High-ranking schools, 15 parks, Uptown district contribute to quality of life.
One of the fastest growing cities in Iowa is Marion, with a 2017 population of about 37,000 people and still increasing by nearly 500 residents a year. The community has an attractive Uptown district (pictured) along with many arts-based venues and outdoor recreation opportunities, and here is some background on this midsize city located next to the big city of Cedar Rapids:
Best in Class
Two highly regarded public school districts are available to parents and students: Marion Independent School District and Linn-Mar Community School District. Marion ISD accommodates most of the east and south sides of the city, while Linn-Mar CSD includes Marion’s north, west and far eastern regions. Also serving Marion are top private academies like Grace Baptist School and St. Joseph School.
Take It Outside
Outdoor recreation is easy to find in Marion thanks in large part to 15 parks, 29 green spaces and eight miles of urban trails. Also available to residents are 20 ball diamonds, a public swimming pool, two splash pads and three sports complexes with concession stands.
Designated as an Iowa Main Street District, Uptown Marion continues to expand and thrive as a robust entertainment center of the city. The district features several specialty stores, independent restaurants, office spaces and nightspots, and the neighborhood has numerous homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If Golf Is Your Bag
Hit ‘em straight and long at three golf courses that grace Marion. Hunters Ridge Golf Course & Country Club is an 18-hole public venue with 50 bunkers and 10 water hazards, while Indian Creek Golf & Country Club is a 9-hole private course that opened in 1926. Squaw Creek Golf Course is an 18-hole public facility that is owned and maintained by Linn County.
Get the Picture
Artists from across the United States arrive in Marion each May for the Marion Arts Festival, a one-day event showcasing 50 national artists along with continuous live music and specialty food vendors. Other attractions include a 5K run, half marathon and a Kids Zone.
Terrific at the Table
Step up to the plate at good restaurants throughout Marion, including the upscale Cibo Fusion that features entrees like prime rib, pasta primavera and margarita pizza. Some other top dining destinations in Marion are Culver’s, Mandarin Spice Asian Grill, Napoli’s Italian Restaurant, QDogs BBQ, Uptown Snug, Wit’s End Coffehouse, Zio Johno’s Spaghetti House and Zoey’s Pizzeria.
The Place to Be
The key gathering place in Marion for cultural events is the Marion Heritage Center, an 1850s former church building now used to stage large community exhibitions. Traveling art displays, big-name lectures and other activities occur there, and a highlight of the building is a 1939 fresco mural called Communication by Mail by artist Dan Rhodes.