What is the first thing you do when you move your life to a new place? For me? The second the moving van has been returned, I am ready to jump start the journey! Discovering all that an unfamiliar city has to lure us in is the only thing I actually do enjoy about the moving process.
Cedar Rapids is the most recent place we call home, and so far we are lovin’ it! (Spoiler alert: our current address may even make a come back on next year’s Christmas cards!) I know my family’s life here is just beginning, and there is so much more for us to see, do, and fall in love with in Cedar Rapids! I have comprised a list of the top ten places that made an immediate impression on us. Below you’ll find the go-to places we can always count on to meet a friendly face, gain some great information, catch a fun event, and create wonderful family memories!
Top 10 Places to Go
A sampling of area attractions for newbies!
This is one of the very first places I went in town. I fell in love instantly! Beautiful vintage things tug my heart strings, so for me a lovely, historic mansion from the late 1800’s was a dream! I will admit, I took my toddler along and regretted it. The tour guides go into great depth with tales of the house, which I loved, but my kiddo didn’t. I recommend this for a day date with your main squeeze or a group of girlfriends!
This theater offers slightly older movies for half the price or less of other cinemas! With discount concessions to boot! It is very kid-friendly. They have booster seats on hand for no extra charge and run a free kid’s movie series in the summer months. I can’t speak for everyone, but this mom and dad don’t get out to movies much. This theater gives us one last chance to catch a film on the big screen, before it hits video-and for cheap!
If you don’t mind spending more to see a movie that just hit the box office, we love this place! When you feel like dinner and a movie, the theater is a 5 minute drive or less from a variety of eateries. If you want to kick date or family night up a notch, the second floor of the theater is packed full of arcade games!
My daughter asks me to go to the Play Station every single day. It might be her favorite place of all time. It’s a play place on steriods. Your kid’s will have a blast (and take a lovely nap)! Meet up with some mommy friends here. You can help look out for each other’s kiddos and keep one another company! On an average day, this place can be spend-y, especially with multiple children. Be sure to check their website and Facebook page for specials and discount promos.
The majority of local libraries are all connected. When you get a library card at one location, you can check out and return books to any of them. We love the flexibility! The downtown library is spacious and has a large selection of books and movies. Their children’s section is full of fun toys for the little ones. This location also hosts all kinds of story times and family events. Check their calendar or grab a newsletter on your next visit to see what’s coming up!
This is my personal favorite library. My daughter can happily play for hours here! Plus, we always meet the nicest people, both patrons and staff, when we go. Similar to the other, they offer a variety of story times and family nights.
NewBo City Market (and surrounding area) –
A fairly recent addition to Cedar Rapids, NewBo City Market is home to a diverse group of vendors that serve up delicious food and handmade goods. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite and discover some local, small businesses! You can make a day of wandering around the area! Explore art galleries with your gal pals, sip a cold brew on the patio of Parlor City Pub with your hubs, or soak up the sunshine while a local band plays on the NewBo front lawn! Whatever you do, go enjoy yourself here!
We love spending time outdoors as a family! If you do too, you are sure to delight in the Nature Center. Inside the center’s gift shop, you can find an array of facts and information about the local land and animals. And they have a variety of interactive activities for children to enjoy. Then, head outside to hike trails, listen to the river, or explore in their natural play space! Don’t forget to pack a small lunch or snacks! You may be there longer than you think!
Even if you’re not the biggest baseball fan, Kernels games are fun for a family outing, work party or date night! My guy and child are both crazy for fireworks, so of course, they are both thrilled with a weekend home game where fireworks are the grand finale! There is plenty to keep the kids occupied while they wait for the after party too! Like hot dogs, ice cream, and a kid’s zone full of bounce houses! Check their schedule for cool events and drag your favorite coworkers or cutie out for a night with drink specials!
As I mentioned earlier, our family loves being outside! Local parks are the main way we get our fresh air fix, and luckily for us, this area has fantastic parks. Bever Park is home to a playground, pool, and a small zoo that is being revamped this year. It is also a great place to walk the dog or throw a potluck! Thomas Park in Marion has something for kids of all ages and a nice splash pad for cooling off on a humid Iowa day! Noelridge Park has a lot going for it as well. Eat a late breakfast or early lunch in the park’s huge garden, then walk across the park to let the children burn off some energy at the playground or take a dip at the aquatic center during the summer. Be sure to visit the Parks Department website (linked above) to discover more wonderful places to play!
What are your family’s favorite places? If you are new in town, what was the first place you fell in love with?
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