Iowa City Travel Guide

  • Iowa City from the Upper Campus Bluffs
    Iowa City from the Upper Campus Bluffs
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  • Old Iowa Capitol Building
    Old Iowa Capitol Building
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  • University of Iowa College of Medicine Buildings
    University of Iowa College of Medicine...
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Iowa City Highlights

  • Pro
    vivatuanis profile photo

    vivatuanis says…

     huge party town 

  • Con
    mikehanneman profile photo

    mikehanneman says…

     Somewhat crowded and a bit expensive. 

  • In a nutshell
    Etoile2B profile photo

    Etoile2B says…

     Surprisingly unique Midwest community. 

Iowa City Things to Do

  • Natural History Museum

    One of the other buildings on the Pentacrest, MacBride Hall, houses the rather wonderful Natural History Museum.My camera battery decided to die just as I entered, so I'm afraid I cannot share with you the joys of the Mammal Hall, the Giant Sloth or the magnificent Hageboek Hall of Birds...but believe me when I say that spending an hour or so...

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  • Visit the Old Capitol

    I cannot say I am hugely knowledgeable about US history, but I did enjoy my wander around Iowa City's pride & joy...the Old Capitol building on the Pentacrest.The building originally dates from 1839, when it was *the* state capitol. It only became the 'old' capitol when the state capitol moved to Des Moines, in 1849.The Old Capitol then functioned...

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  • Enjoy the sculptures...

    I did enjoy wandering downtown Iowa City. It was friendly, it felt safe, there wan't much traffic...and there were lots of interesting bits and pieces to see.There are sculptures dotted about all over the place. I especially liked the cheery, waving Irwin B. Weber ('Historian, Humanitarian, All-American swimmer, Businessman, Gentleman') at the...

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  • Read the quotes...

    In 2008, Iowa City was designated b UNESCO as its third 'City of Literature'. That's quite a coup for such a small town.And you can enjoy getting a glimpse of that literary heritage by following the 'Iowa Avenue Literary Walk', a series of 49 bronze panels set into the pavement (sidewalk) with artwork and quotes from authors who have, or have had,...

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  • Look up to find the old bits....

    IC was 'born' in 1839, and you can still see evidence of its past architecture if you look carefully...and up.Obviously the first buildings are not longer there: they were of wood. But brick soon superceded them, and you can find buildings which date back to the mid-1800s; not old at all in UK terms, of course, but quite old for the US.The...

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  • Go to a bookshop and relish browsing...

    I couldn't really do this as much as I wanted: I had a weight limit to consider (and I had to think about whether I could actually lift my case!).But if you are larger than me, or travelling within the US, then there are two wonderful bookshops in Iowa City, absolute bliss for the book-browser. Both are friendly (is anywhere in Iowa City *not*...

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Iowa City Hotels

Iowa City Restaurants

  • The best possible breakfast...

    Well, this place was recommended to me by locals as the best place and I certainly thought it was pretty brilliant. So did lots of other people..it was busy each time I (or my companions) ate breakfast.The food is simply excellent, imo. Wonderful hash browns, tasty eggs, superb home-made buttermilk pancakes...I could get fat very quickly if I lived...

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  • The Bread Garden Market

    The Bread Garden is a small food supermarket cum coffee shop cum breakfast/lunchtime/early evening meal place...and it is absolutely superb (imo).Supermarket first: everything you could want, all of very high quality (at reasonable prices). Lots of organic and vegetarian options, lots of unusual ingredients, its own breads (sliced to order if you...

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  • Excellent coffee, excellent ambience

    Again, visiting with non-VT-ers means no photos.The Java House is 'an IC institution' and I'm not in the least bit surprised. You can choose from a vast range of coffees, teas and other drinks (see the menus on the website) as well as what looked like really delcious 'bakery treats' (for which I had no room, unfortunately).The interior has tables...

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Iowa City Nightlife

  • Nearest thing to a pub.....

    The Mill is the nearest ting to a UK pub I came across in IC.Like the bluebird Diner and Java Coffeehouse, it's an IC institution. It's been around since the early 60s, offering beer, food and live music to citizens. It closed in 2003 but reopened again that same year:>To continue to keep The Mill a special place in Iowa City. To be home for...

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  • great local sports bar

    Great little place. pretty much what you would expect on the menu, but it is all good food. friendly staff and crowd. a great place to catch a game with all of the big screens. there are a couple of weird regulars, but they don't bite. overall, a great place for some food and a couple steins of beer no worries, wear whatever you feel like

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  • Awesome Sports Bar!!

    Awesome newly opened sports bar. 4 huge tvs if games are on. Cosy atmosphere. Has darts, bar games, entertaining and Wonderful staff. Great bar overall...oh and super good drink/food deals. You can also rent out skybox for private parties/ functions/ bar crawls. Wear What ever you want.

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Iowa City Transportation

  • From Chicago (and other places)

    I used the Megabus from IC to Chicago, but several of my companions used it from Chicago to IC.Megabus is a well-established company in the UK (part of the Stagecoach group)...it actually started here in 2003. So I was pleased to find it operated in some of the US as well (and Canada) and especially pleased to find that I could get back to Chicago...

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  • From Cedar Rapids airport

    Eastern Iowa (Cedar Rapids) airport is the nearest to Iowa City. unfortunately, there is no public transport available from that airport..and IC's nearest railway station is an hour away.So you have a choice of hiring a car, ordering a taxi or taking the Airport Express shuttle.If you use an IC taxi firm you may well end up paying for the journey...

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  • Getting around in Iowa City

    I'm a city bus driver for Iowa City Transit. Fares are 75 cents for adults, 50 cents for students K-12, no charge for under age 5. Seniors age 60 on up can ride for 35 cents in the middle of weekdays, in the evening, and all day Saturday. All buses are lift equipped for people using wheelchairs. Take the Mall bus to visit Plum Grove (Robert Lucas...

