Attractions Near
Muscatine, IA

Situated in Muscatine’s historic downtown district, the charm of the riverfront will inspire and rejuvenate you. Within steps of the hotel, you can soak in the sunrise at Riverside Park, explore an art museum that rival those found anywhere in the U.S., or spend the day shopping in quaint shops and independent boutiques. The Merrill Hotel immerses guests in a genuinely unique Iowan experience while inviting and inspiring travelers to experience the magic of the Mississippi!

ATTRACTIONS

NATIONAL PEARL BUTTON MUSEUM

The National Pearl Button Museum at The History and Industry Center proudly tells Muscatine's story in becoming the Pearl Button Capital of the World. Known as the "Gold Rush of the Midwest," The National Pearl Button Museum produced 1.5 billion pearl buttons annually and sold them to the garment industry and around the World over 100 years ago. The second floor reveals the history of Muscatine's industrial giants which led the way for the manufacturing of products like office furniture, retread tires, and corn product processing - all of which are still thriving today.

117 W 2nd St, Muscatine, IA 52761

MUSCATINE ART CENTER

Open since 1965, the Laura Musser Museum/Muscatine Art Center is many things to the community of Muscatine — Historic House Museum, Art Gallery and Local History Museum featuring over twenty changing exhibitions. The museum displays many distinctive architectural details of the Edwardian period, The Mississippi River Collection and collections of work by world famous artists including Georgia O’Keeffe and Vincent Van Gogh. The Muscatine Art Center is accredited by the American Association of Museums - an honor signifying that the Art Center has undergone a rigorous and lengthy process involving intensive self-examination, peer review and a thorough examination by the Accreditation Commission. 

1314 Mulberry Ave, Muscatine, IA 52761

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Muscatine’s Historic Downtown area is a must see if you are seeking unique specialty shops, antique shops, restaurants, bars, museums, art galleries, and historic buildings. These along with the wonderful riverfront, makes it the heart of the community. As you take a walk and wander Downtown Muscatine, you'll notice the poetry of local writers etched in concrete around the city. Wandering Words is a partnership between the Muscatine County Arts Council and the City of Muscatine featuring twenty-nine sidewalk poems that are permanently installed throughout Muscatine; nineteen of which can be found in Downtown.

Downtown Muscatine

ART IN PUBLIC SPACES

On a stroll through Downtown Muscatine, you will see many buildings adorned with colorful murals; Riverside Park boasts statues, plaques, and other 3-dimensional artwork; and while you’re at it, notice some of the historical architectural features of the downtown buildings. Along the Mississippi riverfront you'll also find Gus, a clam fisherman standing in a clam-filled boat brandishing a pair of clamming forks over his head. Titled "Mississippi Harvest," the large bronze sculpture was created by artist Erik Blome. The Merrill Hotel itself is something of an artistic masterpiece. The vision and commitment to Muscatine is carved in a black granite tribute to Stanley Merrill Howe by Muscatine artist Joe Barnard.

Downtown Muscatine

WEST HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT

A leisurely walk up the hill on 2nd Street and back down on 3rd Street showcases Muscatine’s eclectic architecture and history. You’ll discover many treasures in the over 200 homes built as long ago as 1843 including big glorious mansions and small brick cottages, and every residential architectural style imaginable from Queen Anne Victorian to Italianate to Federal to Greek Revival.

2nd & 3rd Streets

BAYER BUTTERFLY GARDEN

Explore 155-acres of prairie grasses and wildflowers, including a one-acre butterfly garden along the northern edge of the prairie planted by Muscatine's Bayer U.S. - Crop Science. The garden features numerous and colorful wildflower species that attract butterflies and other pollinators, including bees, from early spring to fall. Enjoy a picnic at the tables or relax in the gazebo as a pond with dual waterfalls attracts birds and koi that swim through the water lilies. 

2500 Wiggens Rd, Muscatine, IA 52761

MUSCATINE ARBORETUM

While exploring Discovery Park, take a walk on the paved trails that wind throughout 13 acres of over 1,000 native and ornamental trees, shrubs, and plants in the Muscatine Arboretum that is described as a “living tree museum.” In addition to the beautiful trees and plants, you'll enjoy a Veterans Memorial Area, a medieval
style brick labyrinth, a gazebo (perfect for picnics) and many benches to sit and enjoy the surroundings.

Discovery Park, 3300 Cedar St, Muscatine, IA 52761

MUSCATINE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Feel enriched by the cultural life of the city with the presentation of symphonic music of the highest quality. The Muscatine Symphony Orchestra is a community-based orchestra composed of roughly 50 musicians including local volunteers, college students, and professional musicians from the Muscatine area as well as regional universities from Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. The Muscatine Symphony Orchestra is under the musical directorship of Maestro Brian Dollinger who has served as its artistic director since 2004.

Performances will be broadcast digitally for the 2021 season

PINE CREEK GRIST MILL AND MELPINE SCHOOLHOUSE

Built in 1848, the Pine Creek Grist Mill is thought to be the oldest working mill on its original site between the Mississippi River and the Rockies. Muscatine County’s first official resident, Benjamin Nye, constructed the mill in response to the growing demand of pioneering families to have their crops ground into usable products like flour and meal. Discover the 170-year-old working mill and one-room schoolhouse that is now used as a museum of rural school memorabilia, located in Wildcat Den State Park.

Wildcat Den State Park, 1884 Wildcat Den Rd, Muscatine, IA 52761

ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER

The Environmental Learning Center offers numerous natural history exhibits, two 1,200-gallon aquariums with native fish, live reptiles and amphibians, more than 100 mounted animals and is the home to the Muscatine County Conservation Board office. Walk or bike the 1.5 miles of paved trails, fish stocked ponds, or stop by the outdoor raptor enclosure, all within the 85-acre Discovery Park.

Discovery Park, 3300 Cedar St, Muscatine, IA 52761

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