15 Best Things to do in Iowa City, Iowa

15 Best Things to do in Iowa City, Iowa


Surrounded by farmland with among the friendliest individuals you’ll ever meet, there are many issues to do in Iowa City, Iowa.

Influenced by the power from the University of Iowa, Iowa City presents nice buying from native store homeowners and huge retailers.

The leisure alternatives right here rival any Midwest metropolis and there are thrilling arts occasions year-round.

Iowa City additionally has a spread of tantalizing eating places serving conventional consolation meals and different dishes with recent, native components.

The closest airport to Iowa City is Cedar Rapids, which is about 18-miles away, and possibly the one with the perfect choices. For fares and availability, examine Skyscanner.

You’ll additionally want a automobile if you wish to have probably the most freedom to discover all of the stuff in Iowa City there’s to do. Try for his or her nice choice of autos.

After you make your plans to come back to Iowa City, it’s best to shield them with journey insurance coverage by World Nomads.


Best & Fun Things to do in Iowa City, Iowa

Old Capitol Building

Front of the Old Capitol Building of stone.

Address: Old Capitol Building, 21 N. Clinton Street, Iowa City IA 52242

An icon in Iowa City, the Old Capitol Building has stood for 175 years and has been the house of state legislatures, served the University of Iowa, and survived a significant hearth in 2001.

You’ll discover this well-known constructing within the middle of the University of Iowa. You can’t miss it because it has an enormous gold dome!

Now, it’s a National Historic Building welcoming guests from across the nation. There’s no admission to enter.

The outdated supreme court docket chamber and a second-floor rotunda are a number of historic rooms you may tour. Rotating reveals on the museum particulars Iowa’s historical past and tradition.

Another space to discover is the Hansen Humanities Gallery. Bus stops are lower than a block away and bike racks are shut at north Macbride Hall and south of Schaeffer Hall.

There isn’t any car parking zone, however there are alternatives, together with ramps, metered avenue parking, and garages shut by. The museum is open daily, excluding Mondays and nationwide holidays,

Iowa Avenue Literary Walk

Iowa Avenue Literary Walk in Iowa City

The Iowa Avenue Literary Walk consists of Iowa Avenue and Linn Street. Iowa City is happy with its function as a house for distinguished authors, poets, playwrights, and journalists.

For a commemoration, the Iowa City Public Art Advisory Committee commissioned the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk to have a good time 49 writers with connections to Iowa.

Along the Literary Walk, you’ll discover bronze aid panels with their phrases and an attribution. The panels are related by quotes about writing and books embedded within the sidewalks.

Visitors can study extra about their favourite authors and the way they’re related to Iowa City and Iowa within the transient biographical data within the writer part.

Many authors are related to Iowa City by the University of Iowa which supplied its first artistic writing class within the spring of 1897.

The works had been created by artist Gregg LeFevre and is viewable within the concrete pavement alongside Iowa Avenue from Clinton Street to Gilbert Street.

If you’d prefer to discover Iowa City’s literary legacy additional, strive the picture Iowa City Scavenger Hunt: City of Literature which begins on the Old Capitol Building.

Take this fascinating tour round Iowa City searching for artwork, tradition, and historical past, together with the Old Capitol Building, Englert Theatre, and the Johnson County Courthouse.

This is a superb exercise for small teams of mates or households. It’s additionally wheelchair and stroller accessible.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Muscatine, Iowa

Hickory Hill Park

Yellow coneflowers at Hickory Hill Park in Iowa City.

Address: The north entrance to Hickory Hill Park is at 800 Conklin Street and has a car parking zone with handicapped areas. The south entrance is 1439 Bloomington Street.

Out of all of the parks in Iowa City, Hickory Hill Park is probably the most beloved.

It options walking trails of dirt, limestone, and wooden chips, in addition to picnic shelters, grills, paved sidewalks to restrooms at both entrance in 185 acres of open area.

The park consists of forests, prairies, fields, wetlands, and tributaries. Many individuals love the park for mountain climbing, dog-walking (in the event that they’re on a leash), and for picnics, in addition to cross-country snowboarding and sledding within the winter.

The Hickory Hill Park Loop is a 2.6 mile path. It’s simple to finish and takes a median of 1 hour. It’s widespread however will be solitary through the day. It’s greatest visited between April and November.

