Photo: University of Iowa campus

Iowa City's University of Iowa attracts degree-seekers and admirers of the numerous parks within city limits.

Photograph by Andre Jenny, Alamy

Pop. 67,831
GPS: 41°39'N, 91°32'W

Smarty-pants Iowa City has more adults with a bachelor's degree (61 percent) than almost any other U.S. town (the country average is a paltry 27 percent). Home to the University of Iowa's famed writers' workshop, it has 41 public parks—most equipped with trails and many that overlook the dramatic Iowa River—right in city limits.

PLAY

The Iowa City Bike Library, a quaint bike shop on E. College Street, leases new bikes for six-month try-outs ($20 deposit; www.bikelibrary.org). Grab some wheels for the day and cycle through City Park. Or hike through the Devonian Fossil Gorge in Coralville Lake Park www.coralville.org.

EAT

For the freshest lamb kebob this side of the Atlantic, go to Oasis Falafel, where they can top your pita with mango chutney and homemade pickled cabbage (www.oasisfalafel.com).

SLEEP

At Smiths’ B&B, a bright home in the historic north side neighborhood, you can seriously relax: a licensed masseur is onsite (doubles from $65; www.smithsbandb.home.mchsi.com).

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