30 Free Things to Do in Cedar Falls

posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2023

When it’s Spring…

Delight in an afternoon driving tour of the Barn Quilts of Black Hawk County. The Cedar Falls Visitor Center has a map/brochure of the barns on the tour.

At the Veterans Memorial Park, honor those who fought for our country. Be sure to visit the Black Hawk County Freedom Rock adjacent the park.

Take a historical walking tour of downtown Cedar Falls. The Cedar Falls Historical Society has created a self-guided tour and the Cedar Falls Visitor Center has a copy along with a photo scavenger hunt of architectural details of the buildings located in the downtown district.

Visit one or all of the more than 15 public sculptures throughout the city. The newest additions are downtown and in North Cedar (located directly north of Cedar Falls on Center Street). For your convenience, we also have a free Cedar Falls Public Art Guide at the visitor center.

The Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau celebrates their 30th anniversary in 2018 | 30 Free Things to Do in Cedar Falls

(Cedar Falls Trails)

And when it's Summer and Fall…

Bike or walk the Cedar Valley Trails and try out one of the fitness stations like the ones that around South Prairie Lake.   

While exploring the trails around North and South Prairie Lakes, discover and name the metal prairie critters along the trail.  

Head north and stroll around Big Woods Lake and enjoy the restored prairie and informational kiosk built by the Cedar Falls Rotary Club. See if you can spot a Bald Eagle!!

Rock on at Live to 9 after work at River Place Plaza on Fridays in June and July.

Bring your lawn chair and listen to the music of the Cedar Falls Municipal Band every Tuesday evening, June through July, in Overman Park.

Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to Overman Park and enjoy a family-friendly movie under the moon and stars. Movies Under the Moon takes place on select Friday evenings during the summer. 

Meet up with old friends and revel in all the stages of entertainment at the Sturgis Falls Festival and Cedar Basin Music Festival in June.

Picnic at Pfeiffer Park and take a stroll or ride your bike across Krieg’s Crossing, enjoying the view from this long pedestrian bridge.

Try some disc golf at Tourist Park, the 3rd oldest course in the world.

Enjoy the beauty of the prairies in Cedar Falls starting at the UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center.

Borrow a pair of binoculars from the Cedar Falls Visitor Center and do some bird watching around North and South Prairie Lakes. Discover the Spring Migration starting to appear around the lake as well!

Grab your kayak and explore the Cedar Valley Paddler’s Trail, a ten mile water and portage trail. The Cedar Falls Visitor Center has a map of water trails!   

Have a BMX or mountain bike? Try out Tondro Pray Bike Park for BMX bikes, mountain bikes and cyclocross. 

When it's Winter…

Discover the Cedar Falls Visitor Center by perusing the gift shop and racks of free brochures. The 2023 Waterloo/Cedar Falls Visitor Guide and calendar of events are now available for free!

Take a self-guided tour of the Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum and imagine what life was like without television and smartphones during the Victorian era. The museum is open each season from the beginning of February until December!

Hike the soft trails at Hartman Reserve Nature Center and don't miss out on the annual Maple Syrup Festival happening in March each year!

As the snow begins to fall, our extensive trail system becomes perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Did we mention we have trail maps at the visitor center?   

At the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), stop and enjoy the tropical plants and warmth of the UNI Botanical Center. When the temperature outside drops below zero, it feels like a tropical paradise!

Also on campus is the UNI Museum in the Rod Library. 

On almost any day of the month, you can listen in on a UNI School of Music performance by faculty or students. The School of Music is regarded as one of the finest music programs in the Midwest.

Down the street from campus, enjoy fine art exhibits, free movie nights and more at the Hearst Center for the Arts. In the spring and summer, be sure to take a stroll through their sculpture garden.  

Check out the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the UNI campus. Throughout the year the center hosts university ensembles, nationally-known artists, the wcfsymphony, Broadway shows, and more.

Annually, on the day after Thanksgiving and throughout December, enjoy several Holiday Hoopla events in the downtown district of Cedar Falls. Annual events include Jingle & Mingle on Main, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Hoopla Cheer & the Ugly Sweater Contest, and Movie Magic. It’s always a surprise how Santa will arrive the day after Thanksgiving. Be sure to visit him at his workshop at River Place Plaza.

The Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau celebrates their 30th anniversary in 2018 | 30 Free Things to Do in Cedar Falls

(cross-country skiing on the trails at Hartman Reserve)

If ice skating is more your speed, enjoy skating outside at Gateway Park. Restrooms are heated, there’s a shelter, and the rink is lit until late evening.

Find more Things to Do in our 2023 calendar of events and Waterloo/Cedar Falls Visitor Guide. If you have questions, contact the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 319-268-4266 or stop by and see us at 6510 Hudson Road.

We’d be happy to help! 

(Discover the Cedar Valley Paddler's Trail)
The Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau celebrates their 30th anniversary in 2018 | 30 Free Things to Do in Cedar Falls

  1. barn quilt
  2. big woods lake
  3. botanical center
  4. cedar basin jazz festival
  5. cedar basin music festival
  6. cedar falls municipal band
  7. cedar falls public library
  8. cedar river cleanup and festival
  9. cedar valley acoustic guitar association
  10. cedar valley pedal fest
  11. cedar valley trails
  12. college hill arts festival
  13. cross-country skiing
  14. disc golf
  15. family fun
  16. family-friendly
  17. festival of trees
  18. free
  19. hartman reserve
  20. hearst center for the arts
  21. holiday hoopla
  22. ice skating
  23. kayaking
  24. live music
  25. live to 9
  26. movies under the moon
  27. pedal fest
  28. pfieiffer park
  29. sculptures
  30. snowshoeing
  31. sturgis falls
  32. tallgrass prairie center
  33. things to do
  34. tondro pray bike park
  35. twisted cross
  36. twisted cross
  37. uni museum
  38. veteran’s memorial park
  39. victorian home

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