Wilson’s Orchard and Nature Park

Basket of apples picked at Wilson Orchard & Farm

Address: Wilson’s Orchard & Farm, 4823 Dingleberry Road NE #1, Iowa City IA 52240

For outside actions, Iowa City presents the very particular Wilson’s Orchard & Farm. The farm and park is a pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farm, bakery, and market established in 1980.

Every summer time and fall, households come to select their very own strawberries, apples, corn, and pumpkins.

Situated at each ends of the Rapid Creek Valley, the orchard grows a wide range of apple bushes and pumpkins.

The farm’s market carries regionally grown produce, home-baked items, and scrumptious recent apple cider.

The farm is three miles north of Iowa City, off Highway 1, and is open from February to December.

See Related: Historical Landmarks in Iowa You’ll Want to Know

Natural History Museum

Address: University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, 11 Macbride Hall, The University of Iowa, Iowa City IA 52242

This Iowa museum is the second oldest within the United States, west of the Mississippi River.

In 1858, the Iowa General Assembly directed the University of Iowa to determine housing for specimens from the State Natural and Geographical Surveys.

Space was made for the specimens within the Old Capitol constructing. Eventually, the gathering grew as did the necessity for a extra fashionable, bigger facility.

A brand new fire-proof Natural Sciences Building was accredited in 1904. In 1934, it was renamed Macbride Hall.

These days, guests can see roughly 140,000 specimens and artifacts in ornithology, mammalogy, entomology, archaeology, 1000’s of vertebrates and invertebrates, and archives, images, and slides.

There are many important and named collections of stone instruments, fowl skins and eggs, mounted birds, and ethnographic supplies.

Exhibits embrace:

  • The Iowa Hall; is a 500-million-year stroll by geological, ecological, and historic Iowa.
  • William and Eleanor Hageboeck Hall of Birds;”Taking Flight: The World of Birds” is an exhibit of birdlife, evolution, and ecology. You’ll discover shut to each species recorded as residents or season residents to Iowa and greater than 1,000 on show. Don’t miss the life-sized Wandering Albatross mannequin with an illuminated skeleton!
  • Biosphere Discovery Hub; The hub explores Iowa from historic rock drawings by 10,000 years of adjusting panorama and the way the traces of human beings impacts the setting.
  • Laysan Island Cyclorama; At a century outdated, the cyclorama reveals a 360-degree view of Laysan, a Hawaiian atoll and fowl sanctuary that was house to eight million birds of twenty-two species in 1.5 sq. miles.
  • Mammal Hall; On show are a uncommon large panda, a 46-foot Atlantic proper whale, musk oxen, and every thing else from aardvark to zebra.
  • Diversity of Life Exhibits; See the historic reveals of ecology, geology, taxidermy, and biodiversity.

Finally, for nice interactive stuff in Iowa City to do, friends can get pleasure from Art & Write Nights, Tree Tours, audio system, and Game Nights.

Admission to the museum is free, however donations are appreciated. You can’t park on the museum, however you will discover tons in downtown Iowa City or the east campus. The price to park ranges from $0.75 to $1.50 per hour.

Street parking in downtown Iowa City is metered and is restricted to not more than two hours. You can park on the road totally free in central downtown Iowa City, however spots are onerous to search out.

You can discover bike racks on the Jefferson Street facet of Macbride Hall on the northeast nook. There can be a passenger drop-off on Jefferson Street north of the museum.

The museum is near many bus stops on the Bongo system. The Downtown Interchange is a bit more than one block away on the south facet of Pentacrest.

Less than one block are the stops for Macbride Hall, Clinton Street & Iowa, Clinton Street & Jefferson, and Pappajohn.

The museum is handicapped accessible in case you enter by the doorway of the east facet of Macbride Hall, near the steps that take you to the primary entrance.

An elevator can take you to all of the galleries. Pick up a gallery map from the entrance desk, positioned with the present store within the Iowa Hall gallery (simply contained in the east doorways) or racks contained in the constructing doorways.

The museum shares area in Macbride Hall with different departments and lecture rooms, so the galleries are usually not related.

Iowa Hall is on the primary ground, Hagebroeck Hall of Birds, together with the Laysan Island Cyclorama, Biosphere Discovery Hub, Mammal Hall is on the third ground, and the Diversity of Life is on the bottom ground.

