If you are like most Midwesterners, spring brings an “at last!” proclamation and the sunshine brightens your day knowing that you can return to spending hours outdoors. Travel plans are back in the works - weekend getaways with good friends to de-stress and enjoy the spring temperatures. Make Iowa City’s outdoor events and green spaces a trip this May – there are so many places to enjoy activities and time outside. Here’s a weekend plan to get the wheels turning:
Friday, May 20
Arrive in town in time for Friday Night Concert Series in the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Iowa City. On the schedule for May 20 are the jazz ensembles of two local high schools. Free concerts take place each Friday throughout the summer and consistently see a great turnout. After the concert, snag a late night treat from Molly’s Cupcakes, just a few blocks down Clinton Street.
Saturday, May 21
Get an early start at the Iowa City Farmers Market, which runs from 7:30am to noon. Peruse the food trucks for some breakfast food (CinnaMini donuts? Yes, please.) before exploring 130+ booths in the Chancey Swamp Parking Ramp for crafts, jewelry, local produce and handmade items. Locals and visitors alike love this market!
Take your time getting to High Ground Café for lunch. Located in the Northside Marketplace a short walk away, High Ground is a coffee shop and lunch stop serving paninis, soups, salads, coffee, cold drinks, beer and wine. It’s a great place to rest your legs for a bit.
Go paddle boarding in the heart of downtown – yes, you heard right! New this year, the Iowa City Downtown District is partnering with Avid 4 Adventure for some free fun for all ages in Black Hawk Mini Park until 7pm.
Keep up the activity by taking a walk heading west along the Clear Creek Trail, starting at Tom Harkin Trailhead in Coralville. A beautiful trail, you’ll find it well maintained and accommodating of either a long or short walk.
Wind down for dinner at Vesta in the Iowa River Landing. This Mediterranean-style restaurant has delicious menu items from burgers to scallops. You are sure to leave satisfied!
Sunday, May 22
Cap off the weekend by heading to the Johnson County Fairgrounds for an antique flea market, scheduled to run from 8am-3pm. You never know what you find you may need!
If you are up for a second round of farmers markets, stop by North Liberty’s Penn Landing Market starting at 11am. You’ll find food, music and friendly faces in this growing community.