Iowa City is a city with many natural and cultural attractions. It offers many appealing features to visitors as well as residents. If you’re thinking of relocating, there are quite a few good reasons to consider Iowa City for your next home. Let’s look at 7 good reasons to make Iowa City your home.
1. Lots of Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities
If you appreciate nature and enjoy activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, and camping, you’ll feel right at home in Iowa City. One of the area’s most beautiful attractions is Coralville Lake. This area provides fishing, hiking and biking trails, campsites, picnic areas, and more, making it both a popular vacation destination and a favorite spot for locals. Lake MacBride State Park, only 16 miles from Iowa City, is the largest State Park in Iowa and provides over 2,000 acres of space for recreational activities.
The Terry Trueblood Recreational Area is another park that offers a variety of outdoor activities for the whole family. The bike trail connects with the Iowa River Corridor Trail. You can rent kayaks and paddleboards by the lake. If you’re interested in archeology, Devonian Fossil Gorge, which was created by flooding in 1993, is an important site with several marked fossil walks.
2. A Thriving University Town
The University of Iowa is one of the city’s central features and provides many benefits to the entire population, not only students. The college town atmosphere also makes for a lively street life including lots of cafes, bookstores, restaurants, and interesting shops. For anyone thinking of continuing their education, the prestigious Master of Fine Arts program offers summer as well as year-round courses. If you’re a sports fan, you can attend exciting games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Big Ten basketball team.
There are many educational resources in Iowa City as well. Kirkwood Community College is a fast-growing two-year college with many certificate and degree programs. Iowa City also has a selection of high-quality public and private elementary, middle, and high schools.
3. Renowned as a Literary City
The Midwest is home to many prestigious writing programs and workshops. One of the foremost of these is the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, which takes place annually at the university. Iowa City was officially designated as a City of Literature in 2008. The Iowa Avenue Literary Walk celebrates the many writers who were either born in Iowa or settled there at some point. Some of the honored writers include Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, and Kurt Vonnegut. Iowa City’s literary prestige also means that it has lots of independent bookstores, writer’s groups, lectures and book signings, and other events dedicated to the written word. Prairie Lights Books & Cafe is a favorite hangout for readers and writers alike and hosts many readings.
4. Many Great Places to Eat
Iowa City has many great restaurants, food festivals, and farmer’s markets that point to a growing foodie scene. The Taste of Iowa City festival is a popular event that highlights some of the area’s best eateries. The farmer’s market runs twice per week, May through October. Iowa City has many choices for eating out, both casual and formal. Saint Burch Tavern is a relatively new restaurant that’s popular among students, locals, and visitors alike. Burger lovers appreciate the convenience of Short’s Burger and Shine. The Hamburg Inn is a traditional landmark and the choice of many attending the Iowa Caucus. Mosley’s offers a Midwestern take on Southern-style barbecue. The city also a nice variety of pubs including Donnelly’s Irish Pub and 2 Dog’s Pub on 1st Street.
5. Lots of Interesting Cultural Events
While the University of Iowa and literary events provide a wealth of culture to Iowa City, there are many other events and destinations on hand as well. These include:
- Independent films. Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival is one of the world’s most celebrated events for documentaries. You can also see a variety of independent films at FilmScene, the local non-profit movie theater dedicated to art, independent, and documentary films.
- Museums. The university is home to several excellent museums. The Iowa Stanley Museum of Fine Art, which is one of the nation’s finest university art collections with items from all over the world. The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History has a large collection of wildlife exhibits and Native American artifacts. Also on campus is the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame & Museum. History buffs will appreciate the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in nearby West Branch. The Iowa Children’s Museum has lots of exhibits, programs, and special events to fascinate and educate young minds.
- Performing arts. The Englert Theatre is a beautiful, century-old theater where you can see all kinds of live performances including concerts and comedy. The University of Iowa Division of Performing Arts has ongoing theater, dance, and music performances by the university’s fantastic performing arts departments. Riverside Festival Stage, in Lower City Park, is a Shakespearean style outdoor performance space that holds all kinds of events throughout the year.
6. Many Job Opportunities
Iowa City has a diversity of industries that make it a convenient place to find a job or start a business. Quite a few large companies are based or have branches here including Quaker Foods, Transamerica, General Mills, and Rockwell Collins. Iowa City Area Development reports that the city has strong industry clusters in areas such as renewable energy, information technology, biotechnology, and many others. Forbes ranks Iowa City #4 on its list of Best Places For Business and Careers.
Education, of course, is also a large part of the local economy. The University of Iowa, both directly and indirectly, provides many job opportunities. Aside from jobs in education, the large student population supports many local businesses. Healthcare is also strong. The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital along with other hospitals and clinics make this a good place to find a job in the healthcare sector.
7. Ranks High For Quality of Life
Cities and town are more than the sum of their parts. Iowa City has the distinction of ranking well for its overall quality of life on several lists. Quality of life includes a variety of factors including economic opportunities, cultural offerings, crime rate, healthcare, and education. Livability.com has rated Iowa City in its Top 100 Best Places to Live for several years. With a population of around 75,000, Iowa City has a small town feel while having cultural advantages often found in larger cities such as world-class museums and performing arts spaces. It also has a lot to offer people who want to be close to nature and who enjoy a college town environment.
Iowa City is a Midwestern city with many advantages and attractions for people in all stages of life. It’s a great place to go to school, find a job, start a business, raise a family, or retire.
Tim Conroy specializes in residential real estate in the Iowa City Area. He enjoys working with clients and helping them discover Iowa City and the surrounding communities. He prides himself on customer service, creative marketing, and helping clients navigate transactions.