University of Iowa Campus

Address: University of Iowa, Iowa City IA 52242

One of the enjoyable issues to do in Iowa is to go to the University of Iowa, a Big 10 college positioned over 1,900 acres in downtown Iowa City.

A college? Really?! Yes!

The fantastic thing about the campus has made Iowa City one of many Midwest’s most iconic school cities.

The sprawling campus with sweeping inexperienced lawns offers the college a rural really feel despite the fact that it’s within the coronary heart of Iowa City. It presents nice arts and cultural packages all year long too.

The well-known Big Ten college attracts over 30,000 new college students annually infusing town with tutorial and cultural power.

The college’s famend Writers Workshop has earned Iowa City the designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Its medical facilities make Iowa City house to among the most sought-after hospitals and clinics within the U.S.

Other packages on the University embrace nursing, pharmacy research, communication sciences. The structure is a pleasant mixture of classical and fashionable.

Iowa City Farmer’s Market

Address: Iowa City Farmer’s Market, 415 E. Washington Street, Iowa City IA 52240

Managed by the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department, the Iowa City Farmer’s Market is an open-air market within the Chauncey Swan parking ramp of Chauncey Swan Park.

Put visiting the enjoyable farmers market in your “Iowa City issues to do record” in case you’re into recent produce and regionally made crafts.

The Iowa City Farmer’s Market additionally hosts occasions all year long like tasting occasions, dwell musical performances, and children’ days. During vacation time, they host indoor vacation markets.

You can even discover handmade crafts and different items. Sadly, canine are usually not allowed. The market runs from May by October, from 7:30 am till midday.

See Related: Best Day Trips from Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa Stanley Museum of Art

Address: Stanley Museum of Art, 160 W. Burlington St., Iowa City IA 52242

One of probably the most fascinating and free Iowa City sights is the Iowa Stanley Museum of Art.

The museum will open in August, 2022. Days of admission are Tuesday by Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, and on Sundays, from midday to 4:30 pm.

Paid and accessible parking is obtainable beneath the museum within the Stanley Art Ramp. You will discover the doorway on the rear off Front Street. Access the museum by way of the elevator. Parking is restricted to 2 hours.

Visitors to the museum can see thrilling collections corresponding to:

  • The Modern Art Collection; Early acquisitions embrace artworks by Max Beckmann, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miro, Marsden Hartley, and plenty of extra.
  • Contemporary Art Collection; As house to one of many first MFA packages on the earth, it has relationships with the International Dada Archives and the Alternative Traditions in Contemporary Art Collections. UI has been capable of host main exhibitions and cooperative acquisitions.
  • Ceramics Collection; This worldwide assortment highlights embrace terra cotta figures from the Inland Niger Delta from the mid-Thirteenth and early sixteenth Centuries, Zulu and Bamana-style beer and water pots, historic West Mexico figural objects, and plenty of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean items created between the Neolithic interval and the late 2oth Century.
  • Drawings Collection; The Drawing Collection consists of works by Guercino, Charles Le Brun, Francois Boucher, and different outdated masters.
  • Prints Collection; This assortment ranges from woodcuts from the fifteenth century by Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Durer to engravings and etchings by Rembrandt, Jacques Callot, William Hogarth, and different well-known names.
  • Photography Collection; This assortment consists of documentary and avenue images from the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies by Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Garry Winogrand, and plenty of extra.
  • African Art Collection; This assortment is primarily wood masks and figures and was bequeathed to the museum by Claude and Elizabeth Stanley.
  • Oceanic Art Collection; Included on this small assortment are Melanesian objects from Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and the Samoan Islands.
  • Indigenous Art of the Americas; The Native North American assortment incorporates Comala, Nayarit, and Jalisco-style ceramics from West Mexico, amongst different objects.
  • Asian Art Collection; This assortment consists of objects from China, Japan, South Korea, Tibet, Turkey, and Iran. You’ll additionally see jade and ivory works.
  • Textiles Collection; This fiber artwork assortment consists of a variety of objects from Africa, Native North America, Peru, and the South Pacific. You’ll see many examples past typical woven clothes.

Plum Grove Historic House

Address: Plum Grove Historic House, 1030 Carroll Street, Iowa City IA 52240

The Plum Grove Historic House and the house of Robert and Friendly Lucas is without doubt one of the greatest Iowa City sights.

The household was initially from Ohio the place Robert Lucas got here up by the Ohio Legislature and served two phrases as Ohio Governor from 1832 to 1836.

