15 Best Things to Do in Cedar Rapids

15 Best Things to Do in Cedar Rapids

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The city that ranked 8th among the Top Cities to live the American Dream in the entire United States, sure sets some standards.

The second largest city of Iowa, Cedar Rapids is one of the most progressive and ‘happening’ cities in America with some of the lowest crime rates.

The city has a top tier combination of nature, modernity and heritage in the form of gorgeous rivers and nature sanctuaries on one hand, high rise towers and mansions on the other.

This city is also known for the distinct European impact and Slovakian artifacts like in the New Bohemia district or Czech museums.

These stay as beautiful landmarks for tourism today. The historic mansion and gardens of Brucemore, the Paramount Theatre, the young environment of the city, the top tier museum of arts, the multiple nature centers and nature parks.  

Heritage  Museums, the Cedar River, humdrum of the City Market bustling with life, gorgeous libraries and music events and amphitheaters, memorials, cathedrals, the edgy downtown, warm gardens and sculptures will all conspire to make you fall in love with Cedar Rapids.

The Breathtaking National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

National czech and slovak museum in Cedar Rapids
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Alphonse Mucha: Inspirations of Art Nouveau”, this museum was established in 2012 with the said exhibit where more than 230 pieces of priceless artifacts came directly from Europe, namely Prague and London.

The other two parts of the museum concentrate on Czech and Slovak history and culture.

There is also a two roomed home which marks as the immigrants house of the 1880s for the Czechs which served as their shelter for almost five generations.

There is a gift shop with a collection and service so fine that it has won the award for being the top gift shop in the entire U.S.!

Numerous exhibits are held throughout the year in different parts of the museum ranging from Medieval European history to the American war and political history.

There is ample of intriguing information on the Czechs and Slovaks. There are also exhibits on both of the World Wars.

This place can also be called a heaven of folklore, with tales, customs and traditions and an endless galore of gorgeous costumes, especially baby dolls dressed in Czech and Slovakian clothes is bound to melt your heart.

All these dresses are handmade by the finest craftsmen. The history of migration is very beautifully as well as accurately portrayed through these models, costumes, stories, audio tours, informative areas and memorabilia. It is therefore a must to Czech this place, pun intended!

Witness the Heritage Walls of Brucemore

This estate and 26 acre park is a living landmark sketching the glorious history of Cedar Rapids. This mansion has 21 rooms!

As Cedar Rapids is known as the land of five seasons, so with each changing season, this mansion along with the huge woods and garden give off an all new look to the visitors.

The exteriors are a treat to witness with a cottage like 20th century finish with red walls of a brick structure and multiple cones and pockets.

The interiors are a whole new area to cover, and this place isn’t simply a heritage site. An array of fun and massive activities are held here throughout the year at the Brucemore.

From general parties to concerts, events to exhibits, you name it! The gardens are huge and extremely well maintained with lots of flowering and fruit bearing trees and wooded trails to make your trip all the more enjoyable.

Stroll Around the Newbo City Market

To discover the soul of any land one has to delve into the town, living like a local.

The best way to do that is travelling through the markets of the city and learning about its atmosphere.

The NewBo City Market will give you a frolic and lively day at Cedar Rapids. This indoor market place is a one stop solution to your hunger for anything from food, architecture, products to lively crowds!

An extremely well equipped, well facilitated modern area with a varied range of stores, the NewBo city market bring to you a community gathering place, a favorite of locals and tourists.

There are huge screens throughout the area, one after the other restaurants and cafes and a common food court, gaming zones, clothing stores.

There is live music for free on weekends. Focus is places especially on local products. NewBo will give you a comfortable space to dine, enjoy and shop from.

Look Around the Czech Village or The New Bohemia District

Bakery in Czech village
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Located at the 10th Avenue, this area has shops and markets that will give you the most exotic of things that too at a steal!  

The Czech village is a prime location for authentic Czech products, authentic Czech architecture, paintings, heritage buildings and other markers.

There is the Red Baron building, the White Elephant Building of 1889, numerous famous bakeries with mouthwatering delicacies, age old bars, Czech cottages and many antique shops with pretty rare collections.

Street side shops have gorgeous jewelries that you will not usually see in American streets, and houses made of unique colorful architecture to explore.

Feed the Art Thirst in You at The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

Cedar Rapids museum of art
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A museum of traveller’s choice, with a range of awards, this is one of the most prestigious institutions in Cedar Rapids and Iowa in general.

Located at the 3rd Avenue, this place has an array of art to offer to its visitors from very ancient periods of time to as early as the last decade.

The works featured here range to periods as broad as 2000 years! There are paintings, works of live art, sculpture like that of Roman art, fossils from different parts of the world like Egypt and remains of different civilizations.

The Indian Creek Nature Center

Overwhelmed by all those artifacts you might want to take a relaxing refuge into the arms of nature.

