Is Cedar Rapids a Good Place to Live? Pros & Cons

by Rentals Editorial Team | Published: Jul 25, 2023

Welcome to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where there are endless things to do and places to visit! Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, art aficionado, or simply looking for family-friendly activities, this vibrant city has something for everyone. Explore the beautiful parks and outdoor trails, immerse yourself in the rich history of the city, indulge in the thriving arts and cultural scene, or enjoy the numerous entertainment options available. If you’re considering relocating or retiring in Cedar Rapids, you’ll find a welcoming community and a strong job market. With its affordable cost of living and excellent education options, this city is definitely worth considering. So come on in and discover all that Cedar Rapids has to offer!

Things to do and places to visit in Cedar Rapids

Nature and Outdoor Activities

Cedar Rapids, Iowa offers a plethora of nature and outdoor activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. The city is home to many beautiful parks and green spaces, providing opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and engaging in various recreational activities.

One notable park is the Indian Creek Nature Center, which features over 290 acres of woodlands, prairies, wetlands, and creeks. Visitors can explore the numerous trails, participate in nature programs, and appreciate the diverse wildlife.

The Cedar River runs through the heart of the city, offering scenic views and opportunities for boating, fishing, and kayaking. The riverfront area also includes walking paths and parks where people can relax or take part in outdoor events.

For those seeking adventure, nearby Mount Trashmore Recreational Area provides hiking trails with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, residents can enjoy golfing at one of Cedar Rapids’ several well-maintained golf courses.

City’s History

Cedar Rapids has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1841. Originally settled by Czech immigrants, the city quickly grew into an industrial hub due to its ideal location along the Cedar River.

The historical district downtown showcases impressive architecture from different eras. Visitors can explore historic buildings like the Paramount Theatre—a beautifully restored theater that provides a glimpse into the city’s past. The Czech Village is another must-visit area that celebrates Cedar Rapid’s Czech heritage through its vibrant shops and restaurants.

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history and culture of Czechs and Slovaks in America. It offers exhibitions that highlight their contributions to various fields such as art, music, literature, and industry.

Culture and Arts

Cedar Rapids boasts a thriving arts and cultural scene that caters to all interests. The city is known for its numerous art galleries, theaters, and museums that provide an enriching experience for residents and visitors alike.

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art proudly houses an extensive collection of artworks, including pieces by renowned artists such as Grant Wood. This museum also features rotating exhibits and offers educational programs for all ages.

Throughout the year, the city hosts various cultural events and festivals that celebrate the community’s diversity and artistic talents. The annual Freedom Festival showcases live music performances, parades, fireworks, and other family-friendly activities.

Music enthusiasts can enjoy live performances at the Paramount Theatre or check out local bands at music venues scattered across the city. The theater scene in Cedar Rapids is vibrant, with several theater companies offering a range of productions throughout the year.

Cedar Rapids City Entertainment

Cedar Rapids offers a plethora of entertainment options to its residents. Whether you are a fan of live music, theaters, or sports events, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

If you are a music enthusiast, you can catch performances by local bands and renowned artists at various venues such as the McGrath Amphitheatre and CSPS Hall. The Paramount Theatre is also a popular destination for those who enjoy Broadway shows and other theatrical performances.

For art lovers, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art showcases an impressive collection of American artwork. You can also explore the vibrant local art scene by visiting the many galleries in the downtown area.

Sports fans can cheer on their favorite teams at the U.S. Cellular Center, where you can catch exciting hockey and indoor football games. In addition, golf courses and recreational parks are scattered throughout the city for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.

Local Sights, Attractions, Events, and Things to Do in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is known for its rich history and diverse range of attractions. Here are some must-visit sights and activities:

  • Explore the Czech Village-New Bohemia Main Street District, which offers unique shops, restaurants, and cultural experiences.
  • Visit the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, where you can learn about the heritage and history of Central European immigrants.
  • Immerse yourself in nature at Indian Creek Nature Center or Ushers Ferry Historic Village.
  • Attend local festivals such as Freedom Festival or Market After Dark for a taste of community spirit and entertainment.
  • Tour Brucemore Mansion, a historic landmark that offers insights into the city’s past.

Job Opportunities in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids provides a favorable environment for job seekers, with a diverse range of employment opportunities across various industries. Here are some of the biggest employers in the area:

  • Rockwell Collins, a leading aerospace and defense company, offers job opportunities in engineering, aviation, and technology.
  • Transamerica Corporation, a financial services company, provides employment in fields such as insurance and retirement planning.
  • UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital is a prominent healthcare provider in the region, offering jobs in healthcare administration, nursing, and other medical professions.
  • Quaker Oats Company employs many residents in manufacturing and food processing roles.
  • Cedar Rapids Community School District is one of the largest employers in the area, providing job opportunities in education.

Economy Overview

Cedar Rapids boasts a stable economy with a flourishing manufacturing sector. The city’s average household income is above the national average, providing residents with a comfortable standard of living. The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is relatively low compared to the national average, thanks to its diverse economic base.

Cedar Rapids State Taxes and Local Taxes

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, offers an affordable cost of living with reasonably low state and local taxes. The state of Iowa has a progressive income tax system with nine different tax brackets ranging from 0.33% to 8.53%. Additionally, the state sales tax rate is 6%, which is slightly higher than the national average.

When it comes to local taxes, Cedar Rapids has a local option sales tax of 1%, which brings the total sales tax rate within the city to 7%. This additional tax revenue helps fund various local projects and improvements.

Education System in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids provides its residents with a quality education system that includes a wide range of educational opportunities. The city is served by the Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD), which operates several elementary, middle, and high schools.

