Your Guide to 14 Iconic Western Iowa City Neighborhoods

In a recent blog, we took a deep dive into the most iconic eastern Iowa City neighborhoods. Now it’s time to cross the Iowa River and cover the other half of Iowa City: the west side! 

From the fascinating architecture of the Peninsula neighborhood to the affordable multifamily housing options in Mormon Trek Village, western Iowa City offers a wide variety of homes. We’ve compiled this guide to help you get an up-close-and-personal look at each one of these communities!

Peninsula
Normandy
Manville Heights
Melrose
Miller Orchard
Weeber Harlocke
Bryn Mawr Heights
Penny Bryn
Ty N Cae
Mormon Trek Village
West Side
Southwest Estates
Country Club Estates
Galway Hills
Walnut Ridge

Photo Credit: City of Iowa City

A Note About Neighborhoods

Rather than cover each individual subdivision, we will be focusing on the official neighborhood associations that are registered with the city. (To learn more about the difference between a neighborhood and a subdivision, check out our eastern Iowa City neighborhoods blog).

There are 15 of these registered neighborhood associations in western Iowa City. As a whole, the west side neighborhoods are smaller and more scattered than those in eastern Iowa City, but each community still has its own unique characteristics and charm. Let’s dig in! 

 

Peninsula

Tucked into a bend in the Iowa River is the Peninsula neighborhood. It’s surrounded on  multiple sides by the river—hence the name ‘peninsula.’ The other two borders of the Peninsula are formed by Interstate 80 to the north and Dubuque Street to the east. This 72-acre community holds more than 400 single- and multi-family homes, many of which are on the higher end of Iowa City real estate. 

Perhaps one of the most recognizable western neighborhoods, the Peninsula is also one of the most visually distinct. The neighborhood concept was carefully constructed in the New Urbanism style—a design movement that focuses on compact, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. Famous examples of New Urbanism include Seaside, Florida and Celebration, Florida—you can see the resemblance in the Peninsula neighborhood!

Left: the Peninsula Neighborhood. Right: Celebration, Florida. Photo credit: Roadtrippers

It’s also why many homes in the Peninsula seem as if they could easily fit in on a beach, just like they do beside the Iowa River. A few hallmarks of Peninsula homes include colorful-yet-not-gaudy siding; white trim and accents; large front porches with columns; second story porches; and paved alley access to garages.

Because of the ‘compact’ nature of New Urbanism, the Peninsula stands in stark contrast to the common ‘suburban sprawl.’ Homes are located closer together than you’ll find in other Iowa City neighborhoods. This means smaller yards and often shared driveways. It creates a close-knit community where it’s easy to get to know your neighbors.


Photo Credit: peninsulaiowacity.com

Despite the cozy quarters between homes, the Peninsula still offers plenty of green space. New Urbanism emphasizes community gathering spaces, which is why the Peninsula has multiple parks and green common areas. The Iowa River is also lined with trees, meaning any home that backs to the river enjoys a wooded backyard. In the winter, these trees become home to many bald eagles as they flock to their winter nests along the water. 

Though it feels tucked away in its own oasis, the Peninsula is actually quite connected to the rest of the Corridor. The proximity to I-80 means easy commutes, and access to North Dubuque Street means it’s less than a five-minute drive to downtown Iowa City. You’re also just across the river from all the dining and shopping Coralville has to offer. A trail crosses the river from the Peninsula to Coralville, making it easy to walk and bike to Iowa River Landing! 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Normandy

South of the Peninsula is Normandy, a small neighborhood that encompasses five streets curving along the Iowa River. Normandy’s north and western boundaries are created by the river. To the east is City Park, and to the south, Park Road separates Normandy from the Manville Heights neighborhood. 

Compared to the Peninsula, the homes in Normandy are more spread out, often separated by wide grassy lots—many once contained homes that were torn down after major flooding in 2008. The majority of the houses here are ranch or split-level, and they tend to be several decades older than the Peninsula’s 2000- and 2010-era homes. 

No one has better access to City Park than the residents of Normandy. Trails connect this neighborhood to the Bobby Oldis baseball fields and the City Park tennis courts, spreading eastward from there into the heart of the park and along the river. 

