Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance Offers "Free Summer" List

Jun 16, 2022

Cedar Rapids Free Summer Fun

Recognizing that rising gas prices may be forcing local families to rethink summer vacation plans, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance is releasing its first “free summer” list with ideas of things to do that are free or feature a summer special.

“Our area has so much to offer this summer for free. Even we were a bit surprised at how long this list is!” said Doug Neumann, executive director of the Economic Alliance. “Rising gas prices and inflation may be forcing some families to reconsider their summer plans. We hope people will see all the local opportunities for recreation, music and events and consider spending some of their free time at our free attractions.”

The list includes recreation, music, events and other ideas for free or low-cost entertainment in the Cedar Rapids metro area. The list is not an all-inclusive list and is only meant to show that many low-cost or free options exist for families to have fun in the Cedar Rapids area this summer.

Our thanks to GreenState Credit Union for their support and efforts to encourage people to think local, buy local and support local year-round.

THE FREE SUMMER LIST


FITNESS/RECREATION/NATURE:

NewBo City Market: Meet me at the Market

WHAT: Participate in free wellness events like walking trails, running, yoga, and dance fitness classes. Pre-registration is not required.

WHEN: Every Thursday through August, events start at 5:30 p.m. WHERE: The NewBo City Market

MORE INFO: https://www.newbocitymarket.org/meet-me-at-the-mar...

 

Wickiup Hill Learning Center

WHAT: An educational nature center with habitats and exhibits, interpretative trails, bird and wildlife viewing areas and more. Special programs and events are also offered.

WHEN: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Outdoor areas are open sunrise to sunset.

WHERE: 10260 Morris Hills Road, just NW of the Cedar Rapids metropolitan area near Toddville

MORE INFO: https://www.linncountyiowa.gov/1671/Wickiup-Hill-L...

Information on Linn County’s other parks, trails and amenities can be found here:

https://www.linncountyiowa.gov/1670/Parks-Trails-a...

 

Explore Our Trails!

WHAT: Explore the many trails in our area for biking, running or just taking a stroll. A downloadable trail map is available here: https://linncountytrails.org/trails/

WHEN: Anytime

WHERE: Various locations

 

Practice in the Prairie

WHAT: Free outdoor yoga and Pilates classes on the Amazing Space patio and lawn. Take your own yoga mat, towels, or any other yoga gear you may need.

WHEN: Tuesdays 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., now through September

WHERE: Indian Creek Nature Center, 5300 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: https://indiancreeknaturecenter.org/public-program...

 

Sunrise Yoga at Lowe Park

WHAT: Free outdoor yoga classes by the stage and on the grass at the Klopfenstein Amphitheater. Participants will be asked to sign a waiver that’s good for the entire summer. Take your own yoga mat or towel. For more information or to check about classes in the event of rain, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Sunrise-Yoga-Lowe-Park-15...

WHEN: Saturdays in August from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: Lowe Park, 4500 10th St., Marion

 

Indian Creek Nature Center

WHAT: Explore the trails, visit the Nature Center, or take part in one of many activities or events, including Monarch Fest, Saturday, July 9th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHEN: Daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Trails open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

WHERE: 5300 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: on programs and events at https://indiancreeknaturecenter.org/

 

Climb Mount Trashmore

WHAT: Go hiking, walking or biking on the various trails at Mount Trashmore. At 950 feet above sea level, it’s a great place to view downtown Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area. Trail usage is free, but they do ask you to check in at a kiosk inside the recreation building before you hit the trails.

WHEN: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Weekends 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.

WHERE: 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: https://www.solidwasteagency.org/mount-trashmore

 

Riverside Skate Park

WHAT: Practice or show-off your extreme sports skills like skateboarding, inline skating and biking at this park filled with nine steel obstacles and ramps. One unique ramp grouping called “the works” is one of only two of its kind in the United States.

WHEN: All summer 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

WHERE: 1225 C St. SW, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: https://www.cedar-rapids.org/residents/parks_and_r...


MUSIC:

Cedar Rapids Municipal Band Concerts

WHAT: The Cedar Rapids Municipal Band puts on concerts throughout the summer. All performances are family (and pet) friendly and free to attend.

WHEN: June through August, various dates

WHERE: Various locations

MORE INFO: https://www.crmuniband.org/concert-schedule/

 

NewBo City Market: Rock the Block

WHAT: Enjoy live, free music at this weekly free concert series featuring local and national touring bands. Weather permitting since this is an outdoor venue.

WHEN: Every Friday through August from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE: The Bankers Trust Stage in the Market Yard

MORE INFO: https://www.newbocitymarket.org/rock-the-block

 

Marion by Moonlight

WHAT: Free outdoor concerts every Thursday in June. Take a lawn chair or blankets.

WHEN: Thursdays in June from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

WHERE: Lowe Park in Marion, 4500 10th St., Marion

 

Marion Community Band Concert

WHAT: A free band concert featuring patriotic-themed music. Take lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

WHEN: June 28, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Marion Square Park, 7th Ave & 10th St., Marion

 

Marion Big Band “Swingin’ at Sunset” Concerts

WHAT: Classic 30’s and 40’s Big Band Hits. Take lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

WHEN: Thursday nights in July at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Marion Square Park, 7th Ave. & 10th St., Marion

 

Jazz Under The Stars Concerts

WHAT: Free jazz concerts featuring a Young Artist ensemble at 6:30 p.m. and a headliner band at 7 p.m. Take a lawn chair and picnic fixings or visit one of the food vendors on site.

