The Tailgater’s Guide to Iowa City, Revised 2019 Edition

Kinnick Stadium at night is a special environment, but it doesn’t need to be a night game to have a tremendous time in Iowa City.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Tailgater’s Guide to Iowa City was first published in fall of 2017. Each year, we build on that original guide with updates, additions and revisions as appropriate. If you have thoughts, tips or tricks you use, please share them in the comments below. This is by no means a comprehensive guide, but this great community has a wealth of knowledge that could be tremendously helpful to someone making the trek.

If you are making the trip to Iowa City either for the first time or the first time in a while, be sure to check out footballgameday.hawkeyesports.com for the latest information about tailgating pollicies, road closures and more.


It’s finally here. Football is back. The Hawkeyes aren’t playing this week, but it’s game week for the likes of Miami, Florida, Arizona and Hawai’i. A week from today, it will be game week across the country and for Hawkeye fans, that means making the trek to the Mecca of Iowa Football known as Kinnick Stadium. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the Iowa City tailgate scene or making your first trip, we’re here to break down what you need to know to have a great experience in Iowa City.

LOGISTICS

So you want to go to an Iowa football game, eh? Well first things first, you gotta get there. And believe me, that’s half the battle. Iowa City may not be a big city, but it’s a growing one. That means a constant state of construction. Plan ahead to avoid major delays and frustration.

POINTS OF INTEREST

Before you start punching in directions in your fancy GPS, the first thing you really need to decide is where you’re headed. If you’re coming in the day before, it’s likely you’re off to your hotel or perhaps just downtown Iowa City in general to get the weekend started. That’s easy enough.

If you’re coming in on game day, you need to know where you’re dropping that car off the next several hours. It isn’t doing you any good around the stadium. Quite the contrary, it’s just going to slow you down.

Here’s a look at some points of interest in Iowa City as you make your preparations.

Plan your itinerary, then check your route and get on your way.

STREET CLOSURES

As already mentioned, Iowa City is in a perpetual state of construction. Fortunately for Hawkeye fans, 2019 looks to be a bit better than the recent past with major reconstruction projects on some key arteries either finished or nearly so.

For starters, the raising Dubuque Street has been completed and your main entry point into downtown Iowa City from the north is now fully operational. That includes a brand new Park Road bridge for anyone looking to cross the river from Dubuque Street. That’s particularly useful if you are coming through the back door to places like the Dental Lot or are planning to tailgate in the Hancher Lot.

Further west, 1st Avenue in Coralville (aka Hayden Fry Way) construction is largely complete. There are still some minor restrictions as of this writing, but by and large the work is done and delays on the Fryway should be minimal for much of the 2019 season.

Similarly, Mormon Trek Boulevard, which turns into 1st Avenue in Coralville, is undergoing some construction. Much of it is also done, but the changes are significant. The road is now one lane each way south of Melrose Avenue. That’s bad news if you plan to take your car south on Mormon Trek, but good news if you’re a biker as the lane reduction was made to add bike lanes each direction and add a center turn lane.

On the east side of town, Governor Street is still under some construction at one point south of Jefferson Street. This is only an issue if you’re looking to exit Iowa City on the east side as Governor is a one way mirroring Dodge Street (they merge at the Hilltop Tavern). Nonetheless, if you’re looking to get onto I-80 east and typically avoid Dubuque Street’s traffic, be aware you’ll have a minor detour on Governor.

In addition to the construction impacts, the University has announced some traffic adjustments around the stadium. Beginning 2.5 hours before the game through two hours after the game, Hawkins Drive east of Kinnick Stadium will close between Melrose Avenue and Evashevski Drive. Additionally, Melrose Avenue will convert to 2 lanes for westbound (read: ZERO lanes for eastbound) vehicles from Evashevski Drive to the point where Melrose becomes four lanes.

Additional changes are outlined on the map below:

Image via Hawkeyesports.com

NOTE: This map was created prior to the North End Zone construction project. North Evashevski Drive, while still on the map, is no longer in its ordinary existence. It was largely absorbed by the North End Zone. The road now stretches only from Melrose Avenue to the north end of Lot 43 with what remains of the former Evashevski Drive being a bus lane.

