Your Guide to 14 Iconic Eastern Iowa City Neighborhoods

When you’re in the market for a new home, your first priority is finding a house you love. What’s equally important, though, is finding a community you love!

Iowa City’s diverse neighborhoods can help you find that sense of home. From the bustle of the quaint downtown districts filled with historic charm to the quiet, sprawling communities with family-friendly vibes, we truly believe Iowa City has a place for everyone. 

Whether you’re looking for the perfect neighborhood to call home or just want to learn more about our fascinating community, we’ve compiled this guide to help you get to know Iowa City’s eastern neighborhoods. Let’s dive in!

Click one of the following to jump straight to that neighborhood:

Shimek
Goosetown and Northside
College Hill
Longfellow
Morningside-Glendale
Creekside
Lucas Farms
Oak Grove
South District
Bluffwood
Washington Hills
Eastside
Windsor Ridge

For an in-depth look at western Iowa City neighborhoods, check out our westside blog!

 

Map Credit: City of Iowa City

First, a Little Groundwork 

Neighborhood Associations

Iowa City is home to dozens of neighborhoods. Rather than covering every single one, we’re going to focus on the 14 eastern neighborhoods with official associations. 

These communities have gone through the city’s process to become registered—which involves establishing a contact person for the neighborhood, outlining goals and needs of the neighborhood, and actively working to tackle those goals. 

Neighborhoods vs. Subdivisions

Iowa City is also home to many subdivisions, with more being added by local developers every year. So what’s the difference between a subdivision and a neighborhood?

As the name suggests, a subdivision is a plot of land that has been divided. At one time, the plot was whole—in Iowa, usually a farm land plot on the edge of town—but was divvied up into individual lots after it was sold. Each lot becomes a new construction home. 

Neighborhoods, on the other hand, tend to be existing communities. The definition and regulations of a neighborhood are often looser than those of a subdivision (though historic neighborhoods, like many of the ones in downtown Iowa City, can have a host of rules to preserve the history of the area). 

For this guide, we’ll be focusing on neighborhoods—specifically the ones to the east of the Iowa River, which divides Iowa City in half. 

Shimek

Of all the eastern Iowa City neighborhoods, Shimek lies the farthest north and has the easiest access to Interstate 80. This neighborhood forms a triangle between I-80 to the north, Dubuque Street to the west, and North Dodge Street/Highway 1 to the south, connecting you to the rest of Iowa City and beyond.

Unlike the neatly-arranged, cozy square blocks of the Goosetown neighborhood directly to the south, Shimek is a bit more sprawling, with winding roads and mature tree cover.

You can easily access northern Iowa City suburbs like Coralville and North Liberty from Shimek, but you don’t have to leave the neighborhood to find the essentials:  

Schools

 

Healthcare

  • University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) North Dodge Street location, which specializes in OB/GYN services and pediatric care and houses the Pediatric Associates of the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital

 

Major / Notable Employers

 

Groceries

  • Hy-Vee (North Dodge)

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

  • Hickory Hill Park (nearby, located southeast of Highway 1)
  • Terrell Mill Park (nearby, on the western edge of Shimek, nestled between North Dubuque Street and the Iowa River)

 

Goosetown and Northside

Goosetown

Southeast of Shimek you’ll find Goosetown, a neighborhood rich with history. This area was settled in the 1850s by immigrants from Bohemia, nowadays more commonly called Czech. Many of these immigrants owned geese that roamed the yards, which is how the neighborhood got its name—and how the street signs got their charming goose toppers. 

One word often associated with Goosetown is ‘modest.’ According to the City of Iowa City, homes in Goosetown tend to be smaller with larger lots, which allowed the first settlers to run their own mini farmsteads on their properties—hence the geese. These modest beginnings are still evident in the neighborhood today!

The vibe of Goosetown can only be described as ‘eclectic yet cozy,’ with many unique homes. As an older neighborhood, you’ll also find plenty of mature trees lining the streets. 

Northside

Goosetown’s borders blend with the Northside neighborhood. These two are often grouped on neighborhood maps, which is why we’re combining them here! Together, they take up the bulk of the downtown area on the northern end of Iowa City, spanning from Brown Street in the north down to Jefferson Street in the south. On the west, it borders the University of Iowa campus, and on the east sits the 185-acre Hickory Hill park and Oakland Cemetery.

Photo Credit: City Channel 4

Northside was the first neighborhood association in Iowa City, formed in the 1980s. Similar to Goosetown, homes in the Northside have a lot of character and personality. It’s one of the older neighborhoods in the city, so you can count on mature trees lining the square blocks. 

