Once a wilderness of grassy plains, Iowa emerged as a U.S. territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. A half century later, Iowa was admitted as a state and has since become known as the Corn State although it can also claim to be the entire "breadbasket" for the U.S.
As a tourist destination, Iowa is perhaps more famous for the set location for the film Field of Dreams rather than sophisticated night life, but that's part of its charm.
Today, agriculture stills plays a big part in the economy with the annual summer Iowa State Fair -- one of the country's biggest and most popular -- located in the state capitol, Des Moines (population: 206,000). Iowa's biggest city also boasts the family-friendly Blank Park Zoo and the hands-on Science Center of Iowa for interactive fun for kids of all ages.
Elsewhere around the state, Iowa's "Second City", Cedar Rapids, is most famous for its collection of home-grown Americana at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art housing important works by artist and native son, Grant Wood. In the state's northeast corner, Dubuque attracts visitors near and far during the winter months to a top Iowa ski resort, Sundown Mountain, located right within the city limits.