Top Things to Do in Iowa City | Midwest Living
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Top Things to Do in Iowa City

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

Do

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

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

Hancher Auditorium A sleek, curving $176 million performing arts center replaced the University of Iowa’s original auditorium, destroyed by flooding in 2008. About 50 events each year include ballets, concerts and musicals. hancher.uiowa.edu

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. thehauntedbookshop.com

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum 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. hoover.archives.gov

The Iowa City Pedestrian Mall  Abutting the University of Iowa campus, the Ped Mall is home to restaurants, bars and shops. downtowniowacity.com

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. oldcap.uiowa.edu

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

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 sloth replica. mnh.uiowa.edu

Eat

A and A Pagliai's Pizza Using a northern Italian family recipe, this casual spot provides Iowa City with a taste of old-world pizza. pagliaisic.com

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. atlasiowacity.com

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. 30hop.com

30 Hop

30 Hop

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

Baroncini Soft music and cozy booths set the tone for an evening of contemporary Italian dishes such as agnolotti pasta stuffed with local beef and Parmesan. baroncinirestaurant.com

Bluebird Diner Savory sausage and excellent hollandaise elevate breakfast standbys. thebluebirddiner.com

Bluebird Diner

Bluebird Diner

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

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

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. hamburginn.com

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. heynsicecream.com

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

Leaf Kitchen You can still get high tea at this tearoom, but also eggs Benedict or crepes for breakfast, and a grilled chicken club for lunch. leafkitchen.weebly.com

Molly's Cupcakes Devour a created-to-order cupcake or three. A portion of profits is donated to area schools. icmollys.com

Oasis Falafel It’s the place to go for authentic, inexpensive Middle Eastern fare, such as a pita bursting with falafel, hummus, babba ganoush and Mediterranean salad. oasisfalafel.com

Rapid Creek Cidery In a barn overlooking Wilson’s Orchard 15 minutes from downtown, this upscale restaurant serves cocktails made with Wilson’s excellent hard cider. rapidcreekcidery.com

Stay

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

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

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

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