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
 

2021 Walking Tours

Downtown Cedar Rapids

June 8, 2021

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: Rob Cook

Meeting location: The History Center, 800 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Mays Island

July 6, 2021

6:00PM

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: Mike Bryant

Meeting location: this tour meets outside of City Hall located at 101 1st Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Kingston Village

July 20, 2021

6:00PM

Experience the rich history of the area along the west side of the Cedar River that was originally the town of Kingston before being annexed as West Cedar Rapids in1870.  Learn about new developments and stories of restoration and preservation in this area that was named Kingston Village following the devastating effects of the June 2008 Flood.

  

Highlights of this tour include a rare Art Deco former police station, the first west side high school building and a special look at the famous Louis Sullivan designed Peoples Bank building.

Tour Guide: Mike Bryant

Meeting location: this tour meets outside of the former Popoli Ristorante located at 101 3rd Avenue SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Automobile Row/

Mansion Hill

August 3, 2021

6:00PM

Learn about the area originally known as “Mansion Hill'' along Third, Second and First Avenues East. Get a closer look at the very few surviving 19th century residences on the “Hill”.

 

Discover how this section of Cedar Rapids was transformed into “Automobile Row” following the routing of the Lincoln Highway as early as1913. See many of the restored “Auto Row” structures and get updates on how the area is changing with the expanding MedQuarter District.

Tour Guide: Mike Bryant

Meeting location: this tour begins and ends at The History Center located at 800 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

Northern Downtown & Tree of Five Seasons

August 17, 2021

6:00PM

Begins at the “Tree of Five Seasons,” the location where Cedar Rapids began with one log cabin in 1837. From there, this tour takes a close look at the history and special architecture from the past and present along both First Avenue and A Avenue NE in the downtown area. Highlights include the earliest central retail shopping areas and the old theatre and entertainment districts as well as a look at the oldest structure standing in the center of the city.

Tour Guide: Mike Bryant

Meeting location: this tour begins at the Tree of Five Seasons located at 1st Street & 1st Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Historic Mt. Vernon
CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER

August 24, 2021

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. 

Meeting location: In front of King Chapel on the Cornell College Campus, 600 1st Street, Mt. Vernon, IA 52314. Parking is available behind Cole Library.

This walking tour is in partnership with the Mt. Vernon Historic Preservation Commission.

Linwood Cemetery
September 7, 2021
6:00PM

Experience the history of the oldest cemetery on the west side of Cedar Rapids. Highlights include visiting the final resting site 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: Mike Bryant

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

Creep the Alley
October 19, 2021
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: Mike Bryant

Meeting location: Town Centre Plaza, Third Avenue & Third Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Creep the Alley
October 26, 2021
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: Mike Bryant

Meeting location: Town Centre Plaza, Third Avenue & Third Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

 

2021 Bike Tours

North Route

August 14, 2021

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.

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

South Route

August 28, 2021

10:00AM

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

Meeting location: this tour begins at 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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