The University of Iowa Athletics program spans more than a century of tradition, including a venerated football team founded in 1889 as well as prodigiously successful wrestling and basketball programs. Consistently ranked among the top 25 college stadiums in the nation for attendance, Kinnick Stadium regularly houses more than 70,000 spectators in its stands during home football games. The venue takes its name from Iowa football legend Nile Kinnick, who in 1939 commemorated his Heisman Trophy win by painting himself bronze and dashing across the field.
Since the inauguration of Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 1983, the men's and women's basketball teams have posted .777 winning percentages. One of the largest university-owned facilities in the nation, Carver-Hawkeye packs in more than 15,000 fans for events that have included Big Ten and NCAA Championships as well as an exhibition match featuring the 1984 Olympic men's basketball team. The stadium also hosts the wrestling team, which boasts 18 undefeated seasons and a trophy case of retired mouth guards in its storied history.
Diamond Dreams Baseball and Softball Academy's athletic facilities double as classrooms for players of all ages. A 10,000-square-foot arena houses indoor pitching mounds, technique cages, and throwing tunnels with Iron Mike and curveball pitching machines. An adjoining 2,000-square-foot performance center caters to youth and adult development programs.
Helming these facilities, experienced instructors adhere to a philosophy known as Life-Sport-Connect. As implied by its title, Life-Sport-Connect emphasizes the link between athletics and the real world. As athletes learn how to maintain a positive attitude, work as a team, and douse their coach in sports drink, they develop virtuous characteristics that affect their personal lives.
Classes, workshops, and camps primarily emphasize baseball, softball, and football. Regular baseball tournaments provide game time between local and regional teams, and a chance to show off with home-run derbies and throwing competitions.
The same venue that hosts weddings and upscale dinners also welcomes established comedians and rock bands, making First Avenue Club a go-to destination for all manner of events. Inside, a full-service bar overflows with 12 draft beers, 40 bottled beers, and a wealth of mixed drinks. Further behind the scenes, the kitchen fires up hearty entrees such as roast pork loin and baked cod.
2011's Firecracker 500 Festival serves up more than 20 eclectic garage-rock groups bent on rocking an all-ages-audience's socks off over three thrash-filled days. Bands such as White Mystery and Pitchfork-reviewed quartet The Coathangers kick out jams with riot-grrrl grit, and headliners The Strange Boys shred psychedelic hooks sharper than Jimi Hendrix's diamond-tipped mustache-trimmers. The festival's full roster of up-and-coming acts can expose most attendees' ears to new shrieks and sounds.
The lunch menu at Guido's Deli fields a reliable squad of fresh sandwiches and paninis. The American Dream sandwich celebrates life, liberty, and hungriness with roast beef, ham, smoked turkey, and a choice of cheese ($3.50–$7). Eight paninis populate the menu, one for each president who could pat his head while rubbing his stomach. The Naturalist unites portobello mushrooms and roasted red peppers with caramelized onions, artichoke spread, and tomatoes on a whole-wheat platform, and the Italian brings together disparate deliciousness in the form of capicola, salami, mortadella, provolone, and roasted red peppers ($3.50–$7). The caprese panini, like the first Roman recipe books, binds volumes of fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes, and a fresh basil or spinach pesto spread ($3.75 small/$7.50 large) and makes a fine companion for a glass of freshly brewed iced tea ($1.50).
New Life Fitness World motivates calories crusaders with personal trainers and more than 140 hours of group classes. Launch fitness plans in a one-on-one training session before bounding into any of the four locations' exercise courses, such as cycling, Zumba, and Piyo, a combination of yoga, Pilates, and trick yo-yoing. After land-based laps around the indoor tracks, or the aquatic equivalent in the indoor heated pools, fit fiddles can indulge in a sauna steam, a hot-tub soak, or a tanning session. Towel service and locker rooms facilitate transitions out of the gym, while childcare frees parents from the stress of pushing strollers while jogging on the treadmill.