Parks

 

Manville Heights

Located south of Normandy is Manville Heights, which encompasses the area between Park Road in the north, Highway 6 in the south, North Dubuque Street in the east, and Rocky Shore Drive in the west.

Manville Heights is one of the more popular western Iowa City neighborhoods, largely because it sits at the center of the Corridor. People who live in Manville Heights enjoy easy access to the University of Iowa campus, the Coralville strip, and downtown Iowa City. 

In fact, Manville Heights overlaps slightly with the west side of the University of Iowa Campus. Buildings like the College of Public Health, the beautiful Art Building West, and the Visual Arts Building are all located within Manville Heights. The eastern edge of the neighborhood holds a few stately fraternity houses, as well as Parklawn Hall, a smaller, apartment-style residence hall.  

Photo Credit: University of Iowa

Entertainment is never far away in Manville Heights. To the south, two bridges cross Highway 6 from this neighborhood, giving you easy walking or driving access to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. For art fans, Hancher Auditorium is also nearby, just east of North Dubuque Street.

Another bonus: Manville Heights residents have world-class healthcare right at their doorstep. South of Highway 6 sits the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) campus and the VA Hospitals of Iowa City. 

Of course, people don’t just love Manville Heights for the location. The neighborhood itself has a homey atmosphere. It’s laid back and shady—literally—with mature trees lining the streets. Tucked into the trees, you’ll find a wide mixture of homes, from charming bungalows to cottage-style houses and sleek, eye-catching new construction. 

Schools*

 

Major Employers

 

Healthcare

 

Entertainment

 

Parks

  • City Park (nearby, just northeast of the neighborhood) 
  • Crandic Park (nearby, southwest of the neighborhood) 

 

Melrose

South of the hospital campus, you’ll find our next neighborhood: Melrose. As the name implies, this community lies along Melrose Avenue, which forms the northern boundary. The rest of the neighborhood is defined by Highway 1 in the east and the curving railroad tracks in the south and west. 

Melrose boasts many of the same perks as Manville Heights. The hospital campus is only a stone’s throw north of the neighborhood. To the east, you have easy access to the U of I campus and downtown Iowa City via a car/pedestrian bridge. The neighborhood also overlaps with pieces of the western U of I campus, including the College of Law. 

Photo Credit: David Scrivner, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Melrose is at the heart of Hawkeye sports, even more so than Manville Heights. The Melrose neighborhood has a front-row seat to Kinnick Stadium and is the go-to hub for game day tailgating. The entire community comes alive during football season, making it the perfect place for die-hard Hawkeye fans to call home!

As for the neighborhood itself, houses tend to be smaller than those in Manville Heights. Cottage- and bungalow-esque styles dominate the streets. 

There’s a larger student population here, too, especially medical students who need to be close to the hospital. As a result, a higher percentage of homes are rentals, though there are still many permanent residents. Much like Northside and College Hill on the east side of the river, this neighborhood includes a vibrant mix of all ages.

Major Employers

 

Healthcare

 

Entertainment

 

Parks

 

Miller Orchard

Next up is Miller Orchard, which extends south from the railroad where the Melrose neighborhood ends all the way to Highway 1. Unlike Melrose, however, Miller Orchard does not stop at Highway 1 in the east. Instead, it stretches all the way to the Iowa River, encompassing both sides of the highway. As a result, Miller Orchard actually has just as much commercial real estate as residential—one of the more unique things about this neighborhood!

A major advantage: The essentials are in your backyard (sometimes literally). If that wasn’t enough, Benton Street also cuts through the middle of Miller Orchard, connecting the community to downtown Iowa City. 

Recent property for sale in Miller-Orchard, listed by Jan Crosby of Urban Acres.

Miller Orchard is one of the oldest western communities, established as Iowa City began to expand to the other side of the river. Because of this, homes date back to the 1920s–1950s. Small ranch homes make up the majority of the neighborhood, though there are a few apartment buildings on the northern edge of the neighborhood closer to campus. 

Grocery Stores

  • Aldi (nearby) 
  • Walmart (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Weeber Harlocke

It’s not hard to see how the Weeber Harlocke community gets its name. This neighborhood covers a small area along Weeber Street, Weeber Circle, and Harlocke Street. 