In 1838, President Van Buren appointed Robert as the primary governor of the Territory of Iowa the place he served till 1841.

After a short return to Ohio and a failed tried run for Congress, the household constructed Plum Grove in 1844 on 360 acres of land southeast of Iowa City.

Robert lived there till he died in 1853. Friendly bought the homestead in 1866. The home was owned by a number of households till the state of Iowa bought it within the Nineteen Forties.

It was restored and opened as a historical site in 1946. Free public excursions let individuals see what life was like as a Lucas within the 1840s and 1850s.

Visitors can even see the historic gardens which might be a part of the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens.

The house is obtainable to tour from the top of May to the top of October on Saturdays and Sundays, from 1:00 pm till 5:00 pm.

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Downtown Iowa City

Discover the downtown pedestrian mall with locally-owned outlets and eating places, plus tons of leisure choices and Iowa City sights.

Throughout the yr, you’ll discover arts and tradition together with Taste of Iowa City, Downtown Saturday Night, Friday Night Concert Series, Iowa Arts Festival, Sand within the City, Iowa Jazz Festival, and Oktoberfest.

To get a take a look at Iowa City’s literary legacy, discover the downtown Prairie Lights bookstore.

The curated choice encompasses three flooring, and employees is all the time accessible to help find what you want. It additionally presents a café.

Visit FilmScene, a compact movie show positioned on the downtown pedestrian mall that reveals traditional films, first-run movies, film sequence, and workshops.

This darling theatre presents a rooftop patio and a restaurant. The non-profit enterprise reveals over 200 function movies on its small, single-screen yearly.

Lake Macbride State Park

Overlooking Lake Macbride close to Iowa City

Address: Lake Macbride State Park, 3525 Highway 382 NE, Solon IA 52333

Lake Macbride State Park is without doubt one of the prettiest sights in Iowa City. It’s a preferred recreation space and the lake is called after Thomas Macbride, a notable Iowa conservationist.

The park options many outside activities for the whole family. The park is cut up into two models with the northern unit positioned on the finish of County Road F-16, 4 miles west of Solon.

It has the “fashionable” campground, seaside, boat leases and ramps, picnic space, and the park workplace. The southern unit is positioned off County Road F-28 by Fifth Street in Solon.

The unit has the “non-modern” campground, picnic areas, boat ramps, and prairies.

Multi-use trails rim the lake and, in the summertime, kayaking and swimming are widespread. The mountain climbing trails run for greater than 7-miles by oak and hickory forests.

Many native birds will be discovered right here, together with waterfowl and ospreys. In the winter, the paths are a favourite for cross nation snowboarding and snowmobiling.

There are additionally boat leases, together with pontoons, motorboats, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. The seaside has a concession stand too. Picnic shelters will be reserved.

From the fishing pier or one of many jetties, catch Kentucky noticed bass, walleyes, channel catfish, and muskie.

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Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

Pergola, sand, and playground at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area.

Address: Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, 579 McCollister Blvd., Iowa City IA

You’ll discover great outside issues to do close to Iowa City as nicely. You can discover a further entry and parking on the south finish.

Follow Gilbert Street/Sand Road south to the intersection with Sycamore and make a proper.

The park is on 152 acres and incorporates a playground, picnic shelters, grills, ingesting fountains, restrooms, paved trails, and a lake.

Rentals for kayaks, paddleboats, and paddleboards can be found. The paved path across the lake, picnic shelters, and playground is accessible.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

The front of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in Iowa

Address: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch IA 52358

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is on the grounds of the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site outdoors of Iowa City in West Branch.

It’s additionally the burial place of the thirty first president and his presidential library. It’s open day by day, from 9:00 am to five:00 pm.

You’ll discover the Hoover Library and Museum 1/4 mile north of I-80 at Exit 254 in West Branch, Iowa, which is 10-miles east of Iowa City.

Admission for adults, ages 16 to 61 is $10. For senior residents which might be 62 and over, lively or retired navy with navy ID, and school college students with their college IDs, admission is $5. Children which might be 6 years outdated to fifteen years outdated are $3, whereas youngsters 5 and beneath are free. All Hoover Presidential Foundation members are additionally free.

The Hoover Library and Museum can be totally wheelchair accessible and free wheelchairs can be found on a first-come, first-served foundation. Motorized scooters are additionally permitted.

