Top 15 Cedar Rapids Attractions & Things To Do

Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by Nikki Jain

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 attractions to keep families and visitors occupied for weeks.

There are many cultural attractions in Cedar Rapids, such as the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the Brucemore estate, and the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Visitors will find many things to do in Cedar Rapids, such as fabulous shopping at the NewBo City Market and family fun at Old MacDonald's Farm.

With so much to see and do, we’ve created a handy list of our favorite Cedar Rapid attractions; you’ll find museums, landmarks, and shopping districts.

Without further ado, let’s jump in and discover your Cedar Rapids calling.

Things To Do in Cedar Rapids

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1: National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library

National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library
National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library | Wikimedia/ArtisticAbode

The NCSML is dedicated to exploring Czech and Slovak history and culture with its exhibits, library, and store.

It truly is one of the special Cedar Rapid attractions that engage audiences of all cultures through various programs & exhibits throughout the year.

It also has tours of the exhibits, a half-hour film, genealogical research at the Skala Bartizal Library, and a visit to the Czech immigration house and a Czech village.

The 50,000-square-foot building premiered with a bang with a first-rate international exhibit that featured 230 works of art from Prague and London. The museum is filled with European treasures.

NCSM is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The library is open Tuesday through Saturday. The admission fee for adults is $10.00 and $3.00 for children under the age of 13.

Address: 1400 Inspiration Pl SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

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2: Brucemore

Brucemore | Wikimedia/ArtisticAbode

The 26-acre Brucemore estate is one of the best places to visit in Cedar Rapids, which illustrates the city's history with its 21 rooms and gardens.

Erected in 1925, it exemplifies a historical era when the elite became less reliant on servants and began to do things for themselves.

The Tahitian Room and Grizzly Bar in the basement are examples of a new, evolving style of casual entertainment – a kind of "no butler needed" area.

Tours allow exploration of three floors and their artifacts, as well as the 26 acres of gardens. The tour costs $12 for adults and $7 for students.

Brucemore is lit up with holiday splendor and festive music from its Skinner Pipe Organ in November and December.

The Brucemore estate is open Wednesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and opens at 12:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

Address: 2160 Linden Dr SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

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3: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is one of the best places to go in Cedar Rapids to explore stunning exhibits across 16 galleries. It houses an impressive collection by artist Grant Wood of American Gothic fame.

Mr. Wood is undoubtedly the museum's primary draw, as it contains the largest collection of his paintings and jewelry.

It’s the best place to get a glimpse into Grant Wood's life and an equally unique collection of Midwestern painters from the early 20th century.

From April to December (call for specifics), the museum provides tours of Grand Wood's studio each weekend from noon to 4:00 p.m.

The CRMA is closed on Mondays. From Tuesday to Sunday, it is open from noon to 4:00 p.m. and remains open until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. The entrance fee is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for anyone under 18.

Address: 410 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

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4: Iowa Masonic Library and Museum

Iowa Masonic Library and Museum

One of the more unusual attractions in Cedar Rapids is the Iowa Masonic Library and Museum, which has the largest Masonic library anywhere in the world.

It is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 to 2:00 p.m. by appointment only (call 319-365-1438).

There are three significant collections. One includes artist Grant Wood's "First Three Degrees of Free Masonry" as well as various Masonic paraphernalia.

A second, non-Masonic collection includes Native American weaponry and pottery, Asian armor, and even an artifact dating back to biblical times.

The third gallery is a collection of jewelry and fine china.

The building itself is a work of art. Marble walls encase you with intricate metal work, accenting the masonic works housed within.

With over 250,000 books, the library is considered a top facility for Masonic research. Non-Masonic information includes Iowa's history and government.

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.

Address: 813 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

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5: Czech Village / New Bohemia District

Czech Village / New Bohemia District

Now, for some time to relax and treat yourself to some great eats, great drinks, and maybe some hunting for antiques. The Czech Village & New Boho District is just plain fun.

These two vibrant neighborhoods define culture, fine dining, and what Cedar Rapids is all about, including values presented at the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library and the African American Museum.

Fifty shops and 40 restaurants guarantee everyone can find what he or she wants, including special handmade crafts items, jewelry, and Czech art.

The NewBo City Market showcases a grand farmer's market as well as local artists, festivals, and concerts.

The Dinner on the Bridge has become a traditional and beloved summer event where people partake of a meal on the Bridge of Lions.

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

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6: Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre

The century-old Paramount is a 1,690-seat performance center that is the setting for touring concerts and Broadway shows, opera, comedy shows, symphonies, and organ recitals. It is also a popular wedding venue.

With its stunning architecture and rich history, stepping into this venue feels like taking a step back in time.

The beautifully ornate details and grand interior of the theater create a captivating atmosphere that sets the stage for an incredible night of entertainment.

