Welcome to Cvent's Meetings and Event Planning Guide to Cedar Rapids, a city guide for meetings professionals. Boasting a unique blend of hometown Midwest charm, world-class performing arts and culture and scenic green spaces, Cedar Rapids serves as a fantastic meeting and event destination. The second-largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids is a vibrant city bursting with dynamic attractions, shopping, nightlife and dining, as well as first-rate accommodations and a variety of meeting spaces and unique venues.
Situated along the Cedar River 70 miles from the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids features not only a national central location, but also a central location between six of the Midwest's major metropolitan areas, including Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Omaha and St. Louis. Cedar Rapids serves as the home of Eastern Iowa Airport, which operates more than 60 daily arrivals and departures to and from 12 destinations, including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix-Mesa, Tampa/St. Petersburg and Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers. Airport passengers enjoy direct access to the Cedar Rapids Transit bus system via Route 11. Operating along 14 routes, the Cedar Rapids Transit bus system offers free rides within the downtown area, as well as direct access to such major destinations as the U.S. Cellular Center.
Opened in May 2013, Cedar Rapids' U.S. Cellular Center complex, situated in the heart of downtown, serves as the second-largest convention and events complex in Iowa. Considered the centerpiece of a rejuvenated downtown, the center overlooks the Cedar River and is equipped to accommodate meetings, conventions, trade shows and banquets. Its adjacent 267-room DoubleTree by Hilton adds 25,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space. All together, the complex offers 80,000 total square feet of meeting and event space, and features the 9,000-seat U.S. Cellular Arena and 500-space parking facility.
Beyond its U.S. Cellular Center, Cedar Rapids is home to a variety of unique venues ranging from museums to theaters that serve as fantastic group gathering and event spots. Considered the nation's leading museum in Czech and Slovak culture and history, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library features indoor and outdoor event space, ranging from its 240-person art nouveau-inspired WFLA Heritage Hall to the Naxera Terrace, which overlooks the Cedar River. Renowned for its Grant Wood collection and nearby studio where Wood painted American Gothic, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art showcases more than 7,000 works of art spanning 2,000 years, as well as features a number of private event spaces, including the 300-person Main Floor Carnegie Building with a lit arched ceiling and cherry pillars, and 150-person Auditorium overlooking Greene Square Park. The city's African American Museum of Iowa traces the state's African American heritage from its origins in Western Africa and offers two indoor event spaces accommodating 240 and 35 guests. Theater spaces doubling as unique venues include the 1,690-seat Paramount Theatre, which was built in the 1920s and restored to its original grandeur, and the 550-seat Theatre Cedar Rapids, which is known as the area's largest community theater.