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Iowa City, Iowa

Coordinates: 41°40′N 91°32′W / 41.66°N 91.53°W / 41.66; -91.53
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Iowa City, Iowa
Downtown Iowa City, June 2021
Downtown Iowa City, June 2021
Official logo of Iowa City, Iowa
Athens of Iowa
Location within Johnson County and Iowa
Location within Johnson County and Iowa
Iowa City is located in Iowa
Iowa City
Iowa City
Location within Iowa
Iowa City is located in the United States
Iowa City
Iowa City
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 41°40′N 91°32′W / 41.66°N 91.53°W / 41.66; -91.53
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCouncil–manager
 • MayorBruce Teague (D)[1]
 • City managerGeoff Fruin
 • City26.19 sq mi (67.82 km2)
 • Land25.65 sq mi (66.43 km2)
 • Water0.54 sq mi (1.40 km2)
668 ft (203.6 m)
 • City74,828
 • Estimate 
 • Rank5th in Iowa
 • Density2,917.50/sq mi (1,126.47/km2)
 • Metro
 • Demonym
Iowa Citian
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
52240, 52242 – 52246
Area code319
FIPS code19-38595
GNIS feature ID0457827

Iowa City is the county seat and largest city of Johnson County, Iowa, United States. At the time of the 2020 census the population was 74,828, making it the state's fifth-most populous city.[4] The Iowa City metropolitan area, which encompasses Johnson and Washington counties, has a population of over 171,000. The metro area is also a part of a combined statistical area with the Cedar Rapids metro area known as the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids region which collectively has a population of nearly 500,000.

Iowa City is the home of the University of Iowa. It 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.


Iowa City was created by an act of Legislative Assembly of the Iowa Territory on January 21, 1839, fulfilling the desire of Governor Robert Lucas to move the capital out of Burlington and closer to the center of the territory. This act began:

An Act to locate the Seat of Government of the Territory of Iowa ... so soon as the place shall be selected, and the consent of the United States obtained, the commissioners shall proceed to lay out a town to be called "Iowa City".[5]

A bird's-eye-view map of Iowa City c. 1868
Building in which the Iowa Territorial Legislature first met in Iowa City. Image recorded after the building, which was called Butler's Capitol, had been moved from its original location near Clinton and Washington streets to an alley-side location along Dubuque Street a half-block south of College Street. In this second location, as shown, it became the notorious City Hotel.

Commissioners Chauncey Swan and John Ronalds met on May 1 in the small settlement of Napoleon, south of present-day Iowa City, to select a site for the new capital city. The following day the commissioners selected a site on bluffs above the Iowa River north of Napoleon, placed a stake in the center of the proposed site and began planning the new capital city. Commissioner Swan, in a report to the legislature in Burlington, described the site:

Iowa City is located on a section of land laying in the form of an amphitheater. There is an eminence on the west near the river, running parallel with it."[6]

By June of that year, the town had been platted and surveyed from Brown St. in the north to Burlington St. in the south, and from the Iowa River eastward to Governor St.

While Iowa City was selected as the territorial capital in 1839, it did not officially become the capital city until 1841; after construction on the capitol building had begun. The capitol building was completed in 1842, and the last four territorial legislatures and the first six Iowa General Assemblies met there until 1857, when the state capital was moved to Des Moines.[7][8]

Iowa Old Capitol Building[edit]

The Old Capitol dome is used as a letterhead for the University of Iowa.

John F. Rague is credited with designing the Territorial Capitol Building. He had previously designed the 1837 capitol of Illinois and was supervising its construction when he got the commission to design the new Iowa capitol in 1839. He quit the Iowa project after five months, claiming his design was not followed, but the resemblance to the Illinois capitol suggests he strongly influenced the final Iowa design. One surviving 1839 sketch of the proposed capital shows a radically different layout, with two domes and a central tower. The cornerstone of the Old Capitol Building was laid in Iowa City on July 4, 1840. Iowa City served as the third and last territorial capital of Iowa, and the last four territorial legislatures met at the Old Capitol Building until December 28, 1846, when Iowa was admitted into the United States as the 29th state of the union. Iowa City was declared the state capital of Iowa, and the government convened in the Old Capitol Building.[8]

1843 cemetery[edit]

