Top Ten College Towns

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Clinton Street, Iowa City, Iowa
ART AND INTELLECT: Literary history abounds on Iowa City's downtown Clinton Street (Wikipedia)

3. University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa

For aspiring writers, there is perhaps no better place to study than the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop. Robert Frost, John Irving, and Margaret Walker Alexander are just some of the famous names attached to this program. "A Streetcar Named Desire" playwright Tennessee Williams received his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa. The university is the focal point of this city of 70,000, which provides an interesting contrast to the Iowa stereotype: flat, homogenous prairie country. Iowa City actually sits atop a series of hills along the Iowa River.

In the spirit of the Writers' Workshop, Iowa City hosts many excellent literary events. Famous authors often travel to the Prairie Lights Bookstore to read and discuss their works. Soak up the literary culture along the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk between Clinton and Gilbert Streets. Along the way you'll read precious gems by 49 writers with ties to the school. Literature is not the only art form that thrives in Iowa City. The Bijou Cinema shows independent and cult-favorite films. As part of the Iowa Arts Festival Summer of the Arts, every Saturday during the summer, free movies are shown on the University of Iowa Pentacre. The city also sponsors a Friday Night Concert Series. The Iowa City Jazz Festival is one of the summer's most popular events. As artsy and intellectual as Iowa City might be, Big Ten Iowa Hawkeye Football is an important passion. Saturday home games are played at Kinnick Stadium, which routinely fills all 70,000 of its seats.

For those concerned about finding quality cuisine in corn country, never fear. Nearby Mount Vernon is home to the famous Lincoln Café, which aims to serve as much organic and locally grown food as possible. Although there's no ocean for thousands of miles, even The New York Times recommends Takanami Restaurant for delicious sushi. Hamburg Inn No. 2 specializes in comfort food like omelets and pies and is a favorite among presidential candidates during the run-up to the Iowa Caucus. For nature lovers, Palisades Kepler State Park, Lake Macbride, and Hickory Hill Park offer many opportunities for outdoor activities. Like any decent college town, Iowa City has an area full of cute little stores. The Pedestrian Mall is the place to go for unique clothes, knick-knacks, and jewelry.

Published: 18 Mar 2010 | Last Updated: 8 May 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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