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Iowa City Shopping

  • Old Capitol Mall

    This is an indoor mall that has suffered an economic downturn, as many vendor shops are now occupied by the university. Nevertheless this is the central shopping hub of Iowa City, as the Transit System occupies one end of the building too. There are several souvenir shops and bookstores here, along with a variety of corporate fast food outlets....

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  • Midwest Artwork on Display

    This store includes a lot of folk art, blown glass, jewelry, fine art, and other art from not only Iowa, but other parts of the USA. I purchased, at a price, very nicely painted wood art that will hang nicely in our kitchen or bathroom. Prices aren't cheap, but then this is a very nice collection of quality art, not a kitsch souvenir shop.

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  • If malls are your style...

    Coral Ridge Mall is Iowa's largest mall.It is geered more to a younger crowd (college age and young teens).It has your typical department stores plus a large food court, carousel, play place for toddlers and indoor ice skating rink (rent skates from the rink-have young kids wear bike helmets if not used to skating alot. Wear pants). Has basic...

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Iowa City Local Customs

  • An interesting anomaly...

    IC, of course, does not allow smoking inside any public building.It also does not allow smoking on the pedestrianised 'ped mall'.And yet...and yet...I came across the Tobacco Bowl. It's actually on a pedestrianised offshoot of the main ped mall. It sells cigarettes, tobacco, pipes, cigars...and it is a coffeeshop, with tables and chairs and wifi...

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  • Scott's Pad

    Mom and I stopped at Scott's apartment last week. Mom wanted to see where Scott lived.A University of Iowa student living the apartment life.It's better than the dorm.Memories for all parties.

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  • be friendly ...

    People in Iowa are friendly and will often strike up a conversation with strangers.If your car breaks down, someone will stop.If you get lost, they are happy to give directions.Some will even lead you themselves.The general population of Iowa speaks English. There are areas where Spanish is found, but younger generations speak English if they have...

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Iowa City Warnings and Dangers

  • Be careful with your bike...

    This is the only 'warning or danger' tip I could think of for such a friendly, safe and enjoyable place!Iowa City is the only place I have ever seen 'parking tickets' for bikes.There are plenty of bike racks dotted around downtown: biking is quite popular in the city. But if you leave your bike in the rack for too long (more than a day or so,...

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  • Downtown Assualts

    During the past year there have been 20 or more assaults in the downtown area of Iowa City. It ranges from reaching up underneath a woman's skirt to armed robbery. Most of the criminal activity occurs in the early morning hours.Walk with other people and stay where there is good lighting. Hopefully they will catch the 2 or 3 people who are...

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  • Look out for Saturday footabll traffic

    If you are in Iowa City on a Saturday and there is a home Hawkeye football game - beware of the traffic.Stay away from Kinnick Stadium unless you like sitting in traffic!Also, if you are going to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, you are just across the street from Kinnick Stadium. Keep that in mind when you plan your trip.

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Iowa City What to Pack

  • Be prepared for winter!

    Coats, stocking hats & gloves. Even in the Spring & Fall it can get cold as cold fronts pass through the region.

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  • Iowa weather

    If summer, it can get hot and humid!Cotton light colored clothes. But a pair of light pants and long sleeved light shirt for night-mosquitos can get ya. In winter, gets pretty cold. Definitly a true winter coat-Columbia jacket a good winter coat.Winter gloves and winter boots with tread on bottom so you don't slide.We have all 4 seasons for...

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  • Iowa City Hotels

    9 Hotels in Iowa City

    83 Reviews and Opinions

Iowa City Off The Beaten Path

  • Old Capital

    Take a minute and check out the Old Capital building. It caught fire several years ago and has since been remodeled. The capital was built in 1842, then the capital was moved to Des Moines in 1857.It's a nice setting. The building is west of the main downtown area on the Pentacrest. It is surrounded by four large buildings used for classes and...

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  • Mississippi River for boat lovers

    If you own a boat and love to fish, dock your boat at many ramps along Iowa's Eastern shores. The Mississippi River is great fishing.We have caught tons of great Walleye and huge catfish.Of course always the many other varities of fish too.A nice campground is Sugar Bottom in Bellevue, Iowa. There is a boat ramp right there and is easy to get boat...

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  • Drive North to Mount Vernon

    A half hour drive north on Highway 1 is a fun afternoon evening excursion. The Lincoln Cafe is a very popular restaurant for the entire Eastern Iowa area, but is often very busy and they rarely accept reservations. This shouldn't be a deterrent though, because there is plenty to do in the uptown area while you wait. The restaurant doesn't serve...

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Iowa City Sports & Outdoors

  • University of Iowa Kinnick Stadium

    The largest outdoor venue for the University of Iowa sports, Kinnick Stadium, hosts the University of Iowa Hawkeye teams. The facilities are quite new and adequate for a variety of games, including college football. See the link for purchase of sports jerseys, and tickets.

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  • University of Iowa Football

    Football Weekends at the University of Iowa in the fall. Not to be missed if you like american football. They take it seriously. Traffic is bad before and after the games. Tailgate parties around the stadium are numerous. Also Basketball.

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Iowa City Favorites

  • University of Iowa

    Becauseof the U of I, it is possible to see musicals, concerts and plays. Both student productions and touring companies and world class performers. Hancher Auditorium has been presenting shows from around the world for 30 years. The Old Capital in the center of downtown is open to tours.

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  • Iowa City is home to the...

    Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa. The campus is laid out on the side of a hill in some parts, or in others, overlooking the landscape from the top of it. Nice looking campus. The Old Capitol building is also right there, next to the main part of town/on campus.

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