Oakland Cemetery was deeded to "the people of Iowa City" by the Iowa territorial legislature on February 13, 1843. The original plot was one block square, with the southwest corner at Governor and Church. Over the years the cemetery has been expanded and now encompasses 40 acres (16 ha). Oakland Cemetery is a non-perpetual care city cemetery. This cemetery is supported by city taxes. The staff is strongly committed to the maintenance and preservation of privately owned lots and accessories. Since its establishment, the cemetery has become the final resting place of many men and women important in the history of Iowa, of Iowa City and the University of Iowa. These include Robert E. Lucas, first governor of the territory (1838–41); Samuel J. Kirkwood, governor during the Civil War (1860–64), again in 1876, a U.S. senator in 1877, and subsequently secretary of the interior and U.S. minister to Spain; well-known presidents of the university, Walter A. Jessup (1915–33) and Virgil M. Hancher (1940–64); Cordelia Swan, daughter of one of the three commissioners who selected the site for Iowa City and the new territorial capitol; and Irving B. Weber (1900–1997), noted Iowa City historian. It is also home to the legendary monument called the "Black Angel", which is an 8.5 foot (2.6 m) tall monument for the Feldevert family erected in 1912. The facts behind the Black Angel long ago gave way to myths, superstitions and legend surrounding its mysterious change in color from a golden bronze cast to an eerie black.[9]

1847 University founding[edit]

Founded in 1847, today's University of Iowa offers more than 100 areas of study to 31,112 students. The university includes a medical school and one of the United States' largest university-owned teaching hospitals, providing patient care within 16 medical specialties. The University of Iowa College of Law is located there.[10]

1970 riots[edit]

The spring of 1970 was a tumultuous time on college campuses. On April 30, President Richard Nixon announced that U.S. forces would invade Cambodia because of the recent communist coup. Students around the country protested this escalation of the Vietnam War. On May 4, the National Guard fired on students at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine people, which ignited protests all over the country.[11]

Anti-war protests were not new to Iowa City or to elsewhere in Iowa; protests had been occurring throughout the 1960s. Spring of 1970 was different.[11]

After the Kent State shootings, students marched on the National Guard Armory, broke windows there as well as in some downtown businesses. The City Council gave the mayor curfew powers. On May 6, there was a student boycott of classes. That night, about 400 people had a "sleep-in" in front of the Old Capitol. That night also, about 50 people broke into the Old Capitol and set off a smoke bomb. The protesters left voluntarily when asked to do so. Around 2 am Friday morning, President Boyd requested arrest of the students on the Pentacrest by highway patrolmen, but the next day he regretted the mass arrests and said he had received faulty information. On May 8, President Boyd cancelled the 89th annual Governor's day ROTC observance for the following day. On Friday and Saturday a National Guard helicopter circled the Pentacrest.[11]

In the early morning hours of Saturday, May 9, the Old Armory Temporary (O.A.T.), also known as "Big Pink", which housed the writing lab, was burned down. This building was located next to the Old Armory, where the Adler Journalism and Mass Communications building currently is located. O.A.T was said to be at the top of a list of buildings for burning, probably due to its poor condition and was considered a firetrap.[11]

The Iowa Alumni Review includes an article about the fire in which the author states: "Only the ends stayed upright. ... On the south, Lou Kelly's Writing lab bearing the sign 'another mother for peace,' escaped." There was a second, smaller fire on Saturday evening in a restroom in the East Hall Annex.[11]

By Sunday morning, President Boyd gave students the option to leave. Classes were not cancelled but students could leave and take the grade they currently had. An account of the May 1970 protests can be read in the June–July issue of the Iowa Alumni Review.[11]

In his autobiography, My Iowa Journey: The Life Story of the University of Iowa's First African American Professor, Philip Hubbard (University Vice-Provost in 1970) gives an administrator's perspective of all the protests of the 1960s. He supported the students' right to protest and in 1966 stated: "Students should not accept everything that is dished out to them. We don't want to dictate what they should or should not do. However, student demonstrations should remain within the law and good taste without interfering with the university's primary purpose of instructing students."[11]

During this time, there was also a strong ROTC presence on campus. Their presence on campus and the academic credit they received for their service was called into question by both students and faculty in the spring of 1970, but Boyd said he could not abolish ROTC. The Alumni Review had an article called "ROTC: Alive and well at Iowa" in the December 1969 issue which helps provide a more complete picture of this period in history.[11]

2006 tornadoes[edit]

On the evening of April 13, 2006, a confirmed EF2 tornado struck Iowa City, causing severe property damage and displacing many from their homes, including many University of Iowa students. It was the first tornado ever recorded to hit the city directly. No serious injuries were reported in the Iowa City area.

