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Living a Small town Lifestyle in Decorah, Iowa

Decorah is a small town with a strong Norwegian heritage in northeastern Iowa, not too far from the Minnesota border. The population was 8,172 in 2000.   The town has been the home of Luther College since 1861. Decorah celebrates it Norwegian heritage with its architecture and its annual Norwegian festival - the Nordic Fest each July. Decorah is  also the home of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. There is a charming downtown with galleries and restaurant.  There are some attractive parks on bluffs above the Upper Iowa River, which is popular for all kinds of recreation including kayaking and hiking. Photos courtesy of Wikipedia - street scene by Bobak Ha'Eri and Museum by Jonathunder.

Where to Retire in Decorah and Home Prices

The city has several charming neighborhoods, some of near its many parks or the river.  The median home value was $245,809 in mid-2022, according to

What Is Special about Decorah

Decorah experiences all four seasons with lots of outdoor activities,  and  is a very walkable community.

What Is Not Special about Decorah

Decorah is not close to any major city.

Climate and Physical Environment

The average January temperature is about 18 degrees. The average July temperature is 73 degrees.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Each July Decorah is the host of Nordic Fest, a celebration of Norwegian culture with ethnic food, dancing and music. Decorah is home of the Vesterheim Noregian American Museum.


Decorah has a very low crime rate.

Medical Facilities

Winneshiek Hospital has 25 beds and serves the area for critical care; Veterans Memorial Hospital is about 16 miles away in Waukon.


Decorah Municipal Airport; The closest major airport is 65 miles away in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

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Town of Decorah

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