Cedar Rapids has produced one of the greatest American artists in Grant Wood and two genuine Hollywood megastars in Ashton Kutcher and Elijah Wood, but theres much more to this city than its famous sons. A highly respected public school system, good transport links and a respect for different cultures make this a great city in which to work and live. Oh, and its also an international powerhouse when it comes corn processing.
Homes for rent are fairly abundant in Cedar Rapids with just over 29 percent of the population renting. 7.4 percent of the remaining homes are vacant and many of these are available as rent to own homes. Every year plenty of new homes for sale arrive on the market thanks to a 21 percent annual residential turnover. However, the number of house sales has dipped drastically in first quarter 2013, reaching a low of 314, down from 499 a year before. This decrease hasnt affected the average sale price of a home, however, which has remained resilient at $162,000.
With a name like Cedar Rapids youd be forgiven for expecting some water-based fun in the city and thats exactly whats on offer at the Seatasea Watersports Center. The Center is a store that sells all sorts of equipment for a range of watersports but they also offer kayaking and scuba diving courses. Their scuba diving instructors are PADI accredited (Professional Assocation of Diving Instructors) so you can be confident youll feel just as comfortable under the water as out of it in no time. If you find you take to kayaking like a duck to water you can hire one at the nearby Lake Macbride State Park -- bigger boats are available for those that desire extra stability. The park is also a great place to go fishing, enjoy scenic walks or perhaps just have a picnic.
The arts play an important part in the life of Cedar Rapids residents. The Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra was established in 1923 and performs both fine art and popular pieces. Known today as simply Orchestra Iowa, the orchestra performs at a number of venues including the Paramount Theatre, Iowa City West High School and Brucemore, a community cultural center that also hosts outdoor theater shows and festivals. Even on non-event days, exploring the home and its gardens is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Cedar Rapids is represented by a professional indoor football known as the Cedar Rapids Titans and the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a minor league baseball team. The Titans joined the Indoor Football League as recently as 2012, and the city has been quick to get behind their new team, helping them finish third in the league for overall attendance. Support should only increase when their home games are moved from the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena to the U.S. Cellular Center for the start of the 2014 season. The Cedar Rapids Kernels, who have played in the Midwest League since 1962 havent won a league title since 1994. If you want to be cheering them on the next time they manage to win youll be doing it in fine surroundings -- they moved to their new home at the Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2002.
The jewel in Cedar Rapids crown is the privately owned Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, which exhibits the largest collection of art by the Cedar Rapids natives Grant Wood and Marvin Cone. If youre inspired by what you find you can continue your journey at the nearby Grant Woods Studio, which is where the famous artist completed many of his most enduring works. While the museum and studio are must-see attractions there are other institutions that also deserve a look, the most notable of which is the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. Reopened in 2012 after flooding caused considerable damage to the building in 2008, the museum provides a considered and insightful look at the culture and history of these two countries.
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