Several businesses along Riverside Drive and Iowa Highway 1 were destroyed. The 134-year-old Saint Patrick's Catholic Church was heavily damaged only minutes after Holy Thursday Mass, with most of its roof destroyed. The building was ruled a total loss and has since been demolished. The downtown business district as well as the eastern residential area and several parks suffered scattered damage of varying degrees.

Additionally, several houses in the sorority row area were destroyed. The Alpha Chi Omega house was nearly destroyed, though no one was injured. The building was later razed. Cleanup efforts were under way almost immediately as local law enforcement, volunteer workers from all over the state, and Iowa City residents and college students worked together to restore the city. The total cost of damage was estimated at $12 million–$4 million of which was attributed to Iowa City and Johnson County property.[12]

2008 flood[edit]

The University of Iowa Museum of Art on North Riverside Drive during the height of the flood

A local newspaper reported on June 11, 2008, that water exceeded the emergency spillway at the Coralville Reservoir outside of Iowa City.[13] As a result, the City of Iowa City and the University of Iowa were seriously affected by unprecedented flooding of the Iowa River, which caused widespread property damage and forced evacuations in large sections of the city.[14] By Friday, June 13, 2008, the Iowa River had risen to a record level of 30.46 feet (9.28 m) (5:00 pm CST) with a crest of approximately 33 feet (10 m) predicted for Wednesday, June 18, 2008. Much of the city's 500-year floodplain saw mild to catastrophic effects of the rapidly flowing, polluted water. Officials at the University of Iowa reported that up to 19 buildings were affected by rising waters. Extensive efforts to move materials from the university's main library were undertaken as large groups of sandbagging volunteers began to construct a massive levee near the building. Approximately $300 million worth of art, including work by Picasso, owned by the university was secretly moved to a holding place in the Chicago area before the fine arts area was heavily hit with flood water.

On Friday, June 13, university employees were encouraged to stay home, and travel was strongly discouraged in Iowa City; one city statement advised, "If you live in east Iowa City, stay in east Iowa City; if you live in west Iowa City, stay in west Iowa City." The Burlington St. bridge was the only bridge that remained open, other than the I-80 bridge on the edge of town, to connect the east and west sides of the Iowa River. On Saturday, June 14, officials at the University of Iowa began to power down the university's primary power generating plant along the Iowa River to prevent structural damage. Backup units continued to provide necessary power and steam services for essential University services, including the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Water began touching the bottom of the Park St. bridge forcing the Army Corps of Engineers to drill several holes in the bridge to allow air trapped underneath to escape. Also on Saturday, Mayor Regenia Bailey issued a curfew restricting anyone except those authorized by law enforcement from being within 100 yards (91 m) of any area affected by the flood between 8:30 pm and 6 am.

2010s and environmental issues[edit]

On October 4, 2019, a Friday climate school strike with Greta Thunberg was held in Iowa City, where school youths protested against coal power.[15]

Geography and climate[edit]

Iowa City is located in eastern Iowa, along the Iowa River, on Interstate 80, approximately 60 miles (97 km) west of the Quad Cities (Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.28 square miles (65.47 km2), of which 25.01 square miles (64.78 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.70 km2) is water.[16]

The elevation at the Iowa City Municipal Airport is 668 ft (203.6 m) above sea level.

Iowa City has a humid continental climate, hot-summer subtype (Dfa in the Köppen climate classification). Average monthly temperatures range from about 22.8 °F (−5.1 °C) in January to 75.8 °F (24.3 °C) in July. Average monthly precipitation is lowest in winter and peaks significantly from May to August, with June being the average wettest month. Showers and thunderstorms are common from May to September, and can be severe, especially from May to July. In winter, snowfall is moderate, occasionally heavy in single storms. Snow cover is occasional in drier and/or warmer winter seasons, but (rarely) can be continuous in the coldest seasons, such as that of 1978–79. The Iowa City area was struck by a severe hailstorm on May 18, 1997, and by tornadoes on April 13, 2006. Overall, Iowa City's tornado risk is lower than that of areas to the south and southwest, such as Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

