Economic alliance creates list of free summer events in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival
Freedom Festival's Fourth of July fireworks will return to downtown Cedar Rapids. CREDIT FREEDOM FESTIVAL

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 in town that are free or low-cost.

“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, in a news release. “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, according to the release.

GreenState Credit Union has sponsored the endeavor.

The list includes five categories of events, activities and free locations to visit.


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 


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


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

Explore Trails 

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

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 


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.

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

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 


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 



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 


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 


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 


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: 

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


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 


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:

WHEN: Now through July 30 

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


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 



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.

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.

WHEN: All summer 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

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