PARKING

So you’ve figured out where you want to go and how to get there without waiting 3 hours in traffic. Great. Now where are you parking your car? If you haven’t forked over the money for a reserved spot in one of the donor lots, my recommendation is to park downtown and make the walk. According to the Google machine, the walk is just under a mile and should take you roughly 20 minutes. It’s not ideal, but you’re going to have a much easier time getting a spot, less headache trying to leave after the game, and you get to take in all the sights along the way.

This is especially true if you’re planning to soak up any of downtown Iowa City either before or after the game. There’s a Kum and Go en route to the stadium for last minute supplies/ill-advised restroom breaks, the best the UI student-body has to offer along Burlington Street, and a Riverside Drive overpass which definitely won’t collapse regardless of the massive volume of pedestrians and the swaying sensation you get crossing.

But there are those of us who, for various reasons, can’t or don’t want to walk a mile to get to the action. Luckily, there are a number of public parking options closer to the stadium provided by the University. Here’s a map:

Image via Hawkeyesports.com

There are also dozens of entrepreneurial locals who will gladly rent you a few square feet of their yard/driveway/anything they can find for $5-20. Leaving isn’t always as easy, but you’re not walking as far and that means more time to get to the good stuff.

HAWKEYE EXPRESS

Want to skip all the hassle of construction and parking and still avoid walking? Check out the Hawkeye Express. You’ll miss out on downtown, but there’s plenty of time for that later (or earlier). If you have a youngster, the train is always a crowd-pleaser.

A round-trip ticket will set you back $15 per person, but kids under 12 are free. Despite being free, you still have to go through the line to get a ticket for everyone who will ride.

You hop on the Express at the “depot” in front of IHOP and the Comfort Suites in Coralville. That’s just across 2nd Street from the Coral Ridge Mall and a few minutes from both Interstate 80 and 380. There is free parking, but things do get crowded closer to game time.

Image via youtube.com

Service begins three hours before kick-off for 11:00 a.m. games and four hours before for all other games. Service stops for the first three quarters of the game so no luck if you need to leave early (not that you ever would, right!?) but picks back up again at the start of the fourth quarter and continues until 90 minutes after the game.

The dropoff location by the stadium is just down a flight of stairs and across the western portion of Evashevski Drive from Kinnick.

WHAT TO SEE

So, you’ve decided on your preferred mode of transportation, you know where you’re parking and what streets to avoid. What is there to see once you get into town? Let’s take a look.

THE PENTACREST & OLD CAPITOL

This is it, the heart of campus. If you went to the University of Iowa, you’ve almost certainly had a class or five in one of the four buildings surrounding the Old Capitol that make up the iconic core of Iowa’s beautiful campus. The east end is adjacent to downtown Iowa City, making it a perfect spot to grab a quick picture before you head across the river for the game.

Image via iowasae.com

If you get into town early, you can scope out the Museum of Natural History at Macbride Hall. It’s not what you came for, but if you’ve got kiddos you can kill an hour checking out the sloth and other various artifacts.

Head down the hill to the west of the Pentacrest and you’re facing the Iowa Memorial Union, Main Campus Library and about a three-quarters of a mile walk to Kinnick.

PEDESTRIAN MALL

Just as the Pentacrest is the heart of the UI campus, the Ped Mall is the heart of downtown Iowa City. Just southeast of the Pentacrest and bounded by Clinton Street to the west, Washington Street to the north, Linn Street to the east and Burlington Street (OK, the Sheraton Hotel) to the south, the Ped Mall is where all the non-football action is.

This is the main hub for bars and restaurants, and on gameday it will be overflowing with black and gold-clad fans. There are a number of places to grab your last-minute Hawkeye gear or gameday supplies.

If you’re looking for something to do, somewhere to eat or drink, or just some good people watching, this is the place to be any day of the week in Iowa City.

ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME

Located just a little over a mile west of Kinnick Stadium along Melrose Avenue (across Mormon Trek Blvd from Finkbine Golf Course), the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame is a great place to spend an hour or half a day depending on your schedule and level of interest. Admission is free and the walk to Kinnick is doable, though not ideal. Here’s what the UI has to say about the museum:

The University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame is the ultimate fantasy for a Hawkeye fan. The UI Athletics Hall of Fame has three floors of Hawkeye memories; from the National Championship trophies to the Orange Bowl to Nile Kinnick’s Heisman trophy. The UI Athletics Hall of Fame is a must see destination for friends and fans of the intercollegiate athletic programs at the University of Iowa.

