- The list below includes 66 free or cheap things to do in or near Altoona, Iowa, including 51 different types of inexpensive activities like Horse Races, Parks, Race Tracks and Movie Theaters.
- From Thomas Mitchell Park to Prairie Meadows, there are a variety of budget-friendly attractions in Altoona and in nearby cities within 25 miles like Des Moines, West Des Moines, Urbandale and Ankeny.
Run by a regional historical society, Boone County Historical Center provides visitors with historical and cultural information about the area. The center has exhibits with artifacts like fossils, Native American tools, taxidermy, and more.
The tiny Birthplace of John Wayne is located in Winterset, Iowa. The cottage where the actor was born is now a museum in his honor. This is an excellent attraction for Wayne fans and anyone with an interest in classic American westerns.
Visitors learn about history and culture at the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Birthplace. The small home has been staged to reflect the lifestyle of Mamie and the venue is run by knowledgeable guides who know every detail about the items in the house.
Featuring exhibits detailing the history of railroading from the Civil War until present day, Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad and James H. Andrew Railroad Museum displays railroad photographs and video footage. The museum also organizes train rides from the depot.
Come play in the snow at Seven Oaks Recreation in Boone, Iowa. Skiing, tubing, snowboarding, snow shoeing and a host of other exhilarating winter activities make a visit to Seven Oaks a great vacation idea. This destination also rents skis and snowboards.
Preserved and maintained by the Iowa Historical Society, the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad is a working rail line and mobile museum that offers rides on vintage locomotives. It is open seasonally and closes each winter.