Anita Newhouse June 21, 2018

25+ Things to Do In The Iowa City Area This Summer

Summer in Iowa brings endless possibilities of things to do. From music festivals and outdoor movies to cooling off at the pool, there’s always something going on. We’ve put together an extensive list of our favorite summertime activities that you should add to your summer 2018 bucket list.

Block Party Iowa City_Urban Acres

June

  1. Shakespeare in the open air? It doesn’t get much better than that. Don’t miss out on Riverside Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing taking place at Iowa City’s Lower City Park. Performances are June 21st–24th at 7:30 pm.
  2. In its second year, the Iowa City Downtown District is hosting the ultimate Downtown Block Party on Saturday, June 23rd. The event, which takes place from 5:00–11:00 pm, is open to all ages and jam-packed with fun activities including live music, sand volleyball, an outdoor movie, and much more. Parking will be free downtown on Saturday, June 23rd until 10:30 am on Sunday, June 24th, so there’s no excuse to miss out on the fun!
  3. Our community is filled with historic neighborhoods. One of which—Lucas Farms—will be honoring its neighborhood history with Lucas Farms History Day and Tour de Farms Bike Ride on Sunday, June 23rd. The event will have three unique “venues,” with activities including tours of Plum Grove Historic Home, free kids activities, a neighborhood bike ride, and an art fair.
  4. Do you hear that? It’s jazz music drifting through the air. If you love jazz music (or like good food and drinks), the 2018 Iowa Jazz Festival is a no-brainer for a summertime activity. The festival takes place from June 29–July 1 and features over 40 performances throughout the weekend.
  5. Are you hosting a dinner event in the near future? Even if you aren’t, White Cross Cellars’ Food and Wine Pairing 101 class taking place on Saturday, June 30 at 6:00 pm is sure to be a fun and informative event. The class will help attendees understand the basic principals of pairing food and wine correctly.

July

  1. It wouldn’t be the 4th of July without an abundance of patriotic festivities. The area has a ton of events. One of our favorites is the Coralville 4th Fest, which takes place from July 1–July 4. The multi-day festival includes an Independence Day parade and fireworks.
  2. Fly, fly away at Indian Creek Nature Center’s third annual Monarch Festival. Taking place on Saturday, July 7th, the festival is a family-friendly festival celebrating the extraordinary journey that monarch butterflies make every year.
  3. Get ready to laugh. On Saturday, July 7th local stand-up comedians will take the mic at the Floodwater Comedy Festival Fundraiser. All proceeds will benefit Iowa City’s Floodwater Comedy Festival. The event is 19+ and will take place at 9:00 pm at the Mill.
  4. If you’ve ever dreamed of doing yoga with friendly farm animals, now’s your time to make your dream a reality. The Iowa Farm Sanctuary is offering Yoga on the Farm on Saturday, July 14 at 2:00. The flow will be 60 minutes and all proceeds go directly to the care of the Farm Sanctuary’s rescued animals.
  5. Live music and mouthwatering barbecue are a match made in heaven. On Saturday, July 14th, North Liberty will be hosting its 12th year of Blues and BBQ. Music will be playing, drinks will be flowing, and it’s sure to be a good time!
  6. Enjoy cycling? Like beer? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then Millstream Brewery’s Tour De Brew is for you! The 38-mile bike ride takes place on Saturday, July 14th and features stops throughout the route where riders will have a beer (or root beer!) waiting for them. Beer and brats await riders at the end of the ride.
  7. If you enjoy theater, then you’ll want to snag tickets to the performance of Macbeth taking place at the Englert Theater on Saturday, July 14th.
  8. Since 1971, Solon has been celebrating their town with the annual Solon Beef Days event. From July 20–21, Solon will be bumping with non-stop entertainment: a parade, beer tent, beef dinner, and other events fit for both kids and adults alike.
  9. Iowa’s biggest bike ride, RAGBRAI, will be coming to town on Friday, July 27th. For the first time in over 40 years, Iowa City will be an overnight town. To welcome the over 12,000 cyclists, Iowa City will be encouraging riders to Book it to RAGBRAI and join in on Iowa City’s party. With a beverage garden, food stands, and a main stage featuring alt-country headliners The Jayhawks and Blitzen Trapper as well as Iowa City’s very own Elizabeth Moen and Kevin “B.F.” Burt, the night is sure to be one you won’t forget!
  10. Iowa comes alive in the summertime. The fields are green with corn and soybeans and gardens are bathed with produce and flowers. Want to see some of the area’s most impressive flowers? Come to the Amana Colonies’ “Colonies in Bloom” event. On July 28th, the seven villages will open their private gardens to the public. Most gardens will be open from 10:00am–5:00pm. While you’re in town, make sure to stop by the Amana Colonies’ many iconic shops and restaurants.

August

  1. If you’re looking for a fun event for children and adults alike, Hoover Hometown Days is the place to be on August 3rd and 4th. The annual event features performers, a race car simulator, inflatable rides and games, Hooverball, and much more.
  2. For the first time ever, the City of Cedar Rapids will be hosting NewBo Evolve, a multi-faceted festival that celebrates the creative, bohemian spirit of the city through music, art, fashion, dance, food, and technology. The three-day event, taking place August 3rd–5th, will feature big names such as Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Rippon, and many more.
  3. From Thursday, August 16–Saturday, August 18, the Old Lincoln Highway in Lisbon will be filled with the smell of brats and sauerkraut in the air. In addition to the tasty food, the Sauerkraut Days event will also feature rides, carnival games, bingo, bathtub races, fireworks, family entertainment, and more.
  4. For all you foodies out there, the Taste of Iowa City event is for you! The date has yet to be announced but tends to happen in late August. The event showcases the culinary diversity of Downtown and Northside Iowa City and gives the community a chance to sample portions of food from more than 40 menus!
  5. A market at night? Yes, you heard that right. Market After Dark in Cedar Rapids is much more than vendors; it’s a nightlife experience unlike the rest. On Saturday, August 25th locals can take to the streets for live entertainment, food, beer, wine, art, and much more from 6:30–11:00 pm. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience!

All Summer Long

In addition to the above, there are also events and activities taking place throughout the summer. Check out a few of our favorites below:

  1. Fun isn’t only for the weekends! Mellow Mushroom in Coralville hosts events throughout the week including Bingo Mondays, Trivia Wednesdays, and live music on Thursdays.
  2. If you enjoy good brews and tunes, make sure to visit “Live Saturday Nights” at Millstream Brewery. Every Saturday, live music is playing from 5:00–9:00pm. Music is played in the outdoor biergarten with beer and food available for purchase. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair.
  3. If you like yoga and wine, then you won’t want to miss out on Ackerman Winery’s Yoga and Wine class taking place throughout the summer. Sessions will be a 60-minute class with a glass of wine to follow and will take place on Saturday, July 7, August 11, and September 8, as well as a few more dates in the fall.
  4. The City of Iowa City is hosting a Party In the Park throughout the summer. Events are held weekly from 6:30–8:30pm in June, July, and August, and September and take place at various parks across the city. Each week there will be live music, games, arts and crafts, and frozen treats. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets.
  5. Stay cool at one of the many public pools, water parks, and lakes in the area.
  6. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air at Hickory Hill Park.
  7. Rent a kayak, paddle board, or pedal boat at Lake Macbride or Terry Trueblood Recreation Area.
  8. Cool off with something sweet—check out some local favorites including Heyn’s Ice Cream, Dane’s Dairy, Yotopia, or Rollipop.