Cedar Rapids has always had a colorful diverse history. Named for the rapids in the river and the trees surrounding it, Cedar Rapids has been home to many strong communities like the Bohemians, a historic Muslim population, and Native American tribes. This sense of community has developed the city into the thriving place it is today, even bringing everyone together to rebuild after the flood of 2008.
Iowa City was home to the first official capital building which started construction in July 1840, and served as the state’s capitol until 1857. The building’s golden dome is still visible throughout Iowa City and functions as the Old Capitol Museum.
Why Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Rock...
The City of Five Seasons is Iowa’s second largest city and the 5th happiest Zip Code in the nation. We are also the home-place of stars like Elijah Wood, Michael Emerson, Ron Livingston, Ashton Kutcher, and Bobby Driscoll.
Iowa City was the third UNESCO Cities of Literature. With this designation Iowa City sets itself apart as a haven for creative and cultural development.
Where to Live...
Czech Village/New Bohemia: Living in the heart of the city definitely has its perks. With a diverse and growing community this area of Cedar Rapids has some of the most convenient shopping and unique experiences. Make sure to stop by the NewBo Market for great local flavor and fun!
Coralville is one of Iowa’s fastest growing cities. With quiet family-friendly neighborhoods and expanding urban areas such as the Iowa River Landing and the revamped 5th Street, there’s something for everyone.
The Historic North preserves Iowa City’s original charm with brick-paved streets and vintage architecture. Homes in Original Town and Goosetown offer a sense of community pride and ideal walking distances to downtown Iowa City.
Manville Heights is a highly sought after neighborhood with its close proximity to the U of I Hospitals and Clinics, the professional colleges, and the arts and sports facilities.
Marion feels like the best parts of a small town, and they have enough activities to compete with any big city. From the Swamp Fox Festival to the award winning Marion Arts Festival to Christmas in the Park, you won’t want to miss any of the action here!
North Liberty has a small town community feeling, but with a short commute to Iowa City, you won’t ever feel too far away from the exciting atmosphere of Iowa City.
Peninsula Neighborhood has convenient access to public transportation and interstate travel which makes it ideal for commuting families. As a neighborhood that strives to set itself apart from cookie cutter developments, it is also located near a dog park, and upcoming shops and eateries, and encourages a pedestrian community based lifestyle.
Swisher is conveniently located fifteen minutes from downtown Cedar Rapids and thirty minutes to Iowa City. Get the feel of small town living and dine at the Kava House Café for delicious local food, and experience some live entertainment or tour the vineyard and distillery at Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery.
Where to Play...
African American Museum of Iowa:Come learn about the rich history of African Americans in Iowa through this great educational center. Offering tours, exhibits and coinciding programs, family programs, youth education programs for pre-K to 12th grade students, a summer camp, and community and fundraising events the Museum is able to educate over 30,000 people annually.
Visit Brucemore, an unparalleled blend of tradition and culture. At the heart of the historic 26-acre estate stands a 19th-century mansion, filled with the stories of three Cedar Rapids families. Concerts, theater, programs, and tours enliven the site and celebrate the heritage of a community. The Cedar Rapids Kernels provide a fun sporty environment for the whole family. Cheer on the team at the Perfect Game Field and get a picture with the team mascot Mr. Shucks.
Live performance entertainment is a specialty of Cedar Rapids. The city is home to not one or two, but six live performance theaters. Come and take in a show at any of these beautiful stages, Cedar Rapids Opera, Theatre Legion Arts, Orchestra Iowa, SPT Theatre Company, The Old Creamery Theatre Company, or Theatre Cedar Rapids.
The Englert is an Iowa City darling, as the last historic theater in the community. Their history goes all the way back to 1912, and was revived when local businesses and individuals saved it from closing down.
Grant Wood Art: First you can visit the Grant Wood Studio where he painted the famous “American Gothic”. Then stop by the Veteran’s Memorial Building to view the Veterans Memorial Window one of his most revered works. Finally take a tour of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and view their extensive collection of Grant Wood’s art that spans his entire career.
