Eleven thousand people is the right size for a lot of things – small enough to provide a sense of community, while large enough to offer many vibrant shopping, eating, and entertainment opportunities. The city has most everything you’d expect from a community of its size, as well as many features that are truly distinct. Storm Lake is one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Iowa. The city has been a stop on RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride across Iowa) five times, most recently in 2010.
Among the things to do and see in Storm Lake:
- King’s Pointe, the $39 million city-owned waterpark and resort, is located on the lake’s northeast shore. One of the finest facilities of its types in the region, it features a seasonal outdoor water park with five water slides, a 17,000-square-foot year-round indoor water park, and a large outdoor family pool with lap lanes, diving well, and aquatic playground area.
- The city’s cultural scene includes an art gallery, local history museum, the historic Harker House, and the outdoor Living History Tree Museum, which is made up of trees grown from clippings and seeds from famous locations around the world. Santa’s Castle, originally a Carnegie library, features many elaborate antique animatronic Christmas displays.
- The city’s diversity has a strong influence on local cuisine: Storm Lake has several ethnic grocery stores, five authentic Mexican restaurants, a Thai restaurant, and a Laotian buffet. Around town are eating experiences from high-end dining to fast food chains, offering an assortment of classic American cuisine, steaks, burgers, seafood, and even pizza with honey-infused crust. One coffee house, Common Grounds, is on campus; another is not far away.
- Storm Lake’s outdoor entertainment includes two golf courses: an 18-hole country club, located a few miles west of town, and a newly renovated 9-hole municipal course located on the northeast corner of the lake, near the city campground and King’s Pointe.
- Indoor entertainment includes a three-screen movie theatre, bowling alley, and nightclubs. Professional musical and theatrical performances are frequently featured in the University’s Academic and Cultural Events Series (ACES).
- Places to worship in Storm Lake include churches representing more than 15 Christian denominations and a Buddhist temple. The heritage of the University is in the Presbyterian tradition.
- The city’s downtown – originally built in the late 1800s – has many unique, locally-owned shops that sell items from art to electronics. Other local shopping venues include grocery stores, chain retailers, hardware stores, and a bicycle shop.