Things You Should Know Before Moving to Cedar Rapids, IA -
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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Cedar Rapids, IA

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Originally named Rapids City after the rapids in Cedar River, Cedar Rapids is one of the largest cities in Iowa. Even though the city is developed industrially and culturally, it emanates an urban hometown community feel. The city is famously known as the “City of Five Seasons” - a unique designation reflecting on the changing seasons in the Midwestern landscape. It also reflects on the thought of being grateful for everyday beauty which extends life just like an extra season was added in every year.

The economy of Cedar Rapids is driven by many industries - from agricultural-based manufacturing to defense electronics, telecommunications, and aviation. Aircraft electronics manufactured in Cedar Rapids are used in almost every airline in the world. Cedar Rapids was ranked #6 in the top 12 cities in the U.S. for places to locate a company according to Expansion magazine. According to Outlook magazine, Cedar Rapids ranks 2nd in the nation for overall quality of life, including being the #1 safest place to live.

This guide will provide you with some helpful tips and information on just about everything you need to know if you're going to be making the move to Cedar Rapids. From the city's neighborhoods and school systems to the employment options and recreational activities available within the city, you'll find it all in this guide so that you can go into your move with the knowledge that is needed to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Cedar Rapids Climate

Cedar Rapids is in the Midwest on the Cedar River and experiences a humid continental climate. The range of temperature is from 12oF in the winter to around 84oF in the summer. The warm season lasts from May to September while the cold season lasts from November to February. Spring is characteristic of severe weather conditions like tornadoes and thunderstorms. Autumn is characterized by warm days and cool nights.

Cedar Rapids Neighborhoods

Czech Village is located near the Downtown area and it offers a unique blend of housing and commerce with walk-able streets. Much of the place has been inhabited by multiple generations of the same families, giving it a historic significance. Apart from being the city's center for banking, insurance, and telecommunication industries, Downtown also offers various cultural treasures like the Paramount Theater, Theater Cedar Rapids, and Cedar Rapids Symphony.

With an 18-hole golf course and a clubhouse, the Ellis Park neighborhood has a unique character. Most of the homes encircling the park area are single-family structures that were inhabited by long-term city residents. One of the oldest neighborhoods is Oak Hill, developed by the Czech and Slovak population in the 19th century. Industrial and hospital expansion took place during the '70s and the '80s in Oak Hill. With riverfront projects and neighborhood commercial activities, Oak Hill is evolving into a more livable place of late. New Bohemia attracts people from all walks of life and has been designated as the city's Arts and Cultural District.

Living Costs in the City

Not only is Cedar Rapids an economical place to live and work, but also the cost of living is less than the national average. Sales tax is seven percent. When compared to other places, the cost of living in Cedar Rapids is very low. Transport costs are average for vehicle purchase, maintenance, and fuel costs. The costs for grocery, clothing, alcohol, communication are low when compared to other places. Education costs from pre-school fees to tertiary study fees are high.


The cost of living is fairly low in Cedar Rapids, compared to other major cities, and the median family income is $66,227, above the national average, and slightly higher than many other similar moderately sized Midwestern cities. In addition, the median home price is $106,560, making it rather easy to find an affordable home in the area.

Registering Your Car

Upon your arrival in Iowa after moving to the state permanently, you have a total of 30 days to update your registration and have your vehicle registered in the state before you may be required to pay a penalty. The two documents required for registering your vehicle are the current ownership document and a completed application for an Iowa certificate of title.

An Iowa Driver's License can be obtained at any Iowa DMV location. The state requires new Iowa residents to update their license from their previous state to an Iowa driver's license. To apply for a new driver's license in the state of Iowa, you must present proof of identity and you must also pass a vision test as well.

Cedar Rapids Moving Resources

Moving and storage companies are ready and willing to help you with your move to Cedar Rapids, whether you're moving from out of state or from another county in Iowa. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at to get quotes for the following services:

Cedar Rapids Schools

The public school system in Cedar Rapids is operated by the Cedar Rapids Community School District, which is one of the largest school districts in Iowa and currently enrolls over 17,263 students in 24 elementary schools, six middle schools, and four high schools. There are also several colleges and universities with campuses located in the city. Coe College and Mount Mercy College are located in Cedar Rapids, as well as Kaplan University and Upper Iowa University. The University of Iowa has an evening MBA class held in the city as well.

Cedar Rapids Employment

Cedar Rapids is well known as one of the largest corn processing cities in the world and the grain processing industry is the city's main sector, employing over 4,000 people directly and providing 8,000 other associated jobs. Rockwell Collins, a Fortune 500 company, is based in Cedar Rapids and is the largest employer in the city, employing over 8,700 people.

Cedar Rapids also has a declining unemployment rate at 4.3 percent. Cedar Rapid's job market has been growing consistently in the last few decades, and with a job growth rate of 2.04 percent, there is a lot to be found in Cedar Rapids when it comes to the job market, although it's always a smart idea to secure employment prior to making your move.

Public Transportation

An extensive system of buses and taxis are operated by Cedar Rapids Transit which provides bus service throughout the city, as well as to the nearby towns of Marion and Hawartha. A network of 14 routes serves the city from the Downtown area. The biggest airport in Cedar Rapids is The Eastern Iowa Airport, which is a regional airport that offers flights to other regional and international airports.

Culture and Contemporary Life

The Museum of Art houses the works of Marvin Cone, Grant Wood, Mauricio Lasansky, Malvina Hoffman sculptures, and regionalist art from 1930s and '40s. The Paramount Theater for the Performing Arts is where the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra performs its four-concert series. The Cedar Rapids Opera Theater started functioning in 1998 and among its performances includes Pirates of Penzance and La Traviata. Theater Cedar Rapids is one of the 20 largest community theaters in the country, and it hosts eight shows that range from musicals to drama. An 11-day Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival comprising of 75 events for all ages takes place during the month of July.

The Marion Arts Festival during the spring brings together artists from across the country. Also featured in the event are live music, food vendors and other family-friendly activities. WinterFest in January includes a 5k run/walk, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and winery tours. Apart from finding the regular Czech dishes such as roast pork, sauerkraut, dumplings, goulash, and cabbage rolls, one can find other ethnic and traditional cuisines. Indigenously grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, and baked goods are available at three farmer's markets during the warm months.

Moving to Cedar Rapids

Whatever your reasons for moving to Cedar Rapids, whether it be for a change of scenery or for employment, the city beckons you with its charm. The first step in the process of moving to Cedar Rapids is choosing a moving company after first checking their BBB ratings, insurance and license. The moving rates are charged by the hour if you are moving within the state boundary, while for a long distance move the charges will depend on the total weight or volume in cubic feet of your belongings. In the latter case, you can ask about a flat rate or any special discounts that are available with the mover.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on July 26, 2013

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