Reviews of Prairie Lights Books & Cafe (Coffee Shop)

15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240, United States

Average Rating:


Here you will see all the reviews of people like you who used the products of Prairie Lights Books & Cafe (Coffee Shop) in the state of Iowa.

At present the business gets a rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 and this rating has been calculated on 309 reviews.

As you can read, the average of ratings that it reaches is virtually the top, and it's founded on a very high number of reviews, so we may be pretty sure that the rating is quite accurate. If many people have bothered to give their review when they are satisfied, it works.

You know that we don't usually bother to give reviews when these are good and we usually do it only if we've had a problem or incidence...

This Coffee Shop is included in the category of Book store.

Where is Prairie Lights Books & Cafe?

REVIEWS OF Prairie Lights Books & Cafe IN Iowa

Sarah Urban

Beautiful book store with a great fiction collection. The staff are friendly and helpful. There is an overall welcoming feel here.

J Eric Braun

This spot is such a treasure. The reading selections and suggestions are brilliant. And the cafe upstairs is charming.

Matthew Frazier

The greatest small bookstore supports the many resident writers and academics at UI. Staff is educated and eager to share tidbits about good books.

alessandro bortolozzi

Great poetry reading

Andy Beeler

Nice little book store with lots of fiction (I wish they had more science non-fiction, though). Also a nice little cafe upstairs and they do serve at least wine as well.


They the yerba mate tea!

Amy Floren

Huge selection of books, including children's books. Can easily spend an afternoon browsing here. Includes a coffee shop where you can even enjoy a glass of wine!

Melissa Barnes

Went for an author event and really enjoyed looking around the store. The store is three levels with a lovely cafe and sweet kids section in the lower level. Forgot to take photos during the event!

Garrett Spencer

Fun little coffee shop and bookstore perfect for a place to study in a vibrant atmosphere

Thomas D

Great service, very direct and polite.

Ipadeola Tade

A writer's bookshop!

Seth Missiaen

Among other great coffee, Prairie Lights Cafe sells Stumptown coffee. They have a selection of signature drinks unique to this cafe. Beer and wine also available. Try the Houndstooth if you're of age.

Melissa Lawrence

Worst book store I’ve ever been to. Their employees are not knowledgeable about book ordering. Went in many times for this book and they never had it to only find out you have to order it. So I Asked for It to Be ordered and she said it would be here in two days. Go back in the next day and she said she can’t irder Whitney without pre-payment. This is a book I need for a class that they had no idea what so ever that they needed to order it. If no stars was an option they would get it. Then on top of it the lady helping me was on a personal phone call while helping me RUDE.

Jeff Garrison

Great bookstore

CJ Flynn

One of the last real bookstores most have become gift shops or toy stores that happen to sell books. But this place really lives up to the UN city of books and all the other titles they have gotten etc... They have a good selection of books both local and national books.

He Bian

Best cappuccino in town

Mary Mathis

Favorite place to get reading recs and the coffee and tea upstairs is amazing. Coffee shop tends to be very busy.

Kimberly Peper

Love the Doctor Memorabilia!

J Kane

Great selection of books and other items. Staff is very knowledgeable and provide excellent customer service!

j m

Nice environment

C. Michael Lowery

Best bookstore in Iowa, in my opinion. Love having a coffee and browsing.

John Ira Thomas

Gold standard for bookstores. Go!

Abbie Krajewski

Lifelong fan of this bookstore! Great selection in the heart of Iowa city

Gamma Proof

Cool little shop, can't wait to visit again. Good little section on LGBT studies which is harder to find in Iowa.

Anna Kramer

I don't know how anyone could do anything but rave about this place. Iowa City wouldn't be what it is without it. Highlights for me have always been the friendly, familiar staff, the iced green tea, and the author reading events.

Devin Strating

for2day imaRobot

This bookstore is NOT one which I would recommend. It is NOT anything special, it's just average. It does NOT have the feel and atmosphere of a bookstore that knows books. Readings by authors and such, yes, but as to offering the "bookstore" experience ... NO !!! Haunted Bookshop is far and away much better .... The only reason this bookstore continues to "exist" is because of all the "extras" it has .... people who know and appreciate books would NOT find anything here of value. They have gone far from their roots .... too commercialized may be the word. Or, just plain bad would be another. Truly a very disappointing experience for anyone who knows what REAL books and bookstores ARE.

Ellison Walsh

There were so many books to choose from

chadwick crawford

The literary jewel of the Midwest.

Richard May

Great indie bookstore! Very helpful staff.

alea mae


Kara Logsden

Very helpful staff and a great selection of books and gifts.

Philip Huang

Solid bookstore - has an upstairs coffee shop which is awesome. Great selection of books, good service. I like their decor too - great spot to hang out.

