Take a trip to River City, Iowa, from the play "The Music Man"

AWM Destinations: River City, Iowa

Welcome to AWM Destinations, the world’s leading travel agency for faraway and fantastical destinations. Each week, AWM Destinations will showcase a unique and exciting vacation destination and spotlight some of the exciting attractions, dining, and hotel options available at each location. We hope you enjoy this series of articles and look forward to hearing about your travels with AWM Destinations.

Written by Matthew Masino


River City, Iowa

Get away from the hustle and bustle of big city living and take a trip to the jewel of the midwest: River City, Iowa. With AWM Destinations, your travel and lodging will be taken care of by our experienced staff and global travel partners. Hop aboard a steam-powered locomotive for your journey to the heart of America. For an additional fee, you can book a private, first class rail car with in-train entertainment and included meals for up to 15 people. With so much to do and see, AWM Destinations will connect you with a local guide who can show you the ins and outs of the town. Be prepared for some adventure, as the locals say, “there’s trouble right here in River City.”

What to Do and See

The library in the River City, Iowa, from the play "The Music Man"
Check out the Madison Library

During your time in town, you’ll want to be sure to visit the Madison Library. Meet Marian Paroo, the head librarian (as well as the town’s resident piano teacher) and the perfect resource for any Dewey Decimal-related questions. From Chaucer to Balzac to Shakespeare to Rabaliise, the Madison Library is sure to have the perfect book for readers young and old. The librarian hasn’t felt much like doing research lately, but she did plenty before your arrival, so be prepared for a very special visit.

Located on Main Street, the Billiard Parlor is a great place to unwind, play a game, and chat with some of the locals. A recent addition to the Parlor comes in the form of the town’s first pool table. Although there has been some pushback from certain members of the town, the Billiard Parlor is open for business.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Ice Cream Shop! Located just down the street from the Billiard Parlor, the Ice Cream Shop is a great place to dive into a delicious ice cream sundae, banana split, or a town-favorite sarsaparilla. Great for families, the Ice Cream Shop is also a highly recommended destination for couples young and old looking to celebrate the sweetest things in their lives: each other.

And finally, you won’t want to miss a performance from the newly elected and recently deputized School Board Quartet. When first elected, these four men could not stand each other, that is until newcomer Harold Hill brought them together through the power of music. Coming together in beautiful harmony, you’ll hear some of their hits including “Sincere,” “Lida Rose,” and the classic “Goodnight, Ladies.” Be on the lookout for their concerts, which take place throughout the day at unpredictable locations and times.

scene from The Music Man
Listen to the River City Boys Band

Special Event: Fourth of July Celebration

While River City is a fantastic destination year-round, the city truly comes alive every July for their annual Fourth of July celebration. The day-long celebration includes an ice cream social, musical and dance performances from some of the wives in the town, and a special fireworks speculator at the end of the evening (should the weather be clear). You won’t want to miss the Fourth of July parade. Featuring floats and motorcades with some notable townsfolk, the parade begins at noon sharp and heads straight down Main Street.

Also appearing in the parade is the newly formed River City Boys Band (directed by Prof. Harold Hill). You’ll recognize them immediately by their red and gold coats and white pants with a red stripe up the side. In its short lifetime, the River City Boys Band has already been a major guiding force in the town. Take the story of Winthrop Paroo, younger brother of town librarian Marian Paroo. Before joining the band, young Winthrop was a shy boy stuck with an unfortunate lisp which left him with almost no confidence. With the help of Prof. Hill, Winthrop has overcome his embarrassment and plays his cornet loud and proud through the town square. Check out this clip from last year’s Fourth of July Parade with the first appearance of the River City Boys Band; you’re sure to be impressed.

Take a Day Trip

During your time in River City, we suggest looking at AWM Destinations’ range of Day Trips. From River City, you’re just in the area for a day trip to Gary, Indiana. That’s right, not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York, or Rome, but Gary, Indiana. Visit the Barney Sablotney House, Gary Conservatory of Music, and more during your visit.

We know you have many options when it comes to booking your future vacations, so we thank you for choosing AWM Destinations. Book your travel today. Why wait? As River City resident Professor Harold Hill said, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.” Make your today worth remembering by booking your vacation now with AWM Destinations.


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AWM Destinations is the world’s leading travel agency to faraway and fictional destinations. We provide custom travel services involving air, rail, twister transport, car rentals, magic portals, hotel reservations, tours, and sightseeing. Our mission is to connect travelers from around the world with a diverse range of destinations and experiences. From theme parks to tropical islands to fantasy kingdoms, AWM Destinations is your one-stop shop for inside access to the most exciting and exclusive destinations in the world, and beyond.

Matt is a Storyteller at the American Writers Museum in Chicago

Matthew Masino joined the team at the AWM in December 2019. He graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in Theatre Directing in May of 2019. While not working at the museum, Matthew is a theatre director and creator. He has worked with the International Voices Project, the Chicago Fringe Festival, and BYOT Productions on various projects. He is excited to share his love for the written word with all that visit the museum.

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