Cedar Rapids  Tourism Office

Family Time: Outdoor Style - Summer

Cedar Rapids has long been called the City of Five Seasons, with the fifth season being the time to enjoy the other four. Check out these unique adventure-filled activities the whole family can relish in Summer!


Summer is the prime family time to be outside. Perhaps the most unique experience you can have in the whole Midwest is saying you hiked up a pile of trash! Not kidding! Take the whole family for a hike up Mount Trashmore, the once city landfill site—filled with six million tons of trash—that has been amazingly transformed into a suburban recreational site. The panoramic view of the city from the top is worth every step. 

If you are looking for less of an incline but tons of beauty, stop by one of several gardens around town: the Shakespeare Garden at Ellis Park, the incredible showcase at Noelridge Park offering a colorful maze to wander and chase butterflies, Brucemore’s historic grounds, and the Linn County Master Gardeners impressive learning garden at Lowe Park in Marion. Be sure to check out the wide variety of events hosted at each park to find something for everyone! 

A local favorite includes the twice-a-month Downtown Farmers Market for a great spot to grab some locally grown produce and snag handcrafted treasures. Cedar Rapids loves to host a great festival. So be sure to check the events schedule (tourismcedarrapids.com/events-calendar) to enjoy the vast variety of festivals in the area from the annual St. Jude’s Sweet Corn Festival and the Linn County Fair to the week-long Freedom Festival

When it’s too hot to do anything but cool off, the Cedar Rapids city pools (low-cost) and splash pads (free!) are the place to be. Of course, getting out on the water is always fun, too. Soko Outfitters rents kayaks and stand-up paddle boards that can be used on the Cedar River or on other waterways around Cedar Rapids. If you don’t feel up to getting on the water yourself, check out the Five Seasons Ski Team that offers free performances on the Cedar River at Ellis Park every Thursday throughout the summer.

Written by Katie Giorgio

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