The University of Iowa Campus and Iowa City


Why Iowa?


 Iowa City is one of the top college towns in the nation. The campus and town are very attractive and there is always an amazing number of events of all kinds going on – everything from big world class musical and theatrical acts to Friday night jazz bands outdoors on the Ped Mall downtown. Iowa City has the safe, comfortable and manageable feeling of a small town combined with the activity and choices of a big city. The university is integrated with the downtown. It’s a great environment in which to live and work. Check out the Wikipedia article on Iowa City.

Outside Magazine calls Iowa City the Best Town in the Midwest (and one of the 30 best in America), home to famous writers, Prairie Lights bookstore, and "everything from Ethiopian cafés to grilled-cheese stands." The Utne Reader calls it one of the "Ten Most Enlightened Towns in America,” the Milken Institute ranked (2003) Iowa City the No. 1 small metropolitan area in economic performance and job creation, and Editor & Publisher magazine chose it as the number one place to live in the country. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranked I.C. as the 2nd healthiest city in the U.S. (thanks to UI Hospitals and abundant recreation areas), Men’s Health magazine just named Iowa City the “Healthiest Town in America”. Men’s Journal said I.C. is one of the top ten “healthiest, safest and sexiest place to live in America (2003); National Geographic Adventure magazine calls I.C. "one of the 50 Best Places to Live and Play," the Wall Street Journal and Business Week both say I.C. is one of the best places to retire, Fortune lists it as having the highest percentage of college graduates of any city in the country, and Forbes magazine ranked it 2nd in a feature (2008) on the best smaller metro towns, 8th as an Up and Coming Tech City (2008), and also called it the 10th smartest city in the nation. UNESCO designated Iowa City as the world's third City of Literature (2008). I.C. was ranked #29 in Best Green CitiesUSA Today found it to be the 3rd most-educated metro area in the country.Expansion Management called Iowa City the 3rd best (out of 331) Metro area for Livability (2004). In the Insider's Guide to Colleges said that the town offers "a picturesque campus, a thriving social scene, and the excitement of Big Ten athletic teams." The Atlantic magazine listed Iowa City as #12 of “America’s Top 25 Cities for Recent College Graduates” (2011).


You get the idea. Iowa City is a great place to live.

But don't take their or our word for it. Come and investigate the town for yourself. Ask any alumni - anyone who has attended college at the U of I has loved it.


Fast Facts:
•"Iowa" is Native-American for "beautiful land."
•Iowa City's population is about 67,000; the 6th largest in the state. The metro area has close to 150,000.
•The University of Iowa was founded in 1847. The original Old Capitol Building adorns the center of campus (the state capital was in Iowa City 1842-1857; it was moved to Des Moines to be near the geographical center of the state.


•UI was the first public university in the country to admit women and men on an equal basis (1855)
•First public US university to grant a law degree to a woman (1873)
US News & Report ranks UI as the 28th best public university (2012)
•100 areas of study; Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
•400 student groups
Fiske Guide to Colleges 2008 rated UI a "best buy", one of only two Midwest public universities so rated
•The University has about 30,000 students and over 100 areas of study. There are 1,700 tenured and tenure-track professors. UI employs 23,000 people.
•The UI Campus is about 1,900 acres, with 129 major buildings. There are 10 residence halls.
•UI Libraries rank among the top 25 public academic research libraries in the country, with more than 4 million bound volumes and 11,000 electronic journals licensed for use.


•There are 41 public parks in the Iowa City area.
•Iowa is not flat, as the stereotype would have it, but rather rolling hills and more woodlands than you might think.
•The nearby Coralville reservoir has 5,000 acres of water for recreation plus many trails for hiking and biking.
•ACT college testing services has its headquarters in Iowa City.
•UI has 3 radio stations: WSUI (910 AM) is National Public Radio (NPR); KSUI (91.7 FM) plays classical music; KRUI (89.7 FM) is student-run.
•UI has the #1 creative writing program in the country, the Iowa Writer's Workshop.

