Do not move here.
Unless you need to come here for graduate school or are already from Iowa, please do yourself a favor and avoid this place. I grew up in IN and thought it was awful until moving here. To make a long story short. I moved to Phoenix after college and loved it. Met my husband there and he ended up getting a fellowship at the University of Iowa. We have been trying to escape this place for the past 8 years.
I hate to generalize, but most (not ALL but most) people I have met here are rude, unfriendly and cliquey (sp?). Customer service is nonexistent. The best way I can describe it is - most service people I have come in contact with act like you are annoying them by making them do their job. Most of the friends we have made are people who are also from out of state. I made more friends in my year in AZ than I have in 8 years in this place.
I think there is a misconception that IC is safe. It depends on your perspective, but I've seen a definite downward trend in the past few years and most people who live here agree. Look up the crime ratings ON THIS SITE! They are high for a town this size. Lots of attacks downtown, robberies and assaults in middle class neighborhoods, etc.
There is nothing to do, especially if you have kids. Winter is torture because there is no place to go. There is one bowling alley that is run down and crowded (because, you know, it's the only one), an overpriced mediocre children's museum, a small indoor jungle gym, and the university's natural history museum (loses it's sparkle after about the fifth time you've been there because there's nothing else to do). After that it's pretty much boring, awful restaurants (don't get me started) and going to the movies. Oh, and going to football games. Yes, there are art and music festivals in the summer but the ones I went to were basically a place to go and walk around for an hour before going home.
Need to fly somewhere? It will cost you an arm and a leg unless you want to drive 4 hours to St. Louis or Chicago.
People looooove to talk about how great the education is here. Out of 12 elementary schools in the IC school district 5 have a rating BELOW 3! There are a few in the 5-8 range and only 2 with a 9 rating and 1 with a rating of 10. Look it up on a school review website. The High Schools are rated very highly but are getting overcrowded and there's a big redistricting mess going on right now.
Housing is ridiculously overpriced for what you get and for it's frigid midwestern location.
Traffic is horrible for a town this size. Bad city planning.
One really positive thing is there is a great park system and an awesome recreation department for lessons and sports for kids. Thats about all I can think of.
Amy | Iowa City, IA