Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is located in the eastern part of the state and belongs to Linn County. With a population of 136,467, it is the second-largest city in Iowa. Cedar Rapids is a flourishing center for arts and culture with famous names like Ashton Kutcher, Elijah Wood, Ron Livingston and Terry Farrell.
Cedar Rapids is also known as the “City of Five Seasons” – the fifth season is the time to enjoy the other four. The city’s symbol is the Tree of Five Seasons sculpture in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Interactive Map of 25 Best Things to Do in Cedar Rapids (IA)
1. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
With its mix of traditional and modern art, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art provides a unique experience for all visitors. Admire 19th and 20th-century American masterpieces or explore the vibrant African collection offered at this world-class museum.
From educational programs to interactive activities, there is something for everyone in an unforgettable cultural journey through history!
2. National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
Celebrating over 115 years of Czech and Slovak culture, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is a unique tribute to immigrants’ stories. Located in an award-winning post-modern building designed by Charles Moore, its impressive exhibits range from traditional art forms to modern industrial design while holding one of the country’s largest collections of Slavic literature.
Not only can visitors access thousands of books on site but also attend educational events such as lectures, concerts or film screenings throughout the year!
Brucemore is a National Historic Landmark that offers visitors a look at life in the early 20th century. The estate was built in 1884 by the owner at the time, Caroline Soutter Sinclair and was initially called “Sinclair Mansion” or “Fairhome”. In 1906, George Bruce Douglas and his wife moved onto the estate and updated the mansion. Since then, the property has been called “Brusemore” – after Bruse’e middle name.
Nowadays estate features 26 acres of gardens, forests, ponds and walking trails. The main house is a Queen Anne-style mansion and is open for tours. In addition, the house contains exhibits of the history of the estate and its residents. The property also includes a visitor center, gift shop, and cafe.
4. Paramount Theatre
The Paramount Theatre is a landmark building in the US, having held this title since it was built back in 1920 as “Capitol Theater”. After being purchased by Paramount Pictures nine years later, the iconic theatre has welcomed attendees to its lavish Art Deco interior and 1,693 seats for over four decades.
Not only does the historic venue host concerts, plays and dance performances throughout the year – but it also boasts an onsite gift shop & cafe that adds even more charm to any visit! In 1976 The Paramount was listed with honors on the National Register of Historic Places – cementing itself into history books forevermore.
5. The DISTRICT: Czech Village & New Bohemia
The DISTRICT is a vibrant district in Cedar Rapids offering visitors a look at Czech culture and its history. The neighborhood is home to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Paramount Theatre, a variety of restaurants, shops, and other businesses. Some of the district’s highlights include its restaurants, which serve traditional Czech cuisine, and its art galleries, which feature works by local artists.
6. American Gothic Barn
The American Gothic Barn is a must-see tourist attraction for anyone visiting Cedar Rapids. Painted in the 1930s by the local middle school teacher Mark Benesh, the barn is a replica of the famous “American Gothic” painting made by Grant Wood.
When visiting this place, you’ll get a chance to see exhibits about famous artwork and Grant Wood’s life and work.
7. African American Museum Of Iowa
Since 1993, the African American Museum of Iowa has invited visitors to explore and appreciate history through engaging exhibits that showcase artworks by African Americans. The museum’s remarkable displays include a replica slave cabin from early 19th century America and a powerful tribute dedicated to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., offering an eye-opening look at life in Cedar Rapids for generations past.
8. Grant Wood Studio and Visitor Center
Grant DeVolson Wood was an American painter and Regionalism representative, best known for his artwork showing the rural American Midwest, one of the best examples describing his work is “American Gothic” painting.
The Grant Wood Studio and Visitor Center was founded by the artist’s widow and features exhibits on Wood’s life and art and reflects the artist’s interest in architecture and design. Grant Wood lived and worked in this studio from 1924 to 1935.
9. Ushers Ferry Historic Village
Experience the unique history of Iowa at Ushers Ferry Historical Village! Featuring over 25 buildings from across the state, this living museum allows visitors to explore life in early America.
Special events, including a Civil War reenactment and Pioneer Christmas celebration, also offer an exciting way for guests to dive into centuries-old traditions.
10. Indian Creek Nature Center
The Indian Creek Nature Center is a beautiful nature preserve home to more than 600 acres of forests, wetlands, and prairies, as well as miles of hiking trails. The nature center also features interactive exhibits on the environment and wildlife, a nature store, and a cafe.
Center was the first to install net-metered solar panels in the state. It is sustainability-oriented and aims to connect people to nature and help them better understand the natural world.
11. NewBo City Market
The NewBo City Market is a vibrant destination for all your shopping and entertainment needs. Enjoy the best of local farmers’ produce, meats, dairy products and baked goods while you take in stunning artwork from galleries or sit back to relax at our onsite theater cafe. With over 100 vendors not just offering everyday essentials but also providing an experience that’s truly special – come explore what this phenomenal market has to offer!
NewBo Market is an example of sustainable business practices – where community needs are balanced with environmental impact, a rain barrel waters the garden, electric vehicles are free to charge up, and all facilities are zero-waste.
