What to do in Iowa City if you have 24 hours Feature Image

You don’t have to travel far for new experiences – head to Iowa City where you can explore the city, learn a little, bring out your artsy side and enjoy all the foods. Check out our guide below.

Java House Iowa City, IA

Photo credit: The Java House 

9:00 AM

Time for some java! Start your day at Java House in downtown Iowa City. Enjoy the comfy furniture and ambience inside, or if it’s nice, sit outside and people watch as you sip on your coffee.

Java House
211 E Washington St, Iowa City, IA 52240


9:30 AM

Take a walk down the infamous pedestrian mall. The shops won’t be open this early, but it’s the perfect time for a nice quiet walk to soak in the magic of downtown Iowa City. If you have kids, stop by the playground in front of the Iowa City Library for a little playtime.

Pedestrian Mall
201 Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Prairie Lights Iowa City, IA

Photo credit: Prairie Lights

10:00 AM

A trip downtown wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Prairie Lights. Peruse the aisles of literature and pick out a new book to read.

Prairie Lights Books & Cafe
15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240


10:30 AM

Next, head to the Museum of Natural History where you can learn about Iowa’s geological, cultural and ecological history. Admission is free and the hours are 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Saturday and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday.

University of Iowa Museum of Natural History
17 North Clinton Street, Macbride Hall, Iowa City, IA 52240

Stella Restaurant  Iowa City, IA

Photo credit: Stella Restaurant

11:30 AM

After a hunger for knowledge, comes a real hunger for food. You won’t be disappointed with lunch at Stella near Kinnick Stadium. They have a wide selection of burgers, chicken, pizza and cajun dishes. Try the “Burnside” or “Conjunction Junction” (veggie burger version) if you like a spicy burger!

1006 Melrose Ave, Iowa City, IA 52246


12:30 PM

Time to get out and explore the outdoors! Travel to the Devonian Fossil Gorge where you can walk the gorge and see fossils from long ago. Climb the causeway and check out the Coralville Dam while you’re there too.

Devonian Fossil Gorge
2850 Prairie Du Chien Rd NE, Iowa City, IA 52240


2:00 PM

Feeling artsy? Bring out your inner artist with a visit to Fired Up Iowa City. Choose a mug, bowl or plate to paint and make your own. Prices start at $15 and include painting time, colors, clear glazing and firing.

Fired Up Iowa City
520 E Washington St, Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Iowa City Pedestrian Mall Iowa City Downtown District

Photo credit: Iowa City Downtown District

3:00 PM

Head back to the Ped Mall where things will be a little more lively. Stop into any stores or boutiques that catch your eye, and then head to Film Scene for an afternoon showing. Film Scene is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to enriching the cultural vitality of the Iowa City area through film that challenges, inspires, educates and entertains.

Film Scene
118 E College St, Ste 101, Iowa City, Iowa

Wig & Pen Pizza Pub Iowa City, IA

Photo credit: Wig & Pen Pizza Pub

6:00 PM

Ready for another great restaurant? Make your way to Wig & Pen Pizza Pub, a local favorite of many. Choose between thin crust, Chicago style stuffed or the flying tomato. There are also non-pizza options including sandwiches, salads and chicken wings,

Wig & Pen Pizza Pub
1220 US-6, Iowa City, IA 52246


7:30 PM

No night is complete without ice cream, right?! Give your belly what it needs with a scoop of the good stuff at Heyn’s Ice Cream on First Avenue. Heyn’s premium ice cream is made with 14% buttermilk fat content, which means denser and creamier ice cream. All of their ice cream is made in-store with quality ingredients. If you’re a cookie dough fan, try the monster mash!

Heyn’s Ice Cream
811 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, IA 52245

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