tastee Inn & Out

A Tastee in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Facebook user Tastee Inn & Out

Many cities have one beloved, iconic restaurant. In Sioux City, that restaurant is the Tastee Inn & Out, which was opened in 1955 by Vincent and Marie Calligan as the city’s first fast food drive-thru restaurant. Famous dishes include onion chips, Tastee pups (hot dogs), chilli soup, and the Tastee sandwich, a sort of loose meat concoction that is cooked with ground beef and special Tastee sauce.

6. Three States = One City

A sunset in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Flickr user Edvydas Cicenas

This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re new in town, it can feel a bit strange to travel across state lines without ever leaving the city limits. Sioux City, the largest section, lies in Iowa, while North Sioux City is in South Dakota and South Sioux City is in Nebraska.

7. You Can Go Catch A Fly Ball

The Sioux City Explorers during a baseball game

Source: Sioux City Explorers via Facebook

If for no other reason, you have to go to a Sioux City Explorers game just because their home field has the most epic name ever: Lewis and Clark Park. But what’s up with Slider, the dog mascot? He needs an Indiana Jones hat or something more…explorer-y.

8. Welcome To Siouxland

A dog explores a field in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Flickr user FordRanger

The area surrounding Sioux City is called Siouxland, which includes the land adjacent to the Big Sioux River drainage basin. The area stretches north into Minnesota and South Dakota, and down into Nebraska and Iowa.

9. Go Enjoy The Green

People at public pool in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Sioux City Parks and Recreation via Facebook

Thanks to the Missouri River and plenty of green space, Sioux City is home to more than 35 parks. They include everything from playgrounds and swimming pools, to the Anderson Dance Pavilion, Grandview Bandshell and the Rose Garden in Grandview Park.

10. Row A Boat Across The Wide Missouri

Source: Instagram user wchadjordan

Sioux City is truly a river town. The Missouri River provides plenty of green space for parks and hiking and biking paths, great views and, as the navigational head of the river, a prime spot for boating.

11. Get Your History Buff On At The Sioux City Museum

An old photograph from the Sioux City Museum

Source: Facebook user Sioux City Museum & Historical Association

This small museum is big on hands-on fun and information. Aiming to preserve and share the city’s history, it’s chock-full of Native American objects, pioneer artifacts, and military memorabilia. They have some pretty sweet programs for adults and kids, too–I wish I were a first grader just so I could “Eat Like An Astronaut” for a day.

12. No One Knows How To Say “Loess”

Loess Hills in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Flickr user FordRanger

Some people say “Luss,” others say “Loe-s,” but everyone agrees that the Loess Hills are worth saving. Invasive species and runoff threaten to destabilize the fragile soil of this 200-feet tall geological marvel. Spend some time in the Loess Hills State Forest or take a drive on the Loess Hills Scenic Byway for a visually-stunning daytrip.

13. People From Sioux City Don’t Pack Meat No More

An old photograph of the Sioux City stockyards

Source: Wikimedia Lordkinbote

At one time, the Sioux City stockyards sold more livestock than anywhere else in the country, and the smells that wafted from the yards and packing plants were jokingly referred to as the “the smell of money.” The stockyards closed in 2002, but the town’s meat-packing heyday is still remembered by some of the town’s older residents.

14. Mark Your Calendar For Saturday In The Park

Source: Instagram user amymyers85

Saturday in the Park is an annual festival that usually held at the Grandview Park Municipal Bandshell on the Saturday closest to the 4th of July. About 50,000 people attend the festival each year.

15. You Won’t Have To Wait At The Long Lines Family Rec Center

An indoor climbing wall in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Sioux City Parks and Recreation via Facebook

Whether you want to climb a rock wall, hit the batting cages, bring your tiny tots to the gym or play a game of basketball, the Long Lines Family Rec Center is the place to go.

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16. Brandish Your Hockey Stick And Yell “Engarde!”

