Get on your bikes and ride: RAGBRAI in Iowa City

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A bike rest on Clinton Street in downtown Iowa City. — photo by Zak Neumann

Weeks before students return to town, Iowa City’s population will temporarily inflate as RAGBRAI rolls in for the first time since 1976. Whether you’re a rider or a townie (or both), here’s where to be and what to see during the Iowa City leg of RAGBRAI. (All events are free unless otherwise stated.)

Thursday, July 26

Street closures will begin as the city prepares for the RAGBRAI invasion.

Friday, July 27

Day 6 of RAGBRAI, bicyclists will wake up in Sigourney and ride northeast 57.8 miles (climbing 1,413 feet, a relatively mild incline). A break is scheduled in Kalona before heading through Riverside, Hills and finally Iowa City.

Riders will enter town via South Gilbert Street, using Market Street, Madison Street, Iowa Avenue, Riverside Drive and Park Road to get to City Park.

Free shuttles will run between the campsites and downtown Iowa City from 11 a.m. to midnight to take riders to and from the festivities.


Iowa City Senior Center — 9 a.m.

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
Iowa City Public Library — 12 p.m.

Emmanuel’s Gift
Iowa City Senior Center — 1 p.m.

Triplets of Belleville
Iowa City Public Library — 2 p.m.

Iowa City Senior Center — 3 p.m.

The Flying Scotsman
Iowa City Public Library — 4 p.m.

For the Love of Mud
Iowa City Public Library — 6 p.m.

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Breaking Away
Iowa City Public Library — 7:30 p.m.

Field of Dreams
FilmScene alleyway — 8 p.m.
Bring your own chair!

Downtown street closures for RAGBRAI 2-16. — image courtesy of Iowa City RAGBRAI


Wristbands are needed to get into the Book it to Iowa City Bash event area. They cost $10, but are free for anyone with an official RAGBRAI wristband, underage patrons and patrons who do not intend to drink alcohol.

Main stage: Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue
Side stage: Washington and Linn streets

Dana T
Side stage — 12 p.m.

Side stage — 1 p.m.

Sister Wife
Side stage — 2 p.m.

Cedar County Cobras
Side stage — 3 p.m.

James Tutson and the Rollback
Main stage — 4 p.m.

Elizabeth Moen
Main stage — 5 p.m.

Blitzen Trapper
Main stage — 6 p.m.

DJ Competition & Dance Party with Iowa City’s Hottest DJ’s
Side stage — 8 p.m.

Main stage — 8:15 p.m.


Yard games such as bags (corn hole) and giant Jenga will be hosted on Dubuque Street during the day.

Break Dancing Competition
Side stage — 6 p.m.


A beverage garden, set up near the main stage, opens at 12 p.m., serving beer (including craft beers), wine coolers, hard lemonade and hard cider. Beverages may be carried around the event area for patrons with wristbands ($10).

Food vendors will be set up on Washington and Linn streets:

  • Bahn Mi Amore
  • Marco’s Grilled Cheese
  • Mosley’s BBQ
  • Papa John’s Pizza

Marco’s Grilled Cheese and Rodney’s Jamaican BBQ will serve food at the RAGBRAI campground. Street Hawk Food Truck will be stationed in Hubbard Park, and open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors are also encouraged to patronize downtown restaurants.

Saturday, July 28

The seventh and final day of RAGBRAI, riders will head out of Iowa City the way they came (substituting Jefferson Street for Market Street). They have a 68.9-mile ride with a climb of 1,585 feet to get to Davenport and the RAGBRAI finish line. Wilton is the last official break stop.

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