Iowa City, IA Real Estate
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Iowa City was the second capital of the Iowa Territory and the first capital city of the State of Iowa. The Old Capitol building is a National Historic Landmark in the center of the University of Iowa campus. The University of Iowa Art Museum and Plum Grove, the home of the first Governor of Iowa, are also tourist attractions. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Iowa City the second-best small metropolitan area for doing business in the United States.
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Living in Iowa City
The Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of Johnson and Washington counties in Iowa; Washington County was added to the MSA after the 2000 census. It had a 2000 census population of 131,676, and a 2010 population of 152,586.
Iowa City is flanked by Coralville and North Liberty. University Heights is completely contained within the boundaries of Iowa City, near Kinnick Stadium. Tiffin, Solon, and Hills are other small towns within a few miles.
The Iowa City MSA and the nearby Cedar Rapids MSA are collectively a Combined Statistical Area (CSA). This CSA along with two additional counties are known as the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR) Corridor and collectively have a population of over 450,000.
Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), the state’s only comprehensive tertiary care medical center. The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center in Iowa City is an NCI-designated Cancer Center, one of fewer than 60 in the country.
ACT college testing services is headquartered in Iowa City.
In 2004, Forbes magazine named Iowa City the third Best Small Metropolitan Area in the United States.
In June 2006, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance rated Iowa City #10 on its list of the Top 50 Smart Places to Live.
Arts and culture
In the early 1970s, the Old Capitol was renovated and University administrative offices were relocated to Jessup Hall. All but one of the major rooms were restored to their appearance when Iowa City was the state capital. In November 2001 the cupola caught fire during the renovation of its gold leaf dome. The cupola was destroyed and the building was heavily damaged. In 2006, after an extensive restoration, the building re-opened to the public. The building now serves as the Old Capitol Museum, as well as a venue for speeches, lectures, press conferences and performances in the original state senate chamber.
The Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, a series of bronze relief panels that feature authors’ words as well as attribution, is a tribute to the city’s rich literary history. The panels are visually connected by a series of general quotations about books and writing stamped into the concrete sidewalk. All 49 authors and playwrights featured in the Literary Walk have ties to Iowa.
In November 2008, UNESCO designated Iowa City as the world’s third City of Literature, making it a part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. It was the only American city to receive the honor, until Seattle, Washington was designated a City of Literature in 2017.
In 2004, the Old Capitol Cultural District was one of the first Cultural Districts certified by the State of Iowa. The district extends from the University of Iowa Pentacrest, south to the Johnson County Courthouse, east to College Green Park, and north into the historic Northside Neighborhood.
Utne Reader ranked Iowa City eighth in its 1997 survey of “America’s 10 Most Enlightened Towns”.
The February 2010 issue of The Advocate magazine had an article titled “Gayest Cities in America” which ranked Iowa City third in a list of 15 cities with an abundance of gay-friendly (male) resources, behind Atlanta, Georgia, and Burlington, Vermont. The article was reported and discussed in The Daily Iowan.
Iowa City has a variety of cultural events. It has a strong literary history and is the home of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, whose graduates include John Irving, Flannery O’Connor, T.C. Boyle, and many other prominent U.S. authors; the nation’s leading Non-Fiction Writing Program; the Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop; the Iowa Summer Writing Festival; and the International Writing Program, a unique residency program that has hosted writers from more than 120 countries.
Iowa City also sponsors a variety of events in the Summer of the Arts program. These include a nationally renowned Iowa City Jazz Festival, Iowa Arts Festival, open-air summer movies series called Saturday Night Free Movie Series and free concerts every Friday night in the pedestrian mall called the Friday Night Concert Series (Ped Mall).
The Iowa City Book Festival began as an annual summer event in 2009 sponsored by the University of Iowa Libraries and in 2013 it was moved to October when management was handed off to the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. It features readings from prominent authors and literature themed events.
The Iowa Biennial Exhibition [TIBE] began in 2004 as an international survey of contemporary miniature printmaking held its initial exhibition at the University of Iowa. The 2006 exhibition, received a 2007 “ICKY” award nomination in Visual Arts Programming from the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance for its exhibition at the University of Iowa’s Project Art Gallery.
In 2007 Landlocked Film Festival was founded as an independent organization. Summer of the Arts was one of several sponsors. Many Landlocked Film Festival events are held at the historic Iowa City Englert Theatre.
The Arts Festival is held every summer in the pedestrian mall (and surrounding streets). There’s music, and free food made by locals.
