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Cedar Rapids, IA


Great place to live, average place to visit. :) - 4/27/2021
I grew up here, moved away, came back to raise my family and have been back since 1993. I love this city!!! There is SOOO much to do. There are 3-4 community theatre groups that do high calibre plays and musicals, some very "edgy". There are museums; African American Museum, National Czech and Slovak Museum, CR Art Museum and Grant Wood's Studio. There is a history center that gives walking tours of CR and I always learn so much about our clever founders and great people who came from here (Mamie Eisenhower pops into mind). There are fabulous restaurants at every end of the price range and there are up-and-coming food trucks and stalls at NewBo. The Cherry artist gallery space has a ceramics studio open to the public and artists open their doors for sales or displays at various times during the year. NewBo has cooking classes taught by Kirkwood Community College culinary program chefs and local chefs. There is music outdoors for free once a week somewhere downtown in nice weather, there is vibrant busy farmer's market that spans at least 8-9 blocks (I've never counted). There is Brucemore historical site that hosts outdoor Shakespeare and classic and children's plays, cabarets, orchestra and other events and gives tours. There is the Paramount which is home to Orchestra Iowa who does fabulous family-friendly indoor and outdoor symphony productions. The Paramount also hosts touring shows. There is the McGrath amphitheatre that brings live music concerts every weekend during summer (at cost, leans country and classic rock, but it's a beautiful venue). There are bike trails that go north (50 miles if you can do packed gravel, maybe 20 miles if you want paved) and south (hits Ely and Solon on paved trail--stop at brewery for a beer) and back (20-40 mile day) or further if you use roads. There is the Fishery, downtown, where you can kayak (bring your own) or fish from the shore (they stock it with fish) . There is walking trail around it that connects to nature trail. There are nature trails in SE/SW C.R. that span ...don't know...at least 22 miles?... There is Indian Creek Nature Center which hosts music events, educational programs for kids and adults, Maple Syrup Festival (they make it) and now a preschool. There is minor baseball and hockey if you're into that. There are great schools (my kid goes to what might be considered the closest we have to an inner city school and they graduated with 15 AP courses, 4-5 college courses, fabulous experiences in theatre, marching band, show choir, speech, debate, mock trial, LGBTQ+ groups. We win at state and higher levels in those. Sports have varied--sometimes state champs sometimes NOT. :) But it's a safe, diverse wonderful place. The sun is best in spring and fall, but I ride RAGBRAI across the state of Iowa in the worst of the humid time period and yes, it's humid, but it's not like the South, etc. It's bearable and somehow you just get used to it. And I love the crisp freshness that our winter brings. A few good snowfalls but lots of cold, dry days as well. It's not dreary, it's pretty cheerful given it's winter. We were known as Park City or Tree City because we have so many beautiful city parks and tree-lined boulevards. I confess that the Derecho Natural disaster hit us hard in August 2020 and it will take awhile for our trees to bounce back, but we are all about greenery and nature here. Great place to raise kids! Five colleges/universities within 30 miles and Rockwell Collins (new name now) means lots of educated people and jobs related to those. But there are also factories and blue collar workers. We have low unemployment rates so people must find jobs. Some of the local drivers are rude....can't argue with that...my mom said that when we moved here in 1969 from California. But overall the people are Iowa friendly, willing to give you directions or help you out. When Derecho hit neighbors came out to cut up fallen trees together and lend a hand. We did the same thing in the flood of 2008 and 2018. We have since put in flood barriers/walls and we hope that devastation is behind us. If you are willing to drive 20-30 minutes we have access to more things like Children's museum, Amanas, Kalona (menonite community) and more. There is ice cream/store and diary 7 miles away in Ely on bike trail that kids like. So, maybe 17-21 year-olds are bored but for the average middle income professional family I think it's a great place. I've lived in 4 states and am always proud to call C.R. home. Politically it's a good mix of liberal and conservative. Iowa City down the road is REALLY liberal so we probably seem conservative by contrast but it's pretty middle of the road. Mostly we're "practical" I'd say. :)

