Iowa City, Iowa


Looklyloo Score: 81

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What's it like to live in Iowa City?

Moving to Iowa City. Best neighborhoods, where to avoid…

Eastside, Creekside, Oak Grove, and Lucas Farms are all great neighborhoods with minimal college students living there. You won't have to worry about loud parties or drunk kids walking around. Most renters in non-college kid neighborhoods are gonna be ok, the shady ones are just exploiting college kids.

Anything south of Highway 6 would probably be the place to avoid.

You could also try Coralville, but know that means you are either driving or taking public transit to get to the University, where you could walk or ride a bike pretty easily if you are in Iowa City itself.

I live in Lucas Farms and I love it. Rentals are not super common here but, occasionally places like this open up. The whole neighborhood is an easy bike ride to downtown/campus, just a few blocks from the "Riverfront Crossing" area which is a big new park they just finished up.

Moving to 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.

Not sure about young families, but I feel like there are ton. I don't know anything about school districts. I know that compared with where I grew up, the schools here look swank from the outside in Coralville, and North Liberty.

Moving to Iowa city

We are new-ish transplants to Iowa City. We moved from the PNW after living there for five years. My husband was active duty military and we have lived all over the US. He is originally from Iowa so we moved back here to be close to family. I was born and raised in SoCal so many of my opinions are filtered through growing up there.

Do you like living there? We really do.

How are the people there? The people here are what is colloquially called “Iowa nice.”

We have a young child, and are wondering if there are many young families there? There are many young families here. Most of our neighbors have small children. There are many outdoor parks, walking paths, and community swimming pools to accommodate families.

What is there to do? Camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, boating/kayaking, mushroom hunting, and many other activities.

Diversity? My kids go to school in the Iowa City school district and their classes are more diverse than any other school they have attended anywhere else in the country. I remember receiving a diversity email from the junior high that mentioned 31 different primary languages spoken by the student population.

Nature? We love outdoor activities, are there fun outside activities to do? So many state parks, rivers, and lakes. We really only lack mountains around here.

Politics? Liberal? Conservative? We haven’t delved to deeply into this but by all appearances Iowa City leans left.

**What city in Iowa would you move to if you could not move to Des Moines?
Iowa City. In a flash. It was nicer 40 years ago, but then, so was everywhere.

Iowa City is a small university town. I grew up in large cities — Honolulu and Seattle. The idea of being able to walk from one end of town to the other was itself amazing. The cities I grew up in were also built mostly in the modern era — there was a town called “Port Ludlow” where my mom used to drive us to sightsee what Victorian houses looked like. Iowa City had houses built around the time of the Revolution, though not many.

In summer, when the undergraduates went away, it was also a peaceful, quiet town. The people who stayed tended to be academics and artists. The rest of the year, there was something happening almost every night, if by “something” one meant a famous theorist, a film series with film you couldn’t see anywhere else, a folk music event, a world-class classical concert — well, you get the idea. To this day, I have no idea if any of the better-known bands came through; I only know that I could, for cheap or free, hear all the music I liked, watch all the film I could imagine, and listen to any idea going.

Add to that one of the best medical schools in the country (including the dental school, where I had fascinating almost-free dentistry which 30 years later is just becoming available at specialty dentists) and an intense political scene, and anyone with a brain would be terribly happy there. Except for the rent, of course — it was, after all, a college town — and a rather small selection of restaurants. But I was a college student, and couldn’t afford to go out much anyway.

I assume by now they have espresso in town. I wrote my mom in ’81 when I arrived because I was from Seattle, and I couldn’t find one espresso cafe. (There were no Starbucks in those days — except where I came from.) But they had bookstores every few blocks, including Prairie Lights, the best bookstore east of the Left Coast.

I’m much less enthusiastic recommending Des Moines. You have to have at least a middle class income or a lot of family there to enjoy it, and it’s missing the intellectual appeals — last I counted, there was one Barnes and Noble and the Planned Parenthood Book Sale, and that was it for book stores.

Living in Iowa City