Iowa City Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Iowa City Trip Guide

The University of Iowa anchors the state’s original capital, where the old statehouse, a vaudeville-era theater and eclectic dining enliven a stay.


Coral Ridge Mall An indoor ice arena, carousel and children’s museum amp up the fun among the more than 120 shops and restaurants.

The Englert Theatre Catch a reading, musical, play, dance performance or concert at the 1912 former vaudeville theater and opera house.

Haunted Bookshop It’s still supervised by two cats, but the tidy shop selling books, toys, gifts and cards has moved to the historic Wentz house on North Gilbert.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site It’s worth the 11-mile drive east on I-80 to see the birthplace cottage, library, museum and burial site of the first U.S. president born west of the Mississippi.

The Iowa City Pedestrian Mall Abutting the University of Iowa campus, the brick-paved Ped Mall is home to 30 restaurants and shops.

The Iowa City Pedestrian Mall

The Iowa City Pedestrian Mall

Old Capitol Museum Retrace the footsteps of the state’s founding fathers in Iowa’s original capitol. Lectures and concerts entertain in the Senate Chamber.

Prairie Lights Books Browse three floors of books and catch an author reading in the long-running Live from Prairie Lights series.

University of Iowa Museum of Natural History Learn about Iowa’s 500 million years of history, see 1,000 birds on display, and say hi to Rusty the giant stuffed sloth.


A and A Pagliai's Pizza Using a northern Italian family recipe dating back to 1914, A and A Pagliai’s provides Iowa City with a taste of old-world pizza.

Atlas Dine on artfully presented dishes like Thai chicken satay salad with skewered grilled chicken, peanut sauce, organic greens and rice noodles. On the northern edge of the Ped Mall.

30 Hop Sixty beers on tap in the main restaurant and 30 in the rooftop bar make this a popular spot to gather in the Iowa River Landing district. Nibble on a side of truffle fries or go all out with a hefty Sriracha burger.

30 Hop

30 Hop

Backpocket Brewing Company Go for outdoor seating, craft beer and thin-crust pizza in the Iowa River Landing development.

Bluebird Diner Savory sausage and excellent hollandaise elevate breakfast standbys.

Bluebird Diner

Bluebird Diner

Blackstone American-style dishes sizzle with Mediterranean and Asian influences. Brandy-doused flaming cheese creates a scene.

Devotay With shareable small plates and tapas-style fare, cozy and eclectic Devotay makes meals fun and tasty.

Hamburg Inn No. 2 A burger specialist comes in at 4 a.m. daily to make the patties for this downtown diner that opened in 1948.

Heyn's Ice Cream For more than two decades, Heyn’s has been dishing up Iowa City's favorite ice cream in nearly 40 flavors.

Iowa River Power Restaurant In a former power plant, enjoy expansive views of an Iowa River dam and cooked-to-perfection prime rib.

Leaf Kitchen You can still get high tea at this tearoom, but also eggs Benedict or quiche for breakfast and a grilled vegetable panini for lunch.

Molly's Cupcakes Devour a created-to-order cupcake or three while hanging out on ceiling-mounted swings.


Brown Street Inn The six-bedroom 1913 mansion in a leafy neighborhood feels serene but is close to downtown.

HotelVetro Sleep on pillow-top mattresses in chic, ecofriendly rooms and take in city views from the huge third-floor patio.

For information: Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

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