Hot Cocoa Crawl to bring winter shoppers downtown

Hot Cocoa Crawl

Downtown Iowa City — Friday, Jan. 18 at 5 p.m.

The 2018 inaugural Cocoa Crawl invades Catherine’s. — courtesy of the Iowa City Downtown District

Many of Iowa City’s downtown businesses are keeping doors open late this Friday, Jan. 18 for the second annual Hot Cocoa Crawl. They’ll be offering drinks, treats and special sales for ticket-holding shoppers.

The event begins at 5 p.m. and is open to all ages with a $15 ticket purchase, giving all members of the Iowa City community a chance to find a downtown small business favorite.

“It really is a shopping event, and [our] aim is to get customers into the shops to discover what downtown has to offer,” Christopher Hunter, director of events for the Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD), said in an email. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback on attendees walking into shops they had never seen before. It’s nice because each shop is getting a mix of new customers they might not normally get, so the exposure is great”.

Last year’s mug design. — courtesy of the ICDD

With 20 participating businesses, the Hot Cocoa Crawl will resemble the Summer and Fall Shop Crawls, with the ICDD offering a mug and custom tote to ticket holders and with businesses providing snacks and hot beverages, including adult drinks like boozy hot chocolate for shoppers over 21.

After previous years’ success of the Summer Shop Crawls, last year saw the ICDD add the first Hot Cocoa Crawl in January, followed by the Fall Shop Crawl in October. However, this years’ Hot Cocoa Crawl will be different in that “the attendees get a little extra gift with their ticket purchase,” Hunter said.

Even with chilly weather, a high turnout is expected. In his email, Hunter said, “The Shop Crawls have been a huge success. Over the past year, we have sold out at each [of] the Hot Cocoa Crawl, the Summer Shop Crawl and the Fall Shop Crawl.”

Limited tickets are still available. More information on tickets and participating businesses is available on the Facebook event page.