Iowa Arts Festival  A weekend in early June where over 100 artists display their work along with music performances and food vendors. 

Iowa City Pride  Pride will be June 17 in 2023 this year with a parade, performances, vendor fair, and other activities during the week. 

Iowa City Jazz Festival  The Jazz Fest features well-known and up-and-coming musicians during a three day weekend in early July.

Friday Night Concert Series From May through mid-June local musicians perform on downtown stages.


Stanley Art Museum  The newly reopened art museum is located just 4 blocks from Petersen Hall.  The UI established the first MFA in the world in 1940 and the museum has one of the top university collections in the country.

Natural History Museum This museum opened in 1858 and features animal specimens, archaeology artifacts, and dioramas.  It is located 9 blocks from Petersen Hall. 

Old Capital Museum   Close to the Natural History Museum, the Old Capital is located in the original capital building of the state of Iowa.  Exhibits focus on contemplative projects,  presentations on Iowa history, justice and politics.  


The University of Iowa has many green spaces and the middle of downtown Iowa City has a no-car Pedestrian Mall.  But going a little further will get you to more natural settings.

City Park is on the north side of Iowa City and is 107 acres along the Iowa River. The park has both open spaces and many sports fields and courts as well as a public swimming pool.  

Hickory Hill Park is a natural area of 185 acres and is located east of downtown Iowa City. It features walking trails and picnic areas.

Clear Creek Trail is located in Coralville west of the University of Iowa campus.  It is a nearly 9 mile paved trail through forest for walking, biking, and running.  

Iowa River Landing Wetlands Park is located in the Coralville Iowa River Landing area.  It has 3 types of wetlands on 5 acres. 

Kent Park is about 30 minutes away by car, and has over 1000 acres of prairie, forest, and wetlands, including a 27 acre lake with many fish. 

Terry Trueblood Recreation Area is great area only 10 minutes south of Iowa City with lake activities and kayak, paddleboards, and paddleboat rentals.  A paved walkway goes around the lake. 

Lake McBride State Park is a 800 acre lake within 2100 acres of camping and wilderness areas. It is north of Iowa City, about a 30 minutes by car.  Hiking, fishing, and camping are common activities.