Shopping in Iowa typically entails either a trip to the nearest shopping mall or the local hypermarket like Walmart. There are certainly a handful of spots in the state that have some very interesting things, such as the Amana Colonies with their Germanic folk crafts. Most small Iowan towns also have a Main Street district where an eclectic array of homegrown stores caters mainly to the local population.
The capital Des Moines is the best city in Iowa to indulge your urban shopping needs. The pedestrian-friendly East Village in the downtown area has a nice selection of boutiques and local businesses intermixed with casual cafés. The historic Valley Junction district is also a good bet for outdoor street shopping. Des Moines has its share of big malls, including Southridge Mall, Merle Hay Mall, Valley West Mall, and Jordan Creek Town Center. May through October, the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in the Court District is a real treat.
In Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city, you are mostly restricted to its two shopping malls. Lindale Mall is anchored by big-name department stores such as Von Maur and Sears along with a hundred other retailers, eateries and shops.
Easily the most atmospheric shopping experience in Iowa is found in the Amana Colonies just west of Iowa City. These historic villages have an incredible heritage of handmade craftsmanship and within the seven colonies are a wealth of tiny stores selling clothing, home décor, furniture, quilts, gifts, antiques, and other lovely items in a wonderfully timeless environment.