Cedar Rapids, IA


re:
Avoid if possible
- 4/27/2021
Wow. Okay, historically the streets have been 1-way every other street in and out of downtown. They are wide pretty boulevards. This can be hard for newcomers to navigate but there no tricks, they are just "every other street". But we did just change that and have now go 2-way on every street. I actually hate it. lol. BUT, I'm sure others will find it easier. There is SOOO much to do. There are 3-4 community theatre groups that do high calibre plays and musicals, some very "edgy". There are museums; African American Museum, National Czech and Slovak Museum, CR Art Museum and Grant Wood's Studio. There is a history center that gives walking tours of CR and I always learn so much about our clever founders and great people who came from here (Mamie Eisenhower pops into mind). There are fabulous restaurants at every end of the price range and there are up-and-coming food trucks and stalls at NewBo. The Cherry artist gallery space has a ceramics studio open to the public and artists open their doors for sales or displays at various times during the year. NewBo has cooking classes taught by Kirkwood Community College culinary program chefs and local chefs. There is music outdoors for free once a week somewhere downtown in nice weather, there is vibrant busy farmer's market that spans at least 8-9 blocks (I've never counted). There is Brucemore historical site that hosts outdoor Shakespeare and classic and children's plays, cabarets, orchestra and other events and gives tours. There is the Paramount which is home to Orchestra Iowa who does fabulous family-friendly indoor and outdoor symphony productions. The Paramount also hosts touring shows. There is the McGrath amphitheatre that brings live music concerts every weekend during summer (at cost, leans country and classic rock, but it's a beautiful venue). There are bike trails that go north (50 miles if you can do packed gravel, maybe 20 miles if you want paved) and south (hits Ely and Solon on paved trail--stop at brewery for a beer) and back (20-40 mile day) or further if you use roads. There is the Fishery, downtown, where you can kayak (bring your own) or fish from the shore (they stock it with fish) . There is walking trail around it that connects to nature trail. There are nature trails in SE/SW C.R. that span ...don't know...at least 22 miles?... There is Indian Creek Nature Center which hosts music events, educational programs for kids and adults, Maple Syrup Festival (they make it) and now a preschool. There is minor baseball and hockey if you're into that. There are great schools (my kid goes to what might be considered the closest we have to an inner city school and they graduated with 15 AP courses, 4-5 college courses, fabulous experiences in theatre, marching band, show choir, speech, debate, mock trial, LGBTQ+ groups. We win at state and higher levels in those. Sports have varied--sometimes state champs sometimes NOT. :) But it's a safe, diverse wonderful place. The sun is best in spring and fall, but I ride RAGBRAI across the state of Iowa in the worst of the humid time period and yes, it's humid, but it's not like the South, etc. It's bearable and somehow you just get used to it. And I love the crisp freshness that our winter brings. A few good snowfalls but lots of cold, dry days as well. It's not dreary, it's pretty cheerful given it's winter. We were known as Park City or Tree City because we have so many beautiful city parks and tree-lined boulevards. I confess that the Derecho Natural disaster hit us hard in August 2020 and it will take awhile for our trees to bounce back, but we are all about greenery and nature here. Great place to raise kids! Five colleges/universities within 30 miles and Rockwell Collins (new name now) means lots of educated people and jobs related to those. But there are also factories and blue collar workers. We have low unemployment rates so people must find jobs. Some of the local drivers are rude....can't argue with that...my mom said that when we moved here in 1969 from California. But overall the people are Iowa friendly, willing to give you directions or help you out. When Derecho hit neighbors came out to cut up fallen trees together and lend a hand. We did the same thing in the flood of 2008 and 2018. We have since put in flood barriers/walls and we hope that devastation is behind us. If you are willing to drive 20-30 minutes we have access to more things like Children's museum, Amanas, Kalona (menonite community) and more. There is ice cream/store and diary 7 miles away in Ely on bike trail that kids like. So, maybe 17-21 year-olds are bored but for the average middle income professional family I think it's a great place. I've lived in 4 states and am always proud to call C.R. home. Politically it's a good mix of liberal and conservative. Iowa City down the road is REALLY liberal so we probably seem conservative by contrast but it's pretty middle of the road. Mostly we're "practical" I'd say. :)