Given the proximity to The University of Iowa campus, both Northside and Goosetown feature a mixture of rentals and owned homes. This also means a range of ages, from college students to faculty, young families to longtime residents that have lived here for decades. It’s a neighborhood that is simultaneously historic and alive with the vibrancy of youth. 

Northside itself has a cozy, friendly energy. You don’t have to look far to spot a young family on a walk, a little free library, or people swinging on their front porch (large front porches are common among the older Northside homes).  

Northside and Goosetown are also both extremely walkable neighborhoods, with easy access to downtown. Many favorite Iowa City businesses are located in the Northside.

Schools

 

Healthcare

 

Major / Notable Employers

  • Mercy Iowa City
  • The University of Iowa (nearby)
  • UIHC (nearby)

 

Groceries

 

Restaurants

 

Shopping

 

Photo Credit: Billwhittaker at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Parks and Major Landmarks


College Hill

You might know this neighborhood by its former name, College Green. Located directly east of downtown Iowa City (southeast of Goosetown and Northside), College Hill picks up where the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall leaves off on Gilbert Street and extends 10 blocks east.

Northside might be the oldest neighborhood association in the area, but College Hill is the oldest neighborhood in Iowa City, period. It’s so old, in fact, that in 1997 this neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s filled with historic homes, many dating back to the late 1800s. 

Despite the deep history here, there’s plenty of newness and youth to be found in this community, too. As you might expect from the name, College Hill is home to many university students, housing everything from rental homes and apartments to large, stately sorority houses. 

Many homes in this area were also updated back in 2006, after an EF-2 tornado tore through the College Hill neighborhood, causing $12 million worth of damage. The conservation district and the community at large came together to restore these homes without compromising their historical integrity. 

Photo Credit: By Zachary Roper – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Because of the 2006 tornado—and the 2020 derecho—much of the mature tree cover in College Hill isn’t what it once was. But there’s still plenty of green to be found in College Green Park, situated on the western side of the neighborhood. This park, which is as old as the neighborhood itself—established in 1839—spans one square block and serves as the hub of this neighborhood. 

Healthcare

  • Mercy Iowa City (nearby) 

 

Groceries

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Longfellow

Bordering College Hill on the southeast corner is Longfellow, which is both a neighborhood and a historic district. It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Even the neighborhood’s name is historic, derived from the Longfellow Elementary School, which was named after famous 19th-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (despite the poet having no known connections to Iowa). 

This neighborhood began not as a place to live, but as a hub of factories—a brick foundry and a chicken hatchery, to name a few—to support the growing city of Iowa City. These days, it’s entirely residential, featuring intriguing historic homes dating back to the 1910s, on average. You’ll also find a few infamous Howard Moffitt cottages, whose stone exteriors are still filled with character 100 years later. 

Photo Credit: By Billwhittaker at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Located a few blocks east of downtown Iowa City, Longfellow is just as walkable—and bikeable—to downtown as College Hill. Despite this proximity, Longfellow isn’t home to as many college rentals as several of the other downtown neighborhoods. This community features plenty of young families as well as long-time residents and is a self-described ‘front-porch sitting’ type of community. 

Photo Credit: By JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, JR – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

One striking element of this neighborhood is the greenery. Ralston Creek winds through Longfellow, accompanied by the Longfellow Nature Trail. You’ll also find plenty of landscaping outside each home as you take a stroll. For an extra special sight, drive down Summit Street in the spring, and you’ll be treated to a colorful display of tulips in almost every yard! 

Schools

 

Restaurants / Food

 

Photo Credit: By Boscophotos – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Parks and Major Landmarks

  • Longfellow Nature Trail 
  • The Oakes-Wood Home, where infamous Iowa painter Grant Wood lived while he taught at the University of Iowa until his death in 1942 

 

Morningside-Glendale

Morningside-Glendale sits to the east of College Hill and Longfellow. Here, the neat and orderly square blocks of College Hill give way to a slightly more erratic street layout, defined by Rochester Ave to the north, Muscatine Ave and Court Street to the south, and 1st Ave to the east. 

When it comes to being close to schools, it doesn’t get better than Morningside-Glendale! City High, one of two public high schools in the Iowa City School District, takes up a large portion of this neighborhood. Just beyond the neighborhood’s northeastern border lies Regina Catholic Education Center, Iowa City’s only private Catholic school (preschool–12th grade). Because of this, Morningside-Glendale is an extremely popular place to live for families. 

Photo Credit: Think Iowa City

Iowa City grew from the Iowa River eastward, meaning this neighborhood is newer than its historic neighbors to the west (College Hill and Longfellow). The homes here tend to hail from the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s.

