Rich Iowa History
Brucemore: This 26-acre estate is the former home to several prominent Cedar Rapids families. Now a National Trust Historic Site, the docents at this grand home and surrounding gardens and property tell fascinating tales about the 1886 Queen Anne-style mansion and her inhabitants. Tours offered Wed-Sun, March-December.
African American Museum of Iowa: Trace Iowa’s African American history from its origins in western Africa to the present. Open Tues – Sat 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
A Salute to our Troops
Veterans Memorial Building: Home to the large, ornate, and stunning stained glass window (created by Cedar Rapids’ famed artist Grant Wood) that commemorates Lady Liberty and our armed forces. You’ll find a variety of regularly changing exhibitions dedicated to our nation’s veterans. Open M-F 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Check out the Iowa Masonic Lodge & Museum to see some truly astonishing historic artifacts. This impressive white marble building is home to the most complete Masonic library in the world. Open M-F 8 a.m.-Noon and 1 p.m. – 5p.m.
The History Center, located in the historic Douglas Mansion, connects the past to the present and future of Cedar Rapids and Linn County. Local history is made both accessible and enjoyable through events, walking tours, permanent and rotating exhibits. Open Tu-Sat 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Go Back in Time
The Lighthouse Inn Supper Club: Fun fact - This historic restaurant was a favorite dining spot of infamous mobster Al Capone when he’d pass through town. Today the traditional dinner club atmosphere is still alive.
Notable Cedar Rapids Artist
Begin your sightseeing tour with a stop at the Grant Wood Studio, which is open for weekend tours from April through October. This small carriage house was once home to Grant Wood and it’s where he painted “American Gothic.”
Next, head to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA). You can continue to learn about Grant Wood, as the museum owns the largest collection of his works. You’ll also find galleries filled with Roman antiquities and more contemporary art than you can imagine. Open Tues – Sun.
For lunch stop in the historic Czech Village neighborhood. This area is a great place to relax and enjoy a good meal while talking about your morning adventures.
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library: This stately museum near the Cedar River is the anchor of the Czech Village neighborhood. Spend some time exploring the galleries inside tell stories of freedom and identity, family and community, human rights and dignity. Open daily.
Popoli Ristorante and Sullivan's Bar is the perfect spot for another history-infused meal. This restaurant is housed in a beautifully restored jewel box bank. It’s hard to say whether you’ll enjoy the atmosphere - remember to look up to see the lovely murals - or the food itself more.
Historic Small Town Iowa
Usher's Ferry Historic Village: Take a step back in time as you tour this small historic village. It’s been designed to replicate life in a small Iowa town between 1890 and 1910. The grounds are open Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with public tours offered June through September.