From Snowshoeing to Festivals and Indoor Fun: Your Guide To Winter in Cedar Falls

posted on Thursday, January 11, 2024

During the winter, Cedar Falls transforms into a winter wonderland, with plenty of options for outdoor activities like snowshoeing, fat biking, and ice fishing. It is also home to cozy coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries, museums, boutique shops, and other indoor attractions that offer a warm escape from the cold weather.

Whether planning a family adventure, a cozy getaway for two, or a trip to relax and rejuvenate, you'll find plenty of ideas below to help you plan your stay.

Ice Fishing

Photo Credit: Elliot Tensen @elliottensen


In this article 

Outdoor Fun

Fat Bike

Photo Credit: Matthew Skeens @mattonthedirt

Snowshoeing, Fat Biking, Skiing, Ice Fishing & Hiking 

Enjoy cross-country skiing, hiking, or snowshoeing on the Cedar Valley Trails when the trails are covered in snow. 

Ice Fishing 

Nestled within the George Wyth State Park, a frozen lake offers a unique experience for fishing enthusiasts. Drill a hole in the ice, drop your line, and anticipate the thrill of the day’s catch. Beside the Visitor Center is Prairie Lakes Park, where you can choose from two lakes in a central location close to shopping and food in the Industrial Park area. 

Disc Golf

Choose from 3 courses in Cedar Falls parks, designed to be fun and challenging. Whether a beginner or an advanced player, you can enjoy 9-hole and 18-hole courses year-round. 

Beer Trail Passport  

A must-have for any beer lover looking to explore the local craft beer scene. Visit 6 participating breweries along the trails while earning perks. It's a great way to discover new breweries, taste different beers, and earn rewards for your love of beer. Get the passport

Fat Bike

 Photo Credit: Matthew Skeens @mattonthedirt

Cedar Falls Run Club 

Join the local run crew for a Saturday morning Breakfast Run and tap into the heartbeat of the outdoor recreation community. Here, you’ll find friendly faces, all levels of runners, and a lot of laughs. It’s a great way to learn about Cedar Falls hidden outdoor gems from locals while spending time with an unforgettable group.  

Trail Conditions

Within our 130+ miles of trails, 12.5 miles are regularly shoveled after a snowfall, providing extra winter recreation options for walking, running and cycling.

Festivals and Events


Photo Credit: Matthew Skeens @mattonthedirt

Cedar Valley Winterfest

Celebrate all things winter on February 16 and 17th. The fun begins on a Friday night with a guided snowshoe hike through the dark trails, with post-run snacks, drinks, and great company. You can participate in the Iowa Games Snowshoe 5K/10K or Fat Bike Championships on Saturday. If you're a fan of chili, you won't want to miss the chili cookoff, where local and amateur chefs compete for the title of the best chili in town. 

Maple Syrup Festiva

Maple Syrup Festival @Hartman Reserve Nature Center

Maple Syrup Festival

Mark your calendars for the second weekend in March when the Annual Maple Syrup Festival takes place at Hartman Reserve. Here, you'll learn how conservation staff make maple syrup and enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, and other tasty treats from local businesses. 


equipment rental

Photo Credit: Matthew Skeens @mattonthedirt

Equipment Rentals

Bring your fat bikes. Other equipment is available to rent locally.

Rental Services





The Runner's Flat


UNI Recreation Services





Hartman Reserve Nature Center



Crawdaddy Outdoors
(in nearby Waverly)





Hurling Hatchet

@Hurling Hatchet | Photo Credit: Elliot Tensen @elliottensen

Indoor Fun  

For indoor competition with your group, check out Hurling Hatchet in downtown Cedar Falls and Grid Lounge, Iowa's only SIM racing destination. Golf Lab is the perfect spot for enthusiasts to enjoy swinging a club in a warm environment. Ninja U is a popular place for kids, featuring an indoor park with warped walls and other obstacles.   

 Museums and Art Galleries  

The Victorian House Museum is where you can step back in time to experience what life was like in 1863 in an Italianate-style home. Plus, they have the William J. Lenoir Model Railroad Collection, the only exhibition of Lenoir's existence. You can see miniature replicas of brass steam locomotives, gas-electric cars, passenger cars, freight cars, and railroad structures that circle through an intricate village scene. (Closed in January)

Whisk by Marc Moulton Photo Credit: David Grant

"Whisk" by Marc Moulton @HearstCenter Photo Credit: David Grant

The UNI Gallery of Art has rotating exhibitions that showcase a wide range of artwork by contemporary artists, as well as selections from the UNI Permanent Art Collection. The Hearst Center for The Arts is in the same neighborhood, where you can pre-register for a creative workshop, walk through galleries, or stroll through the outdoor sculpture garden.  

Music and Live Theatre  

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony is a cultural gem of the Cedar Valley, with their impressive range of performances, including classical and contemporary music, as well as pop and family concerts. If you're in the downtown district, check out The Cedar Falls Community Theatre at the Historic Oster Regent. With productions year-round, this theater is a fantastic place to catch a show and experience Cedar Valley's thriving arts scene. For those looking for a genuinely state-of-the-art venue, look no further than the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the UNI campus. This venue is home to a wide range of performances throughout the year. 


NWCA/USMC Wrestling 2024 at the UNI-Dome
Photo Credit: Elliot Tensen @elliottensen

Collegiate Sports

Experience the thrill of a game or sporting event. The UNI-Dome is home to 17 Division 1 Athletics Teams, with year-round competitions.


Exceptional food and drinks can be found in every neighborhood in Cedar Falls. Here, you'll find businesses working hard to treat you like their own with outstanding personal attention to detail, from classic comfort food to quaint cafes offering fresh and unique dishes by award-winning chefs.  



Visitors can wander through more than 40 locally owned shops in the Downtown and College Hill Districts to find everything from books, records, clothing, ornaments, jewelry, and sweets to arts and crafts.

Where to stay 

In Cedar Falls, hospitality meets comfort with 11 hotels catering to every traveler's needs. Whether you seek a cozy boutique experience, a family-friendly stay, or a convenient business hub, with welcoming accommodations nestled amid the city's picturesque surroundings, visitors can relax and recharge, ready to explore all Cedar Falls offers.   

Subscribe To Our Blog