In addition to public schools, there are several colleges and universities in and around Cedar Rapids:

  • 1. Coe College: A private liberal arts college offering undergraduate programs in various fields of study.
  • 2. Mount Mercy University: A private Catholic university providing undergraduate and graduate programs in diverse disciplines.
  • 3. Kirkwood Community College: A two-year community college that offers associate degrees and workforce training programs.

Cedar Rapids Public Transportation and Traffic

Cedar Rapids has a well-developed public transportation system that makes it easy for residents to get around the city. The Cedar Rapids Transit operates buses throughout the city with several routes covering different areas. The transit system also offers paratransit services for individuals with disabilities.

In terms of traffic, Cedar Rapids generally experiences moderate congestion during peak hours but remains manageable compared to larger cities. Major highways such as Interstate 380 and Highway 30 connect the city to surrounding areas, providing convenient access for commuters.

The city is also home to The Eastern Iowa Airport (CID), which offers both domestic and international flights. This regional airport ensures easy connectivity for residents traveling outside Cedar Rapids.

Neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids

Here is a list of neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids, each with its own unique characteristics:

  • New Bohemia: Known for its vibrant arts scene, this neighborhood offers a lively atmosphere with art galleries, local shops, and trendy eateries.
  • Northwest Area: A suburban neighborhood featuring well-maintained homes, parks, and excellent schools. It provides a family-friendly environment.
  • Oak Hill Jackson: This historic neighborhood is filled with charming older homes and tree-lined streets. It has a strong sense of community.
  • Southeast Area: A diverse neighborhood offering a mix of housing options, including apartments, condos, and single-family homes. It has easy access to downtown.
  • Cedar Hills: A quiet residential area known for its picturesque landscapes and proximity to outdoor recreational areas like Noelridge Park.

Family-Friendly Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is a fantastic place for families to call home. With its strong sense of community and abundance of family-friendly activities, it offers a safe and enjoyable environment for children to grow up in.

The city boasts a variety of excellent schools, both public and private, providing children with quality education options. There are also numerous parks and recreational facilities scattered throughout Cedar Rapids, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor play and exploration.

Additionally, the city hosts numerous family-oriented events and festivals throughout the year. From the Cedar Rapids Farmers’ Market to the Freedom Festival, there is always something exciting happening that the whole family can enjoy together.

Exploring Cedar Rapids Tourism

Cedar Rapids has a rich cultural scene that attracts both locals and visitors alike. The city is home to several art galleries, museums, and theaters that showcase a diverse range of artistic performances and exhibitions.

One popular attraction in Cedar Rapids is the Czech Village-New Bohemia Main Street District. It offers a unique shopping experience with its charming shops, delicious eateries serving authentic Czech cuisine, and vibrant events celebrating Czech heritage.

The Indian Creek Nature Center is another must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. It provides miles of scenic hiking trails through woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. The nature center also offers educational programs for both children and adults.

Making a Move to Cedar Rapids

If you are considering moving to Cedar Rapids, you will find a welcoming community ready to embrace you. The city offers a diverse range of housing options suitable for various budgets and preferences.

Cedar Rapids has a relatively low cost of living compared to many other cities in the United States. This affordability translates into lower housing costs as well as reasonable prices for groceries, transportation, and healthcare.

Furthermore, the job market in Cedar Rapids is strong, with opportunities in industries such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and technology. The city’s central location within Iowa also provides convenient access to other major cities in the state.

Overall, whether you are looking for a family-friendly environment, exciting cultural experiences, or a cost-effective place to live and work, Cedar Rapids is certainly worth considering.

Retiring in Cedar Rapids

Retiring in Cedar Rapids offers a peaceful and affordable lifestyle for seniors. The city boasts a variety of recreational activities, cultural attractions, and quality healthcare services, making it an ideal place to spend your golden years.

Cedar Rapids is known for its picturesque landscapes, including beautiful parks and trails perfect for leisurely walks or bike rides. The city also offers numerous golf courses where retirees can enjoy their favorite sport in a serene environment.

In addition to its natural beauty, Cedar Rapids has a vibrant arts and culture scene. The city is home to several art museums, theaters, and galleries that host exhibitions, performances, and events throughout the year. Retirees can indulge in their artistic interests or explore new hobbies during their leisure time.

For retirees seeking excellent healthcare facilities, Cedar Rapids has top-notch medical centers equipped with state-of-the-art technology and highly skilled professionals. The city provides comprehensive healthcare services for seniors, ensuring their well-being is taken care of.

Pros and Cons of Living in Cedar Rapids


  • Affordable cost of living compared to national averages
  • Friendly community with a strong sense of Midwestern hospitality
  • Diverse job opportunities across various industries
  • Well-maintained parks and recreational areas
  • Access to quality education at schools and colleges
  • Numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year


  • Colder winters with heavy snowfall can be a challenge for some
  • Limited public transportation options compared to larger cities
  • Somewhat limited selection of international cuisines

Frequently Asked Questions about Cedar Rapids

1. What is the population of Cedar Rapids?

Cedar Rapids has an estimated population of around 133,562 residents.

2. How safe is Cedar Rapids?

Cedar Rapids has a relatively low crime rate compared to other cities of similar size. However, it is always advisable to take necessary precautions and stay informed about your surroundings.

3. Are there good education options in Cedar Rapids?

Yes, Cedar Rapids offers excellent education options with quality schools and colleges within the area. The city has a strong commitment to providing a high standard of education.

4. What are some popular attractions in Cedar Rapids?

Cedar Rapids is home to several popular attractions, including the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Brucemore Historic Site, Indian Creek Nature Center, and the Paramount Theatre.

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