About Iowa City

Where is Iowa City?

Iowa City is 220 miles directly west of Chicago on Interstate 80. It's also within a 4-5 hour drive to Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Omaha, Kansas City, and St. Louis. It has the cultural, educational, social, and political opportunities of a bigger city with the values and ambiance of a Midwestern town.

No. 5
Best College Towns
Municipal Equality
No. 19
100 Places to Live
No. 4
Best Places to Live

Rankings and Recognition

  • Iowa City ranked No. 5 on Business Insider's "20 Best College Towns in America" list. 
  • Iowa City scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index - rating laws, policies, and services for inclusivity of LGBTQ people.
  • Iowa City ranked No. 19 on the Money list of "100 Best Places to Live."
  • Iowa City ranked No. 4 on Livability's "Best Places to Live" list, as well as by the American Institute for Economic Research among their "Top 20 College Towns."


The exquisite, state-of-the-art Hancher Auditorium presents a full season of world-renowned entertainment, including Broadway touring shows. The Englert Theatre, FilmScene, and Riverside Theatre engage audiences in live music, performance, and film.

Hancher Auditorium
Inside FilmScene at The Chauncey
Downtown Iowa City

Shopping and Dining

Downtown Iowa City offers more than 100 locally-owned boutiques and more than 70 restaurants to suit every taste. Coral Ridge Mall boasts 1.2 million feet of retail, restaurants, and theaters. Iowa River Landing features upscale dining and shops.

A Culture of Literature

Iowa City's designation as the first UNESCO City of Literature in the United States, as well as the annual Iowa City Book Festival, and the world-famous University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, underscore a long-standing appreciation of the written word.

University of Iowa's mascot, Herky

School Pride

Iowa typically leads the nation in the high school graduation rate. And, Iowa is home to three public universities, 30 private colleges, and a 19-campus community college system.

The Great Outdoors

From anywhere in the region, you're just minutes away from a sprawling recreation area on the Iowa River that welcomes boaters, bikers, anglers, hikers, and wildlife watchers.

Big Ten Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten field nationally ranked squads in football, basketball, wrestling, and more. Catch sports and special events at hte new, multipurpose Xtream Arena and GreenState Family Fieldshouse, located at Coralville's Iowa River Landing development.

The First Wave: The Story Behind Iowa Football's Tradition

Oftern referred to as "the greatest tradition in college football," The Iowa Wave turned five years old in 2022 - the same year the Stead Family Children's Hospital celebrated the building's five-year anniversary. The Big Ten Network dedicated its B1G Moment to this tradition on September 12, 2022.