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Old 04-08-2020, 06:33 AM
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I'm taking a regional job with the option to live in Dubuque, Waterloo or Cedar Rapids. I don't know much about them other than size and industry. Which has more to offer?
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Old 04-09-2020, 10:55 AM
Location: Sun City West, AZ
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This would be different for each person, depending on their likes and interests.

Dubuque is best if you are an outdoors type of person (hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, etc.). It also is probably the most scenic of the cities. It is also the smallest (about 60,000 population) of the three, so not as many options for shopping, dining, entertainment, etc.

Cedar Rapids is the largest (about 130,000 population - around 250,000 metro area) of the three, so I believe it will have the most options for entertainment, arts, dining and the like. It has a good mix of blue collar and white collar jobs. It is also more of a conservative, family centered community. You also are close (25 miles) to Iowa City, and the University of Iowa where there are even more arts and entertainment options.

Waterloo is a college town (technically, Cedar Falls is), so a younger, hipper vibe. But it is also more of an industrial, blue collar town. It falls in between population wise, about 70,000 / 160,000 metro. Personally, Waterloo would not be one of my choices.

Good luck!
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Old 04-09-2020, 12:38 PM
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thanks for the feedback. that helps tremendously. Based on size, I think Cedar Rapids may have more to my taste
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Old 04-09-2020, 04:51 PM
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If you're in Cedar Rapids, you'll also be close to all of the great things you can do in Iowa City. If you're young, Cedar Rapids is a good pick (though there are some very shabby parts of town.) If you're older with a family, Dubuque might be a better choice. Sadly, IMHO Waterloo is kind of nasty.
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Old 04-09-2020, 05:15 PM
Location: Moving?!
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Dubuque feels more isolated and insular than the others to me. Heavily German Catholic. The topography is hilly and much of the city is old.

Cedar Rapids is the biggest city. Less distinctive than the others, but more diverse and I would say the best bang for your buck. Also within reach of Iowa City and its wealthier suburbs.

Cedar Falls is pleasant if you like a college town vibe. I would definitely live there over most of Waterloo. The park and trail system along the river is nice.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:47 AM
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Cedar rapids for its proximity to Iowa city and the Quad cities. Dubuque is alright. Wouldn't live in waterloo at all.
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Old 04-14-2020, 06:44 PM
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Waterloo / Cedar Falls would be the lowest on my list. Cedar Falls isn't too bad, but Waterloo has been in decline since the 80's, and growth in the metro area has been pretty stagnant for a long time. UNI is the one good thing that area has going for it. The metro area is about 165,000 people.

Dubuque is very scenic and historic, but it is definitely the smallest community of the three. Metro of about 65,000. In some ways, I think Dubuque is becoming very hip, especially areas like the Millwork District. But there is also a lot of poverty in Dubuque, and some pretty run down neighborhoods. It is very blue collar, and as others have said, very Catholic. But there is potential and it is starting to see a revitalization.

Cedar Rapids metro is about 270,000, and it has seen the most growth and economic activity of the three. It's been listed one of the most recession-proof cities in the country due to its diversity of jobs. It is historically a blue collar manufacturing community, but it also has a strong white collar presence with large employers such as Collins Aerospace and Transamerica. Of the three, Cedar Rapids is the most diverse and offers the most amenities.
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