Iowa City, Iowa




Sunny Days: 199
46100 Affordability
90100 Schools
43100 Diversity
86100 Safety

You see for me, America is an idea. It is a stage for transformation. I felt when I came to Iowa City from Calcutta that suddenly I could be a new person . . . What America offers me is romanticism and hope . . .
-Bharati Mukherjee"

The Best Thing About Iowa City?

Literary and Stuff

Iowa City is a genuinely unique locale. Home to one of the best creative writing programs in the world, a stellar university and school district, and a top-flight hospital, Iowa City is amongst the best educated urban areas not only in the state but the entire region. Populated by a diverse crowd of ‘Iowa Nice’ people, with parks, museums, and a library with youth outreach programs, this is an ideal place for young couples either with children or planning to have children. And in spite of the isolated location, between the summer jazz festival, touring broadway shows, university sports games, and plethora of outdoor activities, it’s a cultured area where you’ll never want for things to do.

Here's a pov of a transplanted local on Iowa City:
I came from the east coast, and I very much enjoy IC! It is for the most part, pleasantly liberal. It's Iowa, so the diversity isn't great but the university brings people from all over the world. I do miss forests and mountains, but there are a ton of parks sprinkled around, big rivers, and beautiful outdoors within a 1 day's drive. "Iowa Nice" is a real thing, it was a wonderful change from the east coast. However, worst drivers ever and I hate the highways (Cedar Rapids specifically is a cluster of bad driving and relentless speed traps). Awful snow clearing. Not much of a winter compared to the NE though luckily. Just cold, not too much snow.

The Worst Thing About Iowa City

Midwest Weather

The weather of Iowa City is mostly extremes. Summers get up near and in the hundred degree range, flash floods can happen year round, and it has cold, dry winters in which a gray sky blankets a land of little snow. You’ll need a four-wheel drive and a high level of comfort with driving in the ice, and a deep closet of warm winter clothes. Additionally, the isolated location does mean that other major cities such as Chicago are generally around four hours drive away.

Cautionary note from a local about transitioning to the weather:
I've offered often said Iowa City is the Austin Texas of Iowa, you should transition pretty well to all but weather. You'll definitely need good boots and a parka for winter. Granny drive in winter, start and stop slow, don't tailgate people and you'll be fine.

Lifestyle of Iowa City

Iowa City is, at its core, a college town. This means that the population shifts throughout the year as the school year starts, stops, and starts again, and with it, the downtown party scene waxes and wanes. This is especially true during college football season, during which time the entire city revolves around the gridiron. Meanwhile, if you’re more of an outdoorsy type, then Iowa City is definitely for you: excellent trail running, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and kayaking, as well as a superb indoor rock climbing facility at the university gym. And of course, a strong brewing culture for the discerning beer enthusiast, and programs at the library and children’s museum for those with young children.

If you want to see what people get up to in Iowa City check out the calendar of events:

Worklife of Iowa City

The majority of jobs in the area are centered around the university or the hospital. If you are in education or medicine, you likely will not lack career opportunities. That said, outside of that, the area is primarily geared towards service industry jobs and small businesses. However, if you are currently enjoying the work from home lifestyle, you’ll find it a pleasantly affordable, charming small city in which to live and work.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Laid-back Intelligentsia

A scenic midwestern landscape with excellent schools and organic food, Iowa City combines the laid-back, progressive attitude of the west with the friendliness and down-to-earth atmosphere of its home state. If you are a young family, an educator, an aspiring writer, or a healthcare worker, there are few places better-suited.

Neighborhoods in Iowa City

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Young Professionals/Students/DINKs/SINKs

Iowa City is divided into two halves by the Iowa River. The Eastside Iowa City section is where Young Professionals and College Students tend to live, young professionals Downtown and students near the campus of the University of Iowa. Tons of bars, restaurants, cafes, museums, galleries, all of it in either of the two neighborhoods in Eastside and focused on serving the students are relatively recently graduated. The area has tons of apartments and condos for renters and early buyers, all within a walk of prime social, work and school locations.

The other side of the river, Westside Iowa City has the world-class University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics as well as the University of Iowa sports facilities. This is where graduate & medical students tend to live as well as professionals ready to escape downtown energy but still live in an area with commercial energy.

  • Eastside (Downtown/University)
  • Westside (Hospital neighborhood/University Heights)

North Liberty


While Eastside contains downtown and University it also has neighborhoods great for families. If you go farther east of downtown you start hitting walkable neighborhoods with some of the best family restaurants in Iowa City, many a short walk from an ice cream shop. It also borders the Border Preserve, an amazing 100-acre prairie, and woodland preservation area. It’s filled with walking trails, art installations and the best scenery in the midwest.

There are several other great neighborhoods a bit farther out, including North Liberty. Many locals think of it as the best family-friendly neighborhood in the city, with great homes, yards, parks and excellent public schools. If you're ok needing to hop in a car to get downtown this is a good place to start your search.

  • North Liberty
  • Eastside
  • Coralville