City and riverport in northwest Iowa, USA, at the junctions of the Big Sioux and Floyd rivers with the Missouri, near Iowa's border with Nebraska and South Dakota, 250 km/156 mi northwest of Des Moines; population (2000) 85,000. It is a distribution and processing centre with major livestock and grain markets, large stockyards, and an annual stock show. Industries include meat-packing, and the manufacture of dairy products, flour, feed, animal serums, fertilizer, fabricated metals, and computers. Sioux City is the head of navigation for the Missouri River. Settled in 1849 and named after the Sioux people, it expanded rapidly with the arrival of the railway in 1868.
The first seats of Woodbury County were elsewhere but the seat was moved to Sioux City in 1856 at which time the town had about 150 people. The courthouse built in 1858 was used until 1914 and its 1916 replacement has a 48 m/157 ft tower. This building is on the national register of historic places. Sioux City became an important railway hub from 1868 as well as being a port on the Missouri River. These connections stimulated manufacturing, including an engine works and meat processing, the latter boosted by the creation of stockyards from 1887. The industrial growth was accompanied by much investment in housing and infrastructure. Sioux City's heritage includes a monument to Chief War Eagle, father in law of the city's founder, Theophile Brugier. There is also a railway museum, an art centre, a public museum, a symphony orchestra and a riverboat casino. Institutions of higher education include Morningside (1893) and Briar Cliff (1929) colleges.