Cedar Rapids, IA


re:
Avoid if possible
- 4/27/2021
Wow. Okay, historically the streets have been 1-way every other street in and out of downtown. They are wide pretty boulevards. This can be hard for newcomers to navigate but there no tricks, they are just "every other street". But we did just change that and have now go 2-way on every street. I actually hate it. lol. BUT, I'm sure others will find it easier. There is SOOO much to do. There are 3-4 community theatre groups that do high calibre plays and musicals, some very "edgy". There are museums; African American Museum, National Czech and Slovak Museum, CR Art Museum and Grant Wood's Studio. There is a history center that gives walking tours of CR and I always learn so much about our clever founders and great people who came from here (Mamie Eisenhower pops into mind). There are fabulous restaurants at every end of the price range and there are up-and-coming food trucks and stalls at NewBo. The Cherry artist gallery space has a ceramics studio open to the public and artists open their doors for sales or displays at various times during the year. NewBo has cooking classes taught by Kirkwood Community College culinary program chefs and local chefs. There is music outdoors for free once a week somewhere downtown in nice weather, there is vibrant busy farmer's market that spans at least 8-9 blocks (I've never counted). There is Brucemore historical site that hosts outdoor Shakespeare and classic and children's plays, cabarets, orchestra and other events and gives tours. There is the Paramount which is home to Orchestra Iowa who does fabulous family-friendly indoor and outdoor symphony productions. The Paramount also hosts touring shows. There is the McGrath amphitheatre that brings live music concerts every weekend during summer (at cost, leans country and classic rock, but it's a beautiful venue). There are bike trails that go north (50 miles if you can do packed gravel, maybe 20 miles if you want paved) and south (hits Ely and Solon on paved trail--stop at brewery for a beer) and back (20-40 mile day) or further if you use roads. There is the Fishery, downtown, where you can kayak (bring your own) or fish from the shore (they stock it with fish) . There is walking trail around it that connects to nature trail. There are nature trails in SE/SW C.R. that span ...don't know...at least 22 miles?... There is Indian Creek Nature Center which hosts music events, educational programs for kids and adults, Maple Syrup Festival (they make it) and now a preschool. There is minor baseball and hockey if you're into that. There are great schools (my kid goes to what might be considered the closest we have to an inner city school and they graduated with 15 AP courses, 4-5 college courses, fabulous experiences in theatre, marching band, show choir, speech, debate, mock trial, LGBTQ+ groups. We win at state and higher levels in those. Sports have varied--sometimes state champs sometimes NOT. :) But it's a safe, diverse wonderful place. The sun is best in spring and fall, but I ride RAGBRAI across the state of Iowa in the worst of the humid time period and yes, it's humid, but it's not like the South, etc. It's bearable and somehow you just get used to it. And I love the crisp freshness that our winter brings. A few good snowfalls but lots of cold, dry days as well. It's not dreary, it's pretty cheerful given it's winter. We were known as Park City or Tree City because we have so many beautiful city parks and tree-lined boulevards. I confess that the Derecho Natural disaster hit us hard in August 2020 and it will take awhile for our trees to bounce back, but we are all about greenery and nature here. Great place to raise kids! Five colleges/universities within 30 miles and Rockwell Collins (new name now) means lots of educated people and jobs related to those. But there are also factories and blue collar workers. We have low unemployment rates so people must find jobs. Some of the local drivers are rude....can't argue with that...my mom said that when we moved here in 1969 from California. But overall the people are Iowa friendly, willing to give you directions or help you out. When Derecho hit neighbors came out to cut up fallen trees together and lend a hand. We did the same thing in the flood of 2008 and 2018. We have since put in flood barriers/walls and we hope that devastation is behind us. If you are willing to drive 20-30 minutes we have access to more things like Children's museum, Amanas, Kalona (menonite community) and more. There is ice cream/store and diary 7 miles away in Ely on bike trail that kids like. So, maybe 17-21 year-olds are bored but for the average middle income professional family I think it's a great place. I've lived in 4 states and am always proud to call C.R. home. Politically it's a good mix of liberal and conservative. Iowa City down the road is REALLY liberal so we probably seem conservative by contrast but it's pretty middle of the road. Mostly we're "practical" I'd say. :)

