Is Moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa Really Worth It?

Is Moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa Really Worth It?

View of Cedar Rapids, Iowa at dusk.

It can be daunting to move to a new place, especially if you don’t know much about the town. A lot of people will spend hours researching to figure out if a certain city is right for them. If you are going to move to Cedar Rapids you may be wondering, is Cedar Rapids, Iowa a good place to live? We’re here to help you cut down on your research and give the most important pros and cons of moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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Low Cost of Living

One of the key things that makes Cedar Rapids, Iowa a good place to live is the town’s low cost of living. Cedar Rapids, Iowa has a cost of living index of 81.8 making their cost of living 18.2% lower than the national average. This low cost of living is what brings a lot of people to the city. You can live in the heart of town without having to pay an arm and a leg for rent.

Since so many people live close to the action, it dramatically cuts down on transportation costs. A lot of people walk or ride bikes when the weather is nice or make use of the public transportation system.

A City of History and Culture

For all the history buffs out there, Cedar Rapids is the place for you. The town has multiple history museums representing a variety of different cultures.

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

Exterior of Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art was founded in 1895 and is full of different art pieces for the public to view. Some of the pieces are from the museum’s permanent collections while others are borrowed from private and public collections. The exhibits are rotated out, allowing for new pieces to be brought in every few months.

Notably, the museum features many works by Cedar Rapids native, Grant Wood, along with admission to his studio.

Open every day of the week except Monday, the Museum offers a fun and affordable experience for the whole family. Admission for adults is only $10 and they have discount prices for seniors, college students, and children.

African American Museum of Iowa

Another museum you can visit in Cedar Rapids is the African American Museum of Iowa. Founded in 1993, the museum makes it its mission to “Preserve, exhibit, and teach the African American heritage of Iowa.” They do this by showcasing historic events, presenting social themes throughout the periods, and displaying cultural artifacts.

The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library

If you want to experience the history of yet another culture, visit the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. The founders of this museum were second and third-generation Czech immigrants who wanted to play a part in preserving their history and culture.

The museum is full of different exhibits that get rotated, many of them showing the lifestyles of the Czech and Slovak cultures. Some of the most visited exhibits are displays of what immigrant homes would look like and what items they would have. Another popular exhibit showcases the different styles of clothing the immigrants would wear.

Open 7 days a week, the museum and library is a welcome space for anyone who wants to experience and learn more about the Czech and Slovak culture. Admission is $10 for adults and there are discounts for members, seniors, veterans, students, and children.  

Teams to Cheer For

Are you a big sports fan looking for a team to cheer on? If so, then Cedar Rapids, Iowa is the town for you. While there aren’t any major league sports teams to cheer for in Iowa, there are plenty of minor leagues that are still worth the hype.

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Cedar Rapids Kernels

Game day at Cedar Rapids Kernels Stadium.

If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll see yourself cheering alongside Mr. Shucks, the mascot of the Cedar Rapids Kernels. This minor league baseball team is a high-A team affiliated with the MLB Minnesota Twins.

Since the team is a part of the minor league, it allows the organization and its players to focus more on their fans. Before every Sunday game, there are players signing autographs and after the Sunday games, there are opportunities for fans to play catch in the outfield. There are also multiple promotional theme nights every season such as Star Wars Night and Princess Day. These nights bring in bigger crowds and often include fun giveaways.

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Are you looking for something to do during the cold winter months? Look no further! With 60 games from September to April, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders will keep you entertained.

The RoughRiders are a part of the United States Hockey League, which is the only tier 1 hockey league in the United States. The team is made up of players who are 16 to 20 years old and looking to earn scholarships to play college hockey or go on to other leagues. Despite home games being very popular, tickets only range from $15 to $30 depending on which seats you want.

Opportunities for Higher Education

Looking for a town with multiple opportunities to further your education? Cedar Rapids, Iowa is home to 3 different colleges. From public to private, two-year to four-year, Cedar Rapids has it all.

