Cedar Rapids  Tourism Office

The Cedar Rapids Community

Cedar Rapids has ranked as the #1 best place in America for Children for five year in a row.

Located just 70 miles from the Mississippi River in Eastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids is positioned conveniently and centrally between six of the Midwest's major metropolitan areas: Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha, and St. Louis.

The Cedar Rapids area - considered to be Eastern Iowa's hub - is located on Interstate 380 and U.S. Highways 30, 151 and 218. 

As Iowa’s second largest city, Cedar Rapids is the perfect place to host your next event or conference. At the Cedar Rapids Tourism Office, we’re always thrilled to tell people about our amazing community. 

With billions spent for downtown revitalization, there's an exciting energy in Cedar Rapids. We’re watching as historic cultural venues are renovated, unique restaurants and modern spaces emerge, and neighborhoods are renewed.

From the renovated historical Paramount Theatre; to new fine dining at Cobble Hill, Popoli Ristorante and White Star Ale House; and Cedar Rapids was voted one of America's Best Cities on the Rise. Did you know Cedar Rapids has more engineers per capita than any other city in the US? 

As the true heart of Eastern Iowa, our All-America City has world-class arts and culture, family-friendly festivals throughout the year, an ever-growing shopping scene, fabulous restaurants, award-winning wineries and breweries, and endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. 

With the newest convention space in Iowa—the downtown Alliant Energy Power House and DoubleTree by Hilton—five full service hotels, and 3,200 rooms throughout the metro area, Cedar Rapids is poised to host convention and events from across the country. Excellent air service, as well as superb highways and interstates, make Cedar Rapids easily accessible from anywhere in the world.

In addition to our many amenities, Cedar Rapids is also …

  • The largest corn-processing city in the world
  • The second largest producer of wind energy in the United States
  • One of the leading manufacturing regions in the United States
  • One of the leading bio-processing and food ingredient centers in North America
  • One of a few cities in the world with government offices located on an island
  • Home to almost 300 different manufacturing plants and two dozen Fortune 500 companies, including Collins Aerospace, General Mills, and Quaker Oats.

Rankings and Honors

Cedar Rapids History

Growing from a tiny village of a few hundred people in the 1840s to the second largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids has a unique history full of innovation and special character that continues to define it as a wonderful place to live, visit and experience.

A focus and priority on quality of life and culture has been part of Cedar Rapids since its beginning. Early pioneer families designated large areas of land for the development of beautiful city parks and green spaces. In 1880, Cedar Rapids built Greene's Opera House, the largest theatre at that time between Chicago and Denver. The rich cultural heritage of Cedar Rapids is also demonstrated in the Czech Village and New Bohemia historic districts which are officially recognized as Arts and Cultural Areas.

In 1908, Cedar Rapids began development of its unique Municipal Island in the historic center of the city. The city is home to a lovely and varied collection of historic architecture including the Brucemore mansion, Iowa's only site administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In addition, the People's Bank, designed in 1910 by famed American architect Louis Sullivan is a local architectural treasure. Cedar Rapids boasts more than 35 additional local landmarks which are on the National Register of Historic Places including a Methodist church also designed by Louis Sullivan, and the oldest mosque in North America.

The city's determination to obtain a railroad connection in the mid 1800's led to Cedar Rapids' role as a major Midwest industrial center. The T.M. Sinclair Company, started in 1871, was one of the five largest packing houses in the world within its first ten years of operation. Cedar Rapids is still home to the largest cereal mill in the world, Quaker Oats, begun in Cedar Rapids in 1873.

Industrial and technological innovation in Cedar Rapids continued into the 20th century. In the 1920s, Collins Radio Company was founded by local resident Arthur Collins at a time when radio was cutting edge technology. Expanding into avionics and other technologies, today Rockwell Collins remains a driving force in the local business community. In fact, Cedar Rapids currently has more engineers per capita than any other city in the United States.

Historically, Cedar Rapids has always had a higher percentage of exported products, per capita, than anywhere else in the United States. The recent addition of a wind power industry to Cedar Rapids demonstrates the ongoing commitment to innovation today.

In addition to beautiful landmarks and thriving industry, Cedar Rapids has been home to many familiar names in American history. Orville and Wilbur Wright were Cedar Rapids residents from 1878-1881. A little girl named Mamie Doud who lived in Cedar Rapids early in the 1900s, later became First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. Cedar Rapids was the longtime home of artist Grant Wood and his most famous work, "American Gothic", was painted here. Austin Palmer developed a nationally well known form of penmanship writing in Cedar Rapids. Recent local residents such as golfer Zach Johnson and actors Ashton Kutcher and Elijah Wood continue to attract attention to our community.

Cedar Rapids Tourism: Best of Cedar Rapids

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