Like so many places in the region, the Iowa City area is not only rich in history and culture, but it’s also one of the best places to live because of its creative and collaborative community. Add in a thriving economy, low cost of living, and great jobs available throughout the area and its surrounding communities, and you’ll see why the Iowa City Area naturally attracts people from all over the country!
Iowa is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River on the west, making it the only U.S. state whose eastern and western borders are formed entirely by rivers! Iowa is also bordered by Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska and South Dakota to the west, and Minnesota to the north.
The Iowa City metro consists of two counties in Iowa anchored by Iowa City. It’s also a part of a Combined Statistical Area with the nearby Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Area. This Combined Statistical Area plus two additional counties are known as the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids region and have a collective population of nearly 500,000.
With a varied assortment of entertainment venues, restaurants, shops, a lively downtown, and an exciting nightlife scene, the area is not only historic but attractive and interesting. Older tree-lined neighborhoods can be found to the east and south of the downtown area. The suburban areas are to the northeast and west of slightly smaller communities (about 5,000 to 50,000 residents) like Coralville, North Liberty, and Washington.
The Iowa City Area has an excellent public transportation system, which includes buses and light rail lines that connect visitors and residents to other cities throughout the state. The Iowa City Transit (ICT) also provides bus service between the area’s three main hubs: the university campus, East Village, and Downtown Iowa City. The city is well-educated, progressive, active, and has a strong community feel. In fact, it has been voted as one of the Top 100 Places to Live by Liveability and #29 for Best Green Cities. Buy a home for sale in the Iowa City Area from Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors to experience this amazing metropolitan area yourself!
The state’s educational institutions draw students and faculty from around the world, including an impressive roster of legendary writers who study and teach at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. It boasts one of the highest levels of educational attainment in the country and in addition to higher education, standout public school systems are a leading feature of the area, too.
Iowa has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the nation and provides students with what the state calls “21st-century skills,” which include civic, financial, health, and technology literacy, as well as employment skills. Check out homes around the Iowa City School District to get a better sense of the area and scenery.
The Iowa City Metro is known for its active residents. With tons of parks, hiking trails, and world-renowned biking trails, the active outdoor lifestyle, and wildlife viewing opportunities are everywhere. The college vibe, local history, and diverse culture of the area are both inviting and exciting. June, September, and May are the most popular months for visitors, but winter also brings winter sports enthusiasts around, too!
Want to see the Iowa Spirit in true form? Head to a football game and take part in the Hawkeye Wave, in which the whole crowd – referees, players, and attendees – turn and wave to the kids at the children’s hospital overlooking Kinnick Stadium (tailgating is a must and pretty much half of the state descends on Iowa City for the games!).
Tour the old capitol building, attend a show at Englert Theatre or head to Short’s Burger & Shine for one of the best burgers in town. Visit the Amana Heritage Center, enjoy unique shopping, and for all you German sausage enthusiasts, mark your calendar for the annual Wurst Festival in August. Don’t miss the Amana Colonies’ spirited Octoberfest, either.
If you’re more of a hockey fan, make sure to check out an Iowa Wild game, too! Winterfest also tends to draw a cold-weather crowd to enjoy activities like ice carving and the Snowball Dance.
For residents and visitors alike, the Coralville Reservoir, or “the Res,” is the top spot to get outside. Lake activities include boating, fishing, and swimming at a variety of different beaches. Hiking, mountain biking, camping, and disc golf are also favorite activities along the forested shoreline. Festivals like Jazz Fest and Taste of Iowa City make for a highly anticipated summer season, too.
Hike Hickory Hill, a passive nature area popular with hikers, photographers, and general nature lovers, or head to the spring Maifest event in the Amana Colonies. Don’t forget to check out Terry Trueblood Recreation Area near Sand Lake for paddle boarding, geocaching, bicycling, and more either.
The job opportunities in the Iowa City area are endless! The main sectors in the region include food processing, education, engineering, technology, finance, and healthcare. It is a hub for young professionals and families alike. The University of Iowa is the state’s largest employer, and many of those who work at the university or the hospital live within that 10-minute radius of work. However, during rush hour, the commute can last up to 30-45 minutes.
