While not the capital of Iowa, Cedar Rapids claims the title of the biggest city, home to rich cultural heritage, proud blue-collar communities, and plenty of tourist destinations to keep families and visitors occupied for weeks. With so much to see and do, we’ve created a handy top five list of our favorite must-see attractions; you’ll find museums, landmarks, and shopping districts. Without further ado, let’s jump in and discover your Cedar Rapids calling.
The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library opens visitors up to a far reaching examination at the way of life and history of these societies through creative shows and personal historical accounts. You will learn about the humble, but strong people of the former Soviet Union. The exhibition hall additionally has different seasonal presentations, from traditional music exhibitions to cultural holidays and celebrations. There was a major flooding of Cedar Rapids in 2008, and the building itself experienced some critical changes, including elevating regions higher, which adds a bit to the grandeur of the building.
Address: 1400 Inspiration Pl SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
This mansion property is a sort of living museum, as well. While the backstory behind it isn’t quite as interesting as the other museums on the list, what it lacks in the educational department, it makes up for in presence and scope of artistry. The gardens are manicured and vibrant, the mansion contains both hand-carved accents and rare materials. It contains both a personal pool/spa, and a pond to explore. When you visit Brucemore, you will find scheduled performances by musicians and theater acts, as well as seasonal celebrations if you arrive for the holidays.
Address: 2160 Linden Dr SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
This museum houses an impressive collection of artist Grant Wood, a Cedar Rapids native. It’s the best place to get both a glimpse into the life of Grant Wood, while also an equally impressive collection of Midwestern painters from the early 20th century. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is family-friendly and offers affordable tickets that can be purchased at discount if you buy them with tourist packages.
The building itself is a work of art, and inside you will find that the Iowa Masonic Library and Museum is quite possibly the best collection of masonic works in the world. Marble walls encase you with intricate metal work, accenting the masonic works housed within. You will find over 100,000 books on masonry and historic content. The museum contains many rare artifacts from American colonial days, Egyptian history, Samurais, and more. Even if you have no heritage that connects you to masonry, it is still a must-see destination.
Now, for some time to relax and treat yourself to some great eats, great drinks, and maybe some hunting for antiques. The New Boho District is just plain fun. You will probably need to monitor your shopping habits here, but there’s a lot of great entertainment to keep you busy in-between the different shops and eateries.
Address: 101 16th Ave SW A, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404