Downtown Iowa City

Cultural & Entertainment

2024 Downtown Iowa City Spring Arts Guide

Read More

State of Iowa Cultural & Entertainment District Designation

In 2022, the State of Iowa designated Downtown Iowa City as an official Cultural & Entertainment District of the State. The department designates Iowa Cultural & Entertainment Districts to recognize well-identified, walkable, mixed-use destinations with a high concentration of flagship cultural facilities.

The Downtown Iowa City Cultural & Entertainment District is located in the heart of Iowa City and is the hub of the “Greatest Small City for the Arts.” Its 26-block area is easily walkable and bikeable, right at the doorstep of the University of Iowa and the headquarters of the UNESCO City of Literature. It includes a National Register Historic District, the downtown pedestrian mall, and a dynamic collection of restaurants, music venues, museums, historic theaters, shops, independent cinemas, galleries, bars, and many mission-driven organizations. Millions of people visit the district each year to enjoy its vibrant cultural entertainment and 10 hallmark festivals.

With notable cultural and entertainment venues such as the Stanley Museum of Art, the Voxman School of Music, the Iowa Museum of Natural History, the Old Capitol Museum, the historic Englert Theatre, Riverside Theatre, Public Space One, FilmScene, and The Lasansky Gallery, among others, this designation is justifiable as a place that continues to draw and engage artists, innovators, creatives, and entrepreneurs and has directly resulted in the continued growth of new industries in the Iowa City area.

X Marks the Arts is a dynamic marketing initiative aimed at spotlighting the vibrant cultural and entertainment scene thriving within Downtown Iowa City’s Cultural & Entertainment District. X Marks the Arts showcases a curated selection of the week’s most exciting events, encompassing a diverse array of entertainment offerings. From live music performances to art exhibitions and theatrical productions, X Marks the Arts provides an engaging platform for both locals and visitors to discover and engage with the rich tapestry of creativity that defines Downtown Iowa City.

Sign up for the newsletter to stay informed and inspired by the latest happenings in this thriving cultural hub.

Arts & Culture Calendar

The Downtown Cultural & Entertainment District is a vibrant, diverse, and lively epicenter for the arts. Our District begins in the heart of downtown Iowa City and ripples through this Big Ten town and UNESCO City of Literature. We deliver ever-changing sites and experiences, and welcome everyone who wants to be in the middle of it all, amidst hundreds of locally and nationally renowned live music venues, museums, historic theaters, independent cinemas, and galleries in a place known as the greatest small city of the arts.


Imagine…a place to create!
Read More

Englert Theatre

104-year-old vaudeville theatre and nonprofit performing arts organization presenting music, comedy, literature, and more.
Read More

FilmScene at The Chauncey

Our state-of-the-art three-screen facility (117-seat, 65-seat and 30-seat) boasts the Midwest’s best digital picture and sound, 35mm and 16mm capabilities and a selection of comfortable seating for every taste.
Read More

FilmScene in the Ped Mall

Compact theater for first-runs, classic movies, film series & workshops
Read More


Gabe’s brings local, regional and national shows to Iowa City that can be any type of music.
Read More

Iowa Artisans Gallery

full-service retail store specializing in handmade American art
Read More

Iowa City Public Library

Center of community life that connects people of all ages with information.
Read More

Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature

The City of Literature works to advance its mission of celebrating and supporting literature on a local, regional, national, and international level, connecting readers and writers through the power of…
Read More

Lasansky Gallery

Home to the works of Mauricio Lasanky
Read More

Museum of Natural History

The University of Iowa’s Museum of Natural History is the oldest university museum west of the Mississippi River.
Read More

Old Capitol Museum

As the original capitol to the state of Iowa from 1846-1857, The Old Capitol Museum seeks to educate the university, local, and national communities on the continuing significance of the…
Read More

Performing Arts at Iowa – Theatre Building

Read More

Prairie Lights Bookstore & Café

The famous bookstore and 3rd floor cafe
Read More

Public Space One

Public Space One is an artist-run, nonprofit arts organization that offers space to the community for public events such as screenings, readings, workshops, performances and art projects.
Read More

Riverside Theatre

A great city deserves serious theatre.
Read More

Space Place Theatre

Space Place Theater is an intimate performance and learning space nestled within North Hall on the University of Iowa campus. The stage is level with the first row of audience…
Read More

Stanley Museum of Art

The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art is a leading university art museum that is always free and open to all to discover and enjoy extraordinary works of art,…
Read More

Studio 13

Lively gay & lesbian dance club with DJs & drag shows, plus karaoke, comedy & open-mike nights.
Read More

The James Theater

Iowa City’s newest performance venue, dedicated to supporting the creators in our community through all stages of the development and performance of new and exciting work in the arts.
Read More