Iowa City vacation rentals

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Popular amenities for Iowa City vacation rentals

Stay near Iowa City's top sights

The University of Iowa15 locals recommend
Kinnick Stadium27 locals recommend
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics7 locals recommend
Hy-Vee37 locals recommend
Coral Ridge Mall34 locals recommend
New Pioneer Food Co-op29 locals recommend

Quick stats about vacation rentals in Iowa City

  • Total rentals

    300 properties

  • Total number of reviews

    11K reviews

  • Family-friendly rentals

    170 properties are a good fit for families

  • Pet-friendly rentals

    70 properties allow pets

  • Rentals with dedicated workspaces

    150 properties have a dedicated workspace

  • Wifi availability

    290 properties include access to wifi

Your guide to Iowa City

All About Iowa City

A picturesque university town with a meandering river that cuts through the center of town, Iowa City is characterized by red-brick buildings, historic remnants of its past as the state capital, and a renowned love of literature.

Among its literary and cultural attractions are the magnificent three-story Prairie Lights Books & Cafe and the 1915 Englert Theatre, one of Iowa City’s last historic theatres, where you not only go to see a show but also to step back in time to the 1920s. There is even a diner here that dates back to 1935, and its walls are lined with newspaper clippings of all the dignitaries that have visited this bustling university town. Iowa City’s pedestrian-friendly downtown streets are lined with boutiques, mom-and-pop restaurants, and college bars. Just across the Iowa River, you’ll find the Old Capitol Building located on the beautiful University of Iowa campus.

There are plenty of options for outdoor activities around town, including kayaking or paddleboarding on Sand Lake or hiking in the 180-acre Hickory Hill Park, which you reach by crossing through a 19th-century cemetery. If you want to go a bit further afield, the Maquoketa Caves State Park, a 90-minute drive northwest, features the 1,000-foot-tall Dancehall Cave along with several other caverns open to the public.

The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Iowa City

As a busy college town, Iowa City is full of activities all year round, making any season a great time for an Iowa City vacation rental. The summer days are hot and sunny, yet the humidity is far from oppressive, making the prospect of spending the day on the water at the Coralville Reservoir or exploring one of the nearby hiking trails especially appealing. The city also hosts its Jazz Fest and Taste of Iowa City festivals in the summer. During the fall, the city is buzzing with life as students begin their new academic year, and the beautiful University of Iowa campus is framed in fall foliage. Students rush home for the winter holidays, making this a quiet time to wander the city streets. When the snow falls, head to Sugar Bottom State Park, where you can go cross-country skiing.

Top things to do in Iowa City

The Devonian Fossil Gorge

If you have ever wanted to see the 375 million-year-old fossilized remains of the ocean floor, this is the place to do it. The gorge, located just off the banks of the Iowa River of today, was found almost by accident after a devastating 1993 flood washed away the surrounding earth and limestone. Now, you can find a diverse array of fossils showcasing all the little critters that lived there even before the dinosaurs.

University of Iowa Campus

The picturesque campus of the University of Iowa, founded in 1847, stretches across more than 1,700 acres. Visitors are welcome to wander around the expansive grounds and along the adjacent Iowa River Trail. Within the campus, you will find the Iowa Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History, as well as the Old Capitol Building, which served as the home of Iowa’s first government in the mid-19th century. It is now a museum where you can tour an old Supreme Court chamber.

Coralville Reservoir

Located just a 15-minute drive from Iowa City, this enormous reservoir was originally built for flood control and is now a popular recreation spot. When the weather is nice, you can go swimming, fishing, or boating along this tranquil lake or head into the nearby parkland to go hiking or mountain biking.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is the weather in Iowa City?

    Iowa City experiences a wide range of weather throughout the year. Summers can be warm with temperatures often reaching 85°F (29°C), while winters can be quite cold, with temperatures dropping to around 14°F (-10°C). Spring and fall are mild and delightful, with colorful foliage in the autumn.

  • What are some of the best things to do in Iowa City?

    In Iowa City, you can explore the literature-focused Iowa Avenue Literary Walk or enjoy a performance at the Riverside Theatre. For those interested in the arts, visiting the Public Art Program's collection around the city and exploring the Iowa Artisans Gallery are popular activities.

  • What is the best time of year to visit Iowa City?

    The most popular time to visit Iowa City is often during the summer months when the weather is warm. Events such as the Friday Night Concert Series and the Iowa Arts Festival take place during this time. However, the vibrant autumn colors and University of Iowa football games also attract many visitors in the fall.

  • What are the best places to stay in Iowa City?

    Downtown Iowa City is a popular area to stay due to its proximity to a variety of shops, restaurants, and the University of Iowa campus. The Northside District also has a selection of unique lodging options, near a charming historic neighborhood with its own set of dining and shopping options.

  • What are the best places to visit in Iowa City?

    Popular places to visit in Iowa City include the Old Capitol Museum, a historic landmark, and the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, which has a wide array of exhibits. The downtown pedestrian mall, with its unique shops and restaurants, is also a frequented spot.

  • What are some hiking trails in Iowa City?

    Explore the Woodpecker Nature Trail, an accessible 2-mile (3.2 km) loop with diverse habitats, or the challenging 6-mile (9.7 km) trail at Squire Point & Woodpecker Trail. For a riverside hike, the 4.9-mile (7.9 km) Iowa River Corridor Trail is ideal.

  • What are some family activities to do in Iowa City?

    Families can explore the Iowa Children's Museum, a dynamic educational resource packed with interactive exhibits. Nature lovers can visit the Devonian Fossil Gorge, where they can hunt for fossils. The Iowa City Public Library, with its dedicated children's section and weekly storytelling, is also a great option.

  • What are some of the best day trip ideas in Iowa City?

    Consider a day trip to the Amana Colonies, a set of seven villages known for their crafts and historical buildings, located just 26 miles (42 km) from Iowa City. Alternatively, explore Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, just 13 miles (21 km) away, to learn about the 31st president of the United States.

  • Are there pet-friendly vacation rentals in Iowa City?

    Four-legged friends are welcome in Iowa City. Choose from more than 70 vacation rentals for guests traveling with pets.

  • Are there vacation rentals with a dedicated workspace in Iowa City?

    Yes! Work meets play with ease at over 150 vacation rentals in Iowa City featuring dedicated workspaces. Stay connected and productive in your home away from home.

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