12. Noelridge Park
Noelridge Park is an oasis of natural beauty, with a vast array of lush tropical plants faithfully on display. The Noealridge greenhouse also serves as the nursery for future plantings in public spaces throughout the city.
Park also features a pond with ducks, a splash pad, tennis courts, and the Noelridge trail, perfect for jogging or family walking.
13. Bloomsbury Farm
Looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure? Visit Bloomsbury Farm in Cedar Rapids, Iowa! Home to Dave and Karen Petersen since 1994, the farm offers an unforgettable agri-tourism experience. Guests may enjoy interacting with its 500+ animals including cows, sheep, horses & more – or take wagon rides around the grounds before visiting the petting zoo and playground.
The perfect end-of-day activity is shopping in their gift shop!
14. Cedar River and Trail
Cedar Rapids is a bustling city made more beautiful by the Cedar River and Trail. This 12-mile paved greenway boasts picturesque views for biking, running, fishing or birdwatching, along with convenient connections to Noelridge Park and Indian Creek Nature Center.
Come explore this peaceful oasis in the heart of the busy downtown!
15. Alliant Energy PowerHouse Arena
You can find something for everyone at Alliant Energy PowerHouse Arena in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Whether it’s taking part in an exhilarating indoor football game with the local team and their fans or attending any of the live concerts regularly hosted at this legendary arena, there is no shortage of exciting activities to take advantage of!
With its 9k seat capacity, one visit won’t be enough — make sure to join your fellow locals on all thrill-seeking outings during your stay at Five Seasons Center.
16. Scream Acres Scream Park
If you’re looking for a different experience and want to test your bravery, check out Scream Acres Scream Park. Park is home to 3 haunted houses, a hayride, and a creepy corn maze. In addition, the park offers original storylines, professional actors, and realistic special effects.
So if you are visiting the area during the Halloween season – be sure to gather your friends for this creepy adventure.
17. Clock House Brewing
One of the most impressive things is that Clock House Brewery is located in the 107-year-old Clock House Building. The brewery was established by three like-minded beer enthusiasts passionate about craft beer and decided to share their knowledge and passion with the community.
The brewery seats 60 people and has a wide variety of beers, including IPAs, stouts, porters, and more. In addition to beer, Clock House Brewing also offers food concessions and a gift shop.
18. The Granger House Victorian Museum
Step back in time to the 1860s and explore Granger House Victorian Museum! Located on the National Register of Historic Places, this incredible example of Italianate architecture was once home to one family for almost a hundred years.
With original furnishings reflecting 19th-century life, guided tours and special events are offered at Cedar Rapids’ most significant historical sites; you won’t want to miss anything about it!
19. The History Center
The Cedar Rapids History Center, opened in 1969, is a museum and research center dedicated to the history of Cedar Rapids. The Center is located in the historic Douglas Mansion and features exhibits on the city’s history, including its founding, growth, and role in the Civil War.
The History Center also offers research services, archives and historical documents and photos and even has an escape room where teams have 60 minutes to solve mysterious clues and escape.
20. Cedar Rapids Public Library
Cedar Rapids Free Public Library opened its doors in 1897 and was just a tiny room at the Granby building downtown. Still, it enormously impacted Cedar Rapids and its people’s life and development. It was called a free library – as others in the area were private, and people had to pay membership fees to access books.
In 1982 a new 83,100-square-foot building was opened, and now it is one of the most critical sites in the city – connecting community members, organizing events, lectures and crafting sessions.
21. Speedeezz Indoor Karting
Speedeezz Indoor Karting is a family-friendly attraction in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that offers a karting track to drivers of all ages and experience levels and features twists and turns that will test your skills.
In addition to the karting track, Speedeezz also offers an arcade, food concessions, and a gift shop.
22. Gilded Pear Gallery
Discover the new art destination in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Gilded Pear Gallery. Exhibiting local artists’ works and hosting events year-round, this gallery is owned by private collectors David M. and Matt M. with a mission to champion homegrown talent. Explore its displays of nature scenes and abstract pieces, or expand your artistic skill set through one of its various classes!
23. Veterans Memorial Building
Cedar Rapids’ Veterans Memorial Building serves as a powerful reminder of the unparalleled service and bravery of our nation’s veterans. Listed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1978, it stands today exactly how it did when first built in 1927, providing citizens with captivating tours through its archives containing artifacts from across centuries – starting at
The American Revolution to the Vietnam War era. Furthermore, visitors can also use its library & peruse military records relevant to their own family histories!
24. Civil Axe Throwing
Looking for something different to do in Cedar Rapids? How about trying out Civil Axe Throwing?
Civil Axe Throwing is a new and exciting attraction in Cedar Rapids that offers a unique way to spend an afternoon or evening. The attraction features a variety of axes and targets, allowing you to test your skills against others or try to set new records. In addition to axe throwing, Civil Axe Throwing also offers food concessions and drinks.
25. Iowa Masonic Library and Museums
The Iowa Masonic Library and Museums is a world-renowned haven for studying Freemasonry history. Established as the first hall to have its own dedicated building, visitors can explore three museum collections that explain Masonry’s origins, influence in society and more.
Conveniently housed under one roof are also libraries with an extensive collection of books on all things related to this fraternity from around the globe.