This is when The Indian Creek Nature Center comes in to rescue. Situated at the Otis Road, this nature park provides a heavenly ambiance without any artificiality in its gardens.

There are deep green woods with trailing paths, there are butterfly gardens, meadows, there is beehive watching, bird watching with a viewing room, and there are greenhouses, fish ponds and playgrounds for children.

You might also find a beautiful deer while on your forest walk.

Sit by The Cedar River

Cedar River
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The scenic Cedar River frontage is a pivotal landmark here and provides a huge surrounding area with massive parking area, numerous eateries and walking trails along the river itself.

Walking by the old bridge is also a way to enjoy the views of the area. You can go down and walk on the grassy shore to. If you are lucky you might find bald eagles or geese.

Go for picnics with your family or simply sit quietly by the river, go for a swim or fishing. Enjoy the beauty of this river in your own terms.

A Visit to The Grant Wood Studio

This cozy little studio is located at the 2nd Avenue, and marks a profound history of the American painter Grant Wood.

The humble studio looks sharp with its red brick structure and as you enter you find the exact ambience of an artist’s abode.

One of the most famous portraits of Wood called the “American Gothic” was painted in this studio and presently remains here as his memorabilia. Other works of the artist are there too.

A Beautiful Evening at The Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre
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To make the most out of the old time charm of Cedar Rapids, visiting the Paramount Theatre is a must.

The true beauty of a Restoration Theatre becomes evident as you enter the place and find huge, larger than life pillars accompanied by long velvet curtains, classic and comforting gallery seats in a semi-circle, vintage organ and chandeliers.

Visit and enjoy high standard orchestras and musicals with live instruments, dramas and plays from Greek tragedies to American comedies and even concerts.

The acoustics are great and shows unending. The Paramount theatre is ready to engage you in superior quality entertainment.

The Lovely Bever Park

Located by the Bever Park Trail, this lively park gives off the perfect countryside energy. Located amidst lush green gardens, this park is another spot perfect for people of all ages.

Take your grandparents and let them sit by the benches or accompany you on a walking trail. Take you friends or family and enjoy a therapeutic tour of the calming scenic beauty.

Take your children and accompany them to the petting zoo. Yes they have a petting zoo too! So you can spend a wonderful day petting and feeding cows, goats, or watch ducks swimming on around the pool.

The Historic African American Museum of Iowa

African American museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids
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This museum is one of the most educating and humbling areas of Iowa.

It covers the deep range of African American history in Iowa and holds testimony to a massive range of items that mark as the witness to how the African Americana here lived, were treated and their history.

There are cafeterias from that age and also rooms marked as “whites only” and “colored” that bring flashbacks of the horrific racism that used to be practiced.

This institute regularly holds exhibits, educational tours and shows enlightening the people about these facts from the past while giving them informative tours.

Be Dazzled at The Cedar Rapids Public Library

Cedar Rapids Public Library
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Situated at the Avenue, this award winning library was recreated after the major flood of Cedar Rapids.

At the flood many reference and adult books were lost but the children’s and teenage section still remain as one of the finest.

Their coverage ranges from African American literature to European and American literature, books of the applied and bio sciences, economy, commercial books and much more.

There is a green space at the roof, a nursing room and other fun activities for everyone. The architecture will win your heart with spacious, modernized 21st century designs and facilities like automated book sorting.

Quench Your Thirst at The Perfect Clock House Brewing

The Clock House Brewery at the 1st Street in Cedar Rapids is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy the brews.

The building looks lovely with a red crick structure. The indoors are spacious with a huge seating area that also protrudes to an outside patio.

There is constant music going on and the dishes served here are classics. Coming to the drinks and brewing, tours are available with the friendly owners.

Drinks include craft beers, Belgian whiskeys, English rums, vodkas and more. They have gorgeous names like clock-eyed, witch slap, midnight misfits, clock tease, cahoots, big ben etc.

A Warm Trip to The Ushers Ferry Historic Village

If you are having an afternoon or evening free then this is the best place to have a quick tour around.

Located at the beautiful Seminole Valley, this is technically a reception hall but throughout the year different activities keep taking place here. Events, exhibitions, concerts, tours and more are regularly held here.

Apart from this the area is a natural beauty and going for a trail or evening walk to enjoy the soft woods with amber trees would not be a bad idea either. The architecture of the house is also brilliant looking and belong to the 20th century.

Enjoy to Your Heart’s Content at The Mcgrath Amphitheatre

To end the visit to Cedar Rapids in the most joyous way possible, one must come pay a visit to the McGrath Amphitheatre. Concerts are held every other day so you are sure to find your musical match here.

There is plenty of sitting space and it is open air so double the fun, to which adds the gorgeous night time lighting of the place.

The food is fabulous, there are drinks available too, so grab your bite and go for an evening show to see the entire city come alive in front of your eyes at a single location.