A visit to the Paramount Theatre is more than just going to see a show; it's about immersing yourself in culture and connecting with fellow art enthusiasts.

The most recently anticipated Broadway show is Pretty Woman, expected to begin its run in November for $150.00.

Address: 123 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

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7: Palisades-Kepler State Park

Palisades-Kepler State Park
Palisades-Kepler State Park in fall | Dreamstime/Steven Prorak

One of the most scenic spots in Cedar Rapids that shouldn’t be missed is the Palisades-Kepler State Park.

From dramatic cliffs to plenty of wildlife to deep canyons, there is much to do here. There are five miles of hiking trails and fishing on the Cedar River.

Whether you prefer leisurely strolls through wildflower meadows or challenging treks up steep cliffs, there is a trail for every level of adventurer.

If you're not into hiking, the park also boasts exceptional camping facilities that allow visitors to enjoy the great outdoors overnight.

The park has cabins available with bathrooms and kitchens. Reservations can be made online.

Picnic areas are available with a view of the river and can also be reserved online. A lodge can be used for gatherings or as a wedding venue.

Address: 700 Kepler Dr, Mt Vernon

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8: African American Museum of Iowa

African American Museum of Iowa
African American Museum of Iowa

One of the top Cedar Rapids attractions that serves to educate is the African American Museum of Iowa, which is dedicated to preserving the history and contribution of African Americans in the state.

Thousands of visitors each year take advantage of the research facilities and educational programs and view the exhibits.

The main draw of the museum is its significant collection of artifacts and exhibits that highlight various aspects of African American life.

Visitors can explore displays that cover topics such as slavery and emancipation, Civil Rights movements, arts and music, education, and sports.

Admission to the museum is 6.00 for adults and $3.50 for children. It is closed Monday through Wednesday and Sunday, and it is open from Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Address: 55 12th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

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9: Indian Creek Nature Center

Indian Creek Nature Center
Indian Creek Nature Center

The incredible Indian Creek Nature Center’s building has been awarded the Living Building Challenge Petal Certification as a result of being one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in the US. That is no small feat.

Getting in touch with and becoming one with nature is just one of the things to do in Cedar Rapids, especially for children. The center aims to inspire a passion for nature as early in life as possible.

Its Fresh Air Academy is a drop-off experience allowing children to learn in nature's 200-acre outdoor school. The fee is $200.00.

Children are expected to be dropped off between 3:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. The outdoor class will last from 4:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and children can explore all aspects of nature. Parents and/or guardians should pick the children up at 6:00 p.m.

The center has over four miles of trails, woodland, wetlands, and fishing for adults and all family members. Visitors are invited to drop by the Sugar House and witness the creation of maple syrup.

Address: 5300 Otis Rd SE, Cedar Rapids

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10: Usher’s Ferry Historic Village

Usher’s Ferry Historic Village

Ushers Ferry Historic Village is one of the historical places in Cedar Rapids that examines life from the early 20th century.

These lovely 10 acres contain nine restored homes that can be toured, a pavilion, and a gazebo. Fortunately, it also contains a modern restroom facility and a rental lodge for weddings and parties.

Stroll through the picturesque village and witness what life was like for early settlers in Iowa.

One of the key highlights of Ushers Ferry is its costumed interpreters who bring the history to life.

As you walk through the village, you will see blacksmiths working on hot flames, bakers kneading dough for fresh bread, and schoolteachers guiding eager students through their lessons.

These dedicated volunteers truly embody their roles and make history come alive before your eyes.

The admission fee is $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for children under the age of 17.

Address: 5925 Seminole Valley Trail NE, Cedar Rapids

11: Seminole Valley Park

Seminole Valley Park

The 409-acre Seminole Valley Park has a historic farm, a soccer field, and hiking trails.

It's one of the hidden gems in Cedar Rapids designed to keep families busy. It's lovely that the Cedar River flows right through the park and simply adds to its charm.

Cities without parks lack something fundamental, which cannot be said for Cedar Rapids.

The park also serves as a cross-country course for runners with loops for 4, 5, 6, and 8k races.

People love to sit by the river and simply watch and think. This is one of the best Cedar Rapids tourist attractions for visitors looking for some tranquillity.

Address: 5925 Seminole Valley Trail NE, Cedar Rapids

12: NewBo City Market

NewBo City Market
NewBo City Market

One of the must-visit Cedar Rapids attractions is NewBo City Market. Everyone knows that it is a major food market and a great one.

This is where farming and artisan entrepreneurs can set up a kiosk and display their wares. It is a showcase for thriving businesses that answer the food insecurity in Cedar Rapids.

In addition to food, however, NewBo also sponsors artists with its weekly concert series. Friday night is band night between 6 and 8 p.m., and it's free!

