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Ottumwa is a city in South Central Iowa.


Founded by coal mining in the 1860s, Ottumwa was once a manufacturing hub in southeast Iowa. During it's peak from the 1940s to the mid-1960s, Ottumwa was home to a Navy base, a John Deere manufacturing plant, and John Morell's (also known as Hormell) main meat packaging plant. Since then, the Navy base has closed, coal mining has ceased, and many of the manufacturing jobs have been moved or eliminated. What remains is a small midwestern town doing their best to make ends meet. With that in mind, most of the tourists to the area have a reason for coming to Ottumwa, be it business or to see family, as little else draws the otherwise unaffiliated tourist to the area.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Ottumwa is at the junction of US Highways 34 and 63. Des Moines and Iowa City are both about 90 minutes away. This is the easiest way to arrive in Ottumwa.

By train[edit]

  • Amtrak, 210 W Main St, [16]. Ottumwa is a stop on the California Zephyr, a line running from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area.

By bus[edit]

Burlington Trailways and Greyhound both stop at the Ottumwa Train Station with service to Omaha, Chicago, and beyond.

Get around[edit]

Most residents have a car as public transit is available but unreliable. The bus schedule changes from time to time, but can be seen at the City of Ottumwa website.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Wapello County Courthouse, 101 N 4th St (at Court St). Constructed in 1894 in the Romanesque Revival style. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (41.019722,-92.410556) edit
  • Jefferson St. Viaduct. This large historic bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. It is one of only a handful of Warren deck truss bridges in Iowa.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • The Beach Ottumwa, 101 Church St Ottumwa, Iowa 52501, [1]. A water park located near the river (but not in the river). The Beach Ottumwa is a good place to spend an afternoon with kids, albeit a little expensive for what you get. There are three outdoor water slides, two that curls around and the other that goes straight down called The Speed Slide, an indoor slide, a wave pool, kiddie play area, sand volleyball area, and a Jr. Olympic size indoor pool.  edit
  • Bridgeview Center, 102 Church St, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [2]. This small convention center build in the mid-200s in order to attract more tourism to the area has largely been unused. Occasionally, medium-sized bands will play here as well as local community theatre groups. Check the Bridgeview website for upcoming shows.  edit
  • Cedar Creek Golf Course, 13120 Angle Rd, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [3]. Public golf course north of the city.  edit
  • Chief Wapello's Grave, Agency, Iowa, [4]. Burial site of Chief Wapello of the Meskwaki tribe. The county is named after him.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Canteen Lunch in the Alley, 112 E 2nd St, +1 641 682-5320. M-W 10AM-7PM, Th-Sa 10AM-8PM. The Canteen has been around since the 1930s and is known for their loose-meat sandwiches. The restaurant was the model for the Lanford Lunch Box on the 1990s sitcom Roseanne.  edit
  • Appanoose Rapids, 332 E Main St, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [5]. A departure from the normal greasy spoon restaurants in Ottumwa, Appanoose Rapids is a trendy brewpub. The drink list has a range of microbrew beers (though they consider Guinness to be a craft beer) and smooth mixed drinks alike. The food menu is about what you'd expect from a brewpub.  edit
  • Ching Dow, 704 Richmond Ave, Ottumwa Iowa 52501, [6]. Americanized Chinese and Mongolian BBQ restaurant. The buffet is what draws most locals in but the Mongolian BBQ is also worth a try.  edit
  • Breadeaux Pizza, 401 E Main St, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [7]. Decent pizza as well as some other menu items like pork tenderloins and wings.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

A lot of locals joke that the only thing more plentiful in Ottumwa than churches are bars. You won't find many clubs; mostly hole-in-the-wall dive bars. While this list is not exhaustive as many bars open and close every year, these are some of the more well-known bars in the city.

  • Tom Tom Tap, 101 2nd St E, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [8]. Located on the ground floor of the Hotel Ottumwa, the Tom Tom Tap has been a local favorite for years. It has one of the better beer selections in town, and you can order food from the Second Street Cafe (also in the ground floor of the hotel) which isn't half bad.  edit
  • Courtside Bar and Grill, 2511 N Court St, Ottumwa, IA 52501. During the day, Courtside is a restaurant where you can get bar food. At night, it becomes inundated with both mid-20-somethings and the older generations alike. Beer selection is mostly large American macros with a few small breweries available. Lots of TVs and bar games.  edit
  • Roe's Sports Bar and Restaurant, 211 N Wapello St, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [9]. Sports bar and restaurant. As with many bars and restaurants in the area, decent food during the day, drinks at night.  edit
  • Chills and Thrills, 312 E Main St, Ottumwa, IA 52501. The local strip joint with a questionable reputation amongst locals. It's a strip club in a small town, so temper your expectations.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Hampton Inn - Ottumwa, 943 N Quincy Ave, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [10].  edit
  • AmericInn - Ottumwa, 222 2nd St W, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [11].  edit
  • Hotel Ottumwa, 107 2nd St E, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [12].  edit
  • Quality Inn and Suites, 125 W Joseph Ave, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [13].  edit
  • Lexington Inn and Suites, 2813 N Court Rd, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [14].  edit
  • Days Inn, 2824 North Court, Ottumwa, IA 52501, [15].  edit


Get out[edit]

Routes through Ottumwa
OsceolaAlbia  W noframe E  FairfieldBurlington
Waterloo ← Jct W I-80.png E  N noframe S  KirksvilleColumbia

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