Cedar Rapids, population 120,758, is Iowa's second largest city and the industrial capital of the state. Agricultural and technology products are the city's main exports. A wide selection of museums, entertainment, shopping, dining, and recreation opportunities are located along the Cedar River. Downtown Cedar Rapids offers views of the Cedar River and more than 50 retail shops and many restaurants. A variety of events, nightclubs, museums, and attractions are accessible via skywalks.
Downtown Cedar Rapids offers views of the Cedar River and more than 50 retail shops and many restaurants. A variety of events, nightclubs, museums, and attractions are accessible via skywalks. Main entertainment venues downtown include the Paramount Theatre which hosts Broadway shows and the area's symphony orchestra, and the U.S. Cellular Center, which presents many of the area's biggest concerts and sporting events.
Several museums are located downtown. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art displays work of regional artists including Cedar Rapids native Grant Wood. The African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa explores the history of African Americans in Iowa. The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, in Czech Village, provide the nation's most extensive collection of displays and programs exploring Czech and Slovak culture. Czech Village is home to ethnic shops and restaurants and, in May, the Houby Days celebration honoring the area's Czech heritage through folk art, food, music, and dancing.
In June and July, the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival celebrates the nation's independence with two weeks of citywide events and Fourth of July fireworks. The Celebration of the Arts, in May, honors the city's love of performing and visual arts with an outdoor festival.
The Indian Creek Nature Center's 210-acres of woodlands, savannas, prairies, and wetlands are crisscrossed by two of Cedar Rapids' major trails: The Cedar Greenbelt National Recreation Trail and the Sac and Fox National Recreation Trail. These trails, along with the Cedar River Trail, through downtown, and the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, a 52-mile path connecting the city to Waterloo, provide a mix of hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and biking venues. State, city and county parks offer unlimited recreational activities including golfing, camping, and access to the Cedar River for boating, swimming, and fishing. Facilities for BMX biking, ice skating, snowmobiling, disc golf, sledding, skateboarding, and in-line skating round out an excellent mix of outdoor venues.
The Amana Colonies, 30 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids, are a worthwhile side trip from the city. The German religious community, composed of seven villages is a National Historic Landmark and one of Iowa's most visited areas. The community's artisans produce traditional crafts and cater to visitors with local wines and beers, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts.
Cedar Rapids is located 32 miles north of Iowa City and 55 miles south of Waterloo. It is accessible via Interstate Highway 380 and U.S. Highways 30 and 151. There are many lodging choices including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts.