Why Iowa?

Downtown Iowa City

Living in Iowa City

Iowa City ranks among the best places to live in America. Iowa City, Johnson County, and the state of Iowa all routinely appear on national “best of” lists for housing affordability, low crime rates, excellent schools, economic opportunities, access to world-class health care, and more.

And you’ll be delighted by all of the things you can do here that you’d expect to find in a much larger city, including entertainment, culture, outdoor recreation, shopping, dining, spectator sports, and more. But here the neighborhoods are safe, the people are friendly, and traffic hassles are nonexistent.

Iowa City is conveniently located on Interstate 80, so getting to and from here is simple. Eastern Iowa Airport is just 30 minutes away; Quad City International Airport is about an hour away. You can drive to Chicago in about three hours or to Minneapolis, St. Louis, or Kansas City in about five.

Choose from a Variety of Communities

Iowa City is the hub of a thriving, easily-drivable region that offers a range of choices when it’s time to decide where to make your home.

  • In Iowa City, you can walk to work from one of the leafy, historic neighborhoods near downtown and the University of Iowa campus. Or make a quick commute from one of the many outlying neighborhoods.
  • Adjacent to Iowa City is Coralville, which offers quiet suburban living and easy access to a broad range of retail shopping and dining options.
  • Fast-growing North Liberty has plenty of modern housing, a state-of-the-art recreation center, and a new high school.

All three lie within the highly acclaimed Iowa City Community School District and are served by public transportation as well as an ever-expanding network of paved bike trails.

Greater Johnson County offers yet more easily accessible choices, including rural acreages and small towns that add only a handful of minutes to your daily commute.

Canoeing on Iowa RiverFamily-Friendly Reasons to be Here

Iowa City can’t be matched for family opportunities, usually available at no charge. Its parks, libraries, and museums are leisure-time destinations for the young and young at heart. Iowa City and surrounding communities are:

  • Art friendly - Galleries, festivals, readings, and performances. The variety and frequency will amaze you. 
  • Bike friendly - Bike paths, bike courtesy, employer incentives for riding bikes. Iowa City has led the area for a long time. 
  • Concert friendly - Pick your favorite music style and you’ll find a lively outlet for it in Iowa City. Our venues for concerts rival what you’ll find in cities many times our size. 
  • Diversity friendly - We take seriously the state’s motto: Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain. You see it in action throughout our communities.
  • Earth friendly - We are a green community, set on making an example of responsible living. 
  • Entrepreneur friendly - Whether it’s in a formal business incubator or piloted in a storefront, we provide markets and knowhow for innovators from a variety of fields. 
  • Foodie friendly - Our food choices cover many ethnic types and price points and always provide a ring of quality. Our locally-sourced restaurants are phenomenal. 
  • Health care friendly - Besides UI Hospitals and Clinics and our many satellite clinics, our community is the home of a large Veterans Affairs medical center. 
  • Kid friendly - Arts, sports, schools, play, discovery, care…you’ll see why so many people say “this is a great place to raise a family.” 
  • Learning friendly - Formal and informal learning opportunities are available for all age levels and abilities. You pick the topic and you’re likely to find a classroom for it. 
  • Literature friendly - We are a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) city of literature—the only one in the United States. Our festivals and readings celebrate our love of the book arts. 
  • Pet friendly - Pet care, pet parks, and pet love abound. 
  • Recreation friendly - We work hard at our leisure activities. Our parks, facilities, and programming deliver opportunities for all to get out and enjoy. 
  • Senior friendly - Iowa City has earned high rankings nationally for its livability for all ages, especially for retired individuals. 
  • Shopper friendly - Whether it’s retail chains, trendy one-of-a-kinds, or thrift shopping, Iowa City and its neighbors offer an abundance of choices. 
  • Wine and beer friendly - Yes, we have nearby vineyards and breweries. You’ll find the hospitality, the libations, the food, and surroundings to be memorable. 

Aerial of riverThe University of Iowa

The university’s classic campus spans two sides of the scenic Iowa River. Visitors remark how the campus is big enough to have world-class arts, science, sports, and recreation venues and small enough to easily make your way to them.

We are the state’s leader in quality patient care, advanced health research, and innovative health care training.

The university has captured the world’s attention through its venerable programs in medicine, nursing, writing, space exploration, and the fine arts. It continues its pioneering ways through innovative programs in business, engineering, health care management, law, education, and computing.

You may not be a sports fan when you arrive in Iowa City, but you’ll quickly have opportunities to adopt black-and-gold Hawkeye pride. The university’s athletic programs bring together fans from all over the country who celebrate their Hawkeyes. We also welcome Cyclones, Badgers, Wolverines, Buckeyes, Panthers, and more.

You and your family members have a university full of learning opportunities at your doorstep. Many UI Health Care services make funds available for staff to pursue course work to advance their careers.

Learn more about living in Iowa City at thinkiowacity.com.