Historic Cedar Rapids

If museums, fun tidbits of info, history and culture are up your alley, then this Historic Cedar Rapids getaway is perfect for you! Explore a glimpse of the history and the art presented in Cedar Rapids.

Begin your experience with a morning at Brucemore, a National Trust Historic Site and treasure of Cedar Rapids. Featured by CNN about gaining a taste of the Downton Abbey lifestyle and mansions within America, this Queen Anne-style mansion boasts 26-acre park-like estate. Here you can tour the mansion, see various exhibits, walk the gardens, catch a music festival or performance in the outdoor theater and even go on a “Nooks and Crannies” tour to gain an inside view of the daily lives of the residents.
Next stop is an afternoon at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA) which houses more than 7,200 works of art from Roman antiquity to the present, including the world’s largest collection of art by Grant Wood. The Grant Wood Studio (where American Gothic was painted) is owned and operated by the CRMA. Wood designed and built this compact studio and living space in approximately 975 square feet under a sharply angled roof. Quirks include that visitors to the studio were greeted by a door on which Wood could spin a pointer to indicate his current status: “In,” “Out of Town,” “Taking a Bath,” or “Having a Party.”
Wrap up your day at the Iowa Masonic Lodge & Museum Grand Lodge of Iowa. This white marble masterpiece and library is recognized as the most complete Masonic library in the world. Free tours are provided – please call ahead to arrange a time. Both Masonic and general books are included in the collections and the library is open to anyone, whether a Mason or not. One special item is the Lincoln Collection, containing histories and biographies as Lincoln expressed many thoughts and ideals close to Masonry.


This day originates in the historic Czech Village at the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library, a beautiful museum and library that is the nation’s foremost institution for the collection, interpretation and preservation of Czech and Slovak history and culture. The museum possesses both permanent and traveling exhibits.
Nearby, head to the African American Museum of Iowa. You will be astounded at the rich Iowa history including the desegregation of Iowa public schools in 1868 and how Iowans participated in sit-ins years before the Civil Rights Movement! Explore more about these events in the permanent exhibit "Endless Possibilities.” The museum also features family-friendly interactive exhibits.
For evening entertainment, attend a wonderful exhibit and/or musical concert with Legion Arts in the historic CSPS Hall. This venue is a restored landmark and presents cutting-edge art, music, theatre, film and other events at a variety of venues. The setting offers a year-round variety of the arts from around the world that is sure to have an event to please everyone!

If you have a third day to see the sights of Cedar Rapids, make sure to check out Ushers Ferry Historic Village. This unique venue is a place for family friendly activities, events and programs that depict the historical perspective of a small Iowa town at the turn of the 20th century. Located on a ten-acre site in beautiful Seminole Valley Park, Ushers Ferry features twenty historic buildings that will help you discover what life in a small Iowa town between the years of 1890 and 1910.

Itinerary compiled by the Cedar Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Plan your visit at www.cedar-rapids.com.

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