Walking & Bike Tours

The History Center offers fun and informative walking tours January through October. Special walking tours may occasionally be scheduled, so keep an eye out for any announcements.
Two bike tours are scheduled each summer. These tours explore different routes: the North Route and South Route. All biking tours begin and end at Hall Bicycle, 419 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.
Tour Admission
$5.00 for History Center Members
$7.00 for General Public

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HISTOURY HOPPER

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If you are interested in joining multiple tours this season or planning to bring the whole family, our histoury hopper is a great way to save money. It also makes a great gift for history buffs of all ages.

Available for purchase at The History Center
 

2022 Walking Tours

Skywalk North
March 8, 2022
10:30 AM

Learn about the history and architecture of downtown Cedar Rapids from the Skywalk. The North Route Skywalk tour looks at areas between 4th Avenue and First Avenue. 

Tour Guide: Jenny Thielman

Meeting location: Second floor of the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Avenue SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Skywalk South
March 29, 2022
10:30 AM

Explore the South Route of the Downtown Cedar Rapids Skywalk system starting from the Cedar Rapids Public Library. This route focuses on viewing areas along Fourth and Fifth Avenue SE between the train tracks and the Cedar River from the special viewpoint of the skywalk system. This tour showcasing architecture and history features sections of the Wholesale District as well as areas redeveloped over the past 35 years that are not seen on the North Route Skywalk Tour.

Tour Guide: Jenny Thielman

Meeting location: Second floor of the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Avenue SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Museum Week!
Downtown Cedar Rapids

June 7, 2022
6:00PM

Discover the oldest section of the city!  This walking tour includes information on the development history of the evolving city center, its famous retail past as “Eastern Iowa’s Shopping Center”, railroads and streetcars, and the area known as Greene Square.

Tour Guide: Kyle Patrick

Meeting location: Third Avenue side of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 410 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

 

Ellis Blvd & Time Check
July 19, 2022
6:00PM

Starting as a roadway to the private property of Cedar Rapids pioneer Robert Ellis and family, Ellis Blvd NW developed into an incredibly unique mixture of commercial and residential properties in the 20th Century from E Ave NW to Ellis Park.  Learn about the special history of the “Time Check” neighborhood and see how it is evolving.

Tour Guide: Kyle Patrick

Meeting location: The Flamingo, 1211 Ellis Blvd NW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52405

Mays Island
Rescheduled for August 23, 2022
6:00 PM

Learn about the early history of Mays Island and how Cedar Rapids transformed it into the only island government center in the Western Hemisphere. Following a tour of the island, experience the history of what was originally known as “Commercial Street”.

 

This tour along several blocks of First Street SE will reveal details about the earliest downtown retail locations before the Civil War period, the construction of landmark “skyscrapers” and a close look at surviving historic warehouse structures including the Smulekoff and Hach buildings.

Tour Guide: Kyle Patrick

Meeting location: Outside of City Hall, 101 First Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Wholesale/Warehouse District
August 30, 2022
6:00PM

Tour the south end of downtown Cedar Rapids. Discover how this area began as an early Bohemian/Czech neighborhood and was transformed into a  thriving wholesale/warehouse district between 1905 and 1950 that included several railroad freight stations. Highlights include warehouse/wholesale structures and buildings used for manufacturing. Discover two sites where the Wright Brothers lived and an old cemetery location.

Tour Guide: Darrin Crow

Meeting location: Fourth Avenue side of the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Avenue SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Linwood Cemetery
September 6, 2022
6:00PM

Experience the history of the oldest cemetery on the west side of Cedar Rapids. Highlights include visiting the final resting site of some of the infamous Cherry Sisters and a look at the memorial to many of the victims of the May 1919 Douglas Starch Works Explosion in Cedar Rapids.

Tour Guide: TBA

Meeting location: Linwood Cemetery, 520 Wilson Avenue SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Historic Mt. Vernon
September 15, 2022
5:30PM

This walking tour will take us through parts of the Cornell College Historic District and the Commercial Historic District. Cornell’s entire campus is listed on the National Historic Register, as well as many fine homes that were built surrounding the campus. The Commercial district highlights the architectural detail of landmark buildings that continue to serve Mt. Vernon residents. As we stroll the tree lined streets peppered with historic homes, we may even encounter some of Mt. Vernon’s early pioneers out for their evening stroll. 

This tour will be somewhat strenuous.  Mt. Vernon is hilly!  Wear good shoes and be aware that the tour will be an hour and half and include walking up and down hills.

Tour Guide: Mt. Vernon Historic Preservation Commission

Meeting location: Brackett House, 418 2nd Street SW, Mt. Vernon, IA 52314

College District
September 20, 2022
6:00PM

This tour begins at The History Center's Collection Annex! Take a closer look at the old north east industrial corridor where we will look at historic sites such as the old Iowa Manufacturing. This area is located between Mt. Mercy and Coe College campuses. 

Member Bonus: The first 20 members to attend this tour will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of The History Center's Collections Annex with museum curator, Tara Templeman. Members wishing to attend should arrive 15 minutes prior to the standard tour start time.

Tour Guide: Darrin Crow

Meeting location: Oakland Building, 716 Oakland Road NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Creep the Alley
October 18, 2022
6:00PM

Downtown alleys reveal a great deal of history about Cedar Rapids buildings and they can be a little spooky too! Come explore the dark side of downtown architecture with this unique historic alley tour. 

 

Included are stories of how alleys function as service and utility access, how they provided secret entrances for Prohibition era businesses as well as clever retail store designs. There will be a few surprises along the tour as well! Please wear alley appropriate footwear.

Tour Guide: TBA

Meeting location: TBA

Creep the Alley
October 25, 2022
6:00PM

Downtown alleys reveal a great deal of history about Cedar Rapids buildings and they can be a little spooky too! Come explore the dark side of downtown architecture with this unique historic alley tour. 

 

Included are stories of how alleys function as service and utility access, how they provided secret entrances for Prohibition era businesses as well as clever retail store designs. There will be a few surprises along the tour as well! Please wear alley appropriate footwear.

Tour Guide: TBA

Meeting location: TBA

 

2022 Bike Tours

North Route
August 27, 2022
10:00AM

Highlights include the old hotel and entertainment district of downtown Cedar Rapids, a look at the railroad yards and Cedar Lake areas as well as stops near the old Magnus Brewery and "beer caves" site.

Tour Guide: Jenny Thielman

Meeting location: Hall Bicycle located at 419 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

South Route
September 10, 2022
10:00AM

Highlights include stops throughout the historic Wholesale and Warehouse District as well as segments of the New Bohemia and Czech Village neighborhoods.

Tour Guide: Jenny Thielman

Meeting location: Hall Bicycle located at 419 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Bike Tours are generously co-sponsored by:

Walking Tours are generously sponsored by:

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Outdoor Tour
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