Interested in hitting up a fun and funky college town that’s also a UNESCO site for literature?
Welcome to Iowa City, Iowa.
Located in the Eastern part of the state, Iowa City is on the Iowa River and not far from the Mississippi. It’s also home to the University of Iowa.
That combination makes Iowa City pretty unique. It has a vibrant culture and feel of a more urban area, but with plenty of beautiful natural scenery right at its doorstep.
In this post, we’re going to spend some time exploring Iowa City and highlighting some of our favorite places to spend time.
University of Iowa
Iowa City has been dubbed a City of Literature by UNESCO, the first in America at the time. UNESCO is an agency that’s part of the United Nations. It highlights important cultural, natural, and educational sites all over the world.
One of the primary reasons why Iowa City won this title is because of the University. The University of Iowa hosts a world-famous writer’s workshop and program. Some of history’s greatest writers, and current budding writers to be have spent time here including Flannery O’Connor and Game of Thrones writer D. B. Weiss.
When you’re spending time in the heart of America’s heartland, you want to be sure to get some of the best fresh local foods available.
In Iowa City, you have plenty of options for that. But, two of the favorites with locals and visitors alike are the Farmer’s Market and NewBo City Market.
The Iowa City Farmer’s Market runs each May through October and features plenty of fresh meats, cheeses, and produce from local farmers and well as specialty craft items too. In the winter, there are few special events that the market hosts as well.
For a very unique attraction, head to the Amana Colonies. The seven colonies were formed back in the 1930s by a group of German immigrants who were escaping persecution and wanted to live a communal lifestyle. Today, visitors can explore each of the colonies. They host year-round events including Oktoberfest and Winter Festivals as well as shopping, dining, and lodging too.
Even though over 75,000 people are living in Iowa City at any given time, there’s plenty to do and see outside the city as well.
One of the more unique experiences has to be the Devonian Fossil Gorge. It’s home to fossils, from an ancient ocean floor, that’s over 375 million years old.
Since Iowa City is split by a river, there are plenty of water activities to check out too. You can wander by the Iowa River and enjoy some footpaths and nice areas to stop and sit for a while. On the south side of Iowa City, you’ll find Terry Trueblood Recreation Area. It’s a popular spot to rent paddle boats, bike, or have a picnic.
Regardless of what you enjoy spending time doing on your vacation, you can find it in Iowa City.