When in Cedar Rapids

When you are in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area and looking for things to do there are a few places you should check out. Cedar Rapids is the biggest city in Eastern Iowa with about a quarter million people in the metropolitan area. Together with Iowa City 20 miles away, the two metropolitan areas make up what is commonly called the "Corridor", referring to the technology corridor encompassing the greater Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas. The total area has around 500,000 inhabitants.

Cedar Rapids is known as the "City of Five Seasons" referring to the fact that time is needed to enjoy all four seasons. With its location in Eastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids enjoys all four seasons with reasonable but snowy winters, beautiful summers that rarely get too hot, and long spring and fall seasons. The fifth season lasts throughout the year.

The Arts in Cedar Rapids

If you are looking for fine arts in Cedar Rapids there are options available.

One of the unique spots in town is the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library located near downtown. Cedar Rapids has long been known for its large "Czech Village", an area of the city inhabited originally by Czechs who brought their culture with them. It is home to many traditional Czech businesses and hosts an annual festival that is well attended in the area.

Cedar Rapids was home to the famous American artist Grant Wood, and the Grant Wood Studio is a great place to visit to check out the history and works of this classic work. For Grant Wood fans and all other art fans, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art has the largest collection of classic paintings by Grant Wood anywhere in the world along with many other works.

The Paramount Theatre is a  traditional and grand old theatre in downtown that hosts musicals, plays, and event concerts. The Theatre is home to the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra which performs there several times each year.

Other musical events may be found a U.S. Cellular Center downtown such as concerts. This area was formerly named the Five Seasons Center and is just along I-380 as you pass through downtown.

Sports in Cedar Rapids

For the sports fan there are sporting options to enjoy in the city.

Baseball fans can enjoy a ballgame with the class-A L.A. Angels affiliate Cedar Rapids Kernels. The Kernels play on the southwest side of the city in the outdoor Veterans Memorial Stadium all summer. You may even find a concert at Veterans Stadium if the timing is right.

For ice hockey fans, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders skate as part of the USHL at the Cedar Rapid Ice Arena. Hockey is not as common in this part of Iowa as in neighboring Minnesota and Wisconsin due to the milder winters but the RoughRiders will take care of a hockey fix for fans.

Perhaps the biggest draw to Cedar Rapids for sports is the Hawkeye Downs Speedway, a half-mile paved racetrack on the south side of the city. Here you will find all sorts of racing including auto racing, truck racing, and motocross. Hawkeye Downs is one of the best tracks in this part of the country there are races happening often.

Other Options

Cedar Rapids is also home to many parks and a few very nice golf courses for those with some time on their hands.

For shoppers the city's biggest mall is Westdale Mall on the west side of the city. For those on the east side, Lindale Mall is smaller but surrounded by many other strip malls offering all sorts of shopping. Another vibrant mall is located in Coralville, near Iowa City, about 15 miles away.

For visitors looking for a short day trip, Iowa City is only 20 minutes away. Home to the University of Iowa of the Big Ten Conference, a sporting event or cultural event at Hancher Auditorium is a great option.

For a unique experience in Iowa, a trip to the Amana Colonies just southwest of Cedar Rapids is a relaxing way to spend some time. The "Colonies" are a series of small Amish towns clustered together and feature shopping, handmade crafts and furniture, and family style home cooking.

See Cedar Rapids

One thing you will notice about Cedar Rapids is that it is a city that will strike you as both a blue-collar and white-collar town at the same time. A trip downtown will show massive factories like the Quaker Oats plant sitting right next to higher rise office towers across the freeway.

This diversity is represented in the variety of things to do in Cedar Rapids, and the city has a lot to offer for those willing to get out there and see it. If you are looking for  things to do in the city of Cedar Rapids, start with some of the ideas here.