Along Weeber Street and Weeber Circle, you’ll find mostly split-level homes, with a ranch home sprinkled here and there. Harlocke Street, however, is home to exclusively condo and apartment buildings. Though it does not directly border campus, this neighborhood is accessible to the western campus by foot or by bus, and it’s a popular housing area for young adults. 

You also never have to travel far for the essentials—Walmart is just on the other side of Highway 1. 

Grocery Stores

  • Aldi (nearby) 
  • Fareway (nearby)
  • Walmart (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Bryn Mawr Heights

To the west of Weeber Harlocke is a C-shaped neighborhood called Bryn Mawr Heights. It’s defined by Benton Street in the north and Aber Avenue in the south. In the east, it touches Sunset Street, though it excludes Arbury Drive and Penfro Drive, curving around them to create the C shape. 

The 1970s split-level trend is alive and well in Bryn Mawr Heights. This gently sloping neighborhood has the quintessential feel of a well-established suburb, especially with a school nearby (Horn Elementary School is located on Benton Street, just north of the neighborhood). 

Also directly north of the Bryn Mawr neighborhood is University Heights, a stand-alone city within Iowa City. Despite its small size, University Heights offers several restaurants and shops—like Maggie’s Farm Wood-Fired Pizza and Sidekick Coffee & Books—which residents of Bryn Mawr Heights are never far from. 

Schools

 

Grocery Stores

  • Fareway (nearby)
  • Walmart (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Penny Bryn

Bryn Mawr shares its western border with Penny Bryn, a small neighborhood defined by Benton Street in the north, Estron Street in the east, Flanigan Court in the south, and Teg Drive in the west. 

Penny Bryn is similar to Bryn Mawr in many ways—quiet streets dominated by 1970s and ‘80s split-level and ranch homes, with easy access to Horn Elementary School, University Heights, and even downtown Iowa City via Benton Street. 

Recent property for sale in Penny Bryn on Kathlin Drive, listed by Taylor Blazek of Urban Acres.

What sets Penny Bryn apart, however, are the parks. Penny Bryn’s entire western border runs the length of Willow Creek Park, which flows seamlessly into Kiwanis Park as you head further south. Together, these parks feature more than 40 acres of natural green space, intersected by paved walking trails, playgrounds, and its namesake, Willow Creek.

Schools

 

Grocery Stores

  • Walmart (nearby)
  • Fareway (nearby)

 

Parks

 

Ty N Cae

Just on the other side of Willow Creek and Kiwanis Park is Ty N Cae, sometimes alternatively spelled Tyn Cae. The name was derived from Ty’n Cae, which translates to ‘house in the field’ in Welsh. Bound by Benton Street in the north, Mormon Trek Boulevard in the west, and the parks in the east, Ty N Cae vaguely resembles the state of Idaho in shape. 

The neighborhood encompasses only six streets. These streets are lined with—you guessed it!—split-level and ranch homes, which were popular when this part of Iowa City was growing in the 1970s, ‘80s, and early ‘90s. Ty N Cae has more duplexes and townhomes than other western neighborhoods, setting it apart from communities like Penny Bryn. 

Willow Creek Park. Photo Credit: Joseph Cress, Iowa City Press-Citizen

It’s hard to say where the ‘house in the field’ inspiration comes from, though this neighborhood does enjoy many mature trees. Or perhaps it’s a play on words based on Cae Street. There’s also the proximity to Willow Creek and Kiwanis Park, both of which feature large open green spaces. In fact, the paved trails of Kiwanis Park link directly to this neighborhood in many places, a perk for Ty N Cae residents. 

Despite being located in the southwestern corner of Iowa City, those who live in Ty N Cae also enjoy easy access to the rest of the Corridor via Mormon Trek Boulevard. Mormon Trek quickly takes you north to Highway 6 and the Coralville strip or south to Highway 1 and the other side of Iowa City. 

Schools

 

Healthcare

  • Hartig Drug (nearby) 

 

Grocery

  • Fareway (nearby) 
  • Al Salam International Foods (nearby)

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Mormon Trek Village

Mormon Trek isn’t just a thoroughfare; it’s also a neighborhood! Mormon Trek village is tucked between Mormon Trek Boulevard to the east, Highway 218 to the southwest, and Rohret Road to the north. 

