A Few of Our Favorite Things in the Iowa City Area

Whether you are new in town or have been here for years but need some new ideas, we’d love to share a few of our favorite things to do and places to go in the Iowa City area with you. Keep the list handy and choose something from it the next time you’re looking for something fun to do as a family, for date night, or to enjoy some me-time!


  • Iowa Children’s Museum: The perfect place for your kids to play any time of year.
  • Toddler Play Areas: Try the play areas at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, The Marketplace in Iowa City, or the North Liberty Community Center.
  • Tot Time: Your little one will love getting a whole gym full of toddler and preschool toys to play with at Mercer Park and the Coralville Rec Center.
  • Family Free Friday at Coral Ridge Mall: On the last Friday of each month, the Children’s Museum, ice rink, and carousel all are free, and lots of food court restaurants offer free kids meals.
  • Coral Ridge Ice: Take the family ice skating!
  • Bargain Shopping: Try Stuff Etc., KidWorks, Once Upon A Child, Goodwill, or Salvation Army.
  • Movies:
    • FilmScene in downtown Iowa City for artsy flicks or free admission for kids movies in the Picture Show Series
    • Marcus Sycamore Theatres with great stadium style seating
    • Coral Ridge Cinemas with a convenient location at the Coral Ridge Mall
  • Library Storytimes: Stop by the Iowa City, Coralville or North Liberty libraries and pick up some great books while you’re there.
  • Old Capital Building: Explore Iowa City’s history
  • Museum of Natural History: Get your kids excited about science!
  • Indoor Pools: Take the family to the pools at Mercer Park or Robert A Lee Recreation Centers in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Recreation and Wellness Center (this one even has a lazy river!), the Coralville Recreation Center, or the North Liberty Recreation Center
  • Planet 3: Jump for joy at Iowa City’s new trampoline park.
  • Iowa City Moms Blog events: Meet other moms at our annual Bloom event, our Mom’s Night Out events, or our Mom Talks series, and bring the family along for special events like Pancakes and Pajamas (meet Mrs. Claus!), Egg Hunt, Trick or Treating, apple picking, and lots more.



Everyday Favorites

  • 30Hop
  • Andale Andale
  • Basta
  • Big Grove Brewery
  • Blackstone
  • Bread Garden Market
  • Casa Azul
  • El Ranchero
  • El Sol
  • Graze
  • Heirloom
  • Her Soup Kitchen
  • Java House
  • La Regia
  • Los Agaves
  • Midtown Family Restaurant
  • Monica’s
  • NoDo
  • Oasis
  • Pullman
  • Thai Spice

Best Breakfast

  • Billy’s High Hat Diner
  • Bluebird Diner
  • Dandy Lion
  • Hamburg Inn 

Best Treats

  • Heyn’s Ice Cream
  • Molly’s Cupcakes

Great Happy Hour

  • Red’s Alehouse
  • Quinton’s

Best Pizza

  • The Airliner
  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Pagliai’s Pizza
  • Wig & Pen

Best Burgers

  • Shorts
  • Micky’s

Special Occasion Favorites

  • Baroncini
  • Orchard Green
  • Joseph’s Steak House

These are just a FEW of our favorite things to do, places to go, and places to eat around town! We’d love to hear some of your favorites…please share them with us in the comments!


Laura is a mom of three who works full-time from home as a Development Director for a children’s charity. Laura grew up in Maryland, spent her 20s living in Southern California and South Carolina, and has spent her 30s and now 40s in Iowa, moving to Iowa City in 2010. Laura loves dancing, reading, baking, and music. She and her husband Ryan started dating in college (gasp – over 20 years ago!) and they have been sharing life’s adventures ever since. Their biggest adventure is, of course, parenthood. With three kids, the action is non-stop - which is just the way Laura likes it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.