10 Things to Know Before Moving to Iowa City

Emily Farber
Emily Farber
Published on November 23, 2019

Iowa City: A Best Place to Live!

Many people consider the greater Iowa City area one of the best places to live in Iowa. It’s easy to see why. With our growing economy comes an influx of people! It’s not just jobs that draw people to the Iowa City area, though, it’s also our love of the arts, world-class healthcare, focus on education and youthful, progressive mindset. Are you considering a move to Iowa? Is a move to the Iowa City area on your short list? If you’re relocating to Iowa City, watch my YouTube video of “10 Things to Know Before moving to Iowa City” here!

10 Things to Know!

  1. The University of Iowa and the Hawkeyes are the heart of the community. The University of Iowa keeps our community young, vibrant and bustling. The University of Iowa is the largest employer in the area and is a major economic engine.
  2. The arts are a big deal here. Whether you’re into art, music, theater or literature, the greater Iowa City area has much to offer and is an incubator for local talent. The Iowa City Summer of the Arts is a season-long celebration that makes downtown Iowa City THE place to be throughout the summer.
  3. In Iowa City, we take education seriously. Not only is Iowa City known for the University of Iowa, the greater Iowa City area is known for high quality public education. The Iowa City Community School District serves students in Iowa City, Coralville, Hills and part of North Liberty. The Clear Creek Amana School District serves students in part of North Liberty and Tiffin. Iowa City is home to Regina Catholic Education Center, which serves students from pre-school through high school. Heritage Christian School, located in North Liberty, educates students from pre-kindergarten through junior high. Willowwind School in Iowa City is a Montessori style preschool and private kindergarten through 6th grade school.
  4. Iowa City is socially conscious. If you’re politically active, environmentally conscious, into the shop small movement, local food and farmers markets, or reducing your carbon footprint, you’ll find like-minded people here.
  5. Parking downtown can be difficult. With the University of Iowa and our downtown district overlapping each other on the east side of the river, parking can be a bit challenging while school is in session. If you can’t find metered parking on the street, I recommend one of the numerous parking ramps downtown.
  6. We have four distinct seasons. Iowa weather can be extreme. There’s a joke meme I frequently see on social media that pokes fun at how we can experience all four seasons in a few days or less, and Iowa City is no exception. Summers are warm and muggy and winter can be bitterly cold, snowy and windy. Summer highs can top out at over 100 degrees fahrenheit and winter weather can drop below zero. We also get some severe weather in terms of thunderstorms and occasional tornadoes. If you hear outdoor sirens, that means there is the possibility of tornadoes or other severe weather and you should seek shelter, preferably in a basement. That’s not to say all the weather is bad, though! We do get our share of beautiful, sunny days. Keep this motto in mind: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
  7. There’s a strong international community of people who live in Iowa City. Thanks to the University of Iowa and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics we welcome people from all over the world into our little slice of eastern Iowa.
  8. Iowa is a state with deep agricultural roots. Much of the state is active farmland. Understand that corn, soybeans and hogs are big business here, and sometimes farm business may affect your life a little, even in Iowa City. On the positive side, you’ll have lots of opportunity to buy fresh local produce and meat. Be respectful and cautious while passing farm equipment on the road. If you happen to “smell a smell,” nearby farmers may be spreading manure on their fields as fertilizer, and you should just say to yourself, “Mmmmm. Smells like money.”
  9. When people talk about “Iowa City” they are usually referring to the greater Iowa City metro area, which includes Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty and Tiffin, a group of communities that are contiguous. If you’re all about the opportunities that Iowa City has to offer, but prefer a more small town, there are several of those very nearby, including: Solon, West Branch, Hills, Lone Tree, Oxford and Riverside.
  10. Iowa City has a nice mix of fantastic local restaurants, as well as chain restaurants. Here in Iowa, we don’t want anyone to go away hungry, so you should be able to find something that sounds delicious. Some local favorites of mine include: Orchard Green, located downtown, for a fancy, upscale dinner, Jimmy Jacks for casual BBQ, Hamburg Inn for a classic, old school burger and breakfast joint, and Pagalias for Iowa City’s famous thin style pizza where you can watch them toss the pizza dough in the window. For some other suggestions, take a look at three other local favorites I featured in a video here.
Herky the Hawk works the crowd.

If you’re thinking about making a move to Iowa or a move to Iowa City or the surrounding area, I would love to help you find the right place to call home, and as an Iowa City local, I am especially suited for the job! I frequently assist people relocating to Iowa City find find a home that suits their needs in a neighborhood they grow to love. Now that you know a bit more about Iowa City, the next step is identifying some communities and neighborhoods where you’d like to live. If you are thinking about moving to the Iowa City area, I’d love to have a conversation with you! Give me a call, email or text! You can reach me at [email protected] or 319-594-4455.

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