Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa, which is a bastion of academic and athletic achievement. The Hawkeyes are a major player in the Big 10 Conference, and Kinnick Stadium, the University of Iowa’s home field, is ranked in the top 25 for highest attendance. The 70,000 seat stadium, renamed in 1972 after the 1929 Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick, sells out frequently.
Apart from their prowess on the football field, the University of Iowa has 24 Division I athletic programs, but they are known mostly for their football, men and women’s basketball, women’s field hockey, and wrestling programs. At most sporting events, you can spot the school’s mascot, Herky the Hawk, whose appearance varies depending on the event.
The Hawkeyes have huge rivalries with fellow Big 10 teams such as Penn State and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and state rival Iowa State. Hawkeye State fans show up in droves for those matchups, which can make ticket availability scarce.
The University of Iowa has no shortage of RV parking lots, and some parking lots are free. If you don’t want to host a party but still be a part of the fun, the university hosts a family-friendly tailgate that includes food and entertainment. Wear your best Hawkeye gear and get ready for some football!
With so many different sports teams, it can be hard to pick a favorite University of Iowa athletic program. Prices do vary significantly among the different sports, with football and basketball being the most expensive. In recent years, the price of a football ticket has ranged between $80 and $120, although rival games tend to be higher. Men’s basketball tickets have been considerably more affordable, and they have ranged between $15 and $35.
The University of Iowa has a lot going on football game days, so it’s worth noting the different road closures. There are a couple of streets that close around the stadium hours before a game starts. Arrive at the stadium early to skip the traffic and road closures. Take advantage of Iowa's 511 services in your travels across this state that rests central to much of the country.
Some parking lots open either the morning of the game or the day before, so you’ll have plenty of time to arrive. Single-game RV parking for football games is available on game day, cash only for some lots. Some RV parking locations have also been free in the past, but might be farther away with shuttle services available. Die-hard Hawkeye tailgaters might want to consider purchasing a season parking pass, which is priced reasonably.
If you want to watch the game without parking your RV at the stadium, you’re in luck. The University of Iowa offers the Hawkeye Express train service, which picks passengers up near the Coral Ridge Mall. The train goes the opposite way after the game. Once you’re on stadium grounds, you can use the Cambus service to travel. The Cambus stops at several parking lots and runs before, during, and after the game.
With certain lots opening the day before the game and closing the morning after the game, RV owners can stay overnight for a few days. RV owners are required to leave the parking lot by a designated time the morning after the game. Expect to dry camp if you plan to stay camp near Hawkeye Stadium in any of the RV lots as allowed.
If you prefer the comforts that an RV campground can provide, look for accommodations in the nearby area. RV campgrounds are not very common within the city limits, but travelers might enjoy a spot near the Iowa River less than 10 miles to the north.
On the other side of the river, Lake Macbride State Park welcomes RVers to come and enjoy the outdoor setting with even the largest of rigs. Rock Island / Quad Cities KOA is perfect for a few nights of camping within an hour's drive of Kinnick Stadium.
To get around the stadium grounds quickly, use the Cambus shuttle service provided by the University of Iowa. For guests with mobility issues, the university provides a complimentary golf cart shuttle service that runs two hours before the game.
Depending on the game and where you’re sitting, you’ll be encouraged to wear either yellow or black, which can make the stadium appear striped. What you pack will depend a lot on the time of the year. The fall and winter months are cold, and it’s best to pack warm. There’s never a better time to wear a Hawkeye’s scarf than the winter.
Tailgating can be as involved as you want it to be, but there are a few must-have essentials you can’t forget. Your favorite version of Herky the Hawkeye, in yellow and black, is a list-topper. You may want to bring a Bluetooth speaker to listen to your favorite tunes, but be mindful of the volume. Most importantly, you’ll need your trusty grill. Finally, don’t forget to bring a few trash bags to make cleanup easier.
With temperatures dropping to below freezing in the wintertime, it’s important that Hawkeye fans prepare to stay warm. Wear multiple layers of clothing, and protect your extremities with gloves, ear muffs, beanies, and thick socks. Carry a portable first-aid kit for any small accidents that occur at the tailgate or game.
Weather permitting, you may want to cook some hot comfort food for your guests. Stock up on groceries before arriving at your tailgate location, and make easy-to-handle food that requires minimal prep. When it’s cold out, you can’t go wrong with spicy chili or similar dishes. For some reason, Hawkeye fans are particularly fond of turkey legs.
With a big, young student population, dining options in Iowa city are equal parts trendy and affordable with a few comfort food classics in the mix. Get your grub on in Hawkeye nation and take your pick of pizza, BBQ, steak, or burgers. Fans will also find Chinese, Mexican, and Japanese restaurants in Iowa City.
Hawkeye Village, the official Hawkeye tailgate party hosted by the university, provides ticket-holders with food and drinks. Fans who have an appetite can also feast once inside the stadium at one of the many concession stands. There are ATMs inside Kinnick Stadium.
Fans who are planning to bring a bag inside the stadium should know that only clear bags are allowed, and that size restrictions may apply. If you don’t have a clear bag, there is a bag drop-off where you can securely store your belongings. For a smooth transition to game time, leave your bulky items in your RV parked near Hawkeye Stadium.
Summers are warm, but not hot, and the springs are cool in Iowa. The temperature drops severely in December and may not go back up until March. The average low temperature in January is a lip-cracking 14 degrees, so plan accordingly with hand warmers and plenty of wool. Snow often falls in the wintertime, with an average of 28 inches of snowfall a year.
Mothers who are nursing will be happy to know that Kinnick Stadium provides a quiet space for them. There are also two first aid stations within the stadium. If you are in need of medical attention, there is no better place to be; a hospital is located across the street from the stadium. Pharmacy options are as close as a mile away from the stadium.