Hancher Auditorium has been committed to enriching the lives of Iowans through transformative artistic experiences since 1972. With its brand new facility having opened in September 2016, Hancher is a work of art that is uniquely equipped to unlock creativity and spread joy.
Indian Creek Nature Center is a great place to get closer to nature. With four miles of trails spanning 210 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and prairie it’s a great place to get a hike in and take in the beautiful varied Iowa scenery. And with programs like Preschool Trail Trekkers, Summer Camp, Urban Chickens and Beekeeping, and special seasonal offerings there’s something for everyone!
Iowa City Downtown District is home to the historic Pedestrian Mall, location of many of Iowa City’s best locally owned restaurants and shops. In addition to the annual events there are often art displays, food festivals, and live music, a little something for everyone.
Iowa River Landing (Coralville) is anchored by the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, but it is so much more than that. As home to unique restaurants such as BackPocket Brewing, 30Hop, Konomi Grill, and Vesta, and fun shops like Luxe Interiors, Evereve, and True Style Boutique, there’s something worth visiting for everyone.
Prairie Lights Bookstore is a hub for the literary minded. As a UNESCO Cities of Literature, Iowa City draws many notable authors, and many of them hold readings at Prairie Lights. With a three and a half floor renovation, they have expanded their ability to entertain, while remaining a cozy and intentional bookstore.
Summer of the Arts brings people together in the heart of Iowa City to experience, learn about, and enjoy free arts and cultural programs. Since 2005, Summer of the Arts has hosted summertime, family-friendly, arts and cultural festivals, so don’t miss out on the fun!
Where to Dine...
Basta serves modern Italian cuisine, inspired by tradition and local Iowa ingredients. It was voted Best Italian Restaurant of the Area 2015, and they handcraft almost everything on the menu daily.
Cibo Fusion: Try their gourmet pizza and enjoy your time at this family owned Cedar Rapids staple!
Clinton Street Social Club is Iowa City’s only true gastropub, speakeasy, and dedicated live jazz venue. With a cozy atmosphere and charming second and third floor views of the Pentacrest and Old Capitol, Clinton Street Social Club transports you back to a time long past.
Cobble Hill Eatery & Dispensary: Named one of the “Most Romantic Restaurants in Iowa” you’ll quickly find that this restaurant earns its honor but has so much more. The menu is chef driven and locally sourced, and their cocktails are prohibition inspired. Their philosophy is that you don’t need to leave Iowa to eat like you are in New York City.
Hamburg Inn No. 2 is the oldest family owned restaurant in Iowa City. With a history that goes back to 1948 and prides itself on “Comfort Food in a Fifties Time Capsule”. This Iowa City staple is also home to the Official Iowa Coffee Bean Caucus and Iowa Coffee Bean Ballot, attracting interest to Iowa politics, and prompting visits by many notable political figures.
Iowa Chop House is home to some of the best farm to table food and craft beer in the historic section of downtown Iowa City. They pride themselves on sourcing from sustainable seasonal ingredients from hard working local farmers.
Oasis Falafel serves authentic Mediterranean cuisine to Iowa City and surrounding areas. Their hummus, falafel, and fries keep customers coming from all over the state of Iowa.
Orchard Green is the perfect spot if you’re looking for fine dining in downtown Iowa City. With an elegant dining room and an intimate downstairs lounge, Orchard Green feels both familiar and unlike anywhere else.
Parlor City Pub & Eatery: Located in the heart of the New Bohemia District this locally owned restaurant has an outdoor patio, bicycle fix-it station, and historical Cedar Rapids memorabilia in addition to their great food, cold drinks, and live music.
Pullman Bar & Diner values three things, service, community, and quality. With a unique take on classic Midwest diner fare, craft cocktails, and a dedication to providing a memorable customer experience, Pullman is a must try.
Reds Alehouse (North Liberty) centers around 18 tap beers, friendly neighborhood service, and a fresh menu. As an award winning “alehouse” they have an in-house Beer Specialist to find a beer you’ll love, and a head chef that maintains a quality menu.
Zins: The philosophy here is: Every need, every guest, every time. Serving up award winning small plates means that there is something for everyone.