By Nicole Gruter
Iowa City
Iowa
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Situated in the pastoral Upper Midwest, Iowa City offers an array of cultural, historical and scenic attractions. Making Utne Reader’s top ten in their survey of “America’s 10 Most Enlightened Towns,” you’ll find this city has an educated edge that is both fun-loving and friendly.

A Big 10 college town, Iowa City is the fifth largest city in the state with a population of nearly 68,000. It is home not only to the University of Iowa, but serves as the seat of Johnson County. EscapeWizard.com invites you to visit this Midwestern jewel by clicking (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php) to book your flight into the Iowa City Municipal Airport (IOW). Whether you choose to stay in a low budget hotel or opt for one of the city’s quality hotels, EscapeWizard.com can assist you in completing your travel arrangements by linking to (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl). From there, you’ll discover the hospitality and attractions that make Iowa City special.

After enduring the long winter, Iowa City comes alive in the summer months with a variety of exciting cultural events. Hosting the country’s biggest names in jazz, the Iowa City Jazz Festival has become a nationally recognized event, with an average annual audience of more than 50,000. One of the festival’s greatest attributes is that it’s free! With sponsors underwriting the production costs, this amazing event is made accessible to everyone, regardless of income.

The Iowa Arts Festival features photography, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, painting, drawing and woodwork from over 100 national artists. Held in early June, this juried fine arts show is held in Iowa City’s downtown on its charming pedestrian plaza. You can enjoy musical entertainment and tasty foods, all the while perusing the beautiful selection of artwork.

Summer also brings the city’s Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival, which takes place in City Park’s 472-seat outdoor amphitheater. The outdoor theatre is a unique way to enjoy the state’s only professional Shakespearean festival, which offers productions several times in the summer. EscapeWizard.com invites you to enjoy theatre under the stars by visiting http://www.riversidetheatre.org/ for the latest season’s line-up of excellent drama.

In and around Iowa City, you’ll find intriguing historical attractions. Built in 1844, Plum Grove was the retirement home of Gov. Robert Lucas, the childhood home of author Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd, and at one point was occupied by the family of Civil War hero Jacob Carroll Switzer. Owned by the State Historical Society of Iowa and maintained by Johnson County Historical Society, the beautifully refurbished Plum Grove is open for tours Memorial Day through October.

A prominent landmark on the University of Iowa’s campus is the Old Capitol Building. Once functioning as the main government building for the state of Iowa, it symbolizes the city’s heritage as the state’s original capitol. Following a fire in 2001, and after an extensive restoration in 2006, the building was re-opened as a museum and venue for lectures and press conferences. The Old Capitol Building is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is one of five buildings that make up the Pentacrest. Collectively, they are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In addition to the historical highlights within Iowa City, several delightful near-by attractions include the Germanic Amana Colonies, the Amish town of Kalona, and the Czech Village of Cedar Rapids. All three are within a 30-mile radius and showcase Iowa’s diverse heritage while offering the best in ethnic foods and traditional crafts.

If you’re looking for a relaxing get-away that offers Midwest hospitality, Iowa City is a pleasant surprise awaiting your arrival. With a little bit for everyone, you’ll be sure to find the city’s allure irresistible. Let EscapeWizard.com help you create a heartland vacation today by clicking onto (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php) today.
Hotels in Iowa City
By Shaina Amienyi
Sheraton Iowa City Hotel
210 S. Dubuque Street, Iowa City, IA
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The Sheraton Iowa City Hotel has been transformed into a chic, contemporary hotel that is popular with business and leisure guests alike. The hotel offers guests a free shuttle to surrounding areas. Check-in begins after 3pm, and checkout is at noon. Porters are available to help with bags, and luggage can be stored in the lobby if you arrive before your room is ready or want to sightsee before you leave town.

Arguably the best part of the hotel is its 234 guest rooms, all well-stocked and with a contemporary design. Each room features a 37-inch flat panel HDTV, make-up/shaving mirror, bathroom with grab bars, and coffee maker with Starbucks coffee. You can take advantage of room service, wake-up service, and smart room technology.

There are numerous amenities for you to enjoy, including a heated indoor pool and a fitness center programmed by Core Performance. If you are a Sheraton Club guest, make sure to enjoy the Club Lounge. The lounge offers complimentary beverages, hors d’oeuvres, and breakfast. You can sit back and watch TV on the 42-inch flat screen, enjoy a drink with friends, or meet with business partners.

The Sheraton provides the perfect event spaces, offering over 11,000 square feet of space for conferences, reunions, banquets, meetings, etc. You can seek help from the convention staff who are more than happy to assist in event planning and catering.

The hotel’s dining area is a destination in itself. The Share Wine Lounge & Small Plate Bistro provides a seasonally changing menu, food cooked with fresh ingredients, and an extensive wine list. This unique restaurant, where guests are encouraged to share and sample a variety of cuisines, is open from 6:30 a.m. -11 p.m.

The only hotel on the University of Iowa campus, The Sheraton Iowa City Hotel offers guests a convenient location in the heart of the city, plush accommodations, and an array of amenities and services. Do not hesitate to book your stay at this deluxe hotel. Click on the link to EscapeWizard.com (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl) to reserve your room.