Climate data for Iowa City, Iowa (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
Mean maximum °F (°C) 51.8
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 29.3
Daily mean °F (°C) 20.5
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 11.6
Mean minimum °F (°C) −9.5
Record low °F (°C) −32
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.14
Average snowfall inches (cm) 7.6
Average extreme snow depth inches (cm) 7.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.4 7.0 8.7 11.4 12.6 11.2 8.8 8.9 8.4 9.0 7.6 8.2 109.2
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 4.0 3.5 1.5 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.6 4.0 14.1
Source: NOAA[17][18]


Historical populations
Source:"U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 29, 2020. and Iowa Data Center (PDF)
U.S. Decennial Census[19][4]

Iowa City is commonly known as a college town. It is home to the University of Iowa. The population increases during the months when the two schools are in session.

As of the 2010 census, about 58.0% of adults held a bachelor's degree or higher and 79.7% were white alone, not Hispanic or Latino, 6.2% were Asian alone, and 5.8% were black alone, while the median household income was $41,410, about $10,000 less than the state median.[20]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[21] of 2010, there were 67,862 people, 27,657 households, and 11,743 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,713.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,047.6/km2). There were 29,270 housing units at an average density of 1,170.3 per square mile (451.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.5% White, 5.8% African American, 0.2% Native American, 6.9% Asian, 2.1% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 5.3% of the population.

There were 27,657 households, of which 19.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.5% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 57.5% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.88.

The median age in the city was 25.6 years. 14.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 33.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 17.8% were from 45 to 64; and 8.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.7% male and 50.3% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[22] of 2000, there were 62,220 people, 25,202 households, and 11,189 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,575.0 inhabitants per square mile (994.2/km2). There were 26,083 housing units at an average density of 1,079.4 per square mile (416.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.33% White, 3.75% African American, 0.31% American Indian, 5.64% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.25% from other races, and 1.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.95% of the population.

There were 25,202 households, out of which 21.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.2% were married couples living together, 2% were households with same-sex couples (2000 U.S. Census), 3.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 55.6% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.90.

Age spread: 16.2% under the age of 18, 32.8% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,977, and the median income for a family was $57,568. Males had a median income of $35,435 versus $28,981 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,269. About 2.7% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.2% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.

The football team of the University of Iowa (the Hawkeyes) play their rival, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Badgers, at Kinnick Stadium in November 2013.

Metropolitan area[edit]

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 contiguous with Coralville to the northwest. University Heights is completely contained within the boundaries of Iowa City, near Kinnick Stadium. Tiffin, North Liberty, Solon, and Hills are other 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.[23]


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.[24]

ACT college testing services is headquartered in Iowa City.

Top employers[edit]

According to Iowa City's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[25] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 University of Iowa and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics 29,705
2 Iowa City VA Medical Center 2,150
3 Iowa City Community School District 1,575
4 Mercy Hospital 1,325
5 ACT Inc. 1,187
6 Procter & Gamble 1,084
7 Hy-Vee 1,012
8 City of Iowa City 931
9 Pearson 775
10 Johnson County 609

Arts and culture[edit]

The Old Capitol Building, today a museum about the building, University of Iowa, and State of Iowa's history.

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.[26]

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.

Cultural events[edit]

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).[27]

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.[28] 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.[29]

Downtown Iowa City arts venues include the historic Englert Theatre, a live music and performing arts center; Riverside Theatre, a professional theatre company with an annual season that includes an outdoor Shakespeare festival; and FilmScene, a non-profit film organization and art house movie theater with two locations and five screens plus a seasonal outdoor cinema.

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.

Local landmarks[edit]

Black Angel, Oakland Cemetery
The Johnson County Courthouse
  • 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".[30]
  • 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.[31]
  • 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.

Pedestrian Mall[edit]

City Plaza (commonly called the Pedestrian Mall or simply Ped Mall) serves as a gathering place for students and locals 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 also home to the private PK-12 school district, Regina Catholic Education Center. 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.[32]


City High bell tower

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 three public high schools, City, West, and Liberty, are members of the Mississippi Valley Conference. Regina competes in the River Valley Conference.

The Iowa City Gold Sox were a semi-professional baseball team that called Iowa City home from 1912 through 1913.[33]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Iowa City is home to many public spaces. Most of the facilities are operated by the City of Iowa City Parks & Recreation Department, while some are owned by the University of Iowa, and others held by private entities such as the Bur Oak Land Trust.