I’ve been a number of times and you genuinely can learn something new each time. It’s a bit of a shame the HoF isn’t closer to Kinnick and Carver. If you have the time, it’s worth the trip.

KINNICK STATUE

As you prepare for the game, you obviously need to think about how early you want to get into the stadium. Are you the type to get there in time to see warm-ups or the guy who has to finish one more game of flippy cup or down one more brat before sliding into your seat as the first kickoff takes place? Either way, try to save enough time to walk by the Nile Kinnick Statue on the south end of the stadium.

As was highly publicized, the statue was recently removed for repairs, but it’s back in its rightful place now. Given the stadium’s namesake and the prominence in Iowa Football history, I think the Kinnick statue is a must see - even if your seats happen to be on the opposite side of the stadium.

KINNICK STADIUM

Speaking of the stadium, it’s a site in and of itself. You’ll hear it referred to as “beautiful and historic Kinnick Stadium” on the PA system from inside, and it’s true.

Kinnick was built in 1929, before Nile Kinnick was even in Iowa City. Originally known as Iowa Stadium, the Hawkeyes christened their new home with a 46-0 drubbing of Monmouth College. Back then, Kinnick was one of the larger stadiums in the land, holding 53,000 fans.

Since then, it’s undergone quite a transformation, while maintaining its early heritage. The exterior facade looks much the same as it did in the early days, though there is now a large press box on the west side of the stadium and each endzone now has stands. Those additions brought capacity up to 70,585. In 1972, Iowa Stadium was formally renamed Kinnick Stadium after the University’s only Heisman Award winner and American hero Nile Kinnick.

The transformation is still ongoing with the North Endzone Project. While that is nearly complete, some finishes touches are still in progress.

For anyone who hasn’t been to the stadium since the project started after the 2017 season, it’s a visual stunner. The new scoreboard is now operational and the added height on that end of the stadium is tremendous.

It really makes one wonder what they need to fund raise to get the south endzone to match. It looks a bit unnatural having the two ends different.

WHAT TO DO

Outside of the game itself, there is plenty to do ahead of kickoff in and around Iowa City. A lot will depend on your timing, but there are lots of options if you get to town the Friday before and make a weekend of it.

FRY FEST

The first week of every season dating back to 2009, Hawkeye fans have been celebrating the return of Iowa Football by paying homage to the living legend that is Hayden Fry. Fry Fest kicks off at 9 am the Friday (or Fryday) before the home opener on Labor Day weekend and runs until 10pm at the Coralville Marriott and Convention Center (see map above).

If you’re an Iowa fan, there’s something for you at Fry Fest. Things officially kick off with the blood drive at 9, but the real action starts at 10am when the tradeshow and collector’s showcase open. Throughout the day, there are opportunities to meet current and former Hawkeyes, listen to them speak, and get a perfect photo op with Herky.

The afternoon includes the High Porch Block Party, complete with food trucks, a kids zone, and a bags (cornhole) tournament. There’s also a band and a pep rally. Things conclude with a fireworks show at 10pm.

Also of note for Iowa fans, in honor of the 15th anniversary of the 2004 season, a number of former Hawkeyes will be on hand for a panel discussion and autographs.

You can see the entire schedule of events below.

Capture via FryFest.com

If you have the opportunity to get into Iowa City a day early for the season opener, this is a must stop for Hawkeye fans.

FOOD

Looking for a bite to eat? Boy, do we have you covered. In case you missed it, we ran an entire series of Friday posts a couple summers back dedicated to the best restaurants in and around Iowa City. Everyone has their preference, but whatever floats your boat - from breakfast and lunch to dinner and other - we have an option for you from Iowa City Eat-A-Palooza. There are also a number of new restaurants popping up all over the place, including some new spots around Kinnick.

On game day, most of the local bars will fill up pretty early, so get there in plenty of time if you’re looking for a seat. Same goes for the breakfast spots if you’re looking to catch an Iowa City staple ahead of the tailgate scene.

But fear not, there are dozens and dozens of options around the stadium. From pizza to barbecue to the classic “big ass turkey leg!” If you can’t find what you’re looking for from a street vendor, find your way to an Iowa tailgate and make some new friends.

