Originally published June 2017
With its low cost of living, good schools, multitude of job openings, and recreation options, it’s no wonder more people are relocating to Cedar Rapids. Yet, if your spouse or partner is the one with the job move, you may be understandably apprehensive. Sure, the homes are affordable, and it seems like the schools are pretty good – but it’s in the middle of the Midwest! And you’re wondering what you’re getting yourself into. Relax – this community has a ton to offer beyond what’s on all those top 10 sites.
May 2021 Update
Cedar Rapids remains a vibrant community heading into Summer 2021. The return of in-person events, downtown bars and restaurants coming back to full capacity, and bike trails opening for riders has a buzz across town. Job opportunities are in no shortage as well – if you want a job in Cedar Rapids, you can find one. We have more jobs available than there are people who want to work here right now. While this has left some employers strapped to find good employees, it has also created a wealth of opportunities for those relocating to the area.
As is with many places across the nation on the backend of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the housing market is booming. Suburban areas of Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha, Fairfax and other surrounding communities are adding houses as quickly as they can. Inter-city areas are also in planning phase to resume construction bringing more living options to the downtown area.
With events, plenty of jobs available, and still the low cost of living, friendly environment that we love in the midwest, this is a great time to be coming to Cedar Rapids!
Relocating to Cedar Rapids Resources
One resource for those moving to Cedar Rapids is the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. They offer assistance to trailing spouses and partners following a loved one to the community. Another is ICR’s Wingman program to get you connected. They even have a rideshare tool to help commuters looking to carpool. If you are here due to a position at The University of Iowa, they have their own resource for employees and their spouses/partners. One new resource getting lots of love is a charter bus program that commutes daily from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City.
Certainly, every relocating partner has their own priorities, be it finding a good job or getting settled in a new home or apartment or schools. We want you to know Cedar Rapids has lots of options for everyone.
New Homes, Old Homes – Housing Relocation Options
From a new loft apartment downtown to a historic single-family home, diverse neighborhoods offer a variety of lifestyle options. As a result, Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas offer many living options, including affordability to newcomers. Proximity to natural areas and acreages mean you can find a ‘house in the country’ on city water or within city limits. Also, recent legislation now allows residents to keep urban chickens and bees if you are into that sort of thing. And yes, we have curbside recycling.
What about Flooding?
Since the food of 2008, and recent flooding in 2016, Cedar Rapids is practiced in flood prevention and recovery. With the flood of 2008, the city rebuilt like never before, and a renewal of civic pride is palpable. More recently in 2016, a flood scare that threatened to bring similar destruction was averted by a massive temporary flood wall residents helped install. Now permanent flood wall construction is in progress and can be seen as you cruise through the NewBo District or Czech Village.
Rise of Micro-communities
Connected to flood recovery, as communities help citizens recover from the damage, neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids are strengthening. New business growth and a competitive job market are supporting the sense of community areas showcased in areas like New Bohemia, Czech Village, and downtown Marion. This is supported by a real effort by city planners to continue to increase the area’s quality of life.
Bike to Work, Bike to Play
Still in progress is an increase in area trails and a commitment to building a bike-friendly community. The arrival of Veoride bike share has increased the opportunity for casual riders. Some area employers actively encourage bike commuting, offering showers to employees as well as bike storage. Bike lanes, multiple bike shops, and nearby bike racks offer convenience. Area brewing companies and bars also take advantage of local cycling popularity with outdoor patios complete with bike pit stop features. The real arm-twist comes from bicyclists themselves. “Once you get on the trails in CR and talk with other cyclists, you get a sense of how welcoming the community is to newcomers.” – area cyclist, Andrea Dunlap Hall.
Beer, Pork & Vegan Cheese
Relocating to Cedar Rapids won’t mean you have to give up great food. High-end or casual fair is available – with an ever-growing restaurant scene. From street tacos or pulled pork to James Beard-level sit-down restaurants, there are many options.
Being Iowa, there is no shortage of love for the pig. Recent farm-to-table growth has increased interest in local food sourcing and higher-end, boutique farms offering big-city style meats and cheeses. Even local grocers are in on the trend with charcuterie-style counters available.
Beyond meat, food co-ops, CSAs and farmer’s markets offer access to fresh, organic produce. The city was a certified Blue-Zones city that combines lifestyle choices with healthy choices – though that designation has since changed to Healthy Hometowns. Area restaurants are offering more plant-based options on their menus. From a vegan cheese option on a pizza to inventive salads and plant-based mains, Cedar Rapids is supporting a growing plant-based community.
What about the Arts?
Being a smaller metro, Cedar Rapids does not get every touring artist that usually hits Chicago or even Minneapolis. But that is not to say that the arts are not a part of our community. A short drive to Iowa City opens the door to big-name music, dance and theatre tours at the University’s Hancher Auditorium. In addition, Iowa City’s restored Englert Theater hosts significant music and arts events throughout the year. Closer to Cedar Rapids, The Old Creamery Theatre is a professional Theatre company offering shows for both adults and families in the historic Amana Colonies.
In Cedar Rapids proper, Orchestra Iowa performs at the historic Paramount Theatre and you can enjoy a fancy pants night out on the town. Our local community theatre, TCR offers not only great shows but the opportunity for you to participate – from improv to cabaret to full-scale productions. In addition to theatre, the arts scene in Cedar Rapids is really what you make it. From the Ceramic Center to the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy, the opportunity to interact with the arts is ever-present.
Lastly, Cedar Rapids is home to one of the only comedy clubs in Eastern Iowa. So even if you’re struggling with a move here, you can go laugh about it.
Be a Part of a Growing, Vibrant Community
All-in-all, Cedar Rapids is progressing. From a devastating flood, the community showed their resilience and ingenuity as they rebuilt. From that investment in the future, new transplants are calling CR home for good. If you listed off all the things you are looking for in a community, and it includes things like:
- A friendly and welcoming community
- Affordable homes and apartments
- Quality schools and education options
- Good restaurants and nightlife
- Engaging micro-communities
Since we’ve got it all, why not consider relocating to Cedar Rapids? We thought you will. Because you’re smart and fun. We can’t wait to meet you. Need one more reason? We were recently voted a chill place to be by Wallet Hub!
Check out our other articles about Relocating to the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Area Here.
Looking for a Job in Cedar Rapids? Check out CorridorCareers’ job listings in Cedar Rapids.