This might be a fun place to visit this summer! An article from Love Exploring has listed the "most underrated" town in all 50 states, and the winner for Iowa is Elk Horn.

Elk Horn is part of an area referred to as the Danish Villages, which also includes the town of Kimballton, Iowa. It was officially incorporated as a town in 1910 and has around 600 residents. The article from Love Exploring says that, despite its small size, Elk Horn "packs a punch with its charming windmill (you can take a tour of the working mill which dates back to 1848) and the fascinating Museum of Danish America, which chronicles the story of Danish immigration to America. Also look out for Bedstemor’s House, a charming early Danish home that's been faithfully restored."

According to the Danish Village's website, Elk Horn's Danish Windmill is the "only authentic, operating Danish windmill in the United States." It was actually purchased from Denmark and then shipped to Iowa and reconstructed back in 1976. It now serves as an Iowa Welcome Center. Other cool features of the complex include a replica of a 900AD VikingHjem, a scale-replica of the village of Ebeltoft in Denmark, and the teeny, tiny Morning Star Chapel. The windmill's website also notes that "the Mill Museum Gift Shop is the largest retailer of imported Danish items in the USA."

Danish Windmill, Facebook
Danish Windmill, Facebook

In addition to its museum and historic buildings, Elk Horn is also home to a big event called Tivoli Fest. The 2024 event is happening May 24th and 25th and is described as a "fun-filled Danish American festival." It includes Danish folk dancing, food trucks, craft vendors, homemade aebleskiver (puffy Danish pancake balls), a parade, a 5k, games, live entertainment, competitions, and more. There is even a group of Vikings that do lectures, demonstrations, and battles all day long! Another festival called Julefest happens each year during the holiday season.

Other places to visit during your trip to Elk Horn include The Norse Horse TavernGrace on MainKringleman PastriesElk Horn Creek Park, and Danish Countryside Vines and Wines (in Exira).

Here are some of the "most underrated" towns in other Midwest states:

  • Arcola, Illinois
  • Lanesboro, Minnesota
  • Hermann, Missouri
  • Red Cloud, Nebraska
  • Hill City, South Dakota
  • Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Check out the rest of the list from Love Exploring HERE.

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