Iowa City Stories

Upcoming Event: Black and Gold Blowout

Written by Guy Martino

 Black and Gold Blowout @ Carver Hawkeye Arena—October 19th

There was once a time when watching Iowa men’s basketball was popular, and even exciting. In the 05’-06’ season, the Hawkeyes finished ranked 11th nationally after winning the Big Ten title. This was the era of Greg Burner, Jeff Horner, and Glen Worley, and NCAA Tournament bids were almost automatic. But then the bottom fell out. Over the past half decade, the Iowa basketball program has been slowly sinking to the depths of the Big Ten conference, hitting the .500 mark one measly time. A revolving door of coaches and an overall indifferent attitude has contributed to this dismay.

However, this phase looks to be over, and the excitement is slowly seeping back into Carver Hawkeye Arena. For the upcoming season, head Coach Fran McCaffery has brought in five prestigious recruits who have the potential to make immediate impact as freshmen. Paired with a solid core of returning players from the 11’-12 campaign, things could be looking up.

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Experience Iowa Football Tailgating

Written by Guy Martino

It can’t fully be described in one word. Joy, camaraderie, and of course, revelry are all descriptors. The sheer magnitude of an early fall Saturday morning in Iowa City is dwarfed only by the realization that it will shortly come to an end. Dazzling glints shine off thousands of aluminum Bud Lights, as a sea of black and yellow make their way to Melrose.

Melrose Avenue is the focal point of Iowa football tailgating. It leads the civilized world straight into the belly of the beast, as it stretches from Highway I-380 right to the front step of Kinnick Stadium. And this is exactly where the best tailgate spots are.

The parking lots surrounding the stadium comprise the highest density of tailgaters. Every spot is occupied with a car, a grill, a cooler(s), and several exultant Hawkeye fans. Thousands of these tiny parties engulf the parking lots. There are dozens of RVs directly behind the stadium that tower over these humble cars, but offer welcome refuge and unlimited refreshments.

Directly across the street from the stadium, is a row of food vendors. The smell radiating from this vicinity makes it impossible to resist. Hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, gyros, and much more are sold. The crowd favorite, however, is "The Big Ass Turkey Leg," which is exactly what it sounds like.

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Iowa City's Best Golf Courses

Written by Guy Martino

Golfing is leisure. Imagine you are out on a Fall afternoon with some friends, you grab a beer from the six-pack (swing oil), and step up to a beautifully raised tee looking out over a rolling green landscape. After taking a hack, you jump in the gas powered cart with cushioned seats (nope, no walking involved) and plan your next shot. Now that is relaxation. Here are three of the best places to accomplish this in Iowa City:

Finkbine Golf Course

Since Finkbine is the home course for the Iowa Hawkeye golf team, visitors will be ensured of parameters that meet Big Ten standards. However, people will be left to decide if the value is up to par, so to speak. For the general public, a weekend greens fee will run at $62 per person ($45 for the round of golf, $17 for a cart).

There is no doubt that Finkbine is in the upper echelon of area courses. “Home of the Hawkeyes” is a major draw, and it has the most exciting and legendary hole in Iowa (allegedly). No. 13 is an island hole, reminiscent of the iconic TPC Sawgrass No. 17. Except instead of one, there are two islands (being landlocked in the middle of corn country, maybe they are overcompensating). Nonetheless, is an astonishing hole, with great aesthetic quality.

If you can get over paying a little more, Finkbine might be your place.

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Best Bars in Iowa City

Written by Guy Martino

The University of Iowa was recently named the #2 party school in the United States. The Princeton Review conducted multiple surveys where anonymous online users could document their various college party experiences. The University of Iowa, which is located in Iowa City, trails only The University of West Virginia on the list. 

While these rankings do lack scientific and objective research, there is no question that Iowa City has a thriving nightlife. Thousands of rowdy revelers crowd the bars in search of affordable drink specials and a fun place to party. If you are ever in town with a craving for loud dance music and cherry bombs, you might want to try these places:

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The Great Outdoors of Iowa City

Written by Guy Martino

Put Netflix on pause, get off the couch, and step outside! There is a whole world out there, and enjoying its many activities can be fun and fulfilling. Here is a small list of outdoor suggestions in the Iowa City area.

Coralville Lake Area

Coralville Lake is a one-stop-shop for an outdoor adventurer. Specifically, this lake is a reservoir plugged up by the Coralville Dam. Sure, it’s man made, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Here are a just a few things to try at Coralville Lake:

Coralville Res Beach-- Paradise in the middle of Iowa. This beach is small and simple, but that is part of its beauty. People in Iowa aren’t usually attuned to white sand beaches or glimmering turquoise waters. So the one hundred yard long dark sand beach is a perfect destination during the sweat-dripping days of summer. “The Res” rests in the shadows of the rocky Coralville Dam, and plays host to flocks of college kids during the warm seasons. Admission is $1 per person and once you’re in, grilling, volleyball, and swimming are all options. It’s a mere five minutes away from downtown Iowa City, so convenience is another attraction.

Camping-- If you want to camp, you got it. Coralville Lake is home to numerous campsites. Three of the most popular are: Sugar Bottom, West Overlook, and Sandy Beach. You can spend an adventurous night with the family, or create a fun camping party with your buddies. Either way, there are many ways to have a good time at these locations.

Turkey Creek-- This is a beautifully kept disc golf course and a nature trail. This 18-hole disc course is long, and comes highly regarded by avid discers.

Fishing-- Anglers have great luck in Coralville Lake, as well as nearby Lake Macbride. If you want to fish, avoid the summer months. Fish in the spring and fall, and be ready to catch buckets of crappie, small and largemouth bass, walleye, bluegill, and even some pike.

All of the previous attractions are relative to the Coralville Dam, and are directly directly adjacent to one another. A walk or short drive is all you need to get from one place to another.

Bike Trails

There are plenty of bike trails in the Iowa City area. The Iowa River Corridor (IRC) trail is the most heavily used. While only six miles long, it connects to most of the city, making it easy to make a pit stop at a store or grab a bite to eat. 

Skate Park

There is something for everyone. Located in Terrell Mill Park directly across from Mayflower dorm, the City Skatepark is available for boarders. It opened ten years ago and is a popular hangout spot. 

Image courtesy

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