UI Facts at a Glance



Take a virtual tour of campus if you've never been here before, and enjoy our slide show below of the campus and town.

Flickr Slide Show

For directions for a campus visit, click here.

Click here for Campus Views (photos, videos, residence halls, what students, faculty and alumni say)





Campus maps are available here (there's also a self-guided walking tour), and here is an Iowa City/Coralville map
For more maps click here.

Famous University of Iowa Alumni 
(highly selected from a 
longer list at Wikipedia):
Tom Arnold, actor
Bret Bielema, head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks football team
Tom Brokaw, NBC journalist
Greg Brown, folk musician
Dallas Clark, NFL all-pro tight end
Simon Estes, bass baritone opera singer
Dan Gable, champion wrestler
George Gallup, founder of the Gallup Poll
John Irving, writer (The World According to Garp)
Al Jarreau, Grammy-award winning vocalist
Alex Karras, actor and NFL football player
Ashton Kutcher, actor
Flannery O’Connor, novelist
Terry O’Quinn, actor (star of 
Ed Podolak, former NFL star, now football analyst
Eugene Rousseau, saxophonist
Jane Smiley, novelist
Wallace Stegner, author
Bob Stoops, head coach of the U. of Oklahoma
Mike Stoops, head coach of the U. of Arizona
James Van Allen, physicist
Gene Wilder, actor
Tennessee Williams, playwright
Lee Blessing, playwright

See also the Newcomer's Guide to Iowa City. 


Web site of the city of Iowa City

Iowa City Trails

Local Area Walking Routes

For grad students with children:
Child Care Programs & Financial Support
Summer Child Care and Camps

University and Community Resources
Disability Services, Public & Private Schools, Adult Education, Health Care, Libraries, Museums, Concerts, Parks and Recreation, Places of Worship, Transportation

Live webcam shots: Iowa RiverOld Capitol Building





Have a look at the New York Times article "36 hours in Iowa City" (pdf file)

A list of area accomodations is available herehere, and here, plus a sampling of restaurants, and things to do

See also this list of restaurants and coffeehouses, many of which have online menus.

Downtown Iowa City - what’s there and where it is: parking, maps, shopping, events, dining, nightlife, arts & culture, lodging, service, living


Old Capitol Town Center [Mall]
Shops, restaurants, book store, bank, and more, right downtown - this is UCC - the location of the current School of Music (south end, 2nd floor, just after the Up escalator).


Old Capitol Building Museum

Coral Ridge Mall
Coralville is the town directly adjacent to Iowa City. The Mall is on the western edge of Coralville, with 120 stores, 10 screen cinemaplex, food court, Children's Museum, ice skating arena, antique carousel, play area


Sycamore Mall

Iowa City mall. Smaller (42 stores) than the Coral Ridge Mall, but closer. 12 screen cinemaplex

Iowa Memorial Union

Iowa House Hotel

University Book Store


Student Organizations

Newsletter for Parents of Students

UI Recreational Services
Aquatics, Fitness & Wellness, Intramurals, Lesson Programs, Macbride Nature Recreation Area, Outdoor camps, Raptor Center, Sports Clubs, Tennis, Touch the Earth

UI has first class recreational facilities. The Field House has 10 basketball/volleyball courts, 5 badminton courts, 16 racquetball courts, 2 squash courts, a climbing gym, cycling studio, group exercise room, 6 multi-activity rooms, 10 wallyball courts, swimming pool, saunas. 

The spectacular new Campus Rec. & Wellness Center


...has 20,000 sq ft of fitness space over 3 levels, a 52 1/2 ft climbing wall, 50 meter competition swimming pool, 18 ft deep diving pool, leisure swimming pool area, 1/9 mile jogging track, 2 basketball/volleyball courts, 1 multi-activity gym, kettlebell free weight area, café, treadmills, step machines, elliptical machines, and more. 
And it’s only two blocks from the School of Music!

The Coralville Reservoir (below) is only about 6 miles from downtown, and you can rent boats or swim at the beach. Lake McBride is also nearby.