Cedar Rapids  Tourism Office

The Cedar Rapids Community

Cedar Rapids has ranked as the #1 best place in America for Children for three 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 2014 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 U.S. Cellular Complex and DoubleTree by Hilton—five full service hotels, and 3,000 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 ranked #15 most popular cities in America to relocate to (MoveBuddha.com, 2018)
  • Cedar Rapids was named the 2018 Technology Community of the Year (Large) by the Technology Association of Iowa.
  • Cedar Rapids was ranked #16 in the nation in 2018, and was recognized as one of eight medium-sized metro area with a high density of Inc. 5000 companies. Each year, Inc. Magazine publishes its list of the fastest-growing businesses in America—the Inc. 5000.  To qualify, companies must be independent, privately-owned, located in the United States, and meet certain revenue thresholds. Of qualifying companies, those with the fastest three-year revenue growth rates are selected. Inc. 5000 firms exhibit very high growth compared with their peers, which makes them vital to the economy.
  • Iowa ranked #1 state in the country by U.S. News and World Report in 2018.
  • Cedar Rapids ranks as the #1 best place in America for Children for the third year in a row (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Cedar Rapids ranked 19th overall Best Run City in America, and 11th Best City Services, 2017 by Wallethub. 
  • Cedar Rapids ranked #2 in list of Top 10 Places for Teachers 2017 by Smartasset.
  • Iowa named the best state in the nation for retirement 2018 by MoneyRates.com.
  • SmartAsset named Cedar Rapids a Top Ten Best City for Living the American Dream in 2017.
  • Cedar Rapids ranked #4 in SmartAsset's Best Cities of 2016.
  • Cedar Rapids was ranked #10 Best City for New Grads in 2017 by GoodCall.com.
  • Cedar Rapids is the #3 Happiest City in America according to Zippa.com!
  • Cedar Rapids is the #5 best city in America for millennials to 'Get Rich' according to Money Under 30.
  • Cedar Rapids ranked #6 in "The Top 10 Best American Cities to Work in Tech in 2016" according to SmartAsset.com.
  • In August 2016, Marion landed 28th on NerdWallet’s list of best small cities in the U.S. for families. 
  • Iowa is the 3rd best state to be a kid according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book.
  • Cedar Rapids is the 15th certified Blue Zones Community ® in the nation. We are investing in well-being for a more livable, vibrant, and healthy future.
  • Iowa is ranked #4 on Best States for Young People list from MoneyRates.com.
  • Caring.com ranks Iowa #2 state to spend your golden years!
  • Bankrate.com survey ranks Cedar Rapids #1 for job prospects!
  • Cedar Rapids Ties as #6 Best City for Living the American Dream by SmartAsset.com!
  • Cedar Rapids ranks No. 3 for single mothers according to 24/7 Wall St.
  • Once again Cedar Rapids was named one of the 10 Best Affordable Places to Live, 2016 by Livability.com. "Cedar Rapids may be the largest corn-processing city in the country, but the city's entertainment offerings, parks and low cost of living make it one of the best affordable cities to live in."(Source Livability.com, Feb. 2016).
  • Plan your next date night now! Cobble Hill has been named Iowa's Most Romantic Restaurant by Town & Country magazine. (Source: Town & Country Jan. 2016)
  • More time to enjoy - Cedar Rapids is #7 in the "Top 10 U.S. Mid-sized Cities With the Shortest Commutes to Work." (Source Safeco Insurance Jan. 2016)
  • Share this with the Millennials in your life! Money Under 30 found 10 cities with affordable housing and above-average salaries for 18- to-34-year-olds and Cedar Rapids ranked #5. We dare you not to find work here. (Source: MoneyUnder30.com, Nov. 2015)
  • Cedar Rapids is ranked #1 in the Best Cities for Children list by SmartAsset! "Cedar Rapids is America's best city for children and by a fairly wide margin. The primary reason for the city’s top ranking is its schools." (Source: SmartAsset, Sept. 2015)
  • Cedar Rapids and Marion have been named Top 10 Most Livable Cities on AARP's Livability Index! Cedar Rapids is No. 7 on the Most Livable list for medium cities due to its innovative programs, such as the program that transforms empty lots into vegetable gardens. Cedar Rapids also ranked No. 4 as one of the Best Cities For Making New Friends because research indicates it's a city where residents look out for family and neighbors, join civic groups and vote often. Marion is No. 9 on the Most Livable list for small cities with researchers referencing its vibrant Uptown Marion neighborhood. (Source: AARP, Apr. 2015).
  • We're happy! Based on low unemployment, low commute times, income, home ownership, proximity to parks and preserves the Cedar Rapids zip code 52411 has been named by Movoto Real Estate as the 5th Happiest ZIP Codes In America! (Source: Movoto Real Estate, Feb. 2015).
  • Cedar Rapids has been named one of the 10 Best Affordable Places to Live (Source: Livability.com, Jan. 2015).
  • At the Movoto Real Estate Blog they know a thing or two about finding a good place to live. And they just named Cedar Rapids #4 on the list of the 10 Best Mid-Sized Cities for Education In America. (Source: Movoto Real Estate Blog, Jan. 2015).
  • Named All-America City in 2014 (Source: National Civic League, June 2014).
  • Designated #4 Best Cities for Kids in 2014 (Source: Livibility.com, May 2014).
  • Ranked #30 Smartest City In America in 2013 (Source: Lumosity).
  • Ranked #1 in Iowa for Top 100 Best Places to Live and 30th in the nation in Livability.com's "Top 100 Best Places to Live" ranking (Source: Livability.com, October 2014).
  • Chosen 9th for Top 10 Best Places to Retire 2013 in Livability.com's "Top 10 Best Places to Retire" ranking (Source: Livability.com, November 2013).
  • Considered one of America's Best Cities on the Rise, according to Smarter Travel. We ranked 11th as an exceptional, up-and-coming destination (Source: Smarter Travel.com, September 2012).
  • Chosen as one of the Best Places for Business & Careers, according to Forbes magazine. Our city is ranked 33rd out of the 200 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., based on cost of doing business, job growth, education, employment, housing and quality of life (Source: Forbes.com, June 2012).

Cedar Rapids History

Growing from a tiny village of a few hundred people in the 1840's 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 1920's, 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 1900's, 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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