More than a few visitors come here with shopping on their mind - Iowa City has many art galleries, funky boutiques, and cool music stores and booksellers.
Fans of the arts should be sure to check out the Iowa Artisans Gallery, which has been carrying the works of talented regional artists for more than 25 years.
It's within an afternoon's drive of Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha, Kansas City, and St.
Downtown also abounds with gay-friendly nightspots, restaurants, and cafés - check out the Iowa City Gay Bars and Restaurants Guide for recommendations.
I'm a student who is transferring to the University of Iowa next fall and is majoring in both psychology and sociology.
Leafy and gently hilly Iowa City has plenty going for it in an age when many travelers seek urbanity and culture but want to avoid the high costs, pesky inconveniences, and perceived safety threats of some larger municipalities.
This city of nearly 72,000 is relatively affordable, easy to navigate, and quite secure.
Moreover, according to a recent census, Iowa City ranks 13th in the nation among Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the "percentage of coupled households that are gay or lesbian."Whether you're a student or a civilian, a visitor or a local, social activities in Iowa City revolve heavily around the University of Iowa and its verdant, leafy campus punctuated by stately old academic halls and striking contemporary buildings.
The U of I is most famous for its stellar medical facilities and for the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where such literary icons as John Irving, John Cheever, Rita Dove, Jane Smiley, Flannery O' Connor, and Robert Penn Warren have either taught or been educated.
The presence of the prestigious University of Iowa (U of I) accounts in part for the city's vital arts scene and decidedly intellectual demeanor.
The campus blends almost imperceptibly with downtown, but unlike some communities anchored by a major educational institution, Iowa City is much more than a college town.
A young Tennessee Williams also studied theater here.
To get a feel for the campus, and perhaps grab a bite to eat, stop by the university's anchor of student life, the lively Iowa Memorial Union, which is open to the general public.
The city's largest independent bookstore, Prairie Lights, has an extensive lesbian and gay section plus a wealth of newspapers and community resources.