Some of the more significant parks include Waterworks Prairie Park which is a naturalized sand pit and the largest park in the city at 231 acres (93 ha).[34] City Park contains the Bobby Oldis Fields, an outdoor pool complex, many picnic areas and playgrounds, as well as the Riverside Festival Stage. Hickory Hill Park is a large wooded park on the north side of town. Hubbard Park is a green space directly south of the Iowa Memorial Union building and used for many campus events.

There are three golf courses within city limits. Finkbine Golf Course is an 18-hole course owned by the University of Iowa. Pleasant Valley Golf Course is a public 18 hole course located south along the Iowa River. Elks Lodge Country Club is a private 9 hole course located near the Peninsula Neighborhood.

The Iowa City Kickers Soccer Complex can hold more than 17 soccer fields depending on layout and is home of the Iowa City Kickers soccer club. Napoleon park is located along the Iowa River and has 8 baseball diamonds. Bobby Oldis Fields are located within City Park and has 8 baseball diamonds. Hawkeye Recreation Fields is in the University of Iowa and contains to 12 soccer fields, 4 beach volleyball pitches, and 4 basketball courts. Bill and Jim Ashton Cross Country Course is one of the few dedicated cross country courses in the country.[35] The University of Iowa also operates the Fieldhouse, Campus Recreation & Wellness Center, and Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex which contain fitness space as well as indoor sports pitches and pools.

Iowa City has many miles of cycling trails. There are dedicated trails along the Iowa River, Clear Creek, Willow Creek, and Ralston Creek. The Iowa City trail system connects to the northwest to Coralville, Tiffin, and North Liberty's trail systems.


Iowa City is governed by an elected city council of seven members: four council members at large and three district members.[36] The two council members at large who receive the most votes and the three district council members serve four-year terms. The other two council members at large serve two-year terms. A mayor and mayor pro tem are elected by the council from within its members to serve terms of two years. As of 2023, Iowa City Council members are:[37]

  • Bruce Teague, At-Large, Mayor
  • Megan Alter, At-Large, Mayor Pro Tem
  • Laura Bergus, At-Large
  • Andrew Dunn, At-Large
  • Pauline Taylor, District A
  • Shawn Harmsen, District B
  • John Thomas, District C

Under this form of council-manager government the powers of the city are vested in the city council. The council is responsible for appointing the city manager (as of 2016 Geoff Fruin) who implements the policy decisions of the city council, enforces city ordinances and appoints city officials. The council selects the mayor and appoints the city attorney and city clerk.[38]

Iowa City is unusual in that it is one of only four cities in Iowa in which the mayor is chosen by the city council. The mayor of Iowa City serves a two-year term from amongst the members of the council. The mayor is primarily a figurehead or a "first among equals", with some power to set agendas and lead meetings, as well as serving as the public face of city government.[39]


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.[40] 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.[41]

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.[42] Two television stations, KIIN channel 12 (PBS) and KWKB channel 20 (Court TV Mystery), are licensed to Iowa City.[43] KCRG-TV 9, the ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, maintains a news bureau at Old Capitol Mall in downtown Iowa City.[44]

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.[45]

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.[46]


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).[47] 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.[48]


An Iowa City Transit bus in the snow

Iowa City Transit, Coralville Transit, and the University of Iowa's Cambus system provide public transportation.[49]

Commuter bus service to Cedar Rapids is provided by the 380 Express.

