Living in Decorah
Decorah is a hidden gem that lies in the Driftless Region, a beautiful environment of rolling hills, sandstone bluffs, waterfalls, and spring-fed creeks. And the community of Decorah is just as unique and inviting as the landscape.
A Great College Town
Things to Do
There are countless things to do in Decorah! Go for a hike to Pulpit Rock, bike the Trout Run Trail, kayak on the Upper Iowa River, snowshoe through Luther-owned trails, and visit the Dunning’s Spring waterfall.
Shop downtown! From clothes and outdoor gear to art supplies and second-hand goods, Decorah has dozens of small businesses to check out.
Grab your friends for Trivia on Thursday nights at Impact Coffee or if bingo is more your speed, Pulpit Rock Brewing Co. and Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. host free bingo nights.
Visit the famous Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum to learn about the history and culture of our vibrant immigrant heritage.
Through my years here at Luther, I’ve quickly learned that some of the best things Decorah has to offer are free. These include hiking through Ice Cave, around Dunning’s Spring, or visiting the fish hatchery or farmers markets.Penelope Barbour '17
Decorah has been featured in national publications, including:
Places to Eat and Drink
From global flavors to farm-to-table pizza, there are countless food options in Decorah!
- Have morning coffee or a caffeinated study session at Magpie Cafe, Impact Coffee, or Java John’s, or get it to go from the Mill Street Mocha drive-thru.
- Mabe’s is a must for their famous pizza. Watch the big game at T-Bock’s Sports Bar & Grill and try their peanut butter burger! The Kozi Pie Shoppe and Water Street Deli are other great locally-owned options.
- During the warmer months, plan ahead and reserve your woodfire grilled, farm-to-table, pizzas for a Friday night at Luna Valley Farm. Enjoy local beverages, visit the pigs, and take in the beautiful bluffs.
- You’ll find excellent Mexican cuisine at Don Jose and delicious sushi and Japanese food at Koreana.
- Looking for a vegan or gluten-free option? Blazing Star sources local food to create nourishing grain bowls.
- Celebrate special occasions at Rubaiyat or La Rana Bistro, which feature seasonal curated menus. Nestled in among large trees and rolling hills, you’ll find Twin Springs Supper Club. Enjoy steak, seafood, and the atmosphere.
Can you tell we are passionate about food around here?
Luther students are involved in the Decorah community in many ways. Through community engagement, you expand your college connections beyond campus. Your college journey is enriched, as are the lives of everyone you engage with.
There are many ways to become involved. You can:
- Mentor an elementary student through our PALS Program
- Work downtown at one of our fantastic restaurants or shops
- Volunteer and gain medical experience at the local Free Clinic
- Fulfill your work study hours at a local business
- Display work and teach art classes at ArtHaus
- Help elderly community members prepare for winter
- Coach elementary and middle school sports teams
- And so much more!
You don’t need to leave Decorah to gain professional experience. Luther’s strong relationship with our city’s business community means that you can pursue a professional internship right here!