THE BEER BAND

Like everything in Iowa City, the fun for home games gets started early. And no, I don’t mean like 5 am early, though that is undeniably true. The festivities truly begin days in advance as Iowa students campus-wide kick off the weekend on Friday (or Thursday.... or Wednesday if we’re being honest). And that includes the Marching Band.

Though not officially sanctioned by the UI, if you venture downtown Iowa City on a Friday night before a home football game, you’ll almost certainly hear the tunes of gameday flowing from a trimmed down version of the Hawkeye Marchi...a group of randomly gathered **wink wink** students with instruments affectionately known as the Beer Band. As the name implies, they play music and they drink beer. They drink beer and they play music.

They travel from watering hole to watering hole, playing the various melodies we all know and love - from the fight song to the victory polka to spoofs of our opponents fight song (my personal favorite was their take on Hail to the Victors) - and all they ask for in return is that you buy them a drink. Or five.

TAILGATING

Here it is, the meat and potatoes of the gameday eperience. Most long-time Iowa fans have their preferred tailgate spots and have been in them for years. But for new visitors, Iowa City on gameday can be a little overwhelming. While Kinnick Stadium holds just north of 70,000 fans, the area surrounding it swells with crowds well over 100,000 people.

Most of those fans will find their way to a tailgate spot in a parking lot or a backyard, but there will still be thousands wandering in the streets. If you don’t know where you’re headed, you can get lost in the sea of black and gold.

Image via Hawkcentral.com

Any of the public parking areas outlined above will be littered with tents, truck beds, grills and, uh, beverages. Same is true for the donor lots. The closer you get to the stadium, typically the more upscale the tailgate (you’ll note those donor lots are much closer than the public ones), but that’s not always the case.

Here’s a look at the University of Iowa’s official policy on tailgating:

Screen capture via footballgameday.hawkeyesports.com

So yes, alcohol is allowed in the UI parking areas near Kinnick, but the UI’s official stance on that alcohol on public property (ex-the UI property) is that it is prohibited.

Per the gameday website:

Anyone in possession of an open container (including beer, wine and hard liquor) while walking/driving to University property on the public sidewalks and roads will be issued a citation and the beverage will be confiscated.

While that may be true, the fact remains there will be in excess of 100,000 fans wandering the streets and not nearly enough law enforcement to truly enforce that stance. In my experience you’ll be perfectly fine if you crack one open on your way to the tailgate provided you’re on or near Melrose Ave and are being reasonably responsible about it. If you’re under the legal drinking age, all bets are off. This is a prime time for the city to make some money on citations. [Editor’s note: We do not condone breaking laws. Drink responsibly.]

I fully acknowledge that will do little to stop one of the country’s top party schools from doing what it does best.

If you don’t have a place picked out ahead of time, make your way to Melrose Avenue and just soak it up. Yes, there are plenty of parking lots full of tailgaters, just like most other major universities not named Northwestern. Yes, there are tons and tons of houses with yards full of open tailgates and Hawkeye fans imbibing. What makes Iowa unique is the mixture of those things with the mayhem of the surrounding streets with their street vendors and people getting ready for Hawkeye football. If you get that far, you’re sure to have a good time. Just wear black and gold.

CARVER-HAWKEYE OPEN PRACTICE

This one isn’t a guarantee for every home game, so be sure to check social media or your favorite Hawkeye-related message board, but there’s a long-standing tradition of open practices and informal pick up games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena a few hours before Iowa football games.

The basketball team has, for years, held regular shirts/skins games without coaches present, but with the doors to the arena open to the public. You’ll see a mix of current players as well as prospects mixing it up on the hardwood.

But it isn’t just the hoops team taking advantage of Carver-Hawkeye on football game days. The Hawkeye Wrestling Club also hosts open practices/workouts on Saturday mornings. It’s a great way to get an inside look at some of the Hawkeye greats practicing their craft. Just be sure to bring a towel and don’t get too close to the mat.

THE BAND/THE BOOM

If you’re looking for something a little more buttoned-up before kickoff, head to the UI Recreation Building just northwest of the stadium. Beginning 75 minutes prior to kickoff, the Hawkeye Marching Band plays for roughly 30 minutes. The pep rally includes the cheerleaders and Herky to get you ready for the game. Doors open 2 hours ahead of kickoff.