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, First avenue, Mccollister Blvd and Dodge 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.[50][51]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Friestad, Thomas. "Bruce Teague, Mazahir Salih become Iowa City's mayor, mayor pro tem". The Gazette. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  3. ^ "US Census Bureau City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2023". census.gov. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 16, 2024.
  4. ^ a b "2020 Census State Redistricting Data". census.gov. United states Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  5. ^ Benjamin F. Shambaugh (1893) Iowa City: A Contribution to the Early History of Iowa State Historical Society of Iowa p17-36.
  6. ^ Gerald Manshiem (1989) Iowa City: An Illustrated History The Donning Co, Publishers p. 25.
  7. ^ Merry, Carl A. (1996). "The Historic Period". Office of the State Archaeologist at the University of Iowa. Archived from the original on June 4, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Iowa Old Capitol Building
  9. ^ “Oakland Cemetery”, "icgov", March 2015
  10. ^ “University of Iowa”, "icgov", March 2015
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "Student Protests of the 1970s". University of Iowa Libraries. May 4, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  12. ^ "Iowa tornado damage tops $12 million". USA Today. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
  13. ^ River, reservoir continue to rise; No end in sight | press-citizen.com | Iowa City Press Citizen
  14. ^ "No stopping Mother Nature when rivers rose in 2008". Iowa City Press-Citizen. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  15. ^ Alan Devall (October 4, 2019). "Teenage activist Greta Thunberg brings call for climate action to Iowa". Guardian Canada. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  17. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  18. ^ "Station: Iowa City, IA". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991–2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "State and County QuickFacts. Data derived from Population Estimates, American Community Survey, Census of Population and Housing, County Business Patterns, Economic Census, Survey of Business Owners, Building Permits, Census of Governments". State & County QuickFacts. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015.
  21. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  22. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  23. ^ "About Us". Iowa City – Cedar Rapids (ICR IOWA). Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  24. ^ NCI designation, from the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Website. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
  25. ^ https://www8.iowa-city.org/weblink/0/edoc/1836591/FY2018%20CAFR.pdf (PDF)
  26. ^ Macdonald, Moira (October 31, 2017). "UNESCO declares Seattle a City of Literature". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  27. ^ Iowa City’s Summer of the Arts
  28. ^ "Iowa City Book Festival".
  29. ^ "Iowa Biennial Organization". Archived from the original on May 29, 2007. Retrieved February 5, 2007.
  30. ^ Kegans, Mark (July 9, 2004). "36 Hours: in Iowa City". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  31. ^ Brown-Link, Linda (1992) Affordable Housing and True Artistry. The Palimpsest: Iowa's Popular History Magazine 73(4):160.
  32. ^ Home page Archived April 13, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Iowa City Japanese School. Retrieved April 8, 2015. "住所   : Zion Lutheran Church 310 N. Johnson St., Iowa City, IA 52240"
  33. ^ "Rundell Park". City of Iowa City. 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  34. ^ "Way: Waterworks Prairie Park (575991992)". OpenStreetMap. August 14, 2021. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  35. ^ "Dedicated D1 cross country courses". www.letsrun.com. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  36. ^ City Charter Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ "City Council". Iowa City. n.d. Archived from the original on March 31, 2023. Retrieved August 20, 2023.
  38. ^ Sterling Codifiers, Inc Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ "Iowa City unusual in how it picks mayor". gazetteonline.com. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  40. ^ Clear Channel Communications. "Radio: Station Search". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
  41. ^ Northpine.com. "Dial Guides". Retrieved January 13, 2008.
  42. ^ Nielsen Media Research. "Local Television Market Universe Estimates". Archived from the original (XLS) on September 27, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
  43. ^ Northpine.com. "Iowa TV markets". Retrieved January 13, 2008.
  44. ^ "Contact Us". KCRG-TV. Archived from the original on January 1, 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
  45. ^ City of Iowa City. "City Channel 4: Local Channel Lineup". Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  46. ^ "Little Village marks 15 years of celebrating Iowa City culture". Iowa City Press-Citizen. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  47. ^ "Commuting in the United States: 2009" (PDF). American Community Survey Reports. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  48. ^ McKenzie, Brian (August 2015). "Who Drives to Work? Commuting by Automobile in the United States: 2013" (PDF). American Survey Reports. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  49. ^ Iowa City Bus Schedule Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Coralville Transit, UI Cambus Archived March 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  50. ^ "Report Card: Iowa City" (PDF). November 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  51. ^ "BFU: All Awards 2017" (PDF). November 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  52. ^ "About James Claussen". Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  53. ^ "Keb/Irish Gazette". John P. Irish. April 1, 1999. pp. volume 2, issue 2. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  54. ^ Sobel, Jason (April 10, 2007). "Who is Zach Johnson?". ESPN. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  55. ^ "National Football League". Nate Kaeding. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  56. ^ Berg, Zach (October 17, 2017). "Iowa City's Witching Hour Festival: 10 events not to miss". Iowa City Press-Citizen. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  57. ^ Kim, Brandon (May 12, 2011). "Exclusive Track: Paleo "Holly Would"". The Independent Film Channel. Archived from the original on August 6, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011.

External links[edit]