Top Five Fall Activities in Iowa City

As the fall season approaches, it is time to start marking your calendars with all the activities you want to experience. So, VERVE Magazine has created a list to help you find events and activities to do in the Iowa City area without stealing all your rent money.

Visit the Black Angel

The Black Angel. Photo by Della Gritsch.

The Black Angel is one of Iowa’s most famous Urban Legends. She is located at the Oakland Cemetery. The story goes that the angel was commissioned by a wealthy woman named Teresa Dolezal Feldevert to be her and her family’s gravestone. When Feldevert died of cancer in 1924, legend says that the bronze angel turned black overnight. It is said that if you touch the Black Angel at midnight on Halloween you will die within seven years, if you kiss her you will die instantly, if a girl is kissed in moonlight under the angel’s wings she will die within 6 months, and every Halloween night the angel grows a shade darker symbolizing all of the people she has killed.

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While you are visiting the cemetery give your respects to the first person ever buried there. Her name was Cordelia Swan. She died in 1839 at the age of 5. Her gravestone is located in the oldest part of the cemetery. It stands out because there is a relatively new headstone that the city helped fund.

Cordelia Swan’s gravestone. Photo by Della Gritsch.

See a Show at The Englert Theatre

The Englert Theatre always puts on a good show no matter what time of year it is, but they have two great October shows this year. The first is the Rocky Horror Picture Show presented old school style. That’s right! The movie will be played on-screen while actors act it out on stage. It will be held October 26th at 11:50 p.m., and tickets start at $20. The Englert encourages you to dress up, and some props will be provided for you!

The Englert Theatre. Photo by Della Gritsch.

The next show is Bianca Del Rio: It’s a Jester Joke. This will be a fun, comedic drag show with RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 WinnerBianco Del Rio. The show is October 24th at 8 p.m. and the tickets start at $39.50.

Visit Wilson’s Orchard

Wilson’s Orchard is an apple orchard that was voted one of the top 50 things to do in Iowa City.  At the orchard you can pick your own apples and pumpkins and go on tractor rides through the grounds. They have various events throughout the season such as Pumpkin Fest (October 12-13) where you can do a variety of pumpkin-related activities like guessing the weight of their giant pumpkin and hunting for the biggest pumpkin in the patch. They also have a Trick or Treat Weekend (October 26-27) where there are prizes for those who dress up, as well as free trailer rides.

A map of Wilson’s Orchard. Photo by Della Gritsch.

Wilson’s Orchard is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until the end of October. Grab yourself some delicious apple cider and turnovers while you’re there!

Look for On-Campus Activities

The University of Iowa has many events planned for fall, including a Carmel Apple  hosted at the Catlett dining center and a Halloween Desserts  pop up that can be found in any of the campus dining center on Halloween.

On October 22, the Seamans Center will have a Halloween Costume Design Workshop. There you can learn quick and easy tricks to spice up your costume before the big day. The workshop will be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

On Halloween, there will be a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. The Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican celebration that celebrates the dead. It is a three day event to remember the dead and to welcome back their spirits while they are visiting. Unlike Halloween where death is treated like a scary thing to be feared, Día de los Muertos is a happy, colorful celebration of it.

At the event you can learn more about the culture and celebration, make paper marigolds, decorate masks, put a loved one’s photo on the Offreda (alter), and try the traditional Day of the Dead bread, Pan de Muertos.

For more information of Día de los Muertos visit:

Go for a Hike

Iowa City has plenty of trails to hike where you can see tree leaves changing into beautiful shapes of red, yellow, and orange. If you are feeling especially adventurous, Harvest Preserve and Turkeyfoot Folk School host Moon Hikes through the fall months. There will be a hike to the stone circle where you can stay by the fire, drink tea or other beverages, and watch the moon rise or continue to hike. You may even be lucky enough to hear owls or coyotes! Remember to bring sturdy shoes and a flashlight along.

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