Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque St. – One of the better independent bookstores around, with a massive selection ranging from best-sellers to the obscure. The shop regularly hosts readings by authors.
John’s Grocery, 401 E. Market St. — Affectionately known as “Dirty John’s,” this shop has an assortment of beer (about 700 varieties) that must be seen to be believed.
Pedestrian Mall, 325 E. Washington St. — Adjacent to several bars and restaurants, this area is a great people-watching spot, as well as a perfect place to enjoy some food- cart dining you can’t get in Des Moines.
University of Iowa Art Museum — The floods of 2008 damaged the museum’s former building, but the collection has been spread around the campus so the art can be experienced. Check out uima.uiowa.edu for info and locations.
Hamburg Inn, 214 N. Linn St. — Come for the burgers, stay for a chance to meet political candidates who make a habit of visiting the restaurant every four years.
Deadwood Tavern, 6 S. Dubuque St. —This Yelp review sums up the dive best: “Not particularly clean. Lots of odd and unattractive people. Sometimes surly bartenders. It’s one of the best bars in Iowa City.”
New Pioneer Co-op, 22 S. Van Buren St. — A member-owned grocery store (but open to all), with all your healthy, organic needs. Also, they have great handmade pastries.
Hilltop Tavern, 1100 N. Dodge St. — Open since 1933 (as The Last Chance), Hilltop has one of the oldest liquor licenses in the state. The bar serves food until 1 a.m., in case you need some late-night lobster bites.
Devotay Restaurant & Bar, 117 N. Linn St. — A hot cocktail bar that hosts regular cocktail classes. chef Kevin Butler is a finalist for Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef.
Short’s Burger & Shine, 18 S. Clinton — Good burgers, better beer. Or maybe it’s the other way around. All of Short’s draft lines are dedicated to Iowa-made beers and the Black Angus beef comes from less than 30 miles away.