Summer rocks the area


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Things to do in Iowa City this summer (For free or very little cost).

Visit a local park or bike trail

Iowa is blessed with an abundance of accessible nature. Thankfully, parks in Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty are free. As an added bonus, most parks in the area also host festivals around the holidays or markets. Some of the best parks to visit are City Park in Iowa City and  Morrison Park in Coralville. If parks aren’t your fancy, then visit a bike trail such as Hickory Hill’s. 

Visit the Farmer’s Market (in Iowa City or Coralville)

Iowa is fortunate to have plenty of local farmers to provide locally grown food. The markets, which happen during the summer and fall, are open to roam. Some farmers’ markets even feature local artists. One such market takes place across the street from City Hall, and this summer marks its 44th year.

More than 130 vendors set up on Saturday mornings, selling homemade bread, sweets, fresh vegetables, and other items. Vendors also sell in the Chauncey Swan parking ramp on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. and Tuesdays in Mercer Park  from 3-6 p.m.

Enjoy open mike night at the Mill

The Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., has for many decades provided free music to the public on Monday nights. Open Mike nights feature everything from comedy to musical acts. Sit down and enjoy a night full of music with special drink deals, as well as meals on promotion.

Coralville Reservoir 

If you’re in the mood for walking, hitting up the Coralville Reservoir is completely free. There are several trails around the area, and the walk provides breathtaking views of the water. But there are chances to get into the water, too; the Reservoir provides recreation opportunities such as boating and swimming. The swimming beaches are located at Sugar Bottom, Sandy Beach, and West Overlook recreation areas, and they are open to the public. Sugar Bottom is free, while the other beaches charge $1 per person. It’s not a bad price to pay for an afternoon of sun and water.

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