Dylan Cook

Prairie Lights is great

Jeremy Alford

The book selection is amazing, I could easily spend hours inside there

Sam Hisel

Lovely place

Tom W.

Great bookstore

Vanessa Alizo

Yummy espresso, missing OAT milk

Jung Hwan Kim

Good place to chil

Joshua Rose

Took a trip down from Minneapolis because I was told as a book lover I needed to go to this store but it was very plain, not that big, and didn't have anything special. I think Mager's and Quinn in Uptown Minneapolis has more to offer.

Jade Fang

This is an amazing book store in Iowa City. If you're ever in the area go! What is an amazing book store. An amazing book store is one where you go stay for hours and come home with a book list that is over 25 items long. THAT is an amazing book store. I am not sure exactly what it was but the displays were so inviting and so well done. I didn't come back with a 25 item book list from barnes and noble.

Nick Sparr

Great place to browse, catch a reading, or sip Stumptown coffee in the cafe upstairs!

Christopher Rohe

A national treasure. Has a well deserved reputation as one of the best bookstores in America. I know, I've been to all of them.

Lauren Meanor

Great bookstore!

Laura Engel

A fantastic place to spend some time finding the perfect book. Very knowledgeable staff. Along with EXCELLENT coffee and great natural light. A must visit place for locals and visitors.

Kathe Connair

Helpful, knowledgeable staff, great selection and nice second-story cafe. ADA compliant.

Evan Mantler

Tim Nedoba

Considered the best independent bookstore in the nation and I promise you they live up to that standard. They're a welcoming business and they support the local community. Thank you Prairie Lights.

Kody Meyer

Favorite book store!

Douglas Heath

Heat selection has books of many different types of books

Uday Verma

Top coffee in town.

Leif Remø

Great selection of books. Their tea is really good, too.

Cameron Full

One of the best

Kelli Jackson

I absolutely adore this place. They offer a kids club discount which gives you 10% off kids and parenting books for an entire year. The environment is so cozy and inviting. It's one of my favorite places in our little city

Former UU

One of the lovely, genuine venues that keeps the literary world alive, and keeps Iowa's literary scene so relevant!

Katherine Jones

Prairie Lights Books & Cafe is wonderful! The book store is an amazing, locally owned store with a great selection of books and very knowledgeable staff. The cafe upstairs is a perfect place to grab a drink (they have delicious coffee and teas, and also serve beer and wine), study or read for a bit.

James Wray

We were here for the first time on 12/7 for a book reading, signing and Q&A. The authors and the book store staff were great but the guy working in the cafe was rude, banging things around. We might return for books but will avoid the cafe.

Paul Whalen

Very comfortable bookstore with a wide selection of books and an adjacent coffee shop. Fantastic place.

Samsung Asong

Good display of books. Readings often.

Lois Barliant

Just going to the website reminds me of this amazing bookstore. It's a great place to spend a morning with a coffee and your latest purchase or catching up on your journal, an afternoon scanning the titles and the staff's favorite reads, or best of all, an evening listening to an interview with a new-to-you writer whose thoughts on the craft of writing short stories, poetry, non-fiction, or novels are probed to deeper levels than most interviewers approach.

Casey Law

A veritable treasure in the heart of Iowa City. Knowledgeable staff, quiet, well-stocked, author readings, cafe on the top floor, and that welcoming/cozy feeling all bibliophiles crave on a bookstore.

Scott Norris

My favorite coffee downtown.

Amelia Akers

I really love this place! So cozy and their cafe is great! Great book selection! Gave up amazon book selection to support this badass place with my biz!

Peggy Skroh

Kaitlin Luoma

Wonderful and helpful staff

Benjamin Deonovic

Best coffee in Iowa City. I love their choice of beans (stumptown)

Sophie Ozolins

Staff are amazing and will always order books you are looking for. Very nice cozy vibes

Brandon Mills

Phil Davis

A cool bookstore with some cool history.

Chad Stone

Classic IC

MM Janechek

Wonderful staff and excellent book selection - the children's section is robust, so bring your little one! Also, the cafe upstairs has great light and an excellent vibe.

Bo Kapatsila

Good coffee served in European-sized portions and accompanied by tons of litterature and and humming-clicking writers

Rachel Reed

The most helpful staff, a cozy and welcoming environment. Love getting books for my university classes from here

Allen Burns

Here for a reading and a coffee. More independent book stores with a coffee shop please! Just like this would be a Really Good Thing (tm)!

Garik Himebaugh

Great selection of books as well as cards and journals. A must visit in Iowa City and love the cafe too.

Kyle Rodgers

One of the best places in iowa city!! Love studying here.

Cheryl W

Absolutely the best bookstore I've been in ever. From Australia to St Augustine to SoCal.... This bookstore is what every reader wants. Books, books, books. On wonderful and varied subjects. A cafe to sit and read in during a cold or rainy day, or a place to meet friends. Great place.

