Iowa City

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Summary

Iowa City is the welcoming and diverse home of the University of Iowa and a UNESCO City of Literature. Located in the eastern part of the state along the Iowa River, it is the fifth largest city in Iowa with a population of almost 75,000 people. Downtown Iowa City is a pedestrian haven where locals and visitors rub elbows with university students in a global mix of cultures at the many restaurants and shops. The university and its medical center—ranked as Iowa’s number one hospital by U.S. News—provide the core of the economy for Iowa City, but light manufacturing and the farming industry also provide employment opportunities. Beyond the university scene, Iowa City offers great recreation facilities, beautiful neighborhoods, and plenty of jobs, making this midsize midwestern city a great place for anyone to call home.

Transportation

Iowa City is one of the most bike-friendly towns in the state and has earned a silver-level ranking from the League of American Bicyclists, due to its hundreds of bike parking spots, an ever-expanding system of bike trails, and more. The Downtown district has been called a ‘pedestrian paradise’, allowing residents to live car-free, while also providing ample parking for those who drive into the city-center. The Iowa City Area Transit Service and the U of I CAMBUS system connect the neighborhoods of Iowa City Monday through Saturday with universal free fare, making bus transportation a no-brainer for cross-town commuters. For most residents, however, a car will be needed for many errands or travel to outer suburbs. The average one-way commute for Iowa City residents is 20 minutes, less than the 26.4 national average.

Activity & Entertainment

From the roaring crowds at Kinnick Stadium turning to wave at young patients in the children's hospital overlooking the field, to yoga in the park, Iowa City is a diverse and happening small city. With the University at its core, it blends the grassroots vibe of Iowa with the global influences of thousands of newcomers. Shopping opportunities abound from independent boutiques to big-box necessities, and the restaurant scene is one of the best in Iowa. In addition to cheering for the home team competing in collegiate sports, residents enjoy a full calendar of programming through the parks and rec department, a wide variety of performing and fine arts, and even a family-friendly fossil gorge nearby!

History

Iowa City was founded as a Territorial capital on former Ioway, Sac, and Fox tribal lands, and became the first capital of the State of Iowa in 1846. The Old Capitol building still stands at the heart of the University of Iowa campus and is open to the public as a museum. The University of Iowa was founded in 1847, and today offers more than 100 areas of study to over 30,000 students, including a medical school and teaching hospital, and the College of Law. In 2008 unprecedented rain led to flooding of large parts of Iowa City and many other communities in the region, but rebuilding has brought a renaissance, leading to the city’s current status as a fresh and friendly place to live, learn and work.


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