Coe College

Coe College is a private, four-year college with a 73% acceptance rate. With around 1,300 students and class sizes averaging 16 students, the campus has a very homey feel to it.

With over 50 different programs and majors, Coe College has something for everyone. For those looking to live on campus, there are multiple options from traditional dorms to college-owned apartments. Looking to make the most of your college experience? Join one of their many student organizations or sports teams!

Mount Mercy University

Campus building at Mount Mercy University.

Another option for a four-year private college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is Mount Mercy University. This Catholic liberal arts college is home to a little over 1,800 students who choose from over 70 different undergraduate majors.

Mount Mercy University is well known for its music ensembles, both for vocals and instrumentals. In addition to being part of an amazing group of musically talented people, you gain the chance to receive up to $8,000 in scholarships.

Kirkwood Community College

Are you interested in a two-year college? Then Kirkwood Community College opens its doors to you! With over 140 different majors and programs, the college has something for everyone. The college also offers a variety of different online classes to allow those with not-so-flexible schedules to gain a college education.

Another advantage of going to Kirkwood Community College is tuition is significantly cheaper per semester. In-state students should expect to only pay around $3,150 a semester, and out-of-state students around $4,215.

Fun in the City

Cedar Rapids, Iowa is a city full of fun events that are open to the public. While the city has many events that take place throughout the year, here are two big events the city is well known for.  

Market After Dark

Every August, Cedar Rapids throws Market After Dark where the public comes out to support local vendors. Every year 200 different vendors draw in crowds as big as 50,000. Besides the vendors, there is typically a variety of outdoor entertainment and live music for everyone to enjoy.

From food and drinks to crafts, the market is a place where people of all ages can come out and have a good time.

Crunch Berry Run

People running in the Crunch Berry Run.

Looking for a way to add a little more color to your life? Take part in the Cedar Rapids Crunch Berry Run! Every year Quaker Oats sponsors a 5k in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where participants are covered with colorful powders along the way.

While it may be called a run, this event is open to people of all athletic abilities. You can choose to run or walk, with no pressure. After the race, there are family-friendly activities, music, and Crunch Berry cereal for you to enjoy.

Cons of City Life

While in general Cedar Rapids, Iowa is a good place to live, it still has a few cons that are typical of city life.

The Smell

One of the first things people will complain about in Cedar Rapids is the smell. The odor that can sometimes be smelled in the air is like rotten eggs. It is said the smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide which is a byproduct from waste breaking down in the water pollution control facility. So, while the smell may be unpleasant, it is necessary to clean the town’s water. Luckily, it isn’t a daily occurrence.

Crime Rates

Another possible downside to living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is the high crime rate. In comparison to other cities and towns in Iowa, Cedar Rapids’ crime rate is 97% higher. When ranked against all U.S neighborhoods, the city was only safer than 10% of them.

What brings the crime rate up so high is the amount of property crimes the city has. The property crime rate is 26.78 per every 1,000 people. The national average is 19 for every 1,000 people. These property crimes include motor vehicle theft, burglary, and theft, with theft being the most common in Cedar Rapids.

The City of Five Seasons

Cedar Rapids City of Five Seasons tree.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa is often referred to as “The City of Five Seasons.” The fifth season is supposed to represent the time the city and its residents have to enjoy the other four seasons. This phrase was created in 1968 to showcase how Cedar Rapids being a smaller city resulted in shorter commute times, allowing people to have a more enjoyable lifestyle.

In 1993, money was raised to build a 60-foot-tall version of the phrase’s logo. The monument was named the Tree of Five Seasons and sits near the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Conclusion

Cedar Rapids is a city full of fun adventures and new experiences. Whether you are looking for a town full of history and culture, or a town with many fun activities, Cedar Rapids, Iowa is a good place for you to live. Despite the few flaws that any larger city will have, moving to Cedar Rapids comes with far more opportunities than downsides.

Jessica is a students at the University of Northern Iowa. She is majoring in English Education with a creative writing minor. In her free time she loves to read books of every genre, write short stories, and spend time with friends. In the future she hopes to share her love for reading and writing with her future students.