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  • Council Bluffs, Iowa
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    Council Bluffs,

    Iowa

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    Council Bluffs is a city in and the county seat of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, United States. The city is the most populous in Southwest Iowa, and is a primary city of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area. It is located on the east bank of the Missouri River, across from the city of Omaha, Nebraska. Council Bluffs was known, until at least 1853, as Kanesville. It was the historic starting point of the Mormon Trail. Kanesville is also the northernmost anchor town of the other emigrant trails, since there was a steam-powered boat to ferry their wagons, and cattle, across the Missouri River. In 1869, the first transcontinental railroad to California was connected to the existing U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs. Council Bluffs' population was 62,799 at the time of the 2020 census. The Omaha metropolitan region, of which Council Bluffs is a part, is the 59th largest in the United States, with an estimated population of 933,316 (2017).
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    6 Cool Pedestrian Bridges You Should Walk Across

    Gatlinburg’s SkyBridge, which opened today, is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the U.S., spanning 680 feet over a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains. An impressive feat indeed, but it's not the first of its ilk—from coast to coast, the United States is full of show-stopping structures just waiting to be explored. Offering epic views of manmade skylines and natural wonders alike, here are six awesome American bridges perfect for a stroll. 1. Skylift Bridge: Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Courtesy SkyLift Park) At the top of Crockett Mountain, on the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, SkyLift Park (gatlinburgskylift.com) is home to that brand-new record-breaking suspension bridge. At its highest point, it's 140 feet off the ground, but you don’t have to make the climb on your own. Take the chairlift, an iconic Gatlinburg attraction dating to 1954, and get off at the top, where you can hang out on the deck to nurse a pint, snap the perfect selfie, and oh yes, conquer the bridge. The walking path is five feet wide, so you shouldn’t have to worry about navigating the right-of-way in tight environs (when in doubt, single file!), but don’t look down if you’re squeamish—especially in the middle, where glass panels let you see past your toes and straight into the depths below. Tickets, $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $15 for kids ages 4-11, ages 3 and under free. The lift is accessible for passengers who are able to stand up to load on and off, and wheelchairs can be rented for free at the top, but the bridge itself is not wheelchair accessible. 2. Navajo Bridge: Glen Canyon, Arizona and Utah (Amelia Takacs/Dreamstime) The first direct route between Utah and Arizona, the Navajo Bridge (nps.gov/glca) opened to cars in 1929, and for nearly 70 years, drivers on highway 89A took that route to cross the Colorado River. But the area’s transportation needs eventually overwhelmed the historic structure, and its 18-foot-wide road became too much for the heavier cars and trucks of the late 20th century. Construction began on a new bridge that would run parallel to the old one, and upon its completion in 1995, the original bridge was opened to foot traffic. Today, the steel-and-concrete trestle looms 467 feet above the river, with a visitors center and a bookstore on the west side. On the Navajo Nation side to the east, Native American craftspeople set up shop, and the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center offers outdoor exhibits and self-guided walks across the bridge.Park entry, $30 per car or $15 per person on foot or bike. The historic bridge is wheelchair accessible. 3. BP Pedestrian Bridge: Chicago (F11photo/Dreamstime) The BP Pedestrian Bridge (millenniumparkfoundation.org), Frank Gehry’s first and, to date, only bridge, can be found in downtown Chicago, where it wends its way over Columbus Drive, connecting Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park over lane upon lane of urban traffic. Completed in 2004, the undulating overpass is covered with the famed architect’s signature sculptural stainless-steel panels and spans nearly two-tenths of a mile, providing both skyline and park views along the way. It’s also a companion piece to Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion—though the outdoor amphitheater has an impressive aerial sound system, the bridge contributes to the experience, serving as an acoustic barrier for free performances and festivals of all stripes.Free. The bridge is accessible, with gently sloping wheelchair-friendly ramps at each entrance. 4. Tilikum Crossing: Portland, Oregon (Vitpho/Dreamstime) With a Native American name symbolic of connection and friendship that nods to the region’s early people, Portland’s Tilikum Crossing (trimet.org/tilikum) opened in 2015, becoming the area's first new bridge across the Willamette River in 40-plus years. Roughly 1,700 feet long and utilizing more than three miles of cable, the cable-stayed bridge has lanes for buses and trains and separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians—no cars allowed—with a design takes its cues from the surrounding landscape. The sloping angle of the top cable mimics the slope of Mt. Hood in the distance, while the 180-foot-tall towers at the bridge's center have angled tops that blend with the tree line. Taking it to the next level, aesthetic lighting works in direct synthesis with the environment: LED lights on the cables and towers change color based on the flow of the river, with the water’s temperature affecting the shifting hues and its speed setting the pace for the colors' movement across the bridge. Free. The bridge is wheelchair-accessible, with extra-wide pullouts around the towers where visitors can pause to take in the views. 5. Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge: Omaha, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa (Courtesy VisitOmaha.com) At 3,000 feet, including its landings, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge (visitomaha.com/bob) is the longest footbridge connecting two states, stretching over the Missouri River between Omaha, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Since its official opening in 2008, the walkway has become so integral to the communities it links that it’s taken on a life of its own: Named for the former Nebraska governor and state senator who championed the project, it’s now known simply as Bob, an anthropomorphic structure with an active social-media presence and a few thousand followers. The cable-stayed bridge features 210-foot LED-lit pylons and a curving pathway that echoes the winding river beneath, hovering 60 feet above the Missouri at its midway point and connecting to 150 miles of nature trails and family-friendly public spaces on either side. Free. The bridge is wheelchair accessible and ADA-compliant. 6. Walkway Over the Hudson: Poughkeepsie, New York (Liz Van Steenburgh/Dreamstime) Opened in 1889 as the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge and transformed into a pedestrian trail in 2009, New York’s Walkway Over the Hudson (walkway.org) is a state park with a storied history. Originally introduced as an industrial line, the bridge was transporting passengers between major east coast cities within a year of its debut; during World War II, it was painted black to prevent against attacks, and in 1974 its tracks were destroyed by a fire likely sparked by a train’s brakes. Today, some half a million people travel the 1.28-mile footpath from Poughkeepsie to the town of Lloyd in Ulster County, soaking up gorgeous, 360-degree views of the Catskills and the Hudson Highlands from 212 feet above the river. For even more natural splendor, the linear park connects with two rail-trail networks, the Hudson Valley and the Dutchess, to offer 18 miles of walking and cycling in verdant environs.Free, except during special events. Both entrances are wheelchair accessible and ADA-compliant, and a 21-story glass elevator operates seasonally on the Poughkeepsie side. For travel inspiration, know-how, deals, and more, sign up for Budget Travel's free e-newsletter.

