Iowa City

Iowa City is fairly small, with a population of approximately 164,000. It is extremely safe, artistic, and unique in diversity. Although it is a city, it feels like you are stepping into a small art community. It is home to the University of Iowa and The Hawkeyes. Be prepared to meet a lot of Hawkeye obsessed fans while visiting! This city may be small but the University brings a lot of big fun and awesome art- even the park benches are painted by local art students! Here are all the family-friendly places you should check out while visiting.

All information was provided by Iowa resident, Kayla, from Under A Tin Roof


Events and Attractions

There is something for everybody to enjoy in Iowa City! Check to see if there are any festivals or events to enjoy while you are in town. It might also be fun to do-like-the-locals and go cheer on the Hawkeyes at a game

If sports, music events, or food festivals are not your family travel style, try a more intimate setting. Take a little breather and catch a yoga class at Hot House Yoga. Spend time at this favorite yarn shop where you can enjoy Knitter's Breakfast every Saturday at 10 AM, or head on over to the Iowa City Public Library for a local handmade show and book event. If you are visiting in November the Public Library NaNoWriMo group meets to have write-ons - this is super special and fun!  

Other noteworthy events include:

Bluegrass Festival - Iowa has different pop-up bluegrass festivals around the state, check the link to see if there is one happening near you during your stay - then grab your tie-dye attire and dance to the fiddle! 

The Jazz Festival - Bring a blanket and some chairs and enjoy the sweet serenade of beautiful Jazz music on the grassy field. This generally occurs over a three day stretch in June or July. 

The Iowa City Farmer's Market - This farmer's market is extremely colorful! Iowa has some of the best local produce. There is also a do-it-yourself floral bouquet for under $10 - all locally grown, you can't beat it!  

Englert Theatre - Features amazing musical artists and speakers, they recently had Stephen King read and their upcoming shows include The Nutcracker and Art Garfunkel.



One of the best shops to visit is Revival and Revival 119 with curated vintage wear and natural beauty products. Another great store to check out is White Rabbit filled with products from different local artists & makers.  You might want to stop in Tailgate Iowa City for some Hawkeye gear. The Haunted Bookshop is a converted house and has floor to ceiling books in every room, there are tiny nooks to sit and read, an old piano, and several cats - super cool! Take a peek at the local fine art at the Art Gallery

If you are in the area long enough, the Amana Colonies are well worth a visit! There are seven villages to visit all with their own unique shops and restaurants, including several places to experience eating German Family Style. This is located about 30 minutes west of Kalona



For food, the local favorites are:

Bluebird Diner

The Hamburg Inn 2 - which has hosted several politicians over the years including former President Ronald Reagan and former president Bill Clinton!

Short's Eastside - amazing burgers and brews

Formosa - if you are in the mood for sushi!