And still, there is even more at NewBo. The market offers several classes over the weekends. Taught by locals, these are another way to encourage entrepreneurs. Classes can include anything from art to cooking.

It's more than just a market; it's a lively community space that celebrates local talent and fosters connections among patrons and vendors alike.

Address: 1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids

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13: Old MacDonald’s Farm

Old MacDonald’s Farm
Old MacDonald’s Farm

For animal lovers, one of the fun things to do in Cedar Rapids is to visit the 100-year-old Old MacDonald's Farm located in Bever Park. This farm is filled with farm animals just waiting to be petted.

The type of animals on the farm can vary, as it would on an actual farm. However, there usually are goats, rabbits, chickens, lambs, ducks, pigs, and cattle.

Both guided and self-guided tours can be scheduled. The cost for a guided tour is $3.00 per participant. These can be scheduled between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on weekdays.

Not surprisingly, the farm is a popular venue for birthday parties. These parties include a tour of the farm and feeding the animals. Then, it's on to the party by the pavilion, where the farm will present the birthday child with an official gift.

Parties can be scheduled for 2 hours for $150.00; parents must bring food and refreshments. Bring your own cake, snacks, and beverages.

Goat yoga parties will fill the air with laughter. The cost is $125 per hour, but how to put a price on such fun? The goats are quite enthusiastic participants.

The farm is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Address: 2700 Bever Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

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14: Clock House Brewing

Clock House Brewing
Clock House Brewing

Clock House Brewing is not your typical brewery. It offers a unique experience that combines artistry with delicious craft beer.

What sets Clock House Brewing apart from other breweries is its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and innovative brewing techniques.

It is situated at the back of the Black Sheep Social Club, so a great brew and food can be enjoyed together, even though they remain two separate venues.

However, the Black Sheep Social Club's delicious appetizers are available at the Clock House Brewing.

Guests can enjoy specially crafted beer or cocktails and live entertainment. Clock House Brewing is closed on Monday.

It is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday it opens at noon, and on Sunday, it opens at noon and closes at 5:00 p.m.

Address: 600 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids

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15: Grant Wood Studio

Grant Wood Studio

One of the unique places in Cedar Rapids is the Grant Wood Studio, which is a part of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Cedar Rapids is fortunate to have one of America's most respected painters as its native son. He used the studio between 1924 and 1935 and produced his best-known painting, American Gothic.

Although this painting is not in his studio but is a part of the permanent exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Admission and parking to the studio are free. It is open from noon to 4:00 p.m. on weekends, and there are guided tours from April to December.

Grant Wood lived in Cedar Rapids most of his life, and his interest in art began in high school. Despite his best efforts, he was not an immediate success.

A tour of Europe's major museums inspired him to paint in a more Renaissance style, especially when it came to portraits.

His masterpiece portrait, American Gothic, won third prize at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930. He returned to Cedar Rapids as a success.

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art houses Grant Wood's largest selection of paintings.

The studio is closed on Monday and opens the remainder of the week at noon and closes at 4:00 p.m., except for Saturday, when it begins at 10:00 a.m., and Thursday, when it closes at 8:00 p.m.

Entry into the studio is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under 18.

Address: 810 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

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1. What is Cedar Rapids famous for?

Not many people realize it, but Cedar Rapids is the home of many famous people. Hollywood stars such as Ashton Kutcher, The Lord of the Ring's Elija Wood, and Ron Livingston, who were in the movies 'Sex and the City' and 'Office Space', all came from here.

Major Leaguer Ryan Sweeney, NFL quarterback Trent Green, and former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner were all raised in Cedar Rapids. It would seem to be a great place to grow up and excel.

2. What is the best time to visit Cedar Rapids?

The best time to experience Cedar Rapids outdoors is during the summer months of June, July, and August. Temperature is usually consistently in the mid-80s, making it the perfect time for hiking and biking. By the time winter arrives, so does a major chill, and most activities will likely be indoors.

3. What is the number one attraction in Cedar Rapids?

Cedar Rapids has superb historical mansions and architecture. The Brucemore estate is a living example of 19th-century living and changes in lifestyle at the turn of the century that are fascinating to observe.

4. What is the most unique thing to do in Cedar Rapids?

For art lovers, the most thrilling and unique thing to do is to explore the works of painter Grant Woods. Cedar Rapids holds the largest collection of Woods' work, which can be seen at the Grant Wood Studio.

Plan your trip to Cedar Rapids soon!

As Iowa's second-largest city, Cedar Rapids attractions fill the area with activities, many of them encouraging visitors to explore its great outdoor possibilities. Palisades-Kepler State Park is one of these attractions, with its dramatic cliffs and camping opportunities for the entire family. More outdoor things to do include fishing and canoeing on the Cedar River and hiking the trails at the Indian Creek Nature Center.

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