Iowa CityUnited States of America

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.

Where to stay in Iowa City

Iowa City

Mann

4.5/5Wonderful!(68 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in Mann, Iowa Museum of Natural History and Iowa Old Capitol Building are top sights worth seeing.

Mann

Top Hotels in Iowa City

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City Downtown University
Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City Downtown University
3 out of 5
328 S Clinton St, Iowa City, IA
The price is $93 per night

Situated in Iowa City, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Iowa City Public Library, University of Iowa, and University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. Old Capitol ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (309 reviews)

"Spacious and clean, Yup. Yessiree. Righteo. I really mean it."…"

Reviewed on Jul 4, 2020

Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City Downtown University
Element Iowa City
Element Iowa City
3 out of 5
314 South Clinton Street, Iowa City, IA
The price is $107 per night

Situated in Iowa City, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Iowa City Public Library, University of Iowa, and University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. Old Capitol ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (13 reviews)

"Very nice rooms and staff, great location great price"…"

Reviewed on Jul 13, 2020

Element Iowa City
Hampton Inn Iowa City/University Area
Hampton Inn Iowa City/University Area
2.5 out of 5
4 Sturgis Corner Dr, Iowa City, IA
The price is $93 per night

Situated in the business district, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Iowa City Public Library, University of Iowa, and University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (695 reviews)

"The property was clean and quite. O lybgrab and go fruit bags due to Covid-19."…"

Reviewed on Jun 20, 2020

Hampton Inn Iowa City/University Area

Popular places to visit in Iowa City

Iowa Museum of Natural History
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Iowa Museum of Natural History

Marvel at a gigantic whale skeleton, see an impressive cyclorama of a Hawaiian bird island and spot the giant panda.

Old Capitol Museum
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Old Capitol Museum

4.5/5(40 reviews)

Gaze up at the emblematic golden dome that tops the roof of a historic building containing the region’s cultural gems.

Iowa Old Capitol Building
Image for Iowa Old Capitol Building

Iowa Old Capitol Building

You can find out about the history of Iowa City with a trip to Iowa Old Capitol Building. Amble around the area's college campus or attend a sporting event.

Amana Colonies
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Amana Colonies

4/5(1 review)

Explore the traditional restaurants and artisanal boutiques and learn the customs in the villages of this former self-sufficient German settlement.

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
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Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

4/5(14 reviews)

Examine the Roman busts and contemporary pieces and enjoy the world’s largest collection of paintings by Iowa native Grant Wood.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
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Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

4.5/5(31 reviews)

Stroll through this pleasant park with your family and visit the buildings that tell the story of a president’s upbringing.

Top things to do in Iowa City

Iowa City Scavenger Hunt: City of Literature
Image for Iowa City Scavenger Hunt: City of Literature

Iowa City Scavenger Hunt: City of Literature

$20
Per adult
City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of Iowa
Image for City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of Iowa

City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of Iowa

$10
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
3Quest Challenge Scavenger hunts of Iowa
Image for 3Quest Challenge Scavenger hunts of Iowa

3Quest Challenge Scavenger hunts of Iowa

$10
Per adult

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Iowa City

Image for Want a vacation with more substance than a day at the beach? Try a literary tour, here are some of our top choices

Want a vacation with more substance than a day at the beach? Try a literary tour, here are some of our top choices

Want a vacation with more substance than a day at the beach? Try a literary tour, here are some of our top choices
Want a vacation with more substance than a day at the beach? Try a literary tour, here are some of our top choices
Image for Bookmarking travel plans to exciting literature-inspired cities

Bookmarking travel plans to exciting literature-inspired cities

Bookmarking travel plans to exciting literature-inspired cities
Bookmarking travel plans to exciting literature-inspired cities

Cities near Iowa City

Iowa Museum of Natural History featuring an administrative buidling and heritage architecture

Cedar Rapids - Iowa City