The Sioux City Musketeers during a hockey game

Source: Sioux City Musketeers via Facebook

The Sioux City Musketeers, a Tier 1 junior ice hockey team, plays at the Tyson Events Center. The team, which plays in the West Division of the U.S. Hockey League, has devoted fans and knows how to have fun beyond the game itself. In a Puppy Bowl-esque twist, the team hosts Lapdog Races during intermission.

17. Sioux City Is Your Win-Dough To The World

Two men in a casino in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Argosy Casino Sioux City via Facebook

The Sioux City area is home to several casinos, but that doesn’t mean everyone plays the slots. Casinos also serve up food and host arts and crafts shows, concerts, special events and more.

18. People From Sioux City Know Their Nature

Two kids fish in a river in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Facebook user Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center

The Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center and Stone State Park is a great place to go to hike in the Loess Hills, through prairie grasses and in bur oak forests, which are home to 150-year-old giant trees. You can also visit indoor exhibits to learn about prairies, wetlands, woodlands, the Loess Hills, native species and more.

19. Remember The Only Man Lewis and Clark Left Behind

The Sergeant Floyd River Museum in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Wikimedia user Ammodramus

Sergeant Charles Floyd Jr., the only casualty on Lewis and Clark’s expedition, died in what is today Sioux City. His grave became the country’s first designated National Historic Landmark in 1900. The Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center is located in a dry-docked, decommissioned U.S. Army Corp of Engineers inspection boat aptly named after the sergeant himself.

20. Swing By For A Show At The Orpheum Theatre

The Orpheum Theater in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Orpheum Theatre via Facebook

Built in 1927, the Orpheum Theatre has been used for everything from symphonies to movies and had been visited by many famous entertainers such as Fred Astaire, Katherine Hepburn, Bill Cosby, BB King, Bob Dylan, Alison Kraus and Jerry Seinfeld. The Orpheum underwent a $12 million restoration and re-opened in 2001.

21. People From Sioux City Are Drawn To Art

A woman paints in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Sioux City Art Center via Facebook

The Sioux City Art Center specializes in artists of the upper Midwest, particularly from Siouxland. It features both a permanent collection, rotating galleries, a hands-on gallery for children and families and art classes. Admission is free (other than fees charged for certain special exhibits and events).

22. Leave The (Restaurant) Chain Gang Behind

A baby makes a mess with food

Source: Diamond Thai Cuisine via Facebook

Let’s be honest, the Midwest is dominated by Bob Evans. Thankfully, Sioux City is not. If you’re craving something other than a burger, local favorites include:

  • Diamond Thai
  • Da Kao Chinese & Vietnamese Restaurant
  • El Fredo Pizza
  • Fuji Bay Japanese Restaurant
  • La Juanita Restaurant
  • Café Danh
  • Thai Laos Kitchen Restaurant
  • Trattoria Fresco and Rebos

and that’s just the start. But if you’re just craving hot wings or pizza at a sports bar, Bob Roe’s Point After always has your back.

23. The Fourth Street Historic District Is Where It’s At

Downtown Sioux City Iowa

Source: Wikimedia user Bobak Ha’Eri

The Fourth Street Historic District is composed of the two city blocks from Virginia Street to Iowa Street, where the buildings date from 1889 to 1915. This area contains the most extensive concentration of late 19th century Richardsonian Romanesque buildings in Iowa. Fourth Street is also known for its bars, restaurants and local shops.

24. Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful

Source: Instagram user fjmi86

Trinity Heights is a quiet, religious site containing more than 24 shrines, memorial gardens, walkways, green spaces and quiet corners, all on 14 acres. The site has been called one of the area’s must-see for people of all faiths, whether you’d like to pray or just go somewhere quiet.

25. Sioux City’s Indoor Football Team Is Like A Horde Of Hulks

The Sioux City Bandits during a football game

Source: Sioux City Bandits via Facebook

The Sioux City Bandits professional indoor football team plays in the Champions Professional Indoor Football League. In March 2013, the team celebrated its 30th straight win. Chew out that.

26. You’re Welcome For The Chewiest, Cherriest, Peanutbutteriest Candy Ever

Source: Instagram user sunmachawaii

If you’ve ever enjoyed a Twin Bing, you can thank E.C. Palmer Candy Company, which began as a wholesale grocery store in Sioux City in 1878. It’s one of the oldest candy companies in the country, satisfying many a sweet tooth for over 100 years.

