Things To Do in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

By Lisa Battles on November 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm EST
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Billed as a “City of Five Seasons,” many things to do in Cedar Rapids involve activities that allow residents to embrace the area's natural beauty because of, not in spite of, distinct seasonal differences, and many of the city's top attractions offer season-specific activities year round.

Outdoor Activities in Cedar Rapids

One of the best places to take in the beauty of changing seasons, the Indian Creek Nature Center offers more than 200 acres and four miles of trails. The center's Sense of Wonder Trail for children is a nationally ranked Nature Explore Classroom. Popular warmer weather outdoor activities include boating and fishing on the Cedar River, as well as biking and hiking the trails that run alongside it. The city operates two outdoor aquatic centers, Cherry Hill and Noelridge aquatic centers; three outdoor pools, Bever, Ellis and Jones pools; and one indoor pool, Bender Pool. Residents take advantage of city trails with activities throughout the year, including cross-country skiing on the marked trails at Cherry Hill Park, Ellis Park Golf Course and Twin Pines Golf Course. For more information about these and other parks facilities, visit the Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation Department website.  

Cedar Rapids Historic and Heritage Attractions 

A must-visit in Cedar Rapids, Czech Village preserves and interprets the history of the city's many Czech, Moravian and Slovak immigrants who began settling the area in the mid-19th century. The Czech Village district today contains more than a dozen specialty retailers, plus many restaurants and offices within a restored portion of what was the shopping district for these immigrants. While there, stop in the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the NewBo City Market and the African American Museum of America for the full experience.

For slightly more modern local history, visit Brucemore, a late 19th-century estate comprising a Queen-Anne style mansion on 26 park-like acres that was gifted to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1981. Three prominent local families occupied the estate over its time as a residence, and learning their stories offers a distinctly human view into the city's economic progression through time.

Dining, Arts and Entertainment in Cedar Rapids

From local sports teams to performing arts, there are plenty of activities around which to plan a day or evening of entertainment. Visual arts enthusiasts can visit the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art every day of the week besides Mondays. Keep in mind the museum closes at 4 p.m. daily, except for Thursdays when it is open until 8 p.m. As for performing arts venues, the historic Paramount Theatre is home to Orchestra Iowa and also offers a season of shows by nationally and internationally touring performance artists. Theatre Cedar Rapids also offers drama within a historic setting at the Iowa Theatre Building. The city's larger and more modern venue, U.S. Cellular Center, draws crowds from around the region to see big-name music artists, sporting events and theatrical productions.

Sports fans can cheer on the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a minor league baseball affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Hockey fans head to Cedar Rapids Ice Arena for the USHL hockey team, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders; while football fans follow the action of the Cedar Rapids Titans, the city's professional indoor football franchise. It's not wise to take on all this activity on an empty stomach, especially not with all the delicious dining Cedar Rapids has to offer. Check this directory of Cedar Rapids restaurants that vary from German and traditional Czech foods to Italian, Asian and more.

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