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.
Fiery red paint splashes the walls of Casa Tequila Authentic Mexican Grill, creating the illusion of heat. Sizzling plates of fajitas emerge from the kitchen, fanning the flames with soft tortillas and hot strips of chicken. Nearby, grilled T-bones and rib eyes amplify the warmth with spicy jalape?os and ranchero sauce. Like most of the menu?s selections, these dishes are made from scratch using super-fresh ingredients. To lower the temperature, barkeeps craft margaritas that are cooler than an iceberg wearing an Elvis wig. Available in a variety of flavors and sizes, these drinks showcase a lineup of more than 50 tequilas. Diners can also enjoy their meals at outdoor tables, amid refreshing breezes and the shade of patio umbrellas.
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.
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).
Finkbine's18 holes unfold across 7,100 yards of rolling manicured greenery. Golf pairs or unchaperoned players can gracefully arc their Titleists along contoured fairways, evading bunkers and vaulting over the watery tributaries emanating from the course's 6-acre lake. The par 72 course is hemmed in by trees and spotted with islands of foliage and well-groomed gardens, creating the challenge of playing through packs of feral botanists. The included cart upgrades interfairway transit, outfitting golfers with zippy wheels and cup holder for the Arnold Palmer.