Cedar Rapids, IA


re:
Avoid if possible
- 4/27/2021
Wow. Okay, historically the streets have been 1-way every other street in and out of downtown. They are wide pretty boulevards. This can be hard for newcomers to navigate but there no tricks, they are just "every other street". But we did just change that and have now go 2-way on every street. I actually hate it. lol. BUT, I'm sure others will find it easier. There is SOOO much to do. There are 3-4 community theatre groups that do high calibre plays and musicals, some very "edgy". There are museums; African American Museum, National Czech and Slovak Museum, CR Art Museum and Grant Wood's Studio. There is a history center that gives walking tours of CR and I always learn so much about our clever founders and great people who came from here (Mamie Eisenhower pops into mind). There are fabulous restaurants at every end of the price range and there are up-and-coming food trucks and stalls at NewBo. The Cherry artist gallery space has a ceramics studio open to the public and artists open their doors for sales or displays at various times during the year. NewBo has cooking classes taught by Kirkwood Community College culinary program chefs and local chefs. There is music outdoors for free once a week somewhere downtown in nice weather, there is vibrant busy farmer's market that spans at least 8-9 blocks (I've never counted). There is Brucemore historical site that hosts outdoor Shakespeare and classic and children's plays, cabarets, orchestra and other events and gives tours. There is the Paramount which is home to Orchestra Iowa who does fabulous family-friendly indoor and outdoor symphony productions. The Paramount also hosts touring shows. There is the McGrath amphitheatre that brings live music concerts every weekend during summer (at cost, leans country and classic rock, but it's a beautiful venue). There are bike trails that go north (50 miles if you can do packed gravel, maybe 20 miles if you want paved) and south (hits Ely and Solon on paved trail--stop at brewery for a beer) and back (20-40 mile day) or further if you use roads. There is the Fishery, downtown, where you can kayak (bring your own) or fish from the shore (they stock it with fish) . There is walking trail around it that connects to nature trail. There are nature trails in SE/SW C.R. that span ...don't know...at least 22 miles?... There is Indian Creek Nature Center which hosts music events, educational programs for kids and adults, Maple Syrup Festival (they make it) and now a preschool. There is minor baseball and hockey if you're into that. There are great schools (my kid goes to what might be considered the closest we have to an inner city school and they graduated with 15 AP courses, 4-5 college courses, fabulous experiences in theatre, marching band, show choir, speech, debate, mock trial, LGBTQ+ groups. We win at state and higher levels in those. Sports have varied--sometimes state champs sometimes NOT. :) But it's a safe, diverse wonderful place. The sun is best in spring and fall, but I ride RAGBRAI across the state of Iowa in the worst of the humid time period and yes, it's humid, but it's not like the South, etc. It's bearable and somehow you just get used to it. And I love the crisp freshness that our winter brings. A few good snowfalls but lots of cold, dry days as well. It's not dreary, it's pretty cheerful given it's winter. We were known as Park City or Tree City because we have so many beautiful city parks and tree-lined boulevards. I confess that the Derecho Natural disaster hit us hard in August 2020 and it will take awhile for our trees to bounce back, but we are all about greenery and nature here. Great place to raise kids! Five colleges/universities within 30 miles and Rockwell Collins (new name now) means lots of educated people and jobs related to those. But there are also factories and blue collar workers. We have low unemployment rates so people must find jobs. Some of the local drivers are rude....can't argue with that...my mom said that when we moved here in 1969 from California. But overall the people are Iowa friendly, willing to give you directions or help you out. When Derecho hit neighbors came out to cut up fallen trees together and lend a hand. We did the same thing in the flood of 2008 and 2018. We have since put in flood barriers/walls and we hope that devastation is behind us. If you are willing to drive 20-30 minutes we have access to more things like Children's museum, Amanas, Kalona (menonite community) and more. There is ice cream/store and diary 7 miles away in Ely on bike trail that kids like. So, maybe 17-21 year-olds are bored but for the average middle income professional family I think it's a great place. I've lived in 4 states and am always proud to call C.R. home. Politically it's a good mix of liberal and conservative. Iowa City down the road is REALLY liberal so we probably seem conservative by contrast but it's pretty middle of the road. Mostly we're "practical" I'd say. :)
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