Choosing an Iowa City Neighborhood: A Mom’s Guide to Coralville

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Seventeen years ago, my husband and I were looking for a new place to live with our one-year-old son (and, unbeknownst to us at the time, his younger brother who would join us eight months later!) We settled into a small duplex in Coralville, fell in love with the community, and haven’t looked back. Five kids and two houses later, we are still grateful that we made Coralville our home all those years ago.

iowa city neighborhoods coralville

What We Love About Coralville:


Coralville is unique in that it is a convergence of big-city amenities and small-town charm. Its proximity to Iowa City and the University of Iowa means that residents are just a short 5-10 minute drive from world-class cultural activities, incredible health care, and of course, some of the best collegiate sports in the nation. Another unique feature of Coralville is the bus system; not many towns with a population of approx. 20,000 would have a public transit system as comprehensive as Coralville’s. (You can view all Coralville transit routes online.)


There are four elementary schools that are situated in Coralville: Coralville Central, Kirkwood, Wickham, and Borlaug. (Coralville Central, Kirkwood, and Wickham serve only Coralville students, while Borlaug primarily serves students on the West side of Iowa City.) Parts of north Coralville also feed into James Van Allen Elementary, which is located on the south side of North Liberty. (You can find links to all of the schools on the Iowa City Community School District website)

Northwest Junior High is the only secondary school located in Coralville and serves students from Coralville and Iowa City. Some Coralville students attend North Central Junior High in North Liberty depending on the neighborhood of residence. All Coralville schools feed into either West or Liberty High Schools.

Biking and Walkability

Many of Coralville’s neighborhoods are just a short walk away from grocery stores, parks, recreation areas, the library, shopping, and other services. And if you’re a fan of biking, you’ll love all of the wonderful trails situated throughout the town. Coralville offers over 20 miles of trails and over-wide sidewalks, with an additional 40 miles which could be part of future development. (you can view a comprehensive map of Coralville’s trails and over-wide sidewalks online.)

An Abundance of Parks and Recreation Amenities

If you love to play outside, Coralville is just the place for you. Coralville is home to several conveniently-located parks (find a full list of parks online). Two of Coralville’s newest parks include the Altmaier Family Park and the Coralville Creekside Cross. Altmaier Park has a rich history as a former family farm. Last year it was transformed into an 18 hole disc golf course and includes a family game area with picnic tables. The Creekside Cross course opened in August 2017 and is the first permanent cyclocross course in Johnson County. It is open to cyclocross biking, cross country running, and cross country skiing.

As an added bonus, most of Coralville’s parks include playground equipment for both older and younger kids. In addition to our wonderful park system, the Coralville Recreation Center offers a wide variety of programming for residents of all ages. You can view the latest program offerings online. Types of programming include youth and adult sports, before and after school programs, summer care, arts and enrichment programs, and special programming for senior citizens.

Concerts and live performances can be enjoyed at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, including top-notch community theatre presented by City Circle Acting Company of Coralville.

Library Love

I can’t say enough wonderful things about the Coralville Library. It’s one of my family’s favorite places in town. The knowledgeable and friendly staff can help you find just what you’re looking for. It’s a beautiful facility with a lovely children’s section, a private nursing room, a cozy fireplace, a teen reading room, and ample meeting space.

Shopping galore

Coral Ridge Mall features over a hundred stores, several restaurants in its food court, an ice rink, a carousel, and a large movie theatre. In addition, Coral Ridge Mall is home to the Iowa Children’s Museum.

Another great shopping destination is the Iowa River Landing. The Landing offers a more upscale shopping experience and is a great place to “Arrive, Unwind, and Indulge.” The area is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, museums, walking trails, a wetland park, and the famous Sculpture Walk. The River Landing is also home to the Xtream Arena. The Arena is home to concerts, family shows, youth and the University of Iowa-related sporting events, community programs, and more.

You can view the complete list of Iowa River Landing shops, restaurants, and amenities online.

“Fest” Fun & Community Celebrations

We love throwing big parties in Coralville! Our community celebrations are a great way to connect with friends and neighbors.

This year, we are celebrating BIG–our city is turning 150! Stay tuned to the 150th Anniversary page to get the latest updates on all of the celebrations throughout the year!

We’re also proud to be a stop on the RAGBRAI route in 2023, as well. This bike ride across Iowa, and we are so excited to welcome the bikers to our great city this July. Click here for updates on all things RAGBRAI in Coralville.

On the Fourth of July, we host FourthFest, a celebration featuring a free community concert, a parade, and of course, fireworks. We kick off football season with FryFest, a celebration of all things Hawkeye. Then we beat our winter blahs each January with WinterFest, a fun family event.

Each December the city hosts the Aisle of Lights celebration. Residents create a magical scene by lining the streets with votive candles placed in paper bags. It’s a beautiful way to view the holiday lights throughout the community. (Learn more about this community tradition online.) 

The city also partners with the Coralville Community Food Pantry to host free community meals throughout the year. Meals are hosted in the winter, summer, and fall (the winter meal is usually at the Coralville Rec Center and the summer and fall meals at the Coralville Library.) There’s nothing quite like connecting with friends and neighbors over delicious food. These community meals are a very special offering in Coralville.

Coralville is a wonderful place to live. My husband and I are so grateful our children are growing up in this thriving, nurturing community. As we like to say here…

“We just can’t hide that Coralville pride!”

Spend some time with us; we think you’ll agree.

Photo: Bails Team Urban Acres


Hiring the Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate means you’ll have access to the real estate expertise you need anytime, anywhere. This real estate team includes Mike Bails, Phil O’Brien, Marcy Willier, Chelsey Riggan and Briley Desmet. Together, they have over 50 years of combined experience and a deep understanding of the entire residential and commercial real estate picture in the Iowa City area – it’s what they like to call a panoramic view of real estate.

If you are ready to buy or sell, give them a call today and tell them ICMB sent you!

Mike Bails | 319.321.5500

Phil O’Brien | 319.331.1701

Marcy Willier | 319.936.5899

Chelsey Riggan-Kuepker | 319.631.1434

Briley Desmet | 319.330.5078

Matt VandeBerg | 605.321.1700

Meghann is the mom of 5 kids. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an Owner/Partner at Brand Driven Digital. Meghann was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2017 and is currently serving her first term. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coralville Community Food Pantry (Vice-Chair) and on the DVIP Board of Directors. She is also a member of Johnson County's Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Policy Board. Meghann is passionate about her family, her community, and is a proud pop culture nerd.


  1. I love Coralville too! Been living here for three years and absolutely, love the friendly atmosphere here. I worked at one of the lovely community based stores for 2.5 years and, still have customers say hi to me when out in public. One of the best places I’ve ever been to for sure. I have my own toddler, who went to an incredible in home daycare for just over a year before they moved. There are some wonderful people here in Coralville, I wouldn’t change a thing about this place.


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