The economic base, aside from the university, is a mix of agricultural, light manufacturing, high-tech, and biotech businesses. The region offers an expansive selection of communities that appeal to all lifestyles – from high-density neighborhoods to suburban communities to rural spaces. Companies like ACT, Collins Aerospace, Hy-Vee, The Merrill Company, Fareway, and the SNI companies are some of the most popular places to work, but there are opportunities everywhere throughout the metropolitan area.
Ruhl&Ruhl has plenty of real estate options for you to choose from. Discover homes for sale in the Iowa City area and continue browsing this page to get a more in-depth feel for the area. If you’d like to do a little more research before buying, check out the links below for additional real estate options:
If you’re looking for new career opportunities in the Iowa area, we’re always looking for folks to join our Ruhl&Ruhl team. Check out our careers page for more information.
Are you interested in seeing a property in person? Contact the experts at Ruhl&Ruhl and let us show you around! Stop in or give us a call at:
Nearest Ruhl&Ruhl Office
1075 Highway 1 West
Iowa City, IA 52246
Phone Number: (319) 339-8111
Iowa City was created in 1839, fulfilling the desire of Governor Robert Lucas to move the capital out of Burlington and closer to the center of the territory. It did not officially become the capital city until 1841 when construction on the capitol building had begun. The state capitol was eventually moved to Des Moines.
The North Liberty area was originally settled in 1838 by John Gaylor and Alonzo C. Dennison. Because of its location near a bend in the Iowa River, North Liberty was originally known as “Big Bottom” or “North Bend” before it was finally named “North Liberty” in 1857. As the population continued to rise, the Iowa City Community School District opened the first elementary school in North Liberty in 1961.
The development of Coralville began after the construction in 1843 of what was the largest dam in Iowa at the time. Located along the Iowa River, the dam provided power to several mills and the community.
Before the American Civil War, areas in and around West Branch were stops of the Underground Railroad. But that’s not the only historical significance in West Branch, as it is also the birthplace of President Herbert Hoover. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum was dedicated here by Hoover and his close friend, President Harry Truman, in 1962. The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, which includes the Library-Museum, the Hoover Birthplace Cottage and the gravesites of President and Lou Henry Hoover, was authorized by Congress on August 12, 1965.
In 1963, construction of the portion of Interstate-80, which at the time was north of Coralville, that would pass through the Iowa City Area began. Commercial and housing development in the community continued throughout the second half of the 20th century. In 1996, work began on Coral Ridge Mall, the state’s second-largest indoor shopping center.
Because Iowa City, Iowa is a large university town, its population fluctuates throughout the year. However, there is no shortage of events in the summer when the student population tends to decrease.
Iowa City offers plenty of restaurants and attractions to provide the perfect combination of a great Saturday night and a relaxing Sunday morning. Enjoy one of the university’s many sports games offered throughout the week or eat at a top-rated restaurant located in a historic area.
Can’t find what you’re looking for in Iowa City? You’re sure to find it in one of the many neighboring cities just 5-10 minutes away. Coralville and North Liberty offer other ways you could spend your Saturdays and Sundays.
The University of Iowa is the state’s largest employer, and many of those who work at the University or the hospital live within that 10-minute radius of work. However, during rush hour the commute can last up to 30-45 minutes.
The University provides residents with plenty of resources too. One of the main benefits is access to the hospitals and clinics run by the University. This includes the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, made famous by the “Iowa Wave” included after the first quarter of every Iowa Hawkeyes football game.
No matter what type of housing you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in the Iowa City Area from downtown lofts in Iowa City and Coralville to the new construction of New Liberty to the historic homes in Iowa City and Tipton.
University of Iowa: The University of Iowa is one of the nation’s premier public research universities with over 30,000 students from 114 countries and all 50 states. Founded in 1847, it is the state’s oldest institution of higher education. UI is home to one of the largest and most acclaimed medical centers in the country, as well as the famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Famous alumni include Gene Wilder, Ashton Kutcher and Tennessee Williams.
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ (UIHC) primary and specialty care is provided by experts from all medical specialties, attracting patients from around the world. UIHC offers care in convenient, comfortable settings, using the most advanced approaches and with the best outcomes as their goal.