This small neighborhood is made up of four streets. Each street has its own type of housing: duplexes along Ranier Drive; condo and apartment buildings along Cascade Lane and Rushmore Drive; and a combination of duplexes and townhomes along McKinley Place. Because so much of the neighborhood is multifamily, a larger portion of the community is made up of rentals. 

For buyers, these townhomes, condos, and apartments pose a great investment opportunity. These are some of the newer multifamily housing options available on the western side, built in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

Schools

 

Healthcare

  • Hartig Drug (nearby) 

 

Grocery

  • Fareway (nearby) 
  • Al Salam International Foods (nearby)

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

West Side

Another neighborhood lies along Mormon Trek, just south of Penny Bryn and Ty N Cae. Aptly named West Side, this neighborhood curves along the western and northern sides of Westside Drive. 

This neighborhood is unique in that it is made up exclusively of multifamily housing: Westridge One, Westridge Two, Little Creek Condos, Woodbridge Condos, Lake Pointe Condos, and Mallard Pointe Condos—appropriately named because they back up to the long, rectangular pond behind this neighborhood. Condo buildings and townhomes continue around the eastern half of Westside Drive as well, though they are not technically part of the neighborhood. 

Property for sale in West Side on Westside Drive, listed by Rob McCain of Urban Acres.

Homes in West Side were built in the mid- to late-1990s. The properties include a mixture of rental and owned. Unlike the Melrose neighborhood, West Side isn’t close enough to campus to have a high volume of student rentals, though there are still a range of ages in the neighborhood.

West Side may be the furthest southwest neighborhood in the city, but you wouldn’t know it when you live there! Westside Drive joins directly with Mormon Trek; Highway 1 runs just south of the neighborhood; and the Highway 218 on-ramp is less than a half mile away, making it extremely easy to get around Iowa City and the surrounding communities. 

Grocery

  • Fareway (nearby) 
  • Menards (nearby)
  • Walmart (nearby)

 

Healthcare

  • Hartig Drug (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Southwest Estates

Head west of Mormon Trek Village on Rohret Road and you’ll end up in Southwest Estates. This neighborhood comprises Phoenix Drive and its many offshoot streets, all of which are named for cities in the southwest United States as a nod to the neighborhood’s name and location. 

In contrast to many of the western neighborhoods we’ve covered so far, Southwest Estates is primarily made up of single-family homes. These homes hail from the 1990s and tend to average around 1,500 square feet. With neat square lawns and a mixture of two-story and ranch homes, it has a homey, suburban feel. 

Though it’s located on the very western edge of town, Rohret Road connects Southwest Estates to Mormon Trek Boulevard and the remainder of Iowa City, so the essentials and entertainment are never far. 

The neighborhood is also near Highway 218; however, Rohret Road offers no on- or off-ramp to the highway, so the easiest point of access is Melrose Avenue to the north. 

Schools

 

Grocery

  • Fareway (nearby) 

 

Healthcare

  • Hartig Drug (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Country Club Estates

Southwest Estates borders our next neighborhood, Country Club Estates. The two are similar in many ways, but the main difference is age. Country Club Estates is a newer neighborhood—in fact, it’s one of the newer developments in western Iowa City. 

These 82 acres of wetland were converted into 171 single-family home lots in the early 2000s. From the mid-2000s until as recently as 2018, new homes were being built on these lots (all of which are now filled). The houses themselves are a combination of ranch and two-story and tend to be more modern and often more spacious than their Southwest Estates neighbors. 

Photo Credit: 1120 Wildcat Ln Listing

Another differentiating feature of Country Club Estates: the private amenities! These member-only facilities include tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, and pool—the first private neighborhood pool of its kind in Iowa City. These amenities are funded by the neighborhood’s homeowner association fees, so you get more bang for your HOA buck.

 Just like Southwest Estates, Country Club Estates is the perfect distance—far enough from the activity of Iowa City to create a peaceful, quiet suburb feel without placing you too far from the essentials. 