Schools

 

Groceries

  • Hy-Vee Drugstore (nearby, kitty-corner from Regina Catholic School)
  • Hy-Vee 1st Ave (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks and Major Landmarks

 

Creekside

Directly south of Morningside-Glendale is the Creekside neighborhood, named for Ralston Creek, which cuts diagonally through the community. This neighborhood extends south of Court Street all the way to the railroad tracks. It’s exactly seven blocks wide, bordered by 7th Avenue on the west and 1st Ave on the east. 

Here you’ll find modest single-family homes and quiet residential living. Though it’s far enough from the University of Iowa campus to have little-to-no college housing, it’s still well within biking distance of downtown Iowa City—a straight shot through the Longfellow neighborhood. You also have easy access to the essentials—restaurants, pharmacies, a gas station, a grocery store, and a bank are located on Muscatine Ave, on the eastern edge of Creekside.

Photo Credit: City of Iowa City

Fresh air is never hard to come by in Creekside, either. A paved walking trail runs alongside the creek, beginning in James Alan McPherson Park and ending in Court Hill Park, approximately a mile away. 

Healthcare

  • Walgreens Pharmacy
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Towncrest Pharmacy

 

Groceries

  • Hy-Vee 1st Ave (nearby, just across the street from Creekside’s eastern border) 
  • Walgreens
  • CVS (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks 

 

Lucas Farms

Lucas Farms covers almost all of the residential area between the railroad (to the north) and Highway 6 (to the south) on the east side of Iowa City. It lies directly south of Creekside, Longfellow, and Oak Grove. 

Photo Credit: By John Stevens Cabot Abbott – Abbott’s History of Ohio, p. 489., Public Domain

This neighborhood’s roots can be traced back to the mid-1840s, before Iowa was even a state! The first Governor of the Territory of Iowa, Robert Lucas, lived here for 22 years, from 1844–1866, in a home known as Plum Grove. At the time, Plum Grove took up most of the surrounding area, with 360 acres of land—hence the addition of the word “Farm” to the neighborhood’s name. 

Photo Credit: Think Iowa City

Now, Lucas’s 360 acres of land hold 700 homes instead of crops and orchards. Houses in Lucas Farms are diverse—some can be traced back to the 1840s, and some are brand new, part of the recent development in the Riverfront Crossings area. When you stroll down the streets, you’ll see homes from nearly every decade and a wide variety of architectural styles. Homes here are characterized by lots of character!

Lucas Farms also encompasses the Iowa City Marketplace (formerly known as the Sycamore Mall) and the surrounding businesses. It gives this neighborhood an interesting mix of residential and commercial: historic homes and new apartments co-mingle with stores and restaurants of all cuisines. 

Schools

 

Groceries

 

Restaurants

 

Stores 

 

Parks and Major Landmarks

 

Oak Grove

Sandwiched between Lucas Farms and Longfellow is Oak Grove, a skinny triangle-shaped neighborhood. It occupies the sliver between Kirkwood Avenue and the railroad tracks, extending west toward Gilbert Street. 

Despite being the smallest eastern Iowa City neighborhood, Oak Grove has its own 1.6-acre park. You’re also only a few blocks away from the restaurants lining Gilbert Street. 

Photo Credit: Think Iowa City

Groceries

  • Natural Grocers (nearby)
  • Hy-Vee (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks 

 

South District

In 2018, the folks of the Pepperwood, Wetherby, Grant Wood, and South Pointe neighborhoods came together to create one large, unified district: the South District’s Neighborhood Association (SDNA). 

The South District covers almost all of Iowa City south of Highway 6. Much like their neighbor to the north, Lucas Farms, South District is a mix of both commercial and residential. Along the highway, you’ll find almost all of your everyday necessities—grocery stores, banks, and gas stations. 

Further south lies the residential section of the neighborhood. The South District is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Iowa City, home to people of all ethnicities and of all ages. It’s an especially popular place for young families, with multiple parks and two elementary schools. 

Photo Credit: City Channel 4

The houses themselves run the gamut as well—a blend of rentals and owned homes, existing homes and new construction. Closer to the highway, many of the homes date from the 1950s through the ‘80s. On the southern edge of the neighborhood, new construction developments have sprung up in recent years. 

Schools

 

Groceries

  • Acapulco Mexican Bakery
  • El Paso Mexican Tienda Y Taqueria
  • Hy-Vee (nearby)
  • Iowa City African & Oriental Market 
  • Iowa City Halal Food & Grocery
  • Natural Grocers (nearby)

 

Restaurants

  • Cactus Mexican Restaurant
  • Carlos O’Kelly’s
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Taco Bell
  • Taco Loco

 

Pets

 

Parks 

 

Bluffwood

Let’s head back north to the east of Hickory Hill Park, where you’ll find the Bluffwood neighborhood. This area occupies a small residential portion defined by North 1st Ave on the west and Rochester Ave to the south, kitty-corner to Morningside-Glendale.

