Iowa City is the best in the summertime. We are so lucky to live in a community where we can delight in outdoor festivals, concerts, movies, and more. Get your calendar out (physical or digital) and start marking the summer events in Iowa City that you do not want to miss!
Thank you to our friends The Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate for making this guide possible! Happy summer, everyone.
Iowa City Summer Events Guide 2022
Ongoing Summer Events in the Iowa City Area
FilmScene in the Park
FilmScene in the Park is an outdoor cinema located at Chauncey Swan Park. Regular Screenings between April and October highlight a diversity of all-ages programming. Seating will be first-come-first-served for all screenings, with movies beginning at sunset.
Have some baseball fun and support the area’s minor league baseball team, the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
FilmScene Picture Show
Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m.
The Picture Show family and children’s series features the best in all-ages programming. Tickets are free for children when accompanied by a $5 adult moviegoer.
Friday Night Concert Series
May 13–August 19
Summer of the Arts invites the community to come out and get to know fabulous, local musicians! Running mid-May through August, this festival kicks off the summer season. Stop by and enjoy free, live entertainment! Concerts are held at the Ped Mall Stage and Chauncey Swan Park.
Free Movie Series
Saturday nights, May 21-August 20; October 8
The Free Movie Series typically features a full-length movie each Saturday night during the summer. Movies start at sundown, and we offer special entertainment prior to some of the feature films. In 2022, we’re bringing movies into more city parks and neighborhoods, in addition to three drive-in-style events!
Party in the Park
June 2-August 18
Connect with neighbors this summer with live music, games, arts and crafts, and frozen treats.
Music on the Move
June 7-August 23
In 2022, enjoy even more music in neighborhoods: Iowa City Parks and Recreation will be out and about every week during June, July, and August with the Rec & Roll program!
Northside Concert Series
Select Saturdays June 11-August 20
Summer of the Arts invites the community to come out and listen to local music! This three-concert series on North Linn Street offers one more reason to visit the vibrant Northside. Stop by and enjoy free, live entertainment!
June Events in the Iowa City Area
Baby Animal Days
May 20-June 5; June 30
Visit Bloomsbury Farm for Baby Animal Days on the farm & see the sweetest animals. Snap photos, visit baby animals, enjoy attractions, and so much more!
For over 20 years, this event has taken over downtown and filled your favorite businesses with wonderful works of art. Make a day of it and grab a bite to eat, shop, and gallery walk in beautiful downtown Iowa City!
West Branch Kickoff to Summer
Come kickoff summer with a weekend full of fun ways to eat, shop and explore in West Branch! June 4 will feature a “seltzer stroll” and beer garden with free live music. Come early to shop sidewalk sales and explore the historic Main Street district.
Iowa Arts Festival
The Iowa Arts Festival is an award-winning, weekend-long community celebration featuring over 110 local and national visual artists. On Saturday and Sunday, see high school and college artists in the Emerging Artist Pavilion. But that’s not all: there are music performances, food vendors serving regional and ethnic dishes, and creative, educational activities and entertainment for children. The Iowa Arts Festival is the most anticipated art event of the summer!
Iowa Renaissance Festival
May 28-30/June 4-5; October 8-9
The Iowa Renaissance Festival celebrates 30 years of family fun! Come experience live entertainment featuring comedy, swordplay, music, magic, and even horseback jousting. Explore a marketplace full of unique merchandise from around the land. Enjoy tasty treats and drinks in the royal food court (including adult libations like honey mead). The village awaits your visit!
Celebrate the 12th annual Mount Vernon Chocolate Stroll! Find treats from a variety of chocolate merchants who are hosted by our local businesses for easy shopping. Bring your family. A children’s area will be set up at Memorial Park and will have outdoor games and activities.
Free Fishing with Take a Kid Outdoors
Come and spend your day enjoying the outdoors fishing! There will be live fish, experts from Scheels, food, and prize drawings. Bring a fishing pole if you have one; if not, some will be available. Get help from the experts on what to keep in your tackle box, how to tie knots, bait options, baiting a hook, and much more!
Let Love Fly
Mega kites soar above Centennial Park for a community celebration of love. Come for awe-inspiring views, information, and giveaways from LGBTQ community groups, sponsors, and more.
Iowa Mennonite Relief Sale
Over 40 years old, the Iowa Mennonite Relief Sale is organized annually by over 20 Mennonite and other Anabaptist churches in Iowa. Volunteers work year-round on the planning for the auctions, farmers market, entertainment, children’s activities, meals, and food specialties.
Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival
June 14-July 4
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people attend the two-week festival hosted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to celebrate our nation’s birthday. The community of Cedar Rapids is showcased throughout the Freedom Festival with over 70 events taking place leading up to the grand finale on the 4th of July — the largest fireworks show in Iowa!
Attend the annual Kalona Days celebration in the heart of downtown Kalona. With a focus on local culture and family fun, this event is full of activities for all ages.