WHEN: Thursdays in August, performances begin at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Noelridge Park, 4900 Council St NE, Cedar Rapids

 

Uptown Getdown

WHAT: Live music by a different band each week. Take your own lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

WHEN: Thursday nights in August at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Marion Square Park, 7th Ave. & 10th St., Marion

 

INDOOR GETAWAYS:

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art Free Summer Admission

WHAT: In addition to free summer admission beginning in July, the museum will also offer a variety of free programs. Check their website for details on those programs:

https://www.crma.org/

WHEN: July 1 through September 4

WHERE: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 410 3rd Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

 

The Grant Wood Studio Free Weekends

WHAT: Free weekend admission from Noon to 4 p.m. with docent guided tours on the hour and half hour.

WHEN: Weekends all summer. Noon to 4 p.m.

WHERE: The Grant Wood Studio, 5 Turner Alley, 810 Second Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: https://www.crma.org/grant-wood

 

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

WHAT: Students of all ages receive FREE admission to all exhibits the first Saturday of every month. College students must show current school ID card.

WHEN: First Saturday of the month, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: 1400 Inspiration Place SW, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: https://ncsml.org/

 

The History Center Summer Special—Reduced Admission

WHAT: $2 off all admission with the code “SUMMER.” Regular admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students, and free for children four and younger, as well as members of The History Center.

Open hours and days vary, so check their website for availability:

www.historycenter.org/hours-location

WHEN: Now through July 30

WHERE: The History Center, 800 2nd Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids

 

OUTDOOR FREE EVENTS:

Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market

WHAT: One of the larger free, outdoor markets in the Midwest featuring live entertainment, and vendors offering food, clothing, produce, décor and other seasonal items.

WHEN: 7:30 a.m. to Noon on these Saturdays: June 18, July 2, July 16, August 6, August 20, September 17

WHERE: Downtown Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: www.crdowntownmarket.com

Cultivate Hope Mega Market

WHAT: A monthly celebration of food, music, activities and community at Matthew 25's Cultivate Hope Urban Farm, featuring local vendors, pizza, beverages, free live music, and more.

WHEN: 4-8 p.m., Last Thursday of the month: June 30, July 28, Aug. 25, Sept. 29

WHERE: Cultivate Hope Urban Farm, 437 G Ave. NW, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: www.hub25.org/food/market

Hiawatha Farmers Market

WHAT: A weekly farmers market featuring fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, honey, meat, arts and crafts, and more.

WHEN: Every Sunday through October, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m .

WHERE: 10th Avenue parking lot in Guthridge Park, Hiawatha

MORE INFO: https://www.hiawatha-iowa.com/departments/parks-re...

 

Uptown Market

WHAT: A monthly market with vendors offering fresh produce, baked goods, Iowa wines and a wide selection of artisan items. Also featuring kids’ activities and live music.

WHEN: July 9, August 13, and September 24 from 8 a.m. to Noon

WHERE: Marion Square Park and along 7th Avenue

 

Five Season’s Ski Team Weekly Shows

WHAT: Weekly water ski shows on the Cedar River, performed by various members of the Five Season’s Ski Team. Bleachers are provided but fill up fast, so organizers recommend you bring lawn chairs and umbrellas for shade.

WHEN: Performances every Thursday. Times vary, so check the website for times and special performance dates.

WHERE: 2021 Ellis Blvd NW, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: https://5seasonswaterski.wixsite.com/5sst

 

CRBT Movies on the Riverbank

WHAT: Free family movies and activities for children. Gates open at 7 p.m. with kids’ activities beginning at 7. Movie starts at dusk (typically 9:30 p.m. in June, 9 p.m. in July, 8:30 p.m. in August.)

WHEN: These Saturdays: June 18, July 16, and August 13 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 1st St. SW, Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: https://crbt.bank/movies-on-the-riverbank

 

Summer Moonlight Movies in Marion

WHAT: Free outdoor family movies. General seating begins at 7 p.m. Movies start around 8 p.m., depending upon daylight. Attendees are encouraged to take lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

WHEN: July 9 and August 6 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Klopfenstein Amphitheater at Lowe Park, 4500 10th St., Marion

MORE INFO: https://www.cityofmarion.org/Home/Components/News/...

 

Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival

WHAT: A celebration of freedom at various events (many are free!) in the Cedar Rapids Metro area.

WHEN: Now through July 4

WHERE: Various locations

MORE INFO: www.freedomfestival.com

 

Cedar Rapids Market After Dark

WHAT: One of Downtown Cedar Rapids’ largest free open-air events, featuring a variety of vendors and live entertainment with food, beer, wine in a unique festive evening atmosphere.

WHEN: Saturday, August 27, 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Cedar Rapids

MORE INFO: https://www.cedarrapids.org/marketafterdark


OTHER:

Murals, Murals and More Murals!

WHAT: Create your own mural tour! Cedar Rapids now is flush with many beautiful and colorful murals, including the new Fragments mural at 2nd Avenue and the 4th street bike trail. Find ideas for planning your mural trail at: www.crmurals.org or on the Cedar Rapids Murals & More Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CRmurals/

WHEN: Anytime

WHERE: Downtown, NewBo, Czech Village, and surrounding areas

 

Old MacDonald’s Farm in Bever Park

WHAT: A free petting farm open to the public, featuring farm animals and North American waterfowl. The farm also offers special events and programs. More information can be found here: https://cms8.revize.com/revize/cedarrapids/Parks%20&%20Rec/Summer%202022/Old-MacDonald's-Farm.pdf

WHEN: All summer 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Bever Park, 2700 Bever Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

 


More ideas can be found in the City of Cedar Rapids’ Play! Program Guide:

https://www.cedar-rapids.org/residents/parks_and_recreation/play_program_guide.php

And don’t forget our many city parks and splash pads, which are also free! Happy Summer!





Email News Straight to Your Inbox!

Get updates on Business Support, Economic Development & Workforce, Public Policy,
Community Development, leadership programs, regional news & more!

Sign Up Today