Katie Roche

The best book store on the world! I've always found the perfect gift here, no matter who I'm shopping for. Expeet advice. Quiet. Great cafe!

David Zabner

The best book store in the world. Great author talks, fantastic children's section. Honestly, it has everything you could want in a book store

JoAnn Smith

Loved the location...loved the collection...great staff!

Michael Delcau

Great cozy cafe in the heart of Iowa City

Kevin A

In a world of instantaneous, attention-sucking multimedia, Prairie Lights remains a temple to the joys and fascinations of attentive reading. It gives me hope for the future. For the intellect, and for humanity.

Amy Gorham

Prairie Lights is just simply amazing!! I'm a student at the University of Iowa and I am totally in love with this bookstore. They have a wide variety and generally well priced books when it comes to materials for classes. When there is a poetry reading held there, expect to be impressed. A really nice intimate reading space. The small window-seat on the second floor is amazing, great place to study during the week in the evenings. It doesn't stop there; the cafe upstairs is great! I'm not a coffee drinker (shocker),but I love me some hot chocolate. And they manage to make the best hot chocolate I've ever had!!! (no joke). Anyways definitely a place to check out if in Iowa City.

Joseph Townsend

Iowa City is lucky to have this gem, attracts excellent authors.

Payton Dowell

They have authors read their works free to the public, a cafe, and, of course, books! What more could you ask for?

Hyanchi Chou

Andrew Hosmanek

Great books you can find nowhere else.

Madison Burnett

I went in this morning to get some coffee, ordered an iced vanilla latte. I had to repeat every part of my order because she didn't remember it. I received a hot latte, and when I told her it was supposed to be iced she said 'great' then turned around to make another one. I was no more than ten steps away from the counter and I heard her complaining because I didn't tell her I wanted it iced, although I definitely did. I've never had a problem with service here before, but today I was definitely disappointed by the staff of the cafe, as the employee that served me was disrespectful, and unprofessional.

Derek Fawcett

Great place to support local community efforts. If you need a book, come here and skip Barnes and Noble.

Leslie DuPree

Wonderful selection of books, great atmosphere. Everything a bookstore should be!

Jonathan Jackson

abe kline

Great coffee and cocoa


Nice books here, a real variety, I bought some and enjoying them

Abby R

Great book selection plus many live readings! Helpful staff. They have a full coffee shop upstairs perfect to sit and read in.

Brian Grace

Nice bookstore especially if you need to buy any books for class. The cafe upstairs is also a great study/hangout spot.

Deirdre McCloskey

Prairie Lights is one of the world's great bookstores. I discovered Jim and Paul and the gang in 1980, and for two decades haunted the place. If you're traveling Route 80 you need to take a couple hours off. The bookbags emblazoned with the store's name, by the way, are also the best in the world---buy three, as I will do the next time i"m in town.

Britt Fowler

Kelli is very helpful! Great place, great employees.

Johnny Cruz

Pedro Barragan

Great interiors but expensive.

Alex Slusser

Very quaint coffeehouse above a bookstore. A great place to study or stop for a cup of coffee or tea. I got the bergamot tea and it was very good. A great place to relax and pick up a new book.


Amazing local independent bookstore, with the best coffee shop in town upstairs. They have free readings by some amazing author's many evenings. It's an Iowa City asset.

Mister Rabbit

Tolle Buchhandlung mit sehr freundlichen Mitarbeitern

Thomas Jacobs

Great place to shop for reading material and helpful staff. Recommend.

Lisa Roberts

Every nook and cranny is filled with something interesting.

Herbie H

A must-go for Iowa city

Maddie Patterson

Cute little bookstore, always love stopping by.

David Rosazza

An Iowa City institution

Victoria Samala

Host hurt authors so fun

Lilian McKenzie

Their customer service is wonderful! I asked for a specific book at information, and was told the book was located upstairs. By the time I made it up the stairs, an employee up there had already gone and retrieved the book I was looking for. 3 employees in total helped me in the 10 minutes I was in there and all were very nice and helpful.

James Paulson

Great little book store, and a cool cafe to boot.

Jacob Wilson

Jerry Perkins

Great bookstore and coffee shop

Laura Birely

Quite the bookstore. If you're looking for a book you can't find anywhere else, check this place out. If they don't have what you're looking for in stock, they will order it for you and let you know when it's in. I've been to several book readings here. The staff is always so friendly and accommodating.

Nick Winter

Had the books that I needed for my rhetoric class

Bill Kerns

Astounding selection of books. One of the best in the nation.

Marco Tena

Very nice staff who are happy to help you find what are you need and the cafe is pretty good.