From there, the band marches across the street (and parking lot) to Kinnick where Iowa fans can “get ready for the boom.” The signature line leads the band onto the field as they prepare to welcome the team.

For a closer look at the band and their preparations, check below. You can get a glimpse of the pep rally and their march to Kinnick starting around the 11 minute mark.

HAWK WALK

On the opposite end of the stadium from the pep rally near the Kinnick Statue, Hawkeye fans can get an up close look at the entire Iowa football team and coaching staff as they enter the stadium. Two hours prior to kickoff, the team buses arrive on Melrose Avenue via police escort, though if you really want to catch a glimpse of the players, you’ll likely need to be there sooner to get a decent spot.

From the buses, the team and staff depart and do the Hawk Walk into the stadium. As they enter through the South Entrance, each player passes through the sea of fans and touches the Kinnick Statue.

The Player Walk is a weekly tradition for home games and a great chance to see the players and staff up close before they get suited up for the game.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

THE GAME

This is what you’re here for! It’s easy to forget with all the pageantry and activities abound in the college football pre-game experience, but it all comes down to game time. How early you need to arrive really depends on what you care about. There are plenty of Hawkeye traditions that take place before kickoff. If you want the full experience, get there plenty early and find your seat (here’s a helpful map, including restroom locations and amenities). If you’d rather soak up what’s left outside the stadium, go for it. Just remember lines can be longer closer to game time. You can find important info about what is and is not allowed in Kinnick Stadium here.

Image via hawkeyesports.com

BACK IN BLACK & THE SWARM

If you’re not the type to take in warm ups and sit patiently for a half hour before game time, but still want as much of the Hawkeye experience as you can get, I recommend getting there at least 10 minutes ahead of scheduled kick off time. Due to the potential for lines, preferably closer to 15 minutes early.

Around the 8-9 minute mark as the clock counts down to kickoff, the PA system music will cut. The video boards will turn to the tunnel and the sweet sounds of AC/DC’s Back in Black begin to fill the air in the stadium. As the team approaches the end of the tunnel to form the swarm in the southwest corner of the stadium, the crowd attempts to clap along to the beat (with notoriously poor rhythm). The crowd gets louder and louder as Back in Black fades to Metallica’s Enter Sandman. The video board transitions to video of the Iowa Football equipment truck making the journey to Kinnick. As it approached, the opponents logo stands in the way (cheesy, I know), and as it plows through the logo, the swarm takes the field, led by the classic I-O-W-A flags and the music fades out as the band blasts the fight song.

KINNICK’S SPEECH

Shortly after the team takes the field, and prior to the singing of the National Anthem, fans are asked to turn their attention to the south endzone where they can see footage from Nile Kinnick’s acceptance speech for the Heisman Award in 1939. The audio and video are only a snippet of the full speech, but given Kinnick’s sacrifice in World War II, his place as the school’s only Heisman winner and the stadium’s namesake, it’s a great tribute to Hawkeye history.

From here, it’s game time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the best (hopefully) the Hawkeyes have to offer.

THE WAVE

This is it, college football’s greatest new tradition. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a quick rundown of what to expect.

Between the first and second quarter, the PA announcer will ask the fans to direct their attention to the video board for a message from the UI Children’s Hospital. An incredibly touching video will play and almost nobody will actually pay attention. Not because they don’t care, but because they’ll be busy already turning to the tower standing across Hawkins Drive and waving like crazy.

Look at nearly any window in the tower and you’ll see kids, families and friends waving right back, most with signs ranging from “Thank You” to “Go Hawks!” and everything in between. But it’s not just the fans waving to the kids, it’s the players, the officials, everyone. It truly is incredible and it’s difficult to describe until you see it live.

Don’t worry about the dust in your eye, everyone else has it too.

And while you have the feels, it’s always a good time to consider doing more than just waving. You can support the children and families in the Stead Family Children’s Hospital with a gift of any size. Every donation truly makes a difference.

I-O-W-A

Remember those I-O-W-A flags I told you about? Hopefully they get some work in the game as well. Following each Hawkeye score, cheerleaders in each corner of the stadium lead a chant by raising their flags in succession: I-O-W-A. The fans split the stadium into quarters and follow their closest flag.

