Hidden Gems To Check Out On Your Next Business Trip To Cedar Rapids
Cedar Rapids, Iowa may sound like a serene, small midwest town with little action, but it is a bustling place of industry.
This city, only a two-hour drive from Des Moines, is home to almost 300 manufacturing plants and two dozen Fortune 500 companies.
These companies bring thousands of professionals traveling to Cedar Rapids for business each year.
Business travelers who frequently visit are likely already aware of the city’s major attractions like the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Brucemore and the Paramount Theatre.
But that’s not all there is to do in Cedar Rapids!
This list shares some hidden gems professionals can experience in Cedar Rapids during downtime on their next business trip.
1. Roof Access To The Cedar Rapids Public Library
The Cedar Rapids Public Library was one of the historic buildings that went under water during the 2008 city flood.
This public landmark was redesigned with a 20,000 ft green roof with public access, seating and great views.
There are adjustable computer treadmills with a window view available at the library. You can see Cedar River, downtown Cedar Rapids and many of the new buildings created after the flooding.
2. Pal-Dows Observatory
This observatory is a perfect place to visit if you are an astronomy buff. Few people know that amateur astronomers meet here once a month at night.
These fellow astronomy enthusiasts will even share their own telescopes, which are good quality. But they can’t compare to the giant telescope, which gets powered up during these meetings.
At this location, you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye, plus some amazing stars. Of course, you can see even more through the telescopes.
If you’re looking to feel inspired by our vast universe and do something unique on your business trip, the observatory is a great choice!
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3. Eastern Iowa Airport
An airport isn’t exactly a tourist attraction, but visitors to the Eastern Iowa Airport find it to be unexpectedly cozy. It also has great service.
Many professionals find themselves relaxing here between meetings or hours before their flight and don’t mind it at all.
There are several restaurants at the airport, including:
- Cedar Ridge Barrel Room
- Fly Zone
- The Java House
- The High Porch
The governor also approved a large expansion coming to the airport in the near future, bringing even more attractions.
4. Morgan Creek Park
This is a 352-acre area with natural and recreational features that provide fun things for everyone.
Morgan Creek Park’s main entrance is located at 7212 E Ave NW, in Cedar Rapids. It also sprawls into Palo, where you will find the campground and arboretum which includes a butterfly garden.
Locals say the arboretum is most worth a visit in the fall when you can experience all the colorful autumn leaves.
In the summer and spring, try hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking and birdwatching to get out of your hotel room and get active.
Morgan Creek Park also offers boat rentals. Choose from canoes, kayaks and paddleboats to cruise miles of water throughout the park.
The campground is open between April and October. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
In the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing when there are four inches or more of snow.
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5. Czech Village & New Bohemia
Most locals have heard of this interesting District in Cedar Rapids, but not many know all it has to offer.
Just walking its streets, you can take in the beautiful large murals throughout the neighborhoods.
It’s an artsy neighborhood, and art classes are even available for visitors to try out — like glassblowing.
The First Thursday Art Walk showcases local artists’ work. It gives you the opportunity to walk through the Cherry Building and CSPS Hall.
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library offers a guided tour, or you can peruse at your own pace. The museum offers permanent, traveling, and interim exhibits.
Of course, the food is one of the biggest and most underrated reasons to visit The District.
There are so many local delis, breweries and eateries that you couldn’t possibly eat at all of them in one week.
You can find fluffy, giant pancakes at Lucky’s on 16th, or check out a retro soda fountain and candy shop called Sweet Mercantile.
Not sure whether you want coffee or wine? Why not both? Brewhemia is a unique mix of a coffee bar and a wine bar.
Another great section of The District, the NewBo City Market offers various art classes as well, plus Thursday night trivia and Friday night bingo.
Live music lovers can catch locals performing at NewBo City Market. The Czech-Slovak Protective Society (CSPS) Hall concerts vary from bluegrass to metal, to opera. You’ll also enjoy local music at bars and restaurants.
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6. RG Books Lounge And Vino’s Ristorante
This restaurant and bar are known for their martinis. In fact, the NY Times dubbed their Boodies Gimlet the Best Martini in the US.
7. Bender Pool
Bender is an indoor swimming pool that’s open year-round. It’s a great place to visit if you have your family in tow.
If you’re traveling solo and looking for a quieter time to take a dip, there are specified times for adult swim, lap swimming and water exercise.
All this is available for about $6 per day.
Taking your family on a work trip? Read: Bringing a Guest On a Business Trip
Booking Your Next Business Trip To Cedar Rapids
One of the best ways to ensure that you get to enjoy your business trip to Cedar Rapids is to find a hotel that’s conveniently close to your favorite “hidden gem” on this list.
Whether you want to catch a game at the Veterans Memorial Stadium or visit the historic site of Ushers Ferry Historic Village on your next getaway, Hotel Engine can help you find a great hotel near the attractions you’re most interested in.
Hotel Engine is a great solution for business travel, with a massive selection of hotels and free access to time-saving tools. If your company already works with a travel management company like Concur, Hotel Engine can be used in conjunction for the hotel booking.
Cedar Rapids is a vibrant town full of hidden gems as well as the more commonly known attractions. That means that on every visit to this Iowa city, you’ll find something new and interesting to experience.
Cedar Rapids’ calendar of special events and free things to do is always full.
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Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.