Frank Bialota

Large inventory. Prices close to on line dealers

Steve Brantley

No visit to Iowa City is complete without a stop at Prairie Lights. It is a literary and cultural institution on par with Powell's in PDX or City Lights (P.L.'s namsake?) in SF.

Mohammad Farajzadeh Tehrani

It feels good to walk into this place. I like their apple cakes and coffee, and of course the atmosphere. Visit the basement for kids collection.

Madeleine Anderson

It is adorable! Super small but good selection helpful staff and comfy chairs. What more do you need?

Charles Huyck

Heavy on pride, light on inventory.

Catherine Moore

Always a nice experience here what with a coffee shop with magazines from all over the world to purchase and enjoy with espresso, lattes, mochas and croissant. Great staff to help you find or order that book, journal, non fiction work as well as writers from the University of Iowa many writing workshops poetry, fiction and authors reading their latest. High brow bookstore with a great children's selection.

Deborah J Roberts

You can't go downtown without stopping by one of the best bookstores in the midwest

Mary Reese

Interesting. Lots of books. Mostly new.

Phoebe Dillard

Patrick W. Deegan

A center of the universe for independent book stores in a City of Literature. I love this place.

Marvin Jones

Alma Parada

(Translated by Google) Photos store (Original) Fotos store

Maggie Wilhelm

This is one of my all time favorite places in Iowa City. It is a secret jewel that I will forever cherish finding :)

Tayah Sponaugle

Amazing place and a lot of selection :) Very delicious Love it!!!

Tom Carsner

Always the best.

Katherine Bertram

Very nice bookstore

Sven Westermann

How buying books should be.

Abdiaziz Ibar

Sarah Mann

The actual bookstore is nice & cute, but the books are just way too expensive. And I don't like their return policy so whenever I have to buy books there for a class, I either check the library or order from Amazon.

Casey Francis

This is one of my favorite bookstores. It has a great poetry selection.

Melissa Morgan

Great childrens book selection and Melissa&Doug educational toys too!!

Rebecca Krewer

Great selection of books and reading material. Fantastic area for kids

Anitra Lykke

Great selection of good books, cozy cafe where you can write.

Aimee Dars Ellis

Great atmosphere and selection! Independent bookstores are treasures!

ashley tyler

We love going to readings at Prairie Lights! They bring in amazing authors. You can grab tea, coffee, beer or wine at their cafe to enjoy during the reading or while you study. It's a unique place. The best bookstore in Iowa City!

Frank Ruiz

The store has got a good collection of books and it's very wells organized. Friendly and very helpful staff. Did not get to see the cafe but it seems it's a great place to read and have a good coffee


So many books

b dunn

Fun store.

Austin S. Lin

Benjamin Deuerling

The coffee is delicious and its a nice place to sit and relax

Gwendolyn Clay

Beautiful bookstore, small, lovingly curated. At the home of the Iowa writer's workshop, it hosts readings by some of the greatest writers and poets living. And for coziness it has an espresso bar upstairs (with a La marzocco machine and baristas who make the best espresso in town) to read your new book in.

Mark Moubarek

Great bookstore with a diverse selection! One can also grab a drink and relax at the in-house counter that has a solid tap selection as well.

Micah Miller

Lots of good choices for the book enthusiast!

Katie Zahs

What's not to love? There's a coffee shop, plenty of books, and occasional events.

Matt Caracciolo

Good coffee bar

Benjamin King

Wonderful coffee shop, excellent environment. Books priced reasonably.

Tom Gilsenan

Wonderful, wonderful place. Gem of a bookstore where you can be lost for hours. Nice little coffee shop upstairs, too. And a lower level full of children's books.

Cris Lira

Best place to write while enjoying delicious coffee. It is one of my favorite places in town. It is a must visit while in Iowa City.

Justin Merritt

A little unexpected treasure. Don't forget to explore further into the bowels. There is way more space upstairs and downstairs than it appears.

Celestino Jorge López Catalán

Es una librería muy bien surtida, y también es el café al que tienes que ir si eres amante de la literatura, y eso es algo muy importante en Iowa City. Buen café, tanto al estilo americano como al europeo, y pastas variadas que te ayudarán a concentrarte en tus creaciones.

Nina Jonez

Praire Lights is the best bookstore I've been to in my entire life. Please go there. It's awesome.

Brett Sobaski

I love, love, love the bookstore and the coffee shop. The book store is smaller than Barnes and Noble but the people who work here are book nerds (I mean that as a compliment). They have readings regularly including local authors and it is a pillar of the City being a UNESCO City of Lit. The coffee shop is hands down the best coffee shop in Iowa City area currently. The manager is passionate about coffee and all baristas seem personable. Great espresso and great teas.

Business Hours of Prairie Lights Books & Cafe in Iowa



Prairie Lights Books & Cafe en Iowa
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