Students (the “I”) tend to be loudest, for obvious reasons. They also tend to not really need the flags to keep things rolling. Kids these days.

THE VICTORY POLKA

If all goes according to plan, the game ends with the band playing and the fans singing the Hawkeye Victory Polka, more commonly known as In Heaven There is No Beer. If you didn’t embrace the beer band the night before and hear this one a million times, here’s a look at it in action.

There’s a longer version of the song, but here’s what you need to know to fit in:

In heaven there is no beer. That’s why we drink it here. And when, we’re gone, from here..... Our friends will be drinkin all the beer.

Indeed.


This is certainly not an all-encompassing guide. If you have your own tips, suggestions or recommendations, drop them in the comments below! We want everyone who isn’t an opposing team member to truly enjoy their time in Iowa City. Have a blast and go Hawks!

Comments

Highly recommend the Hancher lot for parking

It’s free and there’s a shuttle bus to and from the game. It’s also not a bad walk. A little more low key tailgating there, than some of the other lots, but it has easy access and easy exit.

This

We used to park there for tailgating when I was a kid. Yes, a little more toned down but still plenty of drinking. I don’t know if this has changed, but with the old Hancher they used to keep it open to the public. We’d go in there to use the bathroom (and warm up). Is the new building still open during game days? There are buses to and from, and the walk back in the fall is excellent (plus it’s all downhill from the stadium).

I’ve only been back to a few games since moving away from Iowa, but I still park there whenever I’m back. I don’t know if the rules have changed, but you used to be able to hang there for a bit post-game to sober up/eat more. We were usually among the last people out of the lot, a good 90-120 minutes after the game. By then traffic has completely cleared out.

It's still that way, mainly because of where it is.

Good

I parked there for the Nebraska game in 2016 and 2018 and it didn’t seem like much had changed. I didn’t get to stick around after the 2018 game but did after 2016 and I left my car there the entire day. No hassle at all.

Really underrated tailgating spot.

At Hancher you can choose to stick around, some of them really don't have a choice.

I do remember getting off the bus after the Nebraska game in 2018 and running to my truck in a driving rain.

Coming to game for the first time

I’m a Rutgers alum, and will be coming to a game in Iowa City for the first time. How friendly are tailgaters to welcoming people coming for the first time, and just trying to soak up the atmosphere? I’m sure they’re very welcoming, but I just wanted to get a sense from people in the know.

Shuttle

What time does the shuttle start running in relation to game time? 3 hours, 2 hours?

FYI in case you're trying to reserve a hotel room downtown: the Sheraton is now the Graduate.

And, yes – park downtown and walk across the river to the stadium. It’s better going and coming than any of the lots on the west side. If you don’t mind a walk, the softball lot is easy to get in and out of and the walk through the woods to the stadium is gorgeous when the leaves change (warning that it has a lot of hills, and wouldn’t be a good walk for some people).

C’mon, 8/31 – GET here already.

I FEEL SEEN

I twisted my ankle on that walk from the commuter parking lots. I was definitely drunk off my ass too so that definitely played a part in it.

We used to park at the downtown mall or at Finkbine, depending on if we brought any shoppers along.

I was always partial to Finkbine – only because you always seemed to soak up more of the "experience" walking down Melrose than from downtown. The brats…the pork patties…the beer…the old Swisher Sweets and Camels and Winston Salems…the spontaneous "Let’s Go Hawks!" all along the way…and don’t forget – the friends that you didn’t know were going coming up and slapping you on the back out of the blue = and then talking with them the rest of the walk to Kinnick to, ahem, "find" tickets that people weren’t going to use to attend the game. We only tailgated sparingly – only when we had tickets in advance could we spare the time to do it.

Now with my kids, I’m not sure that the Hawkeye Express wouldn’t be the way to go – they see it every home game prior to kickoff – and getting back out to Coralville/I-80 after the game would have to be easier from there than Finkbine nowadays. I can’t imagine the traffic being as "friendly" as it used to be when people alternated getting into lines/out of the parking lots/etc. I’d for sure want to catch an early train and then meet up with some family for tailgating though – NFL tailgating is a bit different down here = fun but different.

Hwy 22 through Riverside, IA is f'ed the hell up.

