Eat, Drink + Play in Iowa City, Iowa

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Eat, Drink + Play in Iowa City, Iowa

The state of Iowa has no shortage of fun adventures. Whether you live in this beautiful Midwest state or are traveling through, there is plenty to see and do. If you are looking for a family adventure, Iowa City, Iowa is filled with fun things to eat, drink and play. Our family recently spent three filled days in the Iowa City, Iowa area. It is so easy to experience so much so I am breaking down some restaurants and attractions you should add to your list while you travel through Iowa City.

Food + Drink

Our family is definitely about the local food and brews. Whenever we travel we always try to support local and Iowa City is booming with some amazing restaurants.

Big Grove Brewery

1225 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, IA

When we arrived to Iowa City it was lunchtime and we landed at Big Grove Brewery. This beautiful brewery is full of indoor and outdoor fun. Unfortunately, it was raining when we arrived so we did not get to experience the outdoors. The inside is huge and their food choices are delish. The kids enjoyed the big murals. We definitely are taking a trip back so they can play in the kids area outdoors.

Dodge Street Coffeehouse

2790 North Dodge Street Iowa City, IA

We discovered this gem the morning we headed for the children’s museum. We wanted something quick but wanted to support local. The Dodge Street Coffeehouse is located just down the street from where we stayed at The Highlander Hotel. Although inside seating was closed due to the pandemic, I fell in love with their sweet story. They had delicious coffee and some quick breakfast goodies.

The Encounter Cafe

376 S Clinton St, Iowa City, Iowa

This was a cute cafe that was slammed pack when we arrived. It is located in downtown Iowa City and very popular for sure! Everything is made from scratch with fresh ingredients. The kids loved their strawberry smoothies and their coffee was perfect.

ReUnion Brewery

516 2nd St, Coralville, IA

I was not kidding when I said we love to check out breweries. ReUnion Brewery was the perfect lunch spot after our morning of fun at the Iowa Children’s Museum. It is located right down the street. They offered a HUGE menu full of food options. It was the perfect place to fuel up before an afternoon of more fun in Iowa City.

Wilson’s Orchard Farm – Smokehouse

4823 Dingleberry Rd NE, Iowa City, IA

We did not get a chance to eat the smokehouse, but did make a visit to explore the grounds and indulge in apple cider donuts. I have heard amazing things about their BBQ and have added it to our list for when we return. Depending on what time of year you visit, their smokehouse hours vary. Make sure you take a look at their website and plan ahead.


Iowa City, Iowa is loaded with tons of fun! There is so much to see and do. We tried to do it all, but we have plenty of reasons to return.

Coral Ridge Mall

1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville, IA

The Iowa Children’s Museum is located within Coral Ridge Mall. You could definitely plan an entire day here. They offer an indoor skating rink, movie theater, food court, stores, and carousel which we HAD to take a ride on before we left.

Devonian Fossil Gorge

2850 Prairie du Chien Rd NE Iowa City, IA

We did not visit the Devonian Fossil Gorge on this trip but have in the past. It definitely deserves a mention! The Devonian Fossil Gorge is located at the west end of the Coralville Dam. The fossil gorge was created by the flood of 1993 when the water level rose over the dam, then spilled and poured. It tore away topsoil, pavement, sediment, and more. This happened again in 2008 due to floods. This is what exposed the fossils. You can take a look at our adventure exploring here.

Iowa City Mural Tour

Downtown Iowa City is full of beautiful and fun murals. We spent some time walking around and checking them all out. In addition to the murals, the downtown area offers fun shops and restaurants too. We stopped at the local comic shop as we walked. You can also enjoy yotopia yogurt at one of Iowa City’s original self-serve frozen yogurt shops.

Iowa Children’s Museum

1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville, IA

If you are a family visiting the Iowa City area, the Iowa Children’s Museum needs to be on your list. It had been years since we visited and our kids loved it! Due to the pandemic, you must register and purchase tickets in advance due to restricted capacity. We spent the entire morning learning and exploring. From pretending to fly airplanes, serving up pizza, playing doctor, or painting there is something for all ages at the Iowa Children’s Museum.

The Largest Wooden Nickel

Dubuque St. just north of I80

You better believe we did not leave town without seeing the Largest Wooden Nickel. I absolutely love fun and quirky things like this. Just another item we can say we have done in Iowa!

Wilson’s Orchard Farm

4823 Dingleberry Rd NE, Iowa City, IA

Wilson’s Orchard Farm is a beautiful place to explore. It was great to do some hiking and take in some fresh air after a morning at the children’s museum. We also grabbed some yummy apple cider donuts and local cider to take back to the hotel. This place is super popular in the Spring and Fall. Definitely, a must-visit!


Where should you stay when you visit Iowa City, Iowa? The Highlander Hotel of course! We had an amazing experience at this retro family-friendly hotel. This hotel offers a huge indoor pool, courtyard, indoor games, drinks, snacks and so much more. Take a look at our fun experience here.

The Highlander Hotel, Iowa City, Iowa, indoor pool, family hotel, family travel, travel, The Highlander Hotel Supper Club

If you are planning a long weekend away I highly recommend thinking Iowa City, Iowa. So much to see, eat, drink and play in the heart of Iowa.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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