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Overview

Perched on the scenic bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, this lovely town got its start in 1833 and served as Iowa's first territorial capital from 1838 to 1840. Originally known as Flint City because of area flint deposits, the town was rechristened Burlington in 1834 when the buyer of the first lot for $50, John Gray, named it after his hometown in Vermont. A bustling river port and railroad town, Burlington still retains touches of its past. Stroll the 29-block Heritage Hill Historic District and see yesteryear's architectural gems. Grand old homes are showcased and church steeples soar into the sky. A popular spot for ...

Perched on the scenic bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, this lovely town got its start in 1833 and served as Iowa's first territorial capital from 1838 to 1840. Originally known as Flint City because of area flint deposits, the town was rechristened Burlington in 1834 when the buyer of the first lot for $50, John Gray, named it after his hometown in Vermont. A bustling river port and railroad town, Burlington still retains touches of its past. Stroll the 29-block Heritage Hill Historic District and see yesteryear's architectural gems. Grand old homes are showcased and church steeples soar into the sky. A popular spot for photographers and panoramic view lovers is St. John's Cathedral, which sits high atop a hill with its steeple more than 100 feet above the cathedral. For a great sight, stop by Mosquito Park on a bluff just north of downtown Burlington. The park didn't get its name from the pesky insect but rather from its small tidy size. Don't leave town without sneaking a peak at what Ripley's Believe It or Not calls the crookedest alley in the world. Located between Washington and Columbia streets, Snake Alley consists of five half-curves and two quarter curves and drops 58 feet over a distance of 275 feet. Built in 1894, the brick alley is also the site of the annual Snake Alley Criterium in May, a bike race held on a 15-block course of city streets, mostly in the downtown commercial area with a one-block-long climb on Snake Alley - a true test of stamina and leg power.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May for the Snake Alley Criterium