Be warned if you’re headed to Iowa City via Hwy 22 west of Riverside, take Hwy 1 north at Kalona. Some goober construction company has Hwy 22 tore the hell up through Riverside, has been for weeks. There’s one way traffic with a 10 minute red light wait at each end of the town, avoid at all costs.

Coming to town for the OMHR game

This is incredibly helpful!

Buyer beware on ticket purchases

You’ll see a ton of affordable seats for sale in rows 1-4. They used to mark those as limited view tickets, but I don’t think they do that anymore. Those seats are low enough that it can be hard to see over the player benches (impossible for younger folks). If proximity to the field is what you want, you’ll be amazed at how close Kinnick’s first few rows are and those might be just what you’re looking for. If you really want to be able to see the X’s and O’s of the game, think seriously about paying the extra money for seats above ~6th row or so.

Enjoy the game and Iowa City, but please weep in despair all the way home over the historic beat-down OMHR receives on the field.

Agreed

If little ones, I’d even suggest getting in to the teens or higher for rows.

We sit in row "7"

Which is actually row 4. They removed rows 1-3 between the 20.

As you said, it’s incredibly close. We have a tough time seeing sideline plays at the goal line. The flip side is the fans around us interact with the opposing team all game long. It’s a pretty cool experience, though not something I’m looking forward to exposing my 4 year old to any time soon.

I always used to find street parking about 3/4 mile west of the stadium on Koser (west off Sunset)

Went to homecoming last year against Maryland and found they had instituted No Parking on Game Day signs. Jerks.

It's University Heights!

Great guide!

It really brings home what a lot of great traditions we have on game day in Iowa City. Definitely has me missing God’s country. They should play more of Kinnick’s Heisman speech, it was quite good.

The university/ICPD needs to define what it considers an "exorbitant" amount of alcohol, that is clearly a subjective and relative term! Speaking of exorbitant, $15 to ride the Hawkeye Express? Yeesh.

Be interesting though to compare what great traditions we have today vs. what we had even just ten years ago.

Iowa has some great traditions that have come down through the years like the swarm and the band in the rec building and so on, but it seems like other stuff comes and goes.

A good point to go with before and after would be 9/11. Did a lot of people here like to go out and tailgate at halftime and then reenter the game?

My memory is that Iowa prohibited pass-outs in the early 90's

Roughly the time of the frozen chicken / PSU hog-head game was when they really cracked down on the party atmosphere. I don’t think they’ve allowed re-entry since then, and it may have been even earlier (they did a big crack down in the mid 80’s to ban botas, liquor bars in the tailgating areas, and – most importantly – prohibiting the band from playing "Cocaine" or the Beer Song).

I was in school on 9/11.

One could still get a hand stamped and leave the game and then reenter.

Yeah this. It stopped after 9/11.

Lodging Notes (Beyond Sheraton is now Graduate)

- Comfort Suites comes with train tix if you book there and good for kids(can’t recall if it was per room occupancy or what, and correct this if no longer offered). Holiday Inn Express may as well.
- Heartland is easiest hotel walk to a game, but books way far in advance, and has had a half planned renovation lately.
- Airbnb’s can be had in town, cab in to the game day.
- You can stay overnight in an RV in a lot on Fridays, and I’ve been dying to rent one and do it for a weekend.
And if any of you own the pickup with the camper in the bed that frequents the commuter lot for tailgates, hats off. I saw maybe 4 dudes pile out of it while we were tailgating one morning, and they pulled out a tv (attached to an arm on the truck), grill, coolers, tents, chairs. I have no idea how they slept in there in addition to the stuff, and had to be using bottles for bio needs.
If they ever allowed tents on softball fields, golf course or something, and did a pop up shower/restroom facility, I’d be all in. The (British) Open started doing this at their venues and someone needs to make it happen in the states.
Great guide.

There are all kinds of new hotels in Iowa City.

There’s is a place on I think Clinton Street just south of Burlington, a Hilton, where the big liquor store used to be.

There’s a place on Riverside Drive/Highway One/Six by McDonalds.

And of course lots of places out in Coralville. At Iowa River Landing, in addition to the Marriott, there is a new Drury Inn and another Hilton on the street that runs up to the Von Maur store. And then there are more places out around the mall, including south of Highway Six, including right next door to IHOP if you want to walk from your hotel room right to the Hawkeye Express.

Probably worth a section on lodging next year

Thanks for the input!

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