Restaurants and Pubs
Jugglers coming to the IJA’s historic 70th Annual festival this July in Cedar Rapids will be delighted with all the close, convenient, reasonable and delicious options for dining and drinking in downtown Cedar Rapids, all within a comfortable walk from our HQ hotel, the gym and our evening performance venue, the Paramount Theatre. And since we’re in the Midwest, America’s Bread Basket, food is cheap and abundant, and portions are HUGE! You will need to juggle night and day to keep from adding a few pounds during your visit to Cedar Rapids!
Take it from those of us who have been there multiple times to visit our festival venues: downtown Cedar Rapids has a nice collection of excellent, casual and fun restaurants and bars, and you’ll be able to choose from many great places for your meals all week long.
Below are some of our favorites, all within an easy walk of the DoubleTree Hotel and U.S. Cellular Center. Entries marked with a ✔️ are highly recommended by your Festival Director and Festival Registrar!
Located atop the DoubleTree Hotel, 350 First offers spectacular views of downtown Cedar Rapids and the Cedar River, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. For lunch, try the Perfect “10” Lunch Menu — select from 10 items from the existing lunch menu for $10.00 (entrée, non-alcoholic beverage and tax). Dine with this special menu from Monday to Friday 11:30am – 1:30pm. The adjacent 350 First Lounge offers bar fare selections and a full bar, open from 2:30pm – 11pm.
200 1st Avenue NE, adjacent to the DoubleTree Hotel and U.S. Cellular Center. Fun, casual sports bar and restaurant open 4pm-2am seven days a week for dinner and late-night dining with a full bar. Burgers, salads, appetizers and daily specials.
✔️118 2nd Street SE, about a 4-minute walk (just 900 feet!) from the DoubleTree Hotel. Excellent coffee shop and breakfast restaurant very conveniently located around the corner just one block from the DoubleTree Hotel. Blue Strawberry has a very