Close-captioning is featured on all movies for the listening to impaired. Handicapped parking is obtainable subsequent to the doorway. While ADA service animals are permitted, pets are prohibited.

The Presidential Library and Museum presents an app with movies and a guided tour of the lifetime of Herbert Hoover. The galleries supply self-guided excursions too.

Children will get pleasure from a Scavenger Hunt you may decide up on the gross sales desk. All youngsters beneath 14 have to be accompanied by an grownup.

Photographs are permitted with out flash. No images are permitted within the short-term gallery. Food isn’t accessible on the facility, however eating places are shut by.

Visitors will start their tour of the everlasting galleries within the rotunda containing a 16-foot crimson granite world map with 57 sheaves of wheat comprised of brass. These sheaves signify every nation the place Herbert Hoover’s efforts offered meals for hungry mouths.

Eight-foot portraits of Hoover etched in glass and mounted on the rotunda partitions depict “the Great Humanitarian” from his begin in West Branch by his subsequent 50 years of public service.

Each of the galleries reveals the lifetime of Hoover from delivery, his engineering profession, as Secretary of Commerce, as President of the United States, and his work after his presidency.

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Coral Ridge Mall

Address: Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Avenue, Coralville IA 52241

Coral Ridge Mall is a gigantic, widespread mall within the Iowa City space. The mall presents a seasonal carousel, a regulation-size ice rink, and a 10-screen cinema.

Plus, it has greater than 100 specialty shops and all kinds of eating places so that you can refuel at!

World’s Largest Wooden Nickel

Address: World’s Largest Wooden Nickel, 3246 Iowa River Corridor Trail, Iowa City IA

Find this quirky roadside attraction and one of many bizarre issues to do in Iowa City on the east facet of Dubuque Street NE/Hwy W66, north of the river crossing.

No parking is obtainable, however the spot is at a straightforward place the place you may pull off the street and take a fast image.

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Where to Stay?

Best All-Around Accommodation

Its handy downtown location is 1.2 miles from Kinnick Stadium and presents non-public parking, a health middle, an indoor pool, free WiFi, and a lounge.

Continental and buffet breakfasts can be found day by day. The mid-range Hyatt Place can be pet pleasant and extremely rated for {couples}.

Best Budget Hotels

Located a 20-minute stroll from Kinnick Stadium, Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City Downtown University has air-conditioned lodging and a lounge.

It additionally has a restaurant, a 24-hour entrance desk, and room service, together with free WiFi. All visitor rooms include a desk and a microwave. Guests can get pleasure from an American breakfast.

Offering an indoor pool and free WiFi, the Travelodge by Wyndham is barely three miles from the University of Iowa.

The Coral Ridge Mall is 3 miles away and Coralville Lake-State Park is 6 miles away. Each visitor room comes with a seating space, a flat-screen TV, and a espresso maker.

A microwave and fridge can be found on request. Select rooms have balconies. Free on-site parking is obtainable. Guests have entry to the enterprise middle and assembly room.

The lodge gives a 24-hour reception desk.

Best Mid Range Hotel

Located 1.2 miles from Kinnick Stadium. Free WiFi and a health middle can be found. Private parking is obtainable for an additional cost.

Guest rooms have a fridge, TV, and air-con, and a few rooms supply a balcony.

Best Luxury Hotel

The charming Graduate Hotel is on the University of Iowa campus, solely 5 minutes from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The lodge incorporates a restaurant and rooms with a flat-screen TV.

Stylishly appointed with wooden furnishings and heat colours, every visitor room incorporates a espresso maker, a piece desk, and a lounge chair.

Guests benefit from the health middle, free WiFi, and a 24-hour entrance desk can be found. For meals, Graduate Food Hall is positioned on-site providing all kinds of meals selections for friends.

Englert Civic Theater and the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History are solely a 10-minute stroll from this lodge.


What is Iowa City recognized for?

Iowa City is called for a lot of issues like Hawkeyes sports activities and the enduring outdated Capitol. But they’re additionally famend for being the humanities.

The performing arts thrive on the historic Englert Theatre of downtown Iowa City, Hancher Auditorium, and its music scene.

Nile Kinnick Stadium opened in 1929 and is the seventh largest stadium within the Big Ten with a capability of 69,250.

Where are you able to study extra about University of Iowa athletics?

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