5 Things You Need To Know If You’re Moving to Cedar Rapids

In February my husband accepted a job offer in Cedar Rapids. This choice came as a shock to most of our family and friends. My husband and I grew up in Utah, went to school in Utah, and were living within 100 miles of both our parents. When we announced that we were moving to Cedar Rapids, everyone had the same response, “What’s in Iowa?”

We’d explain politely that my husband got a great job offer and it was a nice area. Immediately after that, most of the people made some comment about us eating massive amounts of corn or living on a farm with no neighbors. We would just do the usual courtesy laugh and move on to the next awkward encounter and repeat the same process. Well, we’ve lived here for a few months now, and I’m happy to report that there is a lot to do and love in Iowa, specifically in Cedar Rapids! So if you are new in town or are moving to Cedar Rapids soon, I’m going to share 5 things you need to know about Cedar Rapids!

5 Things You Need to Know if You're Moving to Cedar Rapids#1 – They test the tornado sirens the first Wednesday of the month (in the morning).

My husband and I had been here a grand total of three days when we heard this alarming noise coming from outside. We figured out it was a tornado siren after a bit. Great. We were here in Iowa with no one we knew, and now we were about to be leveled by a tornado. We were both perplexed at how the sky could be so blue and cloudless for a tornado warning. Luckily for us, our internet had been installed the day before, so good old Google came to the rescue and let us know it was just a test.

#2 – That weird smell downtown comes from the Quaker Oats factory.

It was rainy when we pulled into Cedar Rapids after our long trek from Utah. There was the weirdest smell as we drove through downtown. I wasn’t really sure what to make of the smell…if it was from the rain, or our car, or what it was. My husband explained that they had told him at his interview that the yeast-y smell came from the Quaker Oats factory. Yet I still smelled something weird in our car. Turns out, I was smelling a nice blowout from my 9 month old daughter that was bad enough to have us leave her outfit in the City Hall trash. But that’s a story for another day…

#3 – The weather can be extreme, but there are fun activities for every season.

There is no humidity in Utah, so moving here was quite the change for me. I personally am a heat seeker and love warm weather, but there have been days that have pushed it even for me. We have discovered that a lot of the parks have splash pads and there are a few pools around town as well! {Check out this guide to Cedar Rapids splash pads, pools, and beaches.}  If you’re not into water things, there is also the library! (Stay tuned for more in #4!) Outside of the library, there are tons of activities around town that are indoors and are either cheap or free. These will come in handy as the weather is starting to get a bit cooler. You can find a lot of these activities on Cedar Rapids Moms Blog or on the Go Cedar Rapids website. Here’s where I wish I could insert some great advice about surviving the winter, but since this is my first Iowa winter, I’m just as scared as you are. But I figure if everyone else here can survive it, we can too right?

5-things-to-know-if-youre-moving-to-cedar-rapids#4 – The library system is fantastic!

I think this deserves a list item in and of itself. I fell in love with the Cedar Rapids Public Libraries the second I set foot in them. There are many branches around the Cedar Rapids area and library cards are free for residents. I personally love the fact that when my mom brain went to check out our first books that they understood and gave me a temporary card to use until I brought in some mail to verify our address. They also make it so easy to return books by allowing you to return them at Hy-vee or at the closest branch to you, regardless of where you checked it out. Even if books aren’t your thing, they have activities for all ages, from babies (yes, babies) to the most experienced of us all. They have a large variety of books, big enough that even my engineer husband asks me when we can go to the library next. And it’s a plus that I can get some board books for my one year old so we don’t have to read the same books every night. Although, I must say it was a bummer when they told me I could only check out NINTEY-NINE ITEMS AT A TIME. So, if you need us, we’ll be at the library.


Everywhere I go, I hear about something else that I want to go see or do with my family. For me, the perk is that most of this stuff is completely free and absolutely kid friendly! I could make this post longer and longer and longer, but instead of spending time reading my ramblings, you should go do some of these things! So here’s (part of) my Cedar Rapids bucket list—including some things we’ve tried, and some we haven’t yet.  Most of the items are close to the Cedar Rapids area.

Cedar Rapids Bucket List

To be completely honest, I didn’t expect this born and raised, Utah-loving girl to ever find room in her heart for another town. But here I am, a few months in and already loving it! Now, I should add a caveat. Most people have told me my love for Iowa will drastically decrease after experiencing my first Iowa winter…so maybe ask me in a few months if I still love my town. 😉

Regardless, the people here are great, the area is great, everything is great!! Ok, I’m sure there are probably a few things that aren’t “great”, but I still think Cedar Rapids is one of the best places to live. If you’re thinking of moving here or are unsure of your decision to move here, you won’t be disappointed. And from one newbie to another, Welcome to Cedar Rapids!

Special thanks to our Guest Blogger, Jessica Lyon!! And if you want to be sure to be the first to find out about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms Blog events, join our VIP Email List!!

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  1. We fell in LOVE with the libraries, too! I laughed at checking out 99 items at a time because I totally asked the wonderful librarians what the limit was, too! SO great! Thanks for writing this!

  2. We recently moved to Ely and love it. We lived in Maquoketa 3 miles from maquoketa caves its great there too ☺

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