#4 - Cedar Rapids, IA - Top 10 Best Cities for Kids, 2014

Prairie Park Fishery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, offers kayaking, fishing and scuba diving.
Prairie Park Fishery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, offers kayaking, fishing and scuba diving.

Strong schools provide children in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a quality education, while museums, parks and festive events encourage exploration. Low costs of living make it easy for parents to get their kids involved in the many extracurricular activities the city has to offer. Nearly 20 percent of all households in Cedar Rapids have school-age children, so finding playmates isn’t hard. The city’s extremely low crime rate – less than a quarter of the national average – helps parents feel safe as their little ones make new discoveries with the turn of each season.

Known as the “city of five seasons,” Cedar Rapids (pop. 120,000) gives its residents opportunities to partake in a variety of recreational endeavors, from swimming and biking to skiing and ice skating. A network of trails allows residents the option of biking to work while also providing great places to go for a run or take a walk. Spring brings fans to Veterans Memorial Stadium, home field of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a minor league team. Sports fans can also cheer for the Cedar Rapids Titans, an Indoor Football League team, and the Rough Riders, a junior level hockey team. From the local farmers market to the Fire & Ice Festival, residents of Cedar Rapids like to celebrate with events that showcase the city’s creative side. In short, locals rarely run out of things to do in Cedar Rapids.

For mommies and daddies: Many bars and nightclubs host live musicians and comedy acts in the downtown area.