116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — With gas prices and inflation on parallel paths climbing ever higher, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance has compiled a mountain of ideas for free fun in the summer sun right in your own backyard.
“Our area has so much to offer this summer for free. Even we were a bit surprised at how long this list is,” Doug Neumann, executive director of the Economic Alliance, said in a media release. “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.”
While it’s not an inclusive list, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for free or low-cost entertainment in the Cedar Rapids metro area.
Climb Mount Trashmore, 2250 A St. SW, Cedar Rapids: Hike, walk or bike the various trails, with sweeping views at the top. Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends; closed Mondays. Free; check-in required at a kiosk inside the recreation building. solidwasteagency.org/mount-trashmore
Explore Our Trails: Bike, run or walk. Downloadable trail map: linncountytrails.org/trails/
Indian Creek Nature Center, 5300 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids: Trails, nature center, activities including Monarch Fest, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 9. Center hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; trails open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. indiancreeknaturecenter.org/
Meet Me at the Market: 5:30 p.m., every Thursday through August, NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids. Free wellness events like walking trails, running, yoga, and dance fitness classes. newbocitymarket.org/meet-me-at-the-market
Practice in the Prairie: Free outdoor yoga and Pilates classes, 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through September, Amazing Space patio and lawn, Indian Creek Nature Center, 5300 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids. Bring a yoga mat, towels. indiancreeknaturecenter.org/public-programs/practice-in-the-prairie/
Riverside Skate Park, 1225 C St. SW, Cedar Rapids: The site is moving for flood control efforts in the area, and will close after Labor Day. Until then, practice skateboarding, in-line skating and biking over nine steel obstacles and ramps. Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. cedar-rapids.org/residents/parks_and_recreation/riverside_skate_park.php
Sunrise Yoga: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Saturdays through August, Klopfenstein Amphitheater, Lowe Park, 4500 10th St., Marion. Participants will be asked to sign a waiver; bring a yoga mat or towel. facebook.com/Sunrise-Yoga-Lowe-Park-1536509016642116/
Wickiup Hill Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Rd. Toddville: Educational nature center with habitats and exhibits, interpretive trails, bird and wildlife viewing areas, special programs and events. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday; outdoor areas open sunrise to sunset. linncountyiowa.gov/1671/Wickiup-Hill-Learning-Center
Other: Information on Linn County’s other parks, trails and amenities: linncountyiowa.gov/1670/Parks-Trails-and-Other-Areas
Cedar Rapids Municipal Band Concerts: Through Aug. 7, various dates and locations. Free; family and pet friendly. crmuniband.org/concert-schedule/
Jazz Under The Stars: 6:30 p.m. Thursdays in August, Noelridge Park, 4900 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids. Free jazz concerts, Young Artist ensemble at 6:30 p.m., headliner at 7 p.m.; bring seating and picnics or buy from food vendors on site. kcck.org/juts/
Marion Big Band “Swingin’ at Sunset”: 7 p.m. Thursdays in July, Marion Square Park, Seventh Avenue and 10th Street. Free concerts of classic Big Band hits; bring seating.
Marion By Moonlight: 6 to 9 p.m. every Thursday in June, Lowe Park, 4500 10th St., Marion. Free outdoor concerts; bring seating.
Marion Community Band: 7 p.m. June 28, Marion Square Park, Seventh Avenue and 10th Street. Free jazz and concert band performances, featuring patriotic-themed music; bring seating.
Rock the Block: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday through August, Market Yard, NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids. Free concert series featuring local and national touring bands. newbocitymarket.org/rock-the-block
Uptown Getdown: 5:30 p.m. Thursdays in August, Marion Square Park, Seventh Avenue and 10th Street. Different band each week; bring seating.
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 410 Third Ave. SE: Free summer admission July 1 to Sept. 4; also a variety of free programs. crma.org/
Grant Wood Studio, 5 Turner Alley, 810 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids: Free admission noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, with docent guided tours on the hour and half-hour. See where Wood lived and painted “American Gothic.” crma.org/grant-wood
The History Center, 800 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids: Summer Special through July 30, $2 off all admission with the code “SUMMER.” historycenter.org/hours-location
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW, Cedar Rapids: Students of all ages receive free admission to all exhibits the first Saturday of every month, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; college students must show current school ID card. ncsml.org/
Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market: 7:30 a.m. to noon July 2, July 16, Aug. 6, Aug. 20, Sept. 17, downtown Cedar Rapids. Free admission; live entertainment, vendors offering food, clothing, produce, decor and more. cedarrapids.org/events/farmers-market
Cedar Rapids Market After Dark: 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 27, downtown Cedar Rapids. One of Downtown Cedar Rapids’ largest free open-air events; variety of vendors, live entertainment, food, beer, wine. cedarrapids.org/events/market-after-dark
Hiawatha Farmers Market: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays through October, 10th Avenue parking lot in Guthridge Park, Hiawatha. Fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, honey, meat, arts and crafts, and more. hiawatha-iowa.com/departments/parks-recreation/farmers-market/
Uptown Market: 8 a.m. to noon July 9, Aug. 13, Sept. 24, Marion Square Park and along Seventh Avenue, Marion. Fresh produce, baked goods, Iowa wines, artisan items, kids’ activities, live music.
CRBT Movies on the Riverbank: 7 p.m. July 16, Aug. 13, McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 First St. SW, Cedar Rapids. crbt.bank/movies-on-the-riverbank
Moonlit Movies: 7 p.m. July 9 and Aug. 6, Klopfenstein Amphitheater at Lowe Park, 4500 10th St., Marion. Free outdoor family movies; bring seating and picnics or buy from vendors. cityofmarion.org/Home/Components/News/News/6649/
Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival: Many free or low-cost events through July 4. freedomfestival.com/
Five Seasons Ski Team: Thursdays, times vary, 2021 Ellis Blvd. NW, Cedar Rapids. Weekly water ski shows on the Cedar River. Bleachers fill up fast; bring lawn chairs and umbrellas for shade. 5seasonswaterski.wixsite.com/5sst
Old MacDonald’s Farm: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all summer, Bever Park, 2700 Bever Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Free petting farm featuring farm animals, North American waterfowl, special events and programs. cedar-rapids.org/residents/parks_and_recreation/old_macdonald_s_farm.php
More ideas: City of Cedar Rapids’ Play! Program Guide, cedar-rapids.org/residents/parks_and_recreation/play_program_guide.php
Also free: City parks and splash pads
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