We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Prairie Lights

Open Now: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Open today: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Review Highlights
A classy up to date establishment

Some Downtown Iowa City establishments should take a look at how this bookstore. They know how to... read more

Reviewed April 7, 2018
Mount Dora, Florida
via mobile
What a Bookstore Should Be

I won't exaggerate and say that this place has everything...but let me assure you, this is not the... read more

Reviewed January 1, 2018
Sue R
Normal, Illinois
Read all 23 reviews
All photos (1)
Full view
Traveler Overview
  • Excellent92%
  • Very good8%
  • Average0%
  • Poor0%
  • Terrible0%
Travelers talk about
“top floor”(2 reviews)
“bookstore”(16 reviews)
Open Now
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
See all hours
Local Weather
Powered by Weather Underground
Iowa City, IA
+1 319-337-2681
Improve This Listing
Reviews (23)
Filter reviews
23 results
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Show reviews that mention
All reviews nice coffee shop top floor bookstore browse sellers trendy upstairs
Updating list...
1 - 10 of 23 reviews
Reviewed April 7, 2018 via mobile

Some Downtown Iowa City establishments should take a look at how this bookstore. They know how to market themselves. Plus, an excellent coffee shop up stairs. This is an institution, in Iowa City. This is why they are still in business.

Date of experience: April 2018
1  Thank Q2385ALjamesl
Reviewed January 1, 2018

I won't exaggerate and say that this place has everything...but let me assure you, this is not the average, run-of-the-mill "trendy/what's popular" bookstore. When we visit new areas, we usually check out record shops and bookstores, so we are no stranger to seeing a variety...More

Date of experience: December 2017
1  Thank Sue R
Reviewed August 12, 2017

Good mixture of best sellers and off the beaten path books, small area with coffee upstairs. Interesting sections of store (e,g, "strong books for strong women"). Take some time to browse

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank Kevin N
Reviewed June 7, 2017

For being a small bookstore tucked away downtown, they have a surprisingly good selection. Prairie Lights also boasts frequent author readings, a sizable children's area downstairs, a decent used book collection, and a little cafe on the top floor. This is always my first stop...More

Date of experience: April 2017
1  Thank runbyfruiting91
Reviewed May 22, 2017

Prairie Lights Book store is an Iowa City landmark for decades. Not only they have fantastic book collections and can order any book one may desire but it also hosts many readings throughout the year including hosting famous writers discussing their latest publications. It also...More

Date of experience: March 2017
Thank 307seascape
Reviewed May 2, 2017

There is no quick visit to this place. It seems small until you start browsing and realize the books there are not necessarily the trendy books, but actual, GOOD books. Books you didn't realize existed and those you forgot you loved. As one reviewer put...More

Date of experience: March 2017
1  Thank scarletwarrior
Reviewed July 23, 2016

This bookstore is always one of the highlights of my visits to Iowa City. They stock so many unique books, they have wonderful readings, and they are always helpful if you're looking for something specific. Very knowledgeable and just a joy to spend time perusing....More

Date of experience: July 2016
1  Thank hopes702
Reviewed July 8, 2016

Lots of unusual books, and I get travel books here often. The staff is knowledgeable, kind and determined to help you. The children's section in the basement is fabulous. The coffeeshop upstairs is quite and a great place to meet friends and have some tea...More

Date of experience: July 2016
Thank GailCheryl
Reviewed June 27, 2016

A real bookstore! With real book smells, real paper pages to turn, real volumes to hold and experience. Places to sit while you browse. Frequent opportunities to meet authors. With so many bookstores shuttered forever, it's an experience not to be missed. A definite highlight...More

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank Solotravel-lover
Reviewed June 25, 2016

Prarie Lights is a bloved institution in IC. They have a wide selection of books and hold author readings, often by successful writers from IU, many evenings a week. The staff is quite knowledgeable and not snooty. While they have every kind of book, if...More

Date of experience: June 2016
1  Thank John W
View more reviews
Questions & Answers
Get quick answers from Prairie Lights staff and past visitors.
Note: your question will be posted publicly on the Questions & Answers page.
Posting guidelines