Come join the annual Wurst Festival in Amana! The German tradition of making sausages is alive and well in the Colonies and we want to share some of the best with you. Wurst Festival was Voted Best New Festival in Iowa, you don’t want to miss out on this celebration of everything sausage!
June 19th is Juneteenth, known as the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. From a local Black-owned business tour to a community meal and more, be sure to check out the various events happening in Iowa City to commemorate Juneteenth.
Linn County Fair
For 5 days in June, the Linn County Fairgrounds is home to carnival rides, grandstand events, and livestock shows.
Held annually in Riverside, the “future birthplace” of Captain James T. Kirk, this themed event hosts contests, family-friendly games, live music, a demolition derby, 5k race, ball tournament, parade, and more.
Downtown Block Party
The Downtown Block Party returns for 14 blocks of fan favorites such as Dueling pianos, Silent Disco, roller skating, and more! All of the activities are completely free and targeted toward all ages participation. Event cups allow attendees 21+ to purchase and take drinks from the bars and restaurants into the streets.
July Events in the Iowa City Area
Iowa City Jazz Festival
Come down for three days of live jazz performances and delicious dishes. You’re sure to enjoy the music from two stages, which showcase a variety of well-known jazz musicians and up-and-coming talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages. Bring a blanket, and chair, and get ready for a weekend jazz extravaganza!
Coralville 4th Fest
The multi-day festival includes a 5K run/walk entertainment, food, a free concert on July 3, the area’s largest Independence Day parade, free family-friendly activities in the park, and fireworks in S.T. Morrison Park on July 4.
Lincoln Highway Nitty Gritty
The annual Lincoln Highway Nitty Gritty is an open-air show is located in “Uptown” Mount Vernon each July 4th. First Street is surrounded by antique shops, specialty shops, and cafes.
Heritage Days Festival
The 34th Annual Heritage Days Festival, Mount Vernon’s biggest summer festival, will take place Friday, July 8 at Kernoustie Golf Club and Saturday, July 9 in and around Uptown Mount Vernon.
North Liberty Blues & BBQ
North Liberty’s summer tradition is back! Visit Centennial Park for live music, Iowa craft beer, mouthwatering barbecue, and family fun.
Kinderfest is dedicated to children and families. It’s all about the kids and the whole family having fun. There will be games and special events for children of all ages. This is a great family event in the Amana Colonies.
Cedar County Fair
Head to Tipton for carnival rides, grandstand events, and livestock shows.
This summer, we will be filling Iowa City’s downtown sidewalks with tables and tents yet again for our annual sidewalk sales! Shoppers are able to experience the four-day savings extravaganza, which starts on a Thursday and runs through the evening on Sunday. There’s no better way to see the best of what downtown merchants have to offer, so come join us and find some amazing deals!
Solon hosts this two-day celebration with delicious foods, live music, a run event, a parade, and more.
Bike & Hike Weekend
Bring your bike or walking shoes and enjoy a great summer weekend outdoors. The centerpiece of the weekend takes place with Millstream Brewery’s Tour de Brew but you’ll find biking and hiking trails for every age and ability level.
Muscatine County Fair
Head over to West Liberty for carnival rides, grandstand events, and livestock shows.
Colonies in Bloom Garden Party
In partnership with the Amana Heritage Society, we would like to invite you for drinks, dinner, live music, and yard games at the Amana Heritage Museum.
Johnson County Fair
Iowa City hosts carnival rides, a tractor pull, great food, talent shows, livestock, and more.
Swisher Fun Days
Swisher will host a human foosball, bags & horseshoe tournaments, parade, fireworks, and more.
August Events in the Iowa City Area
Mississippi Valley Fair
Davenport will host agriculture, antiques, great food, live music, rides, and more!
Hoover Hometown Days
West Branch celebrates with its most well-known resident, Herbert Hoover, with music, food, rides, and the world championships of Hoover-Ball.
Iowa State Fair
The internationally-acclaimed Iowa State Fair is the single largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. Annually attracting more than a million people from all over the world, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines is Iowa’s great celebration, a salute to the state’s best in agriculture, industry, entertainment, and achievement.
Rock the Chalk
The community is invited to observe the artists’ progress throughout the day and enjoy the live music. From 5-8 p.m., participate in free family activities including tie-dye, face painting, bubbles, spin art, and more along with a continuation of the live music and an opportunity to vote on your favorite chalk art pieces!
Festival of the Arts
Organized by the Amana Arts Guild, artisans display, sell and demonstrate their art to help bring it to life for the visitors. This 40-year-old event includes apple fritters made fresh while you watch and a free Children’s Corner.
Farm to Street Dinner
The event includes a multi-course meal prepared by Iowa City Downtown District chefs with food sourced from local producers. The goal of the Farm to Street Dinner is to bring together members of Iowa City’s diverse, vibrant community to share a table, a story, and a meal, while supporting local food systems.
Taste of Iowa City
The 14th Annual Taste celebrates the culinary diversity of Downtown and Northside restaurants and rewards the Iowa City community with sample portions from 30+ menus!