Living in the Iowa City Area

When a cold front meets a warm front, you get a great big storm. That's what it's like when you first come to the Iowa City area. We have things you expect, and things that surprise you. That moment when you say to yourself, "Really? I'm in Iowa City, Iowa?" is that great big storm.


The University of Iowa with its scenic 2,000 acre campus is situated along the banks of the Iowa River.  Rolling hills surround the campus region that is punctuated with walking paths and bike trails.  The campus is deeply intertwined with the neighboring downtown area.

The nearly 30,000 University students and 1,700 faculty help to create a vibrant collegiate environment.  Over the past few years, several national polls have ranked the University and Iowa City very highly in livability and entertainment, safety, affordability, and health care.

Numerous coffee houses, restaurants for every ethnic taste, bookstores and clothing shops, and musical venues are within a few minutes walk of campus.  A downtown pedestrian mall serves as the staging ground for a variety of summer music and art events.

Throughout the year, campus and community theater groups stage cutting edge works and classic plays, including a summer Shakespeare Festival in nearby City Park.  Touring Broadway plays and popular musicians frequently perform on campus and in the regional venues.  As one would expect from a Big Ten university, collegiate sports provide major entertainment, particularly Hawkeye football and basketball.  There are also professional hockey and baseball teams that play in the surrounding area.

Just a few of many features that make Iowa City a great place to spend a graduate career include a safe and friendly town, short commutes, and plentiful reasonably-priced housing.  Plan a visit and see for yourself!


Iowa City, Coralville, and the University maintain bus systems, bike paths, and student-permit parking lots, which allow ready access to housing within the city and the surrounding area. A variety of housing options, from apartment buildings and rooming houses to university-owned rental units are available. More detailed information is available at


The Eastern Iowa Airport, served by national and regional airlines, is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a 25-minute drive from campus. Iowa City is 110 miles east of Des Moines, and is centrally located within 300 miles of the metropolitan areas of Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Omaha, and Kansas City.

There is bus service Monday through Saturday within Iowa City and nearby Coralville areas. The cost is seventy-five cents one way. Monthly, discounted, bus passes are available to students for purchase. The University of Iowa operates a free campus bus system called CAMBUS.

There are many bicycle racks on campus, motorcycle/scooter parking spaces, and parking lots on campus. For more information, visit University Parking Services.

See also:

Graduate student life
Iowa City and Coralville area online resources