The Cedar Valley area, which includes Waterloo and Cedar Falls, has a population of more than 100,000. Waterloo is an industrial city and home to John Deere tractor. The Cedar River flows through the middle of Waterloo. To the west, Cedar Falls is a university town. The metropolitan area provides a variety of entertainment and outdoor recreational activities for east central Iowa.
Both Waterloo and Cedar Falls have downtown shopping and entertainment districts. College Square Mall in Cedar Falls offers more than 60 shops. The Crossroads area in Waterloo hosts a regional shopping mall, restaurants, and major retailers.
Cedar Falls is home to the University of Northern Iowa. The University's Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center hosts more than 200 performances each year, including Broadway shows, concerts, and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. Theatre UNI is the area's top venue for the university's performance art and concerts groups.
Additional entertainment options include Lost Island Adventure Park, a 74-acre water park. Concerts, rodeos, carnivals, and craft fairs are some of the main events at McElroy Auditorium and the Electric Park Ballroom on the National Cattle Congress grounds. High-speed IHRA drag racing can be found at Cedar Falls Raceway.
The entire Cedar Valley area is interested in outdoor recreation and preserving green spaces. The Cedar River and many small area lakes provide fishing, boating, sailing, windsurfing, and swimming spots. The Cedar Valley TrailSystem is 65 miles long and still growing. These hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing trails meander throughout Cedar Falls and Waterloo and go along the Cedar River. These trails meet the 52-mile long Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which connects Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. George Wyth State Park offers camping in the middle of the metro area. City and county parks feature skate parks, disc golf courses, motocross tracks, and ATV trails. There are several 9- and 18-hole golf courses throughout the area.
Several sites in Cedar Falls and Waterloo are designated part of the 37-county Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area. This National Heritage Area preserves and interprets Northeast Iowa's contributions to American agriculture through a variety of historical venues. Sites include: Hartman Reserve Nature Center in Cedar Falls and Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Hawkeye Community College Farm Lab, and John Deere in Waterloo.
Waterloo and Cedar Falls are located 55 miles north of Cedar Rapids and 92 miles west of Dubuque. They are accessible via Interstate Highways 20 and 380. There are many lodging options in the metropolitan area.