Local performing arts center and historic theater The Englert Theatre produces Mission Creek Festival each spring, focusing on community events, performance and literary programming featuring over 100 writers each year. Witching Hour takes place each fall and focuses on exploring the unknown, discussing the creative process and presenting new work.
- Hancher Auditorium often hosts nationally touring theater, dance and musical shows, and has commissioned more than 100 works of music, theater and dance during the last 20 years. This facility was badly damaged during the Iowa flood of 2008 and the facility has been rebuilt farther uphill, away from the Iowa River and reopened in Fall of 2016.
- Hamburg Inn No. 2 is a favorite campaign stop for political candidates. It was featured in a 2005 episode of the political drama The West Wing. It has also been a favored campaign stop for many U.S. Presidents, including Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. It was featured in The New York Times for its widely renowned “pie shakes.”
- Oakland Cemetery contains graves of notable locals as well as the “Black Angel” statue.
- Plum Grove Historic House was the residence of Robert Lucas, the first territorial governor of Iowa, and the novelist Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd.
- Moffitt cottages, built in a unique vernacular architectural style, are scattered around eastern Iowa City. “These mystical dwellings look as if Germanic elves constructed houses for Irish pixies,” is how one writer described them.
- Prospect Hill
- Ned Ashton House, built as a private residence by Iowa bridge engineer Ned Ashton in 1947, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Today, it is a popular venue that can accommodate up to 100 people for meetings, reunions, parties, weddings and receptions along the banks of the Iowa River.
City Plaza (commonly called the Pedestrian Mall or simply Ped Mall) serves as a gathering place for students, locals, and the homeless, and draws large crowds for its summertime events such as the Friday Night Concert Series and the annual Iowa City Jazz Festival and Iowa City Arts Festival. The Ped Mall area contains restaurants, bars, retail, hotels, and the Iowa City Public Library. It is known for its appeal to various local artists and musicians, and its wild bar scene. The Coldren Opera House was located on the street which has now become the mall.
The Iowa City Community School District operates public schools in Iowa City. Iowa City High School, Iowa City West High School, Liberty High School are the three public high schools. Iowa City is home to The University of Iowa and a branch of Kirkwood Community College.
The Iowa City Japanese School (アイオワシティ補習授業校 Aiowa Shiti Hoshū Jugyō Kō), a weekend educational program for Japanese nationals, provides Japanese language instruction, holding its classes at Zion Lutheran Church.
Iowa City is home of the University of Iowa’s athletic teams, known as the Iowa Hawkeyes. A member of the Big Ten Conference, the football team plays at Kinnick Stadium, while men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and the wrestling and gymnastics teams compete at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes football team regularly sends players to the NFL, including Super Bowl Champion all-pro Baltimore Ravens guard Marshall Yanda, 2004 2nd overall draft pick Robert Gallery, and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, among many others. Kirk Ferentz is the longest tenured head coach in NCAA FBS dating back to the 1999-2000 season.
Iowa City’s two public high schools, City and West, are members of the Mississippi Valley Conference.
The Iowa City Gold Sox were a semi-professional baseball team that called Iowa City home from 1912 through 1913.
Parks and recreation
Hickory Hill Park is a large wooded park on the north side of town.
City Park is located across the river from north Dubuque Street, and contains walking paths, baseball diamonds, tennis courts and an outdoor pool complex.
Hubbard Park is directly adjacent to the south side of the Iowa Memorial Union building and is a large green space utilized by many students for team activities and events.
Thornberry Dog Park is on the east side of the river in-between two bends in the river referred to by developers as “the peninsula” upstream of City Park. This area is also home to a small Frisbee golf park which is often flooded.
College Green Park is located two blocks directly north of Burlington Street and two blocks east of Gilbert Street and is host to an annual gay pride parade during the spring or summer season.
Mercer Park is on the south east side of town directly adjacent to South East Junior High off of 1st Avenue. It contains play equipment, baseball diamonds and an indoor pool and recreation complex.
Scott Park is on the far east central side of town along Scott Boulevard to the east. It’s a large park area with soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and lots of green space where many people walk their dogs.
Napoleon Park is on the very south side of Iowa City along Gilbert Street and hosts many baseball diamonds.
Whispering Prairie Wetlands Park is a nice pond and marsh area on the southeast side of town. It hosts many species of resident and migrating birds, including water fowl.
Court Hill Park is located south of Court Street and extends all the way to Ralston Creek on the south side of Friendship Street. It contains three pavilions, football field with uprights, an incomplete baseball diamond, and play equipment. Newly developed walking trail traverses this park.
Happy Hollow Park, created in 1945, is in Iowa City’s historic North Side district at the corner of Brown Street and Governor Street. The facilities include a shelter with restrooms, a pavilion and seating for barbecues and other events, a softball diamond, and playground equipment.
Highland Park is a “pocket park”, on the northwest corner of Keokuk Street and Highland Avenue. It features a small shelter (installed 2015), and play equipment installed in 2016, thanks to work by the Lucas Farms Neighborhood Association.
Three radio stations are based out of the University of Iowa. Two have become part of the statewide Iowa Public Radio network: WSUI 910 AM, a National Public Radio affiliate and originator of some Iowa Public Radio news and talk programming; and KSUI 91.7 FM, which broadcasts classical music and concerts by Iowa classical orchestras, opera companies, and other artists, as well as interviews. KCCK-FM is Iowa’s only Jazz station and affiliated with Public Radio International. KRUI 89.7 FM is the University’s student-run radio station.
iHeartMedia owns two of the Iowa City area’s commercial radio stations: KXIC 800 AM, a news/talk station, and KKRQ 100.7 FM, a classic rock station. KCJJ 1630 AM is an independently-owned, 10,000-watt station that broadcasts a mixture of talk radio and Hot AC music programming along with area high school football and basketball games and NASCAR racing. Another Iowa City-licensed station, KRNA 94.1 FM, now broadcasts from Cedar Rapids and is operated by Cumulus Media. Radio signals from other cities, including Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities, also reach the Iowa City area.
Iowa City and Johnson County are part of the Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque media market, which was ranked 87th by Nielsen Media Research for the 2007-2008 TV season. Two television stations, KIIN channel 12 (PBS) and KWKB channel 20 (This TV), are licensed to Iowa City. KCRG-TV 9, the ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, maintains a news bureau at Old Capitol Mall in downtown Iowa City.
Mediacom, a local cable television franchisee, provides channel space for seven Public, educational, and government access (PEG) cable TV channels in Iowa City: City Channel 4, Infovision (channel 5), Kirkwood Television Services (channel 11), Public Access Television (channel 18), the Iowa City Public Library Channel (channel 20), and the Iowa City Community School District’s channel 21.
Two daily newspapers are published in Iowa City. The Iowa City Press-Citizen, owned by Gannett, publishes six days a week with Gannett’s Des Moines Sunday Register standing in as a Sunday edition. The Daily Iowan, an independent newspaper based at the University of Iowa, publishes Monday through Friday while classes are in session. In addition, The Gazette of Cedar Rapids maintains a news bureau in Iowa City.
Little Village is an independent alt-weekly magazine covering Iowa City and Cedar Rapids metropolitan areas.
Iowa City has a general aviation airport, the Iowa City Municipal Airport, on the south side of the city. The Eastern Iowa Airport, 20 miles (32 km) to the northwest, serves Iowa City and Cedar Rapids with scheduled passenger flights.
Interstate 80 runs east–west along the north edge of Iowa City. U.S. Highway 218 and Iowa Highway 27 (the Avenue of the Saints) are co-signed along a freeway bypassing Iowa City to the west. U.S. Highway 6 and Iowa Highway 1 also run through Iowa City.
Iowa City is served by the freight-only Iowa Interstate Railroad and the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway (CRANDIC). The historic Iowa City Depot, shown in the picture at left, is no longer in use for railway services; it has been modified into a commercial office building.
In 2009, the Iowa City metropolitan statistical area (MSA) ranked as the seventh highest (tied with Hinesville-Fort Stewart, Georgia MSA) in the United States for percentage of commuters who walked to work (8.2 percent). In 2013, the Iowa City MSA ranked as the sixth lowest in the United States for percentage of workers who commuted by private automobile (73.4 percent). During the same year, 11.1 percent of Iowa City area commuters walked to work.
Iowa City Transit, Coralville Transit, and the University of Iowa’s Cambus system provide public transportation.
BONGO is a local app that tracks buses in real time. Their trip planner is still in beta.
Intercity bus transit is served at either the Court Street Transportation Center in Iowa City or the Coralville Transit Intermodal Facility in Coralville.
There is a system of paved bicycle paths, especially along the Iowa River.
Some of the main roads also have designated bike lanes or sharrows, such as Jefferson street, Market street, and College street. As of 2017, both Iowa City and the University of Iowa have been awarded ‘silver’ status as a bicycle friendly community and university, respectively, by the League of American Bicyclists.