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Is Iowa City a Good Place to Live? An Honest Look at Life in Iowa’s Cultural Hub

From its charming downtown to its picturesque parks, Iowa City offers a unique blend of small-town charm and big-city amenities. With its vibrant college town atmosphere, excellent schools, and affordable cost of living, it’s no wonder that so many people choose to call this city home. Whether you’re a student, young professional, or retiree, there’s something for everyone in this thriving city – a place that offers the perfect balance of urban-suburban living with all the amenities you need for a comfortable and fulfilling life. If you’re considering a move to Iowa City, you might be wondering whether it’s the right choice for you. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the reasons why Iowa City is such a great place to live.

The Allure of Iowa City: Understanding the Appeal

A vibrant downtown scene in Iowa City with numerous restaurants and bars, making it a great place for young professionals and residents to explore

Positioned along the Iowa River, Iowa City is recognized as a UNESCO City of Literature. It is famous for its literary heritage, vibrant arts and culture scene, beautiful natural setting, diverse food scene as well as its friendly and welcoming community. It boasts a mixed populace of students, medical professionals, and long-standing families. The city, known for its charm and progressiveness, is listed among the top 100 best places to live in 2020, as per Livability.

Living in Iowa City offers a harmonious blend of city and countryside life, with numerous amenities and relaxation places such as parks, bars, restaurants and more. The city fosters a collaborative community that prioritizes safety, healthcare, and education, making it suitable for many young professionals and families.

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Cost of Living in Iowa City is Affordable

Comparing housing costs and living expenses in Iowa City to the national average, highlighting the affordability of the city

One of the many attractions of living in Iowa City is its affordability. The cost of living in this charming city is generally lower than the national average, making it an attractive option for those looking for a budget-friendly place to call home. Housing costs in Iowa City are particularly appealing and suitable for all lifestyle preferences.

Compared to other major cities such as Atlanta and Denver, Iowa City’s cost of living is noticeably lower. This affordability extends beyond housing, with expenses like groceries, utilities, and transportation being lower than the national average. This affordability, combined with the vibrant lifestyle and opportunities the city offers, makes Iowa City an attractive choice for everyone, from young professionals to growing families.

Job Opportunities in Iowa City

The job market in Iowa City is varied and expanding, with opportunities in sectors including healthcare, education, and insurance. The existence of prospering corporations in finance, agriculture, and other sectors enriches the employment environment for residents. Some of the amazing companies and institutions in the city include Collins Aerospace, ACT, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Transamerica, and CRST.

Both large and small businesses have their place in Iowa City’s diverse business landscape. Nationally recognized companies coexist alongside small, family-owned businesses, boutiques, restaurants, and shops, providing a wide range of job opportunities for the city’s residents. These simply imply that while you live here, finding a job will not be difficult.

Transportation and Commute

Navigating through Iowa City is easy due to its robust public transportation, biking paths, and walkability. The city’s transit system, Iowa City Transit (ICT), provides efficient travel across the city. If you prefer biking or walking, Iowa City offers numerous cyclist-friendly routes and pedestrian-optimized streets.

The average commute time in Iowa City is only 20 minutes, with a majority of commuters driving to work. This short commute time is yet another reason why living in Iowa City is such an attractive option, as residents can enjoy more time for leisure and relaxation, rather than spending hours in traffic.

How Are the Neighborhoods and Housing in Iowa City?

Iowa City presents a range of neighborhoods and housing options to suit diverse lifestyles and preferences. Whether you’re drawn to upscale condos or countryside living, this enchanting city has it all. If you are planning to purchase a home, you will find good options at budget friendly rates.

Iowa City also offers a range of affordable rental options, so that whether you’re a young professional seeking a modern apartment or a family looking for a spacious home in a quiet neighborhood, you will find the perfect housing option to suit your needs.

What Outdoor Activities and Local Attractions Are There In Iowa City?

