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The Cost of Living Diaries: Cedar Rapids, IA

Get the inside scoop on what it's like to be a local in Cedar Rapids.

By Lindsey Hyde on January 20, 2023

Bart Carithers, owner of Next Page Books in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Bart Carithers

Welcome to The Cost of Living Diaries. How much does it cost to live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa? What’s it like to own a business here? Keep reading because we asked a Cedar Rapids local to tell us all about the cost of living in this thriving city!

The beautiful Iowa city of Cedar Rapids offers an enviable lifestyle that simply can’t be replicated elsewhere. Bart Carithers grew up in the area, left for college, lived all over the U.S. for 35 years (California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island), and then returned to Cedar Rapids in 2014. He bought Next Page Books from the previous owner in 2015 and has been running it ever since. Livability sat down with Bart to chat about what it’s like to work and live in Cedar Rapids, IA.

How would you describe the community?
It’s a good-size city, but it feels like a small town. It’s affordable, comfortable and uncomplicated. The quality of life here is great. The people are friendly, generous and always willing to lend a hand. There are quite a few things to do here for a community this size – a lot of art and culture. The city has invested heavily in the last 10+ years in trails and bike lanes on streets, and I think people outside the area would be surprised to learn about the cycling culture here.

What has it been like living in an apartment in Cedar Rapids?
I’ve stayed in an apartment since I moved back, and I can say I pay a fraction of what I paid elsewhere around the country. I pay $650 a month for a 750-square-foot place (in Czech Village). I have looked at the possibility of buying a house, so I know the median home price is around ($180,000), so the cost of living here is exceptionally low.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Cedar Rapids, and about how much would dinner and drinks cost you?
The restaurant I frequent the most is Lucita’s Diner. It’s a small Mexican place on the southwest side of town, and I meet friends there every Tuesday night after work. The owners and staff know us by name, and our margaritas are always ready for us as soon as we sit down at our regular booth. You can get a really good meal there for a pretty low price ($30), depending on how many margaritas you get.

What’s a fun coffee shop in the area, and how much would your favorite drink cost?
I’m a creature of habit, so I grab a latte every morning before work at Roasters (Coffeehouse), which is located directly across the street from the bookstore. It’s convenient, the staff is great, and it doesn’t hurt that they make a really good latte. (A 16-ounce latte) would be about $5.50. For a city this size, there’s an abundance of coffee shops.

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Array ( [0] => 152206 [1] => 152199 [2] => 150561 [3] => 106673 [4] => 106663 [5] => 106641 [6] => 102374 [7] => 19581 )

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