Situated in a bend of the Cedar River, Cedar Falls is a classic example of how Midwestern towns emerged on the prairie in the mid-1800s. Flanked on two sides by the river, the revived downtown provides a present-day context for commerce, finance and a social gathering place.
Cedar Falls’ Downtown District holds strength in its unique variety of activities and entertainment venues. Downtown shopping features 41 locally owned, independent retailers. The active visitor will find trailhead access to over 100 miles of paved recreational trails perfect for biking, jogging and walking among prairies, forests, lakes and the riverfront. Escape rooms, an arcade, and several “make and take” artisan businesses round out the variety of options for locals and guests to enjoy. When visiting, guests love to book rooms at the Black Hawk Hotel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A self-guided tour of the area begins within the Downtown Historic District, located on the east and west sides of Main Street from 1st to 6th Streets (the core of the Cultural District). Visitors are treated to local authentic assets such as the Ice House Museum, a building on the National Register of Historic Places that expertly tells the story of the river and features life-size exhibits of ice harvesting and distribution. Three blocks south visitors discover the elegant life of the Victorian era at the Victorian House where rotating exhibits make visits here a favorite of locals. Community spirit abounds through our many festivals and events that celebrate life in the district.
Cedar Falls' Downtown District was designated an Iowa Cultural & Entertainment District in 2004 and re-designated in 2018. Cedar Falls' Downtown District exemplifies the mission of the program.
The Cedar Valley region, which includes the Cedar Falls and Waterloo municipalities, was designated an Iowa Great Place in 2009 and redesignated in 2019.
Cedar Falls’ Downtown District holds strength in its unique variety of activities and entertainment venues. As one of the first cities involved with Main Street Iowa, the district is a success story for the national Main Street revitalization program. After transforming from an economically depressed area in the 1980s to a sought-after business location today, the district now hums with activity, including the "Baby, It's Cold Outside" winter event. Just one of the year-round activities in the District. Originally designated an Iowa Cultural & Entertainment District in 2004, and re-designated in 2018, Cedar Falls' Downtown District exemplifies the mission of the program.