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Old 01-12-2014, 06:07 PM
127 posts, read 281,732 times
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My wife and I have traveled a lot but she is from Iowa so looking to come home. I have an opportunity for a job in the CR area. We are pretty picky when it comes to where we live so hopefully this doesn't sound as bad as I think it will. We are both mid 30s with no kids and have no desire to live in a suburban neighborhood.

We've driven there a few times to check it out and while there seemed to be adequate shopping and restaurants we must have missed any boutique shop/bar area. It appeared Hiawatha, the area by the baseball stadium, and much of Marion was actually pretty ugly with huge signs and ugly suburban buildings. If anything we would prefer a "streetcar neighborhood" with single family houses within walking distance to neat shops and places to hang out. Ideally many larger towns have neighborhoods like this that were developed in the 1920s and 1930s. We saw some beautiful homes around Beaver Park (?) area that fit us perfectly in terms of residential architecture but didn't notice any corner stores or bars. Where might we look for something that would fit this lifestyle? We would want a house and have a budget of about $230,000.

Thanks so much!

ps she is a huge Cyclone fan and told me Cedar Rapids was hostile territory but I am sure we'd be fine.
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Old 01-13-2014, 03:53 AM
1,509 posts, read 2,057,952 times
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Unfortunately, I don't think you'll find anything like the criteria you mentioned with nice older homes and a walkable neighborhood.

I may be wrong, but the Newbo Market/Bohemia area is about as close as you get for walkability in CR, however only has pricy new condos and lower income homes, at this point. That area is still developing.

Last edited by ennaf; 01-13-2014 at 04:02 AM..
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:15 AM
Location: Minneapolis
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New Bohemia/Czech Village is the only place like that I know of in Cedar Rapids.

If you don't mind a half hour commute, you should consider Iowa City.
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:01 PM
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I agree, a condo in downtown is as close as you will get to a walkable area to stores, etc. Marion has a cute downtown area and some older homes but it's hit or miss with the quality of the neighborhoods. Get off the main roads some and explore the areas more and you might find a diamond in the rough. I'd suggest maybe looking in Mount Vernon as well. You might find more of what you want there but Cedar Rapids in general just isn't an urban area like you describe.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:24 PM
Location: Jonesboro
3,168 posts, read 3,032,914 times
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You wrote "Cedar Rapids area". So how close does it have to be to C.R?
I agree with Golfgal above as the city strikes me the same way.
The reason I asked how close, is because Iowa City is only 25 or so miles straight south of central C.R. & Iowa City is much more of a walking & neighborhood type of city with a lot of interesting shops & restaurants in their central core. steel03 also mentioned iowa City but & threw in the New Bohemia/Czech Village areas of Cedar Rapids. I hope those neighborhoods continue to recover from the flood disaster of 2008.
If you were instead headed to Des Moines, you'd be very comfortable on the near west side there in historic Sherman Hill or along the Grand Ave & Ingersoll Ave corridors or even in the emerging residential area throughout the downtown.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:43 AM
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Iowa City does have some beautiful older homes, but most of them that are somewhat walkable to the downtown area will be full of college students, except in summer. If the OP doesn't mind that it might be a possibility.

Mount Vernon is a very good suggestion worth looking into.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:49 AM
Location: California
46 posts, read 102,669 times
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Skip CR and look at Mt Vernon or Iowa City.
Mt Vernon is a small "Mayberry-ish" town with a small college and a great downtown area. It has a variety of shops, eateries, movie theater, antique stores, craft spots, etc. Grocery store is not far from downtown, same for the hardware store-all within biking distance.
More variety of people because of the college and a little more affluent than other small towns.
Nice variety of housing from victorian to farm houses to new construction.
Good schools if you have kids.
Easy commute to CR or IC.

Iowa city is a larger college town with all that it has to offer. Great alternative to Mt Vernon if you want more of a big city feel. Great downtown area but definitely dominated my college students if that matters to you. Housing costs are higher here but I'd pay it if it was a choice between IC and CR.

CR is a cookie cutter, chain restaurant, chain store burb. The "upper" class population have an elitist mentality which is hilarious to me in such a Midwest, non-descript city. It's not special at all IMO. I lived there for 15 yrs and can't really recommend it at all compared to the alternatives. They've talked about revitalizing the downtown for almost the entire 15 yrs I lived there and didn't do squat and watched store after business close. Then after the floods happened they talked some more but didn't really do squat. The only work that has been is the NewBo area but that is really inadequate progress for a city of this size.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:45 AM
20,793 posts, read 52,363,417 times
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Actually, downtown Cedar Rapids is coming along nicely since the big flood, especially in the last year or so. There are a lot of options for shopping, dining, entertainment there now. The farmers market in the summer months is very nice too. It's certainly worth checking out.
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