Iowa City’s Hidden Gems: Study Spots to Explore this Semester

Slipping on ice hidden beneath snow banks that reach almost up to our knees. Biting wind that leaves our cheeks pink and our fingers stiff. Even though they call it “Spring” semester, we all find ourselves in the thick of winter, eyes squinted against fast flying flakes. Before we can shed our jackets and boots for good, we have to power through another, even gloomier season: Midterms. I shudder at the thought of late nights under the florescent lights of the Main Library, Sundays holed up in my apartment, with nothing but open textbooks and empty cups of coffee for comfort.

It can be easy to fall into a studying slump: You find yourself in the same routine everyday, sitting in the same places and positions for hours on end while you pound out papers and rehearse presentations. But never fear! Iowa City has a few hidden gems up its sleeve. These cute (and dare I say, little known?) study spots will give you a change of scenery and a renewed sense of productivity.


Poindexter in the PedMall

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite study spots in Downtown Iowa City. The cozy lighting and retro design combine for a great atmosphere—one that makes my normal study routine a little more relaxing. Plus, their iced coffee is on point.

The Art Library in Art Building West

If you’re looking for somewhere completely serene, the Art Library is the perfect spot. It’s a quiet study area with a calming color scheme and huge windows that overlook a picturesque pond. If you have some serious studying to do, I would definitely recommend claiming a table here.

Jamba Juice on the intersection of Riverside and Benton Street

I’ve found that when I want the coffee shop atmosphere—but I can’t handle drinking another coffee—I’ll opt for a spot and smoothie at Jamba Juice. This study spot doesn’t have the best view, but it’s still has a warm atmosphere and makes for a nice change of pace once you’ve exhausted all of your regular spots on campus.     

The Iowa City Public Library in the PedMall (the second floor)

If you really love libraries, but the silence and claustrophobia of the Main Library’s upper floors isn’t for you, I would recommend walking up the hill to the ICPL. The second floor has a more open study space overlooking Linn St., and while there are plenty of books to peruse, they don’t loom over you like they tend to do in the Main Library. Plus, visiting the ICPL is a great way to feel better connected with the larger Iowa City community beyond the University—a reminder that while the classes and midterms we’re experiencing now are stressful, they won’t last forever.   


So as the midterms season breaks out into full swing, experiment with a change of scenery—it can do wonders for making you feel even more productive. You don’t have to keep yourself limited to the same buildings you’ve always gone to. Get out and explore! Try switching up your routine by visiting one of these study spots, and see what else Iowa City has to offer. And remember: Even though we’re buried in snow and assignments now, spring is on the rise!

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