Introduction: Welcome to Iowa City
Welcome to Iowa City, the cultural hub of Iowa! This charming city boasts a rich history, a vibrant arts scene, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s always something new to discover in Iowa City.
In this guide, we’ll take you on a tour of the best things to do in Iowa City. From top-rated restaurants to historic landmarks and cultural events, we’ll give you an inside look at what makes this city so special. So, grab your walking shoes, and let’s explore!
Are you planning a trip to Iowa City and looking for some fun things to do while you’re there? Look no further than this guide, which will provide you with a variety of options for activities and attractions in the area.
Top 20 Things to Do in Iowa City
1. Visit the Old Capitol Building
The Old Capitol Building is a must-see landmark in Iowa City. Built in 1842, it served as the first state capitol building and now serves as a museum of Iowa history. Take a guided tour to learn about the state’s early history and see the beautiful architecture of the building.
2. Stroll Through the Pedestrian Mall
The Pedestrian Mall is a vibrant and bustling area in downtown. Lined with shops, restaurants, and galleries, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Grab a coffee at Java House, browse the boutiques, or catch a live music performance.
3. Explore the University of Iowa Campus
The University of Iowa is a world-renowned research institution with a beautiful campus. Take a stroll through the grounds and admire the architecture of the buildings. Be sure to visit the University of Iowa Museum of Art, which features an impressive collection of works from around the world.
4. Attend a Hawkeyes Game
Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, and attending a game is a must-do activity. Whether it’s football, basketball, or wrestling, the Hawkeyes have a passionate fan base and a great team. Grab a beer and a hot dog and cheer on the home team.
5. Visit the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
Located just outside Iowa City, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is a fascinating tribute to one of America’s most respected presidents. Learn about his life and legacy through exhibits and artifacts, and visit his childhood home nearby.
6. Hike at the Iowa River Corridor Trail
For outdoor enthusiasts, the Iowa River Corridor Trail is a must-visit destination. The trail winds along the Iowa River and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day hiking or biking the trail.
Best Places to Eat in Iowa City
7. Hamburg Inn No. 2
Hamburg Inn No. 2 is a legendary diner that’s been serving up classic American fare since 1948. Try their famous “pie shakes,” which are milkshakes blended with a slice of pie. It’s a unique and delicious experience!
8. Iowa City Farmers Market
The Iowa City Farmers Market is a great place to sample fresh, locally grown produce and handmade goods. With over 100 vendors, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to try the famous breakfast burrito from The Burrito Rider food truck.
Top Cultural Events in Iowa City
9. Iowa Arts Festival
The Iowa Arts Festival is a three-day event that takes place in the heart of downtown. The festival features over 100 local and national artists showcasing their work in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, and photography. There are also live music performances, food vendors, and activities for kids.
10. Mission Creek Festival
The Mission Creek Festival is a multi-day event celebrating music, literature, and food. The festival features performances by both up-and-coming and established musicians, readings by local and national authors, and food events hosted by some of the best restaurants.
11. Iowa City Jazz Festival
The Iowa City Jazz Festival is a free, three-day event that takes place over the Fourth of July weekend. The festival features performances by local and national jazz musicians, as well as food vendors and activities for kids.
Best Outdoor Activities in Iowa City
12. Paddle on the Iowa River
The Iowa River is a scenic waterway that offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Rent equipment from one of the local outfitters and spend the day exploring the river.
13. Hike at the Devonian Fossil Gorge
The Devonian Fossil Gorge is a unique geological feature that’s perfect for hiking and exploring. The area was created by a massive flood that exposed layers of ancient fossils. Visitors can hike along the trails and see the fossils up close.
14. Bike the Iowa River Trail
The Iowa River Trail is a 16-mile paved trail that follows the Iowa River. The trail offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding countryside and is perfect for biking, jogging, or walking.
Explore Downtown Iowa City
One of the best ways to experience Iowa City is by exploring its vibrant downtown. Here, you can find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and cafes to enjoy. Some popular spots include:
15. Pedestrian Mall
The Pedestrian Mall is a must-see attraction in downtown Iowa City. It is a vibrant outdoor area that features unique shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
16. Farmers Market
If you’re a foodie or love to shop local, check out the Iowa City Farmers Market. It is held every Saturday and features local produce, artisanal goods, and live music.
17. Antique Shops
For those who love vintage finds, downtown Iowa City is home to several antique shops. Check out Revival or The Foundry for unique treasures.
Visit Cultural Institutions
Iowa City is home to several cultural institutions that offer educational and entertaining experiences for visitors. Here are a few must-visit spots:
18. University of Iowa Museum of Art
The University of Iowa Museum of Art is a free museum that features over 15,000 works of art from various time periods and cultures.
19. Old Capitol Museum
The Old Capitol Museum is located on the University of Iowa campus and offers visitors a glimpse into the state’s political history.
20. Hatcher Auditorium
For performing arts enthusiasts, Hanchr Auditorium is a must-visit. It features a variety of shows and events, from Broadway productions to classical concerts.
Iowa City is a vibrant and diverse city with something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, there are plenty of things to do and see. So, the next time you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a new place to explore.
Q: What is the best time of year to visit Iowa City?
A: The best time to visit is during the summer months
Q: What is the best time to visit Iowa City?
A: The best time to visit is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and there are plenty of cultural events and outdoor activities to enjoy.
Q: What are some other cultural attractions in Iowa City?
A: Other cultural attractions include the Museum of Natural History, the Iowa Children’s Museum, and the Englert Theatre.
Q: Is Iowa City a good place for families?
A: Yes, this is a great place for families. There are plenty of parks, museums, and family-friendly activities to enjoy.