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Old 05-27-2011, 03:55 PM
 
Location: the dairyland
1,217 posts, read 1,996,759 times
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Hello dear Iowans!

I am thinking about applying for a PhD program at the University of Iowa that I find very interesting. I know that I will spend most of my time at school, but I was wondering what life in Iowa City is like. Growing up in rural Europe I don't really need a big city life like Chicago, but I enjoy a nice variety of restaurants to try out, movie theaters, a concert every once in a while and would not like the feeling of being stuck in the middle of nowhere (no offense, I don't mean to criticize Iowa)... the only city in the US I have lived in so far is Milwaukee, so if anyone can compare those two, go for it!
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
420 posts, read 1,048,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob702 View Post
Hello dear Iowans!

I am thinking about applying for a PhD program at the University of Iowa that I find very interesting. I know that I will spend most of my time at school, but I was wondering what life in Iowa City is like. Growing up in rural Europe I don't really need a big city life like Chicago, but I enjoy a nice variety of restaurants to try out, movie theaters, a concert every once in a while and would not like the feeling of being stuck in the middle of nowhere (no offense, I don't mean to criticize Iowa)... the only city in the US I have lived in so far is Milwaukee, so if anyone can compare those two, go for it!
Dearest Iowans,

I have a fine opinion of your state, and your flagship university U of Iowa. I, like the OP above, have similar questions regarding Iowa City.

I am applying to the Iowa WW in the Fall, and as you all probably know, it is far and above the most respected and prestigious creative writing program in the entire United States, if not the world. So, if accepted, Iowa will be a likely choice for graduate study.

From what I've read, Iowa City is a liberal little city. True? Untrue? What's the artistic community like? Is the pace of life slower, than say, New England? Thanks all for your insight.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Sugar Land
118 posts, read 176,168 times
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From the interests that you both have listed, I expect you would both find Iowa City to be a lovely, little city. It's a liberal college-town with a strong arts community. Of course you'll find malls, movie theatres and Applebee's. You'll also find some great local restaurants, coffee shops and bars. There are also an abundance of more "cultured" events such as plays, symphonies, and jazz fest (summer).

There's a reason that the WW has done so well for so long. While the writers themselves have had much to do with the success, the community has been far from a hindrance.

It's not Chicago or NY, and it never will be. The good news is that it's not Mayberry, either.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:23 PM
 
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Iowa City feels a lot larger than it actually is. Maybe its the density of its core and walkability of the streets near downtown, but I never feel as though there is a lack of action in Iowa City.

I am an undergraduate who just finished my junior year at UI. Iowa City used to be the nightlife spot in Iowa before they disallowed anyone below age 21 in the bars after 10 PM last year. Basically, the downtown consists of mainly bars and restaurants, making for some rowdy nights. Before the 21 ordinance, some nights felt out of control, rivaling Bourbon street in New Orleans. Now, things are definitely calmer, but there still exists a significant party atmosphere, especially on weekend nights.

Overall, I think Iowa City is now in a great place. The wild, out of control nights have become more subdued. The nightlife is still very fun, but other options are emerging. The new Wellness and Recreation Center that opened in Aug. 2010 is incredible. It's probably the nicest rec center I've ever seen. Check out the pool during open swim times. Iowa City is an awesome city because it isn't too large, but you still get the benefits of a larger city without all of the negatives. You won't regret coming here!
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:36 PM
 
1,114 posts, read 2,124,676 times
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I'm just finishing my PhD at Iowa City and it is a fantastic city. I'll be sad to leave it. There are great local restaurants, especially downtown, but many other places as well. Google Devotay, One-Twenty-Six, Giavanni, and Graze to get a little feel for it. There are also way more ethnic restaurants than a town this size has any right to have. There are great options for Thai, Japanese, Vietnemese, and Indian. Used to be an Ethiopian place, which is now closed, but I know he's looking for the right space to re-open in.

