A high concentration of public libraries, museums, parks and college graduates, below-average cost of living, and a healthy economy make Cedar Rapids, IA one of the Best Affordable Places to Live. Inexpensive housing is a big selling point for Cedar Rapids. The median home value in Cedar Rapids is $133,900, which is nearly $44,000 below the national median. Grocery, transportation and utility prices are also lower than they are in most cities.
The second-largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids is considered the cultural center of the eastern portion of the state. Its downtown is filled with restaurants, shops, performing arts venues and historic attractions. Paramount Theatre hosts a variety of live performances including concerts and musicals. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art houses the world's largest collection of work by artist Grant Wood. The museum offers free admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday, and children 18 and under are always free. Families have no trouble finding cheap and often free things to do in Cedar Rapids. The city manages over 96 parks and trails, which provide more than 3,430 acres of land for recreational use.
While corn and grain processing roots the economy in Cedar Rapids, Rockwell Collins, a leading aircraft parts manufacturer, is the city’s top employer. The city’s low unemployment rate (3.9 percent at the end of 2014) is a testament to the many job opportunities Cedar Rapids offers.