27. Sioux City Is Full Of Drama Queens (And Kings)

People perform a play on stage in Sioux City Iowa

Source: LAMB Theatre via Facebook

LAMB Arts Regional Theatre is a non-profit professional non-equity theater that puts on plays and musicals for children and adults alike. Another venue for live performances is the Sioux City Community Theatre, where anyone, be they plumber or marketing associate, can be a star.

28. Embark On An Expedition With Lewis And Clark

Kids at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center And Betty Strong Encounter Center via Facebook

Located on the riverfront, the Sioux City Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Betty Strong Encounter Center is a private, non-profit cultural complex. At the Interpretive Center, visitors can see exhibits about the Corps of Discovery’s time in what is now the Sioux City area, from July to September 1804. The Encounter Center includes galleries, an activity center, outdoor games, an auditorium and more.

29. Sioux City Will Never Forgot Flight 232

An old photograph of a plane

Source: Flickr user Kuster & Wildhaber Photography

The infamous 1989 United Airlines Flight 232 crash made history in Sioux City. Although 111 people died, 185 survived–a rather high survival rate based on the severity of the crash. Many lives were saved by the city’s regional emergency room, trauma and burn centers and the local Iowa Air National Guard. Today you can visit the memorial in Chris Larson City Park.

30. All Aboard For The Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District

Santa on a train at the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District in Sioux City Iowa

Source: Milwaukee Railroad Shops, Sioux City via Facebook

The Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District is home to a six-stall railroad roundhouse with a working turntable, red brick shop buildings, tracks and smaller shop buildings. When it was built in 1917, the shop complex was the second largest in the Milwaukee system.

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posted on: March 24, 2014
78,711 views, 9 comments


  1. Don

    Being a part of the rescue effort very shortly after the crash of UAL232, would you be kind enough to inject a short sentence into the paragraph, stating “Another part in saving of lives, were the many local volunteer fire, EMS Ambulance and Rescue squads from SD, NE and IA that came to Sioux City without having to be asked.”
    Would greatly appreciate this being injected.
    From one who was there and worked in triage, thank you for your consideration.

    • Kevin in response to Don

      I can’t imagine having been there. I moved to Omaha for school and for one of my speeches in class I did one on Flight 232. Got an A on it. Even used the last seconds of the cockpit’s audio as my intro.

  2. Cheryl

    Wow, You people need to read other peoples posts before posting your own. All I see is North and South Sioux are not part of Sioux City, over and over. We know this but I do not think that is what she meant by the post, Just that all 3 can be access very quickly and easily without even realizing you are leaving one city and entering another. They are all kinda wound together, SEEMING like one big city. Geez. take things with a grain of salt will ya.

  3. Jennifer

    This is good and covers most of the highlights (although I know we can all come up with several more). The problem is all of the grammatical and spelling errors. Did you proofread this at all?

  4. Shirley

    I enjoyed your article very much and don’t worry about the people that knit picked apart. We’re all proud to be a community. You did a great job and there is no way possible to cover everyone. They are free to write another article and I’m sure we would enjoy it too.

  5. Lydia

    This is all wonderful! My only qualm is that if someone was looking to move here (or visit), then they might want to know about the trains that run through Sioux City 24/7.

  6. Kevin

    Honestly that didn’t bug me a lot. I don’t even know if they even stop in Sioux City. I don’t remember hearing about a train station in the city and I’ve been all over that city.

  7. Deb Kelly

    Let’s not forget to mention the three rivers that run together in Sioux City. Big/little Sioux, Missouri, and Floyd. The 1st Bride’s Grave at the South Ravine that has changed immensely over the bridge. 6th place Nationally is La Juanita’s. Stone State Park was also not mentioned. These items are also a part of our history.

  8. SL

    Very good and no i can’t spell and who cares. Why don’t you al just chill i lived there 23 years that town and state are the greatest. It was great reliving every thing until i got to your negietive ass comments. Can’t say anything nice, then shut up.


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