Passionate About Iowa City
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Choosing an Iowa City Neighborhood: A Mom’s Guide to Eastside Iowa City

I know a place where you can enjoy a delicious burger with local beef and fries for dinner, stroll to Dairy Queen for an ice cream treat, and then finish the evening watching the sunset by a visionary stone in a prairie preserve. Where is this nirvana of food and forest, you ask? It’s the east side of Iowa City, and it’s a great place to live!

eastside iowa city

There is a healthy mix of apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes in the dynamic east side neighborhoods. My family and I have lived on the east side of Iowa City for nearly a decade near the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Rochester Avenue. Our neighborhood borders the 100-acre Harvest Preserve, complete with undeveloped land, a historical barn, and giant sculptures. It’s the quiet side of town, far enough away from the university to avoid the game day traffic and boisterous undergrads, but close enough to hop on one of the city bus lines to get downtown to work or play. The eastside’s proximity to I-80 via the Herbert Hoover Highway is also a plus if you are a commuter. 

eastside iowa city

The Schools

If you have school-aged littles and are considering a move to Iowa City’s east side, there are nine elementary schools that feed into Southeast Junior High and City High. The Eastside is also home to Regina Catholic Education Center, a pre-K through 12 school off of Rochester Avenue. The Eastside elementary schools include: Lemme, Lincoln (technically zoned to all three junior highs for the immediate future), Longfellow, Lucas, Mann, Hoover, Twain, Grant Wood, and Shimek. 


One of my favorite places to play on the Eastside is at the brand-new playground at Mercer Park on the Southeast side (also has an indoor pool). Swing sets not your jam? Check out the walking trails at Hickory Hill, the splash pad at Wetherby Park, or Rita’s Ranch off-leash Dog Park in Scott Park. In all, there are 24 parks on the Eastside! We love riding bikes on the three-mile loop around Scott Boulevard, Rochester, and First Avenue (also passing through the Harvest Preserve).

eastside iowa city

Eating on the Eastside

While I consider downtown Iowa City a foodie oasis, the Eastside is really where it’s at for family-friendly fare. Here are some of our faves:

eastside iowa city


One of my Eastside friends loves the HyVee Drugstore on the corner of First and Rochester for its true “corner store” vibe. It has dry cleaning drop-off, wine sample nights, fresh produce and flowers, and a pharmacy. If you prefer the full-size grocery, there are two HyVee locations on the Eastside: a brand new Dodge Street location just off of I-80, as well as the First Avenue Hy-Vee. Take advantage of Double-Ad Wednesdays at Lucky’s Grocery on the Southeast side–two weeks’ worth of ads in one day! We love Lucky’s “Sip and Shop” carts with cup holders for $2 wine and beer while you shop for a wide selection of organic and better-for-you foods. Let your partner push the cart and it practically counts as a date night! 

If you’re looking for a charming, convenient neighborhood with tons of amenities and walkability, Iowa City’s Eastside might just be the perfect fit for you and your family. 

Eastsiders shout out! What is your favorite thing about living and raising a family on the east side of Iowa City?



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5 Responses to Choosing an Iowa City Neighborhood: A Mom’s Guide to Eastside Iowa City

  1. Kate February 24, 2017 at 7:47 am #

    Deluxe Barkery and Luckys!

  2. Melody February 24, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    I love Oyama’s lunchtime bento boxes. Tons of food for $8-9–miso soup and ginger-dressing salad. And if you are craving Daylight Donuts *after* they close, they sell them at the gas station next door.

  3. Laura February 24, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    We love Court Hill Park and the walking/bike trail that takes us directly to Heyn’s!

    • Lianna
      Lianna February 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

      YEP! Exactly! As a former Eastsider, I miss all these things! Such a great place to live!

  4. Jess June 15, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

    Hi Ladies!
    We are movie here from Canada and have already fallen in love the East side! Does anyone have neighbourhood suggestions for a family w a 6 year old girl. 3 year old boy and a big friendly dog?
    Thank you!!!!

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