Iowa , a state in the Midwest of the United States of America, was admitted to the Union in 1846 as the 29th state. The people are very friendly, enjoy good food, and enjoy being in the political hotbed every four years when the Caucuses roll through the state. The state is quite rural, with plenty of fields of corn and soybeans and hog farms, although some cities, namely Des Moines, have a strong metropolitan feel.
You should find Midwestern English quite easy to understand.
Most people enter (and leave) Iowa via Interstate 80 if coming from the east or west, I-35 from the north or south. Both interstates are easy to navigate, as are many Midwestern states. The former has done more to perpetuate the stereotype that Iowa is flat and boring than just about anything else. If you want to see the true face of the state, get off the interstate, ignore the fast-food signs, and find one of the small towns that make the Midwest so charming. State maps are available free of charge at state "Welcome Centers" and rest areas. State maps list such points of interest as Cedar Rock, a rare Usonian example of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and scenic routes, often found on county roads.
Amtrak's Chicago/Denver/San Francisco route also makes stops at Omaha (just across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs), Creston (southwestern Iowa), and Ottumwa, Mt. Pleasant and Burlington in southeastern Iowa. The Chicago-Los Angeles route stops in Fort Madison as it clips across the southeasternmost corner of the state in route to Kansas City. Chicago-Dubuque service and Chicago-Quad Cities service is in preparation, with extension of the latter to Iowa City and perhaps eventually to Des Moines somewhat farther in the future.
Most people get around Iowa by car. Most rural areas of Iowa - like much of the Midwest - are laid out on a rough grid pattern. Drive on any of the state's outer highways, and you will quickly find that there is an intersection at every mile on the mile, with some exceptions such as when rivers or creeks are in the way. State highways make up a larger grid pattern, though the distances are less predictable - if you end up lost on a gravel road, just pick a direction and drive and you'll almost certainly find a highway in just a few miles. This makes figuring out where you are and getting from there to where you need to be a relatively simple undertaking.
Travellers unaccustomed to ice and snow may have trouble driving in Iowa winters - plan ahead if you need to travel during the colder parts of the year.
Iowans consider themselves the "breadbasket of the world," and their cuisine reflects this. Get ready for pork chops and pork BBQ, corn-on-the-cob, casseroles, and more just-plain-good Midwestern cooking than you can possibly eat in a lifetime. Most rural towns have a fast-food restaurant or two if you're in a hurry, but the best places are the ones which take a little more time, possibly giving you a chance to chat with friendly locals over a pie or coffee. Early morning in a rural diner might find you in the company of a bunch of farmers!
Towns with strong ethnic identities sometimes have restaurants devoted to a particular country's cuisine. Iowa has a substantial Latino population, and there are many family-run Latino restaurants which generally have quite good food.
The legal drinking and purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 21. Under age drinking is taken very seriously so if you are in a club or bar and appear to be under 30 you should be ready to present identification showing your age. However, there are exceptions. An exception to allow the under age consumption of alcoholic beverages is on private non-alcohol selling premises with parental presence and consent. The other exception is for medical purposes.
Before Prohibition, Iowa had a healthy wine industry, which is growing once again. There are vineyards scattered throughout the state, each producing their own wines.
Des Moines boasts the state's largest number and widest variety of establishments for all age groups, but the bustling college towns of Cedar Falls, Ames and Iowa City provide the most avid nightlife in the state for (mostly) younger crowds (older crowds are more popular on game days, particularly in the fall during football season). Scores of young adults pack local bars and clubs Thursday through Saturday nights.
Alcohol purchases cease at 2AM in both bars and stores. There are no separate outlets for different types of alcohol purchases and all alcohol content in beer is the same no matter where it is purchased. Alcohol is available seven days a week and the state does not have any "dry" counties.
Millstream Brewing Company , based in the Amana Colonies, and Okoboji Brewing Company  from the Iowa Great Lakes area are local craft breweries whose products can be found throughout the state.
Rural Iowa has low crime rates. Travellers should be very careful when going out in the night alone.
Travelers should take on more common sense methodology when visiting more populous areas such as Council Bluffs, Davenport, or Des Moines as these areas do have crime rates that do resemble that of a typical mid-sized American city.
For the most part, travelers will find that most Iowans are friendly, warm, and happy to help you if you have trouble.
Iowa rests in the unofficial "tornado alley", however, a large portion of the state doesn't rest in the most active zones, excluding the far southwest portion of the state. That being said, tornadoes can occur anywhere throughout Iowa during the Spring, Summer, and early Fall.
While tornadoes may not be as common as they are in other areas of the Midwest and South, strong thunderstorms are very common throughout the entire state of Iowa, bringing torrential rain (and subsequent flash flooding), strong winds (which can be just as damaging as tornadoes in some instances), and very large hail.
Pay attention to weather conditions and frequently update yourself via television or radio of any potential severe weather threats while traveling to or through the state during the spring/summer seasons. Conditions can change rapidly, and you do not want to find yourself inadvertently in the path of a dangerous storm.
For more information on this issue, refer to the Tornado safety page.
Although Iowa allows the purchasing and use of consumer fireworks, only sparklers and novelty fireworks can be bought and be in possession. So if you wish to use more explosive fireworks, it's best to go to a neighboring state to purchase and use them. Fortunately, all neighboring states(except Illinois) allows the purchase and possession of more explosive fireworks. Do not bring your purchased non-legal fireworks back into Iowa, that qualifies as smuggling as you(the consumer) is in possession of fireworks. And punishments for smuggling fireworks in Iowa will lead to serious jail time. Lighting them in the countryside isn't recommended as you'll never know if there's someone nearby watching. This also goes for anyone who is just driving through the state with a vehicle full of non-legal fireworks.
Iowa has been a historically varied state, known for liberal and conservative politicians alike. It is also an unusually political state, owing in large part to its historical large role in the presidential nomination process (perhaps because Iowans tend to be less apathetic than other states). While Iowans tend to welcome political discussion more than most, their usual friendliness may at times give way to more hostile debate -- especially when the caucuses near their end, as Iowans have been subject to every candidate parading the state, hosting town forums and debates and soliciting their vote, for a much longer time than the rest of the states are forced to withstand. Feel free to ask Iowans about the caucuses, and don't hesitate to offer your own opinion about political matters, but be respectful.
Iowa is surrounded by 6 states.