The University of Iowa, located alongside the picturesque Iowa River in Iowa City is one of the nation's premier public research institutions. The beautiful campus is home to approximately 32,948 students that hail from around the world and all 50 states. Iowa City is one of only two UNESCO Cities of Literature in the U.S. and consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks to college town charm, a welcoming small-town community, and an array of big-city amenities.
Transportation: Iowa City is about 300 miles from Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Omaha, and Kansas City. The closest major airport to the university is The Eastern Iowa Airport (CID/ KCID). Located in Cedar Rapids, it is 22 miles from the center of the school. Burlington Trailways and Greyhound buses also service the area.
Claim to Fame: In 1922, UI became the first university in the country that accepted theses based on creative work, leading to the creation of the world-renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the first creative writing graduate program in the U.S. Since then, the program attracts writers from all over the world.
School Mascot: The Iowa Hawkeyes are members of the Big Ten Conference and have 24 teams competing in the NCAA Division I, but why are they called Hawkeyes? The state of Iowa’s nickname is the Hawkeye State, named after the scout, Hawkeye, in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. The University adopted Hawkeye as its athletic nickname, and its mascot soon became Herky the Hawk. Herky is a popular figure at all types of campus events; usually, a student dressed in black and gold with full feathers and a hawk head.
Stay: Right on campus, the most convenient option is to check into the Iowa House Hotel in the Memorial Union. Located in the heart of downtown Iowa City, we recommend The Graduate Hotel, proudly perched on the Ped Mall, just a few blocks from campus and across the river from Kinnick Stadium. An Alumnus told Daytripper she likes to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in the downtown district, also within walking distance to campus. Just three miles from the school, book a room at the Homewood Suites at Iowa River Landing or The Marriott Hotel in Coralville.
Coffee: On campus get your morning jolt at Wild Bill’s Coffeeshop or T. Spoons located at The Old Capital Town Center. If you’re staying at The Graduate, Poindexter Coffee is ripe for rolling out of bed before your tour and grabbing a quick cappuccino or lingering over a breakfast sandwich or pastry. Java House with numerous location throughout Iowa city is a local favorite.
Breakfast: Known as the ‘’Burg”, The Hamburg Inn No. 2 is more than a diner its an Iowa City institution. Order an omelet, but leave room for their signature ‘Pie-Shake,’ a decadent cup where pie meets milkshake. We hear the Huevos Epsteinos at retro Bluebird Diner is a must order, a hearty plate of homemade smoked pork green chili served over Parmesan polenta and over easy eggs—oh my!
All Day Dining: For a creative twist on classic Midwestern diner fare, the chef-driven menu at Pullman Bar & Diner delivers from pancakes and avocado toast at breakfast to salads, elevated sandwiches and more substantial plates at lunch and dinner--all washed down with one of Pullmans tantalizing cocktails. Finish with a spiced milk bun or banana foster pudding.
Lunch: Grab a quick bite on campus at the Memorial Union Building, but if you have time one parent states: “there are better dining choices in downtown Iowa City, many just across the street from campus.” Students swear by the burgers at Short’s Burger and Shine, especially the Jamaica—a jerk spiced beef, mango jalapeno salsa, and pepper jack cheese combo. (Vegetarians will be happy with the black bean burger option.) For a quick meal of kebabs, gyros & other Middle Eastern street foods head to counter-service Oasis Falafel. In the mood for hand-rolled tacos, enchiladas or burritos don’t miss El Banditos. For the best BBQ, you can’t beat Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack or Mosleys. For dumplings from around the world, plus other Asian fusion dishes head to Dumpling Darling.
Casual: Relive the 70’s in all its glory at Gene’s, Graduate’s indoor-outdoor bar named for actor Gene Wilder, an adored Iowa alum. Indulge in frozen vodka lemonade and some down-home comfort food. After a long day of touring nothing quite satisfies like pizza and house-made pasta at Basta. Settle into a booth at A&A Pagliai's Pizza, an Iowa City iconic spot for old world pizza, known for the house Palace Pie topped with pepperoni, sausage, beef, and mushrooms. Who doesn’t love the atmosphere of a college town bar when touring, and The Mill delivers in spades serving excellent pizzas and what some say is the best black bean burger in town. The Clinton Street Social Club, located above Short’s Burger and Shine is a gastropub attracting locals for inventive cocktails and live jazz music to go with pub classics such as burgers, fish and chips, and their beloved cheese fondue.
A Step Up: Fine dining in Iowa City doesn’t get much better than at Orchard Green where American classics are served in style with Mediterranean influences. Another favorite, The Iowa River Power Restaurant, a turn of the century former power plant, is a city landmark for upscale dining since the ’70s. Come for steaks and seafood and impressive river views. For upmarket Italian book a table at Baroncini Ristorante. The Hilton Garden Inn boasts a restaurant on the top floor of the hotel called The Vue with excellent views of campus, plus outdoor fireplaces and a rooftop patio.
Sweets: Midwesterns love their ice cream, and there’s no shortage of places to indulge. For more than two decades, Heyn’s has been a popular favorite, serving up cones in nearly 40 flavors. In nearby Coralville, Whitey’s Ice Cream is known for their extra thick milkshakes and malts in addition to cones with ever-changing seasonal flavors. See for yourself why Whitey’s was voted one of the best ice creams in the world by Conde Nast Traveler readers.
Local Attractions: Kinnick Stadium rocks on game days with more than 70,000 fans in the stadium to root on their beloved Hawkeyes. Visit the Old Capitol Museum, Iowa's original state capitol or make the short drive east to see the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. You don’t have to venture far from campus for a culture fix; the University has two noteworthy museums of its own to explore: The Museum of Natural History, located in Macbride Hall and The Stanley Museum of Art. Avid readers don’t miss a stop at the Haunted Bookshop, Iowa City’s oldest secondhand bookstore, or visit Prairie Lights, an independent bookstore known for its readings often featuring the country’s best and most famous writers.
A Hawkeye's View of Campus
— Quotes From Campus —
THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA FAST FACTS
Herky the Hawk
Black & Gold
Average - 1260
Average - 25
Big - 21,000 Undergraduates
Calvin Hall, 2 West Jefferson
Iowa City, IA 52245
(p) (319) 335-3847
(f) (319) 335-1535
NCAA Division I
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
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