Midwest Living Review
With restaurants, bars, retail, art venues and more, Ped Mall is a one-stop shop in a convenient downtown location. With the exception of a few restaurants, you'll be hard-pressed to find a chain franchise here.
Chait Galleries Downtown and the Iowa Artisans Gallery serve a good dose of culture. Boutiques carry all manner of inventory, from fine jewelry and beautiful scarves at Textiles Inc. to one-of-a-kind novelty gifts at AKAR. The Hamburg Inn, Pagliai’s Pizza and Devotay are just a few of the district's standout restaurants, and the bar scene picks up after dark to keep things hopping well into the evening hours.
Literary types should plan to stop in Prairie Lights Books; this popular store hosts many events in conjunction with the internationally renowned University of Iowa writing program. (You may even get lucky and meet a famous poet or journalist.) The Literary Walk, a series of metal plaques displayed along the Iowa Avenue sidewalk between Gilbert Street and Clinton Street, keeps the intellectual vibe going with quotes from well-known writers.