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    DESTINATION IN Nebraska

    Omaha

    Omaha ( OH-mə-hah) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Nebraska and the county seat of Douglas County. Omaha is in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 10 miles (15 km) north of the mouth of the Platte River (also known as the Nebraska River). The nation's 39th-largest city, Omaha's 2020 census population was 486,051. It is the second-largest city in the Great Plains states (behind Oklahoma City), the second-largest city along the Missouri River (behind Kansas City, Missouri), and the seventh-largest city in the Midwest. Omaha is the anchor of the eight-county, bi-state Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. The Omaha Metropolitan Area is the 58th-largest in the United States, with a population of 967,604. The Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont, NE-IA Combined Statistical Area (CSA) encompasses the Omaha-Council Bluffs MSA as well as the separate Fremont, NE Micropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of the entirety of Dodge County, Nebraska. The total population of the CSA was 970,023 based on 2017 estimates. Approximately 1.3 million people reside within the Greater Omaha area, within a 50 mi (80 km) radius of Downtown Omaha. Omaha's pioneer period began in 1854, when the city was founded by speculators from neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa. The city was founded along the Missouri River, and a crossing called Lone Tree Ferry earned the city its nickname, the "Gateway to the West". Omaha introduced this new West to the world in 1898, when it played host to the World's Fair, dubbed the Trans-Mississippi Exposition. During the 19th century, Omaha's central location in the United States spurred the city to become an important national transportation hub. Throughout the rest of the 19th century, the transportation and jobbing sectors were important in the city, along with its railroads and breweries. In the 20th century, the Omaha Stockyards, once the world's largest, and its meatpacking plants gained international prominence. Today, Omaha is the home to the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies: mega-conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway; one of the world's largest construction companies, Kiewit Corporation; insurance and financial firm Mutual of Omaha; and the United States' largest railroad operator, Union Pacific Corporation. Berkshire Hathaway is headed by local investor Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in the world, according to a decade's worth of Forbes rankings, some of which have ranked him as high as No. 1.Omaha is also the home to five Fortune 1000 headquarters: Green Plains Renewable Energy, TD Ameritrade, Valmont Industries, Werner Enterprises, and West Corporation. Also headquartered in Omaha are the following: First National Bank of Omaha, the largest privately held bank in the United States; three of the nation's ten largest architecture/engineering firms (DLR Group, HDR, Inc., and Leo A Daly); and the Gallup Organization, of Gallup Poll fame, and its riverfront Gallup University. Notable modern Omaha inventions include the following: the "pink hair curler" created at Omaha's Tip Top Products; Butter Brickle Ice Cream, and the Reuben sandwich, conceived by a chef at the then–Blackstone Hotel on 36th and Farnam Streets; cake mix, developed by Duncan Hines, then a division of Omaha's Nebraska Consolidated Mills, the forerunner to today's ConAgra Foods; center-pivot irrigation by the Omaha company now known as Valmont Corporation; Raisin Bran, developed by Omaha's Skinner Macaroni Co.; the first ski lift in the U.S., in 1936, by Omaha's Union Pacific Corp.; the Top 40 radio format, pioneered by Todd Storz, scion of Omaha's Storz Brewing Co. and head of Storz Broadcasting, and first used in the U.S. at Omaha's KOWH Radio; and the TV dinner, developed by Omaha's Carl A. Swanson.