1. Black And Gold Is EVERYWHERE
Iowa Hawkeyes spirit runs in the blood of every Iowa Citian, so much so that most closets are packed to the brim with black and gold clothes they can wear, and not just on game day.
2. Locals Could Spend An Hour On Dirty John’s Long Beer List
John’s Grocery is known as Dirty John’s by any real Iowa Citian, but that doesn’t mean they can go in and get drinks without poring over the massive beer list that rivals any other place you’ve seen.
3. Trying A Pie Shake Is Mandatory
The Hamburg Inn 2, or “The Burg” as locals know it, is famous for the pie shake, a heavenly concoction of ice cream, milk, and yes, a slice of pie, all blended into a milkshake.
4. Keep Iowa City Weird, Too
Some say that Iowa City is to Iowa as Austin is to Texas: a little bit of the artsy hippie-filled paradise in the center of something much different. And locals wouldn’t have it any other way.
5. Locals Feel Right At Home On The Lake
Nearby Lake MacBride and other lakes have enough adventure to make you forget you’re in a city. Whether it’s kayaking, paddle boarding, or just fishing from the shore, Iowa Citians love the lake life.
6. It’s Always Time To Party In Iowa City
Sure, some Iowa Citians might be book nerds, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to party. The University of Iowa is consistently ranked as one of the top party schools in the nation.
7. But If You’re Drinking Beer, Drink Local
Iowa City itself may not be heavy on the beer scene, but locals are certainly proud of Iowa’s excellent breweries nearby, including Millstream Brewing Company, Kalona Brewing Company, and Backpocket Brewing.
8. The Best Place To Get Brunch Is At The Power Company
The last place you’d expect to have the greatest Sunday brunch would be in an old power company building. But once you taste the carving station’s prime rib at Iowa City Power Restaurant (nearby in Coralville) you’ll be a believer.
9. It’s Totally Normal To Carry A Book Wherever You Go
With the Iowa Writers Workshop in town, Iowa City has some serious literary cred. Locals know their way around Pulitzer Prize winners and if they ever forget, they have the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk to remind them.
10. There’s Jazz In Every Local’s Soul
The Iowa City Jazz Festival is the best one in the whole country, and that’s probably because if you’re from Iowa City you grew up with jazz in your school and your family.
11. You’ll Want To Get Up Early For The Farmers Market
But it’s not just corn and fruit, the amazing Iowa City Farmers Market also gives a home for local craftsmen to show off their skills.
12. Everybody Loves The Englert Theatre
This historic vaudeville-era theatre is still going strong in Iowa City, and everyone loves to head there to see a comedy show, play, or dance performance.
13. Summer Is Always The Best Time For Art
Summer of the ARTS speaks the truth in its name and every Iowa Citian comes out to either showcase their own art or look in awe at everyone else’s.
14. Do NOT Kiss The Black Angel Statue On Halloween
Just don’t. Iowa Citians may get all brave around Halloween, but they know that kissing Oakland Cemetery’s Black Angel statue means you’ll be struck dead.
15. Nobody Is Afraid To Make Fun Of Themselves
The annual Iowa City Roast shows that Iowa Citians aren’t so uppity that they can’t make fun of themselves or their home.
16. All The Minnesota Fans Can Get Out Now
If you’re a college football fan and you want to live in Iowa City, you absolutely cannot cheer for Minnesota under any circumstances. The Iowa-Minnesota rivalry, with the famous pig-shaped trophy, is the most heated rivalry in the sport.
17. The Best Way To Clear Your Head Is Hiking
When you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, Iowa Citians head to the Coralville Lake and reservoir for a taste of nature and some hiking.
18. Book Festivals Are Just As Cool As Music Festivals
The Iowa City Book Festival is a hot ticket in town, no matter how nerdy it may seem to out-of-towners. You don’t want to miss it.
19. Landlocked Film Festival Is Iowa City’s Sundance
Speaking of festivals, the Landlocked Film Festival brings big talent to town and locals can feel famous in their own right walking on the green carpet.
20. You’ll Find Art Practically Everywhere
Seriously, who needs museums when you have some of the best art on the street pavement, the walls, the sidewalk, and even benches?
21. Locals Are Those Wave-To-Your-Neighbor Types
Iowa City is the kind of place that has a small-town vibe, even though it’s a vibrant city. So don’t be weirded out if a dozen strangers wave and say hello to you on your way to work.
22. Ditch The Car Because Locals Walk Everywhere
Okay, maybe a bike will do, but locals prefer to keep it Earth-friendly and walk from place to place.
23. This Is Not Some Tumbleweed Town
Iowa Citians will be quick to correct you if you think their home is just some corn-filled flyover part of the country. Sure they’re proud of their down-home vibe, but Iowa City can get all dressed up fancy for big events like the rest of ‘em.
24. Iowa Citians Can Survive Anything
Hot, hot, humid summers and frigid cold winters. Yes, Iowa Citians are used to the extremes and can take them in stride.
25. The Ped Mall Is Hopping In The Summer
There is absolutely always something going on in summertime on the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall, or “Ped Mall,” whether it’s artists painting the street, musicians playing impromptu concerts, or major festivals that pack the street from edge to edge.
26. Prairie Lights Readings Are Major Events
Prairie Lights is a world-renowned bookstore and Iowa Citians are darn proud of it’s huge literary heritage. That fame means major talent comes in for readings, and you won’t want to miss them.
27. No, They’re Not Elf Cottages
It may look like “Germanic elves constructed houses for Irish pixies,” as one writer said, but these famous Moffitt cottages are right at home on Muscatine Avenue.
28. You Don’t Have To Be A Professional Pianist To Put On A Show
The free-to-use public pianos are scattered across Iowa City as part of a partnership with West Music and local businesses, so go ahead and give Chopsticks a try.
What do you have to explain to out-of-towners about Iowa City? Tell us in the comments below!