The Main Street Districts of Linn County have so much to offer residents and visitors alike. From delectable dining experiences to unique boutiques, here are just a few of the things that make each Main Street a destination worthy of regular visits.
Central City Main Street District
You might be surprised to hear someone suggest you pay a visit to a pharmacy, but a visit to Central City Family Pharmacy is unlike any other. It’s not your average stop to pick up cold medicine — although how convenient if you do need to grab some while you’re there. In this neat shop, you’ll find a wonderful assortment of gift items including jewelry and toys. And be sure to stop in during the holiday season, when Central City Family Pharmacy is transformed into a Christmas wonderland. We swear you’ll feel like family right when you walk through the door.
Central City Mainstreet District is also defined by Courtyard Park, and the wide variety of events that happen there throughout the year. Don’t miss out on the Farmer’s Market that takes place during warm weather months or live bands during the annual CC Live music series. Santa visits with children at the during the district’s “Holiday on Main” event.
Czech Village-New Bohemia Main Street District
There are a lot of locally-owned businesses packed into the Czech Village-New Bohemia Main Street District, but several distinct spots showcase the power of businesses working in close proximity to each other. At the heart of the NewBo neighborhood is the NewBo City Market. This business incubator and community gathering hub is a great spot to stop when you are hungry as inside you’ll find a dozen unique eateries offering everything from classic comfort food to unique ethnic dishes. You can also shop for gifts, belly up to the bar for a local beer, or take a cooking class in space operated by Kirkwood Community College.
Right next door you’ll definitely want to explore the Cherry Building. This historic warehouse has been converted into office space for creatively-inclined businesses. There are photographers, artists and an art gallery, a holistic healing center, and much more. It’s also home to the Iowa Ceramics Center and Glass Studio, where artists and community members can gather to admire, create and purchase ceramics and glass art. They host artists in residence and offer a variety of exhibitions, classes and workshop throughout the year.
While in the district, take a walk across the Bridge of Lions. The physical connection between the Czech Village and NewBo neighborhoods, the Bridge of Lions is a distinctive and vital architectural draw in this Main Street District. The signature lions that grace the bridge are also fun when snapping selfies.
Mount Vernon Main Street District
When you are in Mount Vernon transport yourself to school days gone by, when you shop your way through the First Street Community Center. The building, which was in fact the city’s original high school building, and former middle school building, has been converted into a space for a variety of unique small businesses—from flower shops and antique galleries to a vibrant quilt shop. The building also hosts events and community theater productions. Then up and down the blocks of Mount Vernon’s Main Street, you’ll find a whole host of quaint and distinctive shops. There are eight different antique stores in just a few square blocks, so Mount Vernon is a haven for lovers of old things and quirky finds.
You’ll likely work up an appetite while you shop. If you need a cup of coffee to go, pop into Fuel, a coffee shop like no other in the area. The coffee is brewed from independently roasted beans and all the treats — scones, sugar cookies and carrot cake — are made from scratch. If your shopping takes you into the evening hours, do not miss your opportunity to enjoy the Lincoln Wine Bar. The selection of wines is unbeatable and the wood-fired pizza is delectable. They have five varieties consistently on the menu, but regularly offer three to four specialty pizzas each night. There’s live music on weekends as well, making it a special night out on the town.
Uptown Marion Main Street District
Many people who have visited the Uptown Marion Main Street District have spent time in Marion Square Park as it is home to Marion by Moonlight, the Marion Arts Festival and so many other popular Marion events. But have you seen the Uptown Artway? Take a stroll through what was once an under-utilized alley and is now a re-imagined gathering space with nine permanent art installations by local and national artists. Make sure you visit during the day and at night to see the distinct differences in how this one-of-a-kind art project brings sculpted creativity to the vibrant Uptown Marion Main Street District.
If you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further than THE chocolate SHOP. This tasty gem of a store in Marion’s historic shopping district is where you’ll find a wide variety of fine chocolates, including truffles, toffee, caramels, and nut clusters. You won’t believe your eyes, either, as each piece of chocolate is like a work of art.
And don’t miss out on visiting one of Marion’s newest boutiques, Scout of Marion. Only open since the spring of 2018, this shop strives to curate the most thoughtful and creative gifts all in one store. From beautiful throws made in Amana, Iowa to custom made cutting boards, artisan pantry products and the cutest collection of office accessories you can find in the area, Scout offers home goods, items to stock in your pantry, personal care products and even cheese. You’ll be sure to find the perfect gift, and likely something for yourself as well.