Sports at the University of Iowa: No matter the season, you will find packed stadiums and seats for practically every sport offered at the University. This includes the popular Kinnick Stadium for football and the Carver Arena for men’s and women’s basketball.
Downtown Iowa City: The Downtown District is the economic and cultural engine of the Iowa City community. It is home to a wide variety of independent, locally-owned boutiques, shops, and some of the very best in dining and entertainment, and is a place where University and local business innovations merge.
Riverside Theatre: Riverside Theatre is a professional theatre that connects artists and audiences through intimate, engaging, and provocative productions from the classics to new works, and provides an artistic home for regional theatre professionals
Englert Theatre: The Englert Theater provides diverse programming, educational opportunities and exposure to the performing and visual arts. They focus on highlighting the talents of local performers, artists and ensembles as well as hosting regional, national and international touring performances. They have also expanded the Englert’s programming vision and collaborative efforts beyond the walls of the theater through institutional efforts like Mission Creek Festival and Witching Hour. You can also take a tour of this historical building.
Old Capitol Museum: Old Capitol Museum has been in operation since 1976, when the building reopened after a major renovation. It is the only National Historic Landmark in Iowa City. Throughout its long history, the building has served as a seat of the territorial and state governments, a university building serving numerous schools and colleges, administrative offices, and finally a museum. Today, it serves the University and Iowa City communities through beautifully restored historic interiors, temporary exhibits, programming and education resources for all ages.
The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History: The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History was founded by an order of the Iowa Legislature in 1858 and is the oldest university museum west of the Mississippi River. It combines exhibits, education resources, programming, collections and research opportunities to support the University of Iowa and the community.
Coralville Farmers Market: In the summer, Coralville offers one of the best farmers markets. You will find products so fresh because they were hand-picked by farmers that very morning. This market even offers nightlife on most Monday nights in the summer, featuring acoustic music by local performers.
Coralville Center for Performing Arts: The Coralville Center for the Performing Arts is a 490-seat theatre that offers main floor and balcony seating and a fully-accessible, flexible rental space for a variety of events in the greater Johnson County area.
Coral Ridge Mall: Coralville is home to the second largest indoor shopping mall, Coral Ridge Mall. With an unlimited shopping experience of just about every retail store you could think of, the mall even has an indoor ice skating rink!
Lake MacBride State Park: Located just outside of Solon, Iowa, this state park has several shelters and a lodge available for rental in addition to the large lake it’s named after. You can spend your day hiking trails or swimming, fishing, or boating in Lake MacBride and at the end the day, you can camp out under the stars.
Herbert Hoover National Historic Site: Herbert Hoover National Historic Site tells the story of the 31st President of the United States, who was born in West Branch, Iowa, by preserving historic buildings and a landscape that commemorates his life and accomplishments. The site also includes the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum.
Tipton’s Farmers Market: Every Thursday afternoon, you can drop by the best farmers market in Cedar County. In the colder months, it runs 3-5 pm and in the warmer months, when it moves outdoors, it is 4-6 pm. In the summer months, you can enjoy live music playing from the gazebo. From homemade candles to fresh eggs and vegetables, everyone can find something to enjoy at the market.
Cedar County Historical Society Museum & Prairie Village: Visit the museum to learn about the history of the area, including a list of the names of every soldier who has fought bravely in every war since the Civil War. You can also view information from the Scattergood Hostel where refugees from World War II and the Holocaust went for safety and other rotating exhibits from local churches and individuals. The Prairie Village is a walk into the past with historic sites still preserved, including the “Bed Bug” schoolhouse, which shows students today what a country school was like.
Amana Colonies Visitors Center: This should be your first stop in the colonies. Here, you can learn about the various restaurant and lodging options. You can also sign up for one of the many scheduled guided tours of Amana. The center also gives you information on all of the wonderful places you can visit during your trip.
Amana Heritage Society: Walk through the Amana Colonies’ history when you visit this museum made of three buildings from the 19th century. You can examine cultural artifacts or explore the old way of life, including the old schoolhouse, the blacksmith shop and the communal dining hall. Explore the library to learn more about the Inspirationalists and how the community was founded.