Photo Credit: Libby Randall, KCRG

Despite encompassing fewer than 10 streets, the Bluffwood neighborhood has a lot to offer, particularly when it comes to nature. This area is sandwiched between the 185-acre Hickory Hill Park on the west and the 100-acre Harvest Preserve on the east, filled with rolling prairies and woodlands. Needless to say, fresh air and a walk through the woods are never far away when you live in Bluffwood. 

Schools

 

Healthcare

 

Groceries

  • Hy-Vee Drugstore (nearby, just south of Rochester Ave)

 

Restaurants

 

Parks and Major Landmarks

 

Washington Hills

Nestled south of Bluffwood and east of Morningside-Glendale is a large neighborhood called Washington Hills. This square-shaped community is outlined by Rochester Ave on the north, Court Street on the south, 1st Ave on the west, and Scott Blvd on the east.

The homes you’ll find here were built in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s as Iowa City continued to expand to the east. Split-level and ranch homes are common in this neighborhood. 

Washington Hills is a fantastic place for families, especially in terms of access to schools, both private and public. If you’re looking for a peaceful, established neighborhood where you can settle down and raise a family, Washington Hills is a great option! 

Photo Credit: City of Iowa City

Schools

 

Healthcare

 

Groceries

  • Hy-Vee Drugstore

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Eastside

While anyone living on the east side of the Iowa River could technically consider themselves ‘eastsiders,’  there is only one official neighborhood in Iowa City named Eastside! 

Located just south of Washington Hills and east of Creekside, Eastside is your quintessential midwestern neighborhood. Its borders are formed by Court Street to the north and the railroad to the south, as well as 1st Ave to the west and Scott Blvd to the east. 

Muscatine Ave cuts through the center of this neighborhood. Along this section of road you’ll find all the essentials for everyday living—a grocery store, several pharmacies, a bank, and more. 

Homes here were built in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, though they gradually become newer as you move east as part of the city’s continuing expansion. There are a few subdivisions in the works along Scott Blvd, with opportunities to buy pre-built new construction homes or lots on which to build custom.

Though it doesn’t have the historical character of neighborhoods like Northside, Goosetown, Longfellow, or Lucas Farms, Eastside has its own charm. Much like Washington Hills, it’s the kind of established neighborhood people—especially families—tend to call home for many years. 

Photo Credit: Willowwind Schools

Schools

 

Major Employers

  • Procter & Gamble, a.k.a. P&G (nearby, just south of the railroad from Eastside) 

 

Healthcare

  • Walgreens Pharmacy (nearby) 
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Towncrest Pharmacy

 

Groceries

  • Hy-Vee 1st Ave 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Windsor Ridge

Last but not least is Windsor Ridge. This neighborhood lies as far east as you can get in Iowa City without leaving city limits, outlined by Court Street in the north, American Legion Road in the south, and Taft Ave in the east. 

Despite being on the edge of town, many roads—including Court Street and American Legion Rd (which turns into Muscatine Ave)—will take you straight from Windsor Ridge to the heart of downtown Iowa City in a matter of minutes. 

Of all the neighborhoods in eastern Iowa City, Windsor Ridge takes the cake for the newest homes. This community is home to a mix of single-family homes and multi-family housing—condos, townhomes, and duplexes—the majority of which have been built in the 2000s. 

For homeowners who want more room to spread out, Windsor Ridge may be the perfect fit. Homes in this area—especially homes built more recently—tend to have more square footage and larger yards. There’s also no shortage of paved walking trails winding their way across this neighborhood for when you want to take a stroll with the family.

Near Windsor Ridge, you’ll find several other iconic “far east” neighborhoods filled with new construction, such as Lindemann, Stone Bridge, and Windsor West. These neighborhoods have not yet formed a neighborhood association or registered with the city like Windsor Ridge.  

Schools

 

Parks

 

One Final Note

Our agents know the eastern and western Iowa City neighborhoods like the backs of their hands. We’re here to help you find more than just a home—we’re here to help you find the neighborhood that fits you and your lifestyle. If you’re ready to move, reach out today

Trying to decide between the east and west side of Iowa City? Check out our western Iowa City neighborhood guide for an in-depth look at the other half of town!

*This blog notes schools that are physically located in each neighborhood. For a complete Iowa City School District map, click here.

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