The other day, I took a trip to Iowa City with my friends. We needed a break from Cedar Rapids and heard the summer party starts in "The I.C." It's hip, vibrant, young, and full of constant excitement.

I don't want to take away from the other cities in Iowa: Des Moines is nice, Clear Lake is cool... Ames is just terrible (LOL! Go Hawks), but Iowa City is in another league. It's the colorful, cultural, and culinary hub of the state!

There are over 70 restaurants and bars in the downtown area alone with over half of them being unique, locally owned businesses. We stopped at Pullman Bar & Diner for a classic burger and fries on the patio. As soon as the temperature reaches above 60 degrees, you can find me on a restaurant patio enjoying a cold beer.

Photo: Rhea Burns

I love people-watching in Iowa City. You can find some of the most interesting, creative people and their dogs. Over the course of my patio dinner, I saw at least 15 dogs, a man playing saxophone music, kids going to the park in the Pedestrian Mall, and even a group of young people hitting the bars in scandalous outfits at 6-o-clock. There is so much going on, you would think we were in a big city, not in the middle of "cornfield" Iowa.

On the way out, I thought to myself "Iowa City is only 20 miles away, why don't I come here more often?" I've since decided to make downtown Iowa City my new go-to for summer events.

Catch ya downtown!