Cedar Rapids is a sneaky-cool city that boasts affordable home prices (around $150k median price), a thriving downtown, and a growing regional airport that makes it a perfect home base for travelers. It’s a perfect city for young professionals because there is a ton of entertainment, great local restaurants and fun boutiques. The airport has dozens of direct flights to warmer places to escape the winter weather, and the New Bohemian District (NewBo) is historic and quaint while still being energetic and inviting.
Top Industries and Employers: Advanced Manufacturing, engineering, education, finance and insurance are the area’s top industries. Top employers include Collins Aerospace, Transamerica, Whirlpool, Nordstrom, Quaker Oats, General Mills, Toyota and United Fire Group.
Best Coffee Shop: Located in the super hip NewBo District, Brewhemia is the place to get your morning caffeine hit. They also have Thrillist’s top ranked breakfast burrito.
Best Local Beer/Brewery: Clockhouse Brewing, which is tucked inside of Black Sheep Supper Club, cranks out amazing craft beer including our favorite, Witch Slap, an easy-drinking IPA.
Must-Have Meal: The Map Room is an intimate restaurant in downtown Cedar Rapids. Go there and try the Marrakesh Burger, which is topped with chermoula, goat cheese, hummus, oil-cured moroccan olives. It’s perfectly salty, a little spicy, and as delicious as it is creative.
Best Co-Working Space: The Vault inside NewBo’s Geonetric Building is the perfect place to jam out with other techies.
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Zeppelins Bar & Grill on the city’s northeast side is a great place with food and beer specials.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Indian Creek Nature Center is a family-friendly nature center, complete with hiking trails, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, fishing, educational programming and a gift shop that features maple syrup from the trees on-site!
Free Way to Have Fun: Meet Me At The Market is a social walk, run, bike, dance and yoga event that takes place every Thursday in May through the first week of September, that draws a great crowd from all walks of life.
Local Dream Job: Digital Marketing Specialist at Clickstop, which is just outside of Cedar Rapids and has one of the most incredible company cultures in the state.
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- Tim Carty