Mount Vernon, Iowa, could best be described as urban fringe, where the best big city comes to a small town venue with art festivals, popular local restaurants and cafés, and quirky boutiques. If you like chocolate, sidewalk chalk, art, chili, or magical nights—all of which have their own festivals in Mount Vernon—you only have to walk a few blocks to our uptown business district to check it out. On the way, if it’s wintertime, you can zoom down Pres Hill, a city street closed for sledding.
Culture, coolness & rolling hills
Mount Vernon earned a mention in the Fodor's Travel article "5 Midwestern Small Towns to Visit Now," as well as one of ten spots in "America's Coolest Small Towns" list published by Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine.
Mount Vernon lies in the midst of Iowa's Cultural Corridor. In May, Mount Vernon's main street becomes a palette for inspired art during the annual Chalk the Walk festival, and in September artists from all over the area convene for the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival. Meanwhile, the farmers' market and community theatres thrive.
And if you think Iowa is flat as a pancake, think again. Mount Vernon is part of the rolling landscape that made Grant Wood famous. Just five miles away you can climb or hike the limestone bluffs of beautiful Palisades-Kepler State Park, and a short drive in any direction will lead you through gorgeous landscapes and hidden treasures.
Need more nature?
Lake MacBride and the Coralville Reservoir offer boundless water and woodland opportunities just 10 miles away.
Need more arts, entertainment, or sports?
Iowa City, thriving home of the University of Iowa 20 miles south, offers many opportunities for young people, ranging from concerts and bookstores to excellent food and Big 10 sporting events. Cedar Rapids, Iowa's second largest city, is even closer and full of many additional cultural outlets.
Need more shopping
Need a big city outing?
Chicago is just four hours east. Minneapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Kansas City are all within five hours.