There are farmer's markets somewhere in town just about every day of the week during the summer, although the big one is on Saturday mornings downtown. For entertainment, check out the schedules of Hancher Auditorium (which was flooded ~2008, but still brings in acts that are hosted around town) , Englert Theatre, or the Shakespeare Festival. There are free concerts downtown on Friday and Saturday evenings through the summer. These are mostly local, but very talented, bands. 4th of July weekend is awesome, with the Iowa City Jazz Fest running for ~3 days with some of the best groups in the country, Coralville (the adjoining city) bringing in some classic band such as Charlie Daniels or Kansas, and fireworks in both cities.

There are two main theatres in town, plus the Bijoui theatre shows the independent, artsy stuff (I think, I've never been there). The town is definitely liberal (the college Republicans group holds a "Conservative Coming Out" week to try to drum up support). Heck, we have "No Nuclear Weapons Allowed" signs on the edge of town (seriously).

Other than that, if you come to Iowa City, try to get out and enjoy the surrounding small towns a bit as well...each one has its own little thing. Check out Lincoln Cafe in Mount Vernon (foodisimportant.com), or the Daly Creek Winery and Bistro in Annamosa (Daly Creek Winery & Bistro | The Iowa Wine Trail). Or head west for the Fireside Winery (Fireside Winery) followed by supper at the Ladora Bank Bistro (Ladora Bank Bistro Contemporary Elegance, Historic Splendor). All of these places are within a 1hr drive.

Have I mentioned that I love Iowa City??
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Chicago
6,365 posts, read 7,036,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SL Hawkeye View Post
It's not Chicago or NY, and it never will be. The good news is that it's not Mayberry, either.
of course, that doesn't prevent us Chicagoans from being crazy about the place. I'm sure you folks are well aware that the University of Iowa tends to be our second flagship public university, right after UIUC. The school sometimes gets the joking name of the Univeristy of Illinois at Iowa.

We tend to love both UI and Iowa City and going to college there is one of the top destinations of the best of suburban Chicago high schools.

So if you are looking for one of those super cool college towns, the highly urbanized Chicago voters will give two thumbs ups (hey...we're where Siskel and Ebert got that all started) to IC. That's most two more thumbs that would go up for Champaign. Or for Urbana.

Keep in mind that the University of Iowa is one of those rare birds (hey..it IS a Hawkeye) among public universities in that this year's freshmen class had a higher percentage of out of staters than in-staters. Since it is hard to separate UI from Iowa City (in reality, few college campuses are woven into their city and flow seamlessly one to another. U-M and Ann Arbor is the only other example I can think of), keep in mind that both city and university transcend any image you have of the state of Iowa (which is, for the record, a pretty nice state). My point is that Big Ten membership has always pulled UIowa eastward across the Mississippi (while UNL has spent its entire history, up to now, not even relating to east of the Missouri). The school is in far eastern Iowa which is basically like Illinois or Wisconsin in nature and the Chicago connection has always influenced the nature of school and town (from my experience, Chicago sports teams dominate among the pro's, transportation links to Chicago far exceed other major midwest metros, and the university even maintains a major Chicago office).

Sorry if I got long winded here. Just trying to say that Iowa City is molded by many forces, a goodly number being out of state. It can hold its own with the best of the college towns.

Last edited by edsg25; 06-06-2011 at 10:14 AM..
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:38 AM
 
9 posts, read 40,982 times
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I am in coralville,which is right next to Iowa City.
I can walk to the football games at kinnick stadium.
I have lived in Atlanta and TN and NC and SC.
Iowa city and Coralvile are safe and fun if you are college aged, you will like it.

MY wife just graduated so we have our house for sale since we are moving back to NC to be closer to family. But we loved the area.
I feel safe to walk/job/bike anywhere around here. Its a nice little town.

1 word of advice on housing if you are buying, stay away from the area behind the k-mart. The prices are dropping over there still. There are some run down houses there as the foreclosures are rising there. Most of the other areas are still holding steady for the last 3 years since it is a college town the economy is still being buoyed here. Any questions just PM me.
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