Schools

 

Grocery

  • Fareway (nearby) 

 

Healthcare

  • Hartig Drug (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Parks

 

Galway Hills

Let’s work our way northeast to Galway Hills, nestled in the corner between Highway 218 and Melrose Avenue. As you can guess from the name, this neighborhood has strong Irish roots—as far as street names go, anyway. It encompasses Galway Drive and its branching lanes, which include names like ‘Dublin,’ ‘Kearney,’ ‘Killarney,’ and even simply ‘Ireland.’

Photo Credit: IowaWatch

You won’t find any Irish pubs here, but you will find extremely easy access to West High, which is located just beyond the east border of Galway Hills. There are also several paved walking and biking trails in Galway Hills that connect to West High’s campus, making for an easy trip to school for all the teens in the neighborhood.

According to Galway Hills’ HOA website, this neighborhood was originally farmland before development began in the 1990s. That development is still continuing today as new parcels of land are divvied up into lots, adding to the 185 homes that are currently part of this community. 

Recently sold property in Galway Hills on Donegal Court, listed by Maria McCaw of Urban Acres.

Because of this ongoing growth, you’ll find homes here from the ‘90s and brand new construction. The gently curving roads are lined with single-family homes on neat, rectangular lots, creating the ultimate charming suburban vibe, not unlike the vibe of Country Club Estates. 

You’re also super connected to the rest of the Corridor. The neighborhood sits along Melrose Avenue, which will take you east, straight to the UIHC campus and the heart of Iowa City; Highway 218 is located less than a mile west for a quick and easy commute to North Liberty and Cedar Rapids; and Camp Cardinal Boulevard will take you north, directly to the center of Coralville. 

Schools

 

Grocery

  • Fareway (nearby) 

 

Healthcare

  • Hartig Drug (nearby) 

 

Restaurants

 

Walnut Ridge

Last but certainly not least is Walnut Ridge, located just north across Melrose Avenue from Galway Hills. Walnut Ridge consists of Kennedy Parkway and its offshoots, all named after trees—Burr Oak Court, Shagbark Court, Acorn Court, and so on. 

Recently sold property in Walnut Ridge on Kennedy Parkway, listed by Becky Halsch of Urban Acres.

When you turn off Melrose Avenue into Walnut Ridge, you can feel the grandeur of the neighborhood almost immediately. Homes in Walnut Ridge tend to be large and luxurious, with large yards to match. Custom-built homes are the name of the game here, each one unique from the next. Most were built in the late 1990s and early 2000s, though there are still a handful of lots for sale and, as a result, the occasional new construction home. 

Given their stately size—anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000+ square feet—Walnut Ridge homes are pricier than homes in any other western neighborhood. It’s not uncommon for these sprawling houses coupled with spacious lots—many over one acre—to see a sale price over $1 million. 

One example of the large, distinct homes you’ll find in Walnut Ridge. Photo credit: Google Maps

Walnut Ridge is uniquely positioned near the best of both Iowa City and Coralville. Melrose Avenue provides direct access to West High School, UIHC, Kinnick Stadium, and downtown Iowa City beyond. Kennedy Parkway joins up with Camp Cardinal Boulevard to take you to Highway 6 (a.k.a. the Coralville strip). And though you would never guess it as you drive down the quiet, well-kept streets of Walnut Ridge, Highway 218 is less than a quarter mile away. 

Schools

 

Grocery

  • Fareway (nearby)
  • Hy-Vee (nearby, in Coralville along Highway 6)

 

Restaurants

  • Coach’s Corner (nearby, off Mormon Trek)
  • Java House (nearby, off Mormon Trek)
  • All of the restaurants on Coralville Strip, from chains like Starbucks and Applebee’s to local favorites like Monica’s and Reunion Brewery!

 

Parks

 

The Age Old Debate: East Side vs. West Side 

Still trying to decide between eastern and western Iowa City? Click here to read our eastside Iowa City neighborhoods blog for the full scoop on that half of town! 

You can also reach out to chat with an agent. No matter which side of the river you want to live on, our REALTORS® know these neighborhoods inside and out. We’ll help you find the perfect community! 

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

Header image photo credit: peninsulaiowacity.com  

 

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