Beautiful parks and recreational opportunities in Iowa City, offering natural beauty and cultural events for residents and visitors to enjoy

Iowa City boasts an array of outdoor pursuits and local attractions for both residents and tourists. The city’s attractive parks, cultural events, and festivals offer countless entertainment and relaxation possibilities. Some of the activities and attractions in Iowa City include:

  • Nordic skiing
  • Mountain biking
  • Camping
  • Art galleries
  • Museums

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or an art aficionado, Iowa City has something for everyone to enjoy.

Parks and Natural Beauty For You

The city’s parks and natural beauty offer ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. Iowa City is home to over 60 parks, trails, and open spaces, providing plenty of options for hiking, jogging, and cycling. Some of the most stunning hiking trails in the city include:

  • Hickory Hill Loop
  • Terry Trueblood Recreation Area
  • Waterworks Prairie Park
  • Ryerson Woods Trail
  • Sockum Ridge County Park
  • Cedar River Crossing
  • Squire Point Trail
  • F.W. Kent County Park

Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll through a city park or an invigorating hike along a picturesque trail, Iowa City’s parks and natural beauty have something for everyone, including those visiting from nearby Cedar Rapids.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Iowa City’s rich cultural scene includes numerous events and festivals that celebrate the arts, literature, and local history. Some examples of the vibrant cultural events that take place throughout the year are:

  • The annual Iowa City Jazz Festival
  • Coralville 4thFest
  • FRYfest

These events offer a chance to immerse themselves in the local culture and enjoy a variety of artistic and entertainment experiences, featuring local artists. As a UNESCO City of Literature, Iowa City also hosts the much-anticipated Iowa City Book Festival, a weeklong celebration of local literary excellence.

How is the Quality of Life in Iowa City?

Iowa City IA provides an outstanding quality of life, prioritizing safety, healthcare, and education.

The city is distinguished by its excellent healthcare facilities, including the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Mercy Iowa City, and the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic, to name a few. The presence of these top-rated healthcare facilities ensures residents have access to quality medical care when needed.

Solid Education

Iowa City’s public schools are highly rated, offering excellent educational opportunities for children and young adults. Iowa City’s public schools are part of the Iowa City Community School District, which serves over 14,000 students and is the 4th largest school district in the state of Iowa. The district contains 29 schools and has a diverse student population of 50%. There are also good private schools. The schools in the district are known for providing an excellent education, ensuring a strong foundation for the city’s youth.

In addition to its highly rated public schools, Iowa City is home to the renowned University of Iowa, offering exceptional academic programs and research opportunities for higher education. The famous Iowa State University consistently ranks among the top research universities in the country, providing students with a world-class education and a vibrant campus life.

Safety and Crime Rates

Crime rates in Iowa City are relatively low, contributing to a safe and welcoming community. This sense of safety and security has a positive impact on the quality of life for residents, boosting their overall well-being and satisfaction with their living environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Iowa City expensive to live in?

Iowa City is relatively affordable to live in with housing costs and utilities below the national average.

Why are people moving to Iowa City?

Iowa City is full of history and culture, with plenty of beautiful buildings, diverse neighborhoods, and the University of Iowa. People are drawn to this vibrant college town, making it a popular destination for those looking to move.

Is Iowa City a nice place to live?

Iowa City is a great place to live, consistently earning national accolades for quality of life and affordability. With its urban-suburban mix feel, there are lots to explore with bars, restaurants, coffee shops and parks to enjoy.


Iowa City offers an exceptional living experience, combining a vibrant college town atmosphere, diverse population, and rich cultural heritage. With its affordable cost of living, strong job market, focus on safety and healthcare, and excellent education options, Iowa City is an ideal place to call home. So whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or simply looking for a change of pace, Iowa City, the hidden gem in Eastern Iowa promises to be refreshing.Are you ready to relocate let Horizon Movers help make your move safe and speedy at budget friendly rates. Request a FREE quote today.