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Old 10-23-2007, 11:09 AM
 
Location: the big apple
127 posts, read 699,361 times
Reputation: 77

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Can some of you tell me about this city? What's the architecture like? Are there are lot of trees and parks or is there a lot of concrete? Is there a central downtown where people eat at outdooor cafes and browse bookshops? Is it family friendly? Clean? I know nothing about this city other than it's a college town, has good schools and is progressive. Much thanks.
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Old 10-23-2007, 12:03 PM
 
5,949 posts, read 14,405,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheChooch View Post
Can some of you tell me about this city? What's the architecture like? Are there are lot of trees and parks or is there a lot of concrete? Is there a central downtown where people eat at outdooor cafes and browse bookshops? Is it family friendly? Clean? I know nothing about this city other than it's a college town, has good schools and is progressive. Much thanks.
Hi TheChooch--I graduated from UI many years ago and lived in IC for several years. We go there several times a year to visit inlaws. Architecturally, IC is kind of ugly and jumbled looking with the exception of the North Side, Goosetown, Manville Heights and as few of the downtown blocks that haven't been "renewed" The UI campus is huge and beautiful with classic buildings and lovely landscaping. Yes, lots of trees, but lots of concrete, too. Too many cars in town. Downtown IC is wonderful. Lots of bars and restaurants (mostly catering to students). Great independent bookstores--my favorite is Prairie Lights, right downtown. IC is a literary town with the UI Writers Workshop located there (Dylan Thomas, Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving to name a few former faculty) Yes, it is family friendly with good schools and lots of neighborhoods where college students don't live. Very clean IMHO, too. Extremely progressive politically, many characterize it as a "little Madison". Because of the University's dominance, most people there are from "somewhere else". My wife is one of the few native Iowa Citians I ever met there. Lots of grad students and professors from other countries. Some of the locals will try to tell you that crime is high, but it's not.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-24-2007, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Chicago
6,365 posts, read 7,036,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Around View Post
Extremely progressive politically, many characterize it as a "little Madison". Because of the University's dominance, most people there are from "somewhere else".
What's nice about Iowa City is how the university dominates even more than UW does in much bigger and diverse Madison.

UI is the smallest of the public universities in the Big Ten and having every bit of the feel of a major flagship state university, is more nicely scaled than the other B10 publics. Iowa impresses without overpowering.

Personally I'd put Iowa City among the gems of Big Ten college towns (based on my opinion): Iowa City, Madison, Ann Arbor, Bloomington, Evanston...I find all of them great.
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,809,214 times
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Architecture:
IC doesn't have one over-arching theme like other cities. There's many nice older Victorians around the city and the downtown is pretty typical of the brick storefront Midwestern thing. The University also has some gems; the Frank Gehry tech building is nice and the new Stephen Holl Art Building West won an AIA award last year. Also the Plaza Towers downtown is a nice modern mid-rise.

Liveability:
Iowa City has a big traditional City Park, the more natural Hickory Hills and several neighborhood "pocket parks". It's a fairly green city, overall. Coralville on the other hand is pretty much a big concrete spread, and North Liberty is becoming that way. Traffic is more of a problem than it should be, but we have a good public transportation system and are pretty bikeable (9 months of the year, at least).

Downtown:
Very nice downtown, quite diverse. There are several food carts and cafes with outdoor seating. Prairie Lights is the behemoth book store downtown, but there are others around the city. Is it family friendly? I would say yes. The area has too many bars for it's own good though, and gets out of hand sometimes. I'd avoid it weekend nights, for sure. There's also some homelessness, but no more than you'd expect anywhere else.

Progressiveness:
IC is the most progressive city in Iowa, if that says anything. It's less so than Madison though, but being more rural accounts for a lot of that. Still about 70-30 democrat and GLBT friendly.
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:56 PM
 
204 posts, read 935,392 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharpHawkeye View Post
Progressiveness:
IC is the most progressive city in Iowa, if that says anything. It's less so than Madison though, but being more rural accounts for a lot of that. Still about 70-30 democrat and GLBT friendly.
There's a derogatory politcal stigma about Johnson County among conservatives who call it the People's Republic of Johnson County. It has to be the most open-minded and tolerant area in Iowa. Sadly, some people may see that as a drawback to living there.
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:25 PM
 
5,949 posts, read 14,405,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfrerkes View Post
There's a derogatory politcal stigma about Johnson County among conservatives who call it the People's Republic of Johnson County. It has to be the most open-minded and tolerant area in Iowa. Sadly, some people may see that as a drawback to living there.
Well, those people have plenty of other places they can choose from.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:20 AM
 
Location: the big apple
127 posts, read 699,361 times
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Thanks so much for the feedback. My husband is wondering if there are any lakes for sailing around Iowa City. What kinds of opportunities are there for outdoor recreation and being close to nature? I appreciate your input.
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:43 AM
 
11,289 posts, read 23,038,040 times
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I don't know if you can SAIL on any of the lakes, but there are 2 decent size lakes just north of Iowa City.

Lake Mcbride, and Coralville Lake.

They both have beaches, boat ramps, miles of trails, are surrounded by forests, and have lots of campgrounds.

I grew up near them, and we'd go up to the beach a lot as a child, or just walking on the trails.
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:06 AM
 
3,376 posts, read 12,235,105 times
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Just to add my 2 cents worth, IC is very, very green. Of course the campus and downtown areas have lots of buildings and sidewalks, but even then there are still tons of trees and grass all over campus and a river that runs through the middle of campus. The rest of the city is very green, tons of trees, small parks all over, and just very nice. It is always a nice and relaxing change to go back and get away for a weekend (I went to school there). Tons of bike riders all over as well.

Downtown is very nice, and although it caters to college students, there are still very nice boutique stores and good restaurants that are not soley "bars" that cater to the young crowd. There is some outdoor eating at places downtown, although keep in mind that the majority of the year it is way too cold to eat outdoors

And yes, IC is about as progressive and liberal as you can get.
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:44 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,183,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheChooch View Post
Thanks so much for the feedback. My husband is wondering if there are any lakes for sailing around Iowa City.
Yes, but it depends on what kind of sailing! This is probably the best resource for questions on sailing: Iowa Sailing Club You can probably get an idea of the size of the lake from the fleet list.
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