Cedar Rapids is a city in Eastern Iowa. In 2016, it was the second largest city in Iowa by population and is home to about 137,000 residents. Largely known as an industrial, working class city, Cedar Rapids has begun to grow and expand employment opportunities in the service sector, attracting new residents to the area. While out of the way of most major travel routes and destinations, a stop in Cedar Rapids may uncover a great taste of the Midwest. Typical Iowa hospitality is not lost here.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Originally home to the Fox and Sac people, white settlers thought the river rapids were suitable for building a mill, and the river itself was handy for exporting goods. Later, a major meatpacking industry used ice taken from the river plus the rail networks to sustain its growth.
The city attracted Czech immigrants in the latter part of the 19th century.
Cedar Rapids is served by Burlington Trailways.
Cedar Rapids is on I-380, about 20 minutes north of I-80.
- 1 Eastern Iowa Airport (CID IATA) (about 8 mi (13 km) south of downtown). Allegiant Air: Las Vegas, Orlando–Sanford, Phoenix–Mesa, Punta Gorda (FL), St. Petersburg–Clearwater and seasonal Los Angeles. American Eagle: Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth. Delta Air Lines: Atlanta. Delta Connection: Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul. Frontier Airlines: Denver. United Airlines: Chicago–O'Hare, Denver. United Express: Chicago–O'Hare.
All addresses in the city are based upon a quadrant system. The system divides the city into four directional quadrants with addresses that may look something like this:
500 33rd Ave SW
The quadrant system's base is the insection of the Cedar River and 1st Avenue. Although seemingly simple to an observer, this system is nearly useless to visitors since the intersecting lines essentially form an "X" on a map rather than a "+".
Along I-380 (North/South interstate corridor) and the surrounding downtown area, traffic cameras are used to enforce speed and red-light laws. The Cedar Rapids Police Department (CRPD) has suggested that no additional cameras will be placed, although this hasn't been confirmed by any other agency. The photo-enforcement begins at various speeds over the posted limit, but you generally will not be cited for speeds between 1 and 8 mph over the limit on the interstate. Lower tolerance is used on city streets, and fairly strict enforcement applies to red-light violations.
Driving in Cedar Rapids can be a hassle compared to cities of similar size. First, major thoroughfares (1st Avenue, Collins Rd., Blairs Ferry Rd., and Edgewood Road) have traffic lighting patterns that are inefficient. You will likely feel as if you're "catching every light." Although this is true in many cities, Cedar Rapidians agree that it is decidedly worse here. Additionally, the roads are insufficient for the volume of traffic during peak travel hours. This means that the city becomes a rolling traffic snarl for an hour around high-traffic areas (Lindale Mall), and the traffic backup rivals that of larger cities.
If you happen to travel in the adjacent city of Marion, be aware of the posted speed limit. Rumors of excessive enforcement are exaggerated—but only slightly! The speed limit inconspicuously drops to 20 mph on major roads, and the Marion Police Department is all too happy to cite unfamiliar vehicles.
Cedar Rapids Transit +1 319 286-5573. Service runs M-F from 5:20AM until 7PM, and Sa 8:25AM to 5PM. There is no service on Sunday.
- Cedar Rapids Downtown District.
- Cedar Rapids History Center.
- 1 Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 410 Third Ave SE, ☏ . Features collection of works by Iowa natives Grant Wood and Marvin Cone, and a collection of 21 Roman portrait busts.
- 2 National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW, ☏ . M-Sa 9:30AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. General $10; Seniors (65+) $9; Active Military, Veterans, and Students $5; Youth (6-13) $3, Children (5 & under) free.
- 3 African American Museum of Iowa (AAMI), 55 12th Ave. SE (On the northwest bank of the river, by the 12th Ave SE bridge), ☏ . Closed until 2023. The popular image of Iowa is that its residents are almost entirely white, but Iowa has an African American history here as well. This museum aims to preserve, exhibit, and teach it. If your reaction is, "Black people, in Iowa?", then AAMI would like you to visit. Unfortunately, the museum's riverside location led to it being badly flooded in 2009. As of 2022, the city is improving the flood control structures, and the museum is closed for major renovations. They expect to re-open in 2023. Look for travelling exhibitions elsewhere in the meantime. "Suspended: Systemic Oppression In Our Schools" opens in the Cedar Rapids Public Library on October 14, 2022.
- Cedar Rapids Kernels, 950 Rockford Road SW. Class A minor league baseball team in Cedar Rapids. $8-11.
- Cedar Valley Nature Trail. Great paved trail for bicycling, running, etc. Winds around the Cedar River, beautiful farm fields and wooded areas.
- 1 Indian Creek Nature Center, 5300 Otis Rd SE, ☏ , NatureCenter@indiancreeknaturecenter.org. Stop in the barn museum to learn about Iowa's plants and wildlife, then check out any of their several miles of nature trails.
- Orchestra Iowa.
- Theatre Cedar Rapids, 102 3rd St SE, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Box office: M-F noon-5PM.
- 1 Lindale Mall, 4444 1st Ave SE, ☏ . Lindale Mall is anchored by Sears, Von Maur, and Younkers, with other chain stores and local retailers. Food court has chain restaurants, and Cedar Rapids-based options.
- NewBo City Market, 1100 3rd St SE. Th F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 10AM-4PM, closed M-W. Marketplace for local businesses, including food and beverage vendors and boutiques.
- The Flying Wienie, 103 8th Ave SW, ☏ . The roof is adorned with a full-sized, bright yellow bi-plane. Serves hot dogs and other greasy short order food, homemade Polish sausage and gyros.
- The Irish Democrat, 1st Ave and 32nd St, ☏ . 11AM-?. Irish pub and grill. $7-15.
- The Starlite Room, 3300 1st Ave NE, ☏ , email@example.com. 11AM-midnight. Small-town Iowa atmosphere with greasy food. Known for its half-pound Superburger.
- R.G. Books, 3611 1st Ave NE, ☏ . Small, cozy, intimate place with a variety of drinks. Books line the walls. Bartenders have unique personalities.
- Third Base Brewery, 500 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, ☏ . Great hand crafted ales, including five year round beers and three rotating seasonal tap handles. Diverse food menu, tons of TVs, party room, patio.
- Cliff's Dive Bar and Grill, 227 2nd Ave S.E, ☏ .
- DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex, 350 1st Ave. NE, ☏ . Upscale hotel connected to the Alliant Energy PowerHouse
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Cedar Rapids Hotel, 605 32nd Ave SW, ☏ . Airport hotel with free breakfast.
- Tru by Hilton Cedar Rapids Westdale, 3900 Westdale Pkwy SW, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
|Routes through Cedar Rapids|
|END ← Waterloo ←||N S||→ Iowa City → END|
|Ames ← Marshalltown ← Jct ←||W E||→ Mount Vernon → Rock Falls|
|Ends at W E ← Amana Colonies ←||SW NE||→ Anamosa → Dubuque|
|Austin ← Waterloo ←||N S||→ Iowa City → Keokuk|