Iowa’s former state capital is an exciting cultural destination with a Literary Walk, museums, theaters and festivals to enjoy.
With its annual book festival and writing programs that have produced dozens of great authors, many of themhonored in a “walk of fame,” Iowa City is a UNESCO City of Literature. Find different entertainment in itsNorthside Marketplace, downtown venues and riverside parks.
About 70,000 people call Iowa City home. Many of the residents have ties to the local university and its hospital.The University of Iowa was the state’s gift to the city when it was decided that Des Moines would replace Iowaas the state capital in 1857.
It’s easy to explore Iowa City on foot. Use public buses to venture beyond the downtown district or hop aboard a free Cambus totravel between major university destinations. If you are driving, selected lots in the central area have free parking for the first hour.Bike trails weave in and out of the city taking you to and from points of interest, dining and entertainment. Eastern Iowa Airport islocated 20 miles (30 kilometers) north in Cedar Rapids.
Admire the exhibits in various locations from the University of Iowa Museum of Art called UIMA or explore theOld Capitol Building to see where the state government used to meet. Let the children run free at the Iowa Children’s Museum or the playground in City Plaza, or “Ped Mall.” Live music almost every Friday and Saturday on the “Ped Mall”along with festivals sprinkled throughout the year.
John Irving and Flannery O’Connor are among the famous writers that were graduates from the University ofIowa’s prestigious Writers’ Workshop. Follow Iowa Avenue’s Literary Walk to read plaques dedicated to 49writers of fame. Kids can swap a book at Little Free Libraries; tiny public book deposits that you can findeverywhere. Every summer, the Iowa Book Festival hosts some of the best international authors.
At night, watch a game in a sports bar or an independent movie at FilmScene. The Englert, a 1912 theatre house was renovated in 2004 andreopened to host live performances for the first time in over 60 years. Nationally renowned artists along withtalented locals showcase at the Englert Theatre.
With so much love for culture, books and poetry, it’s no wonder that Iowa City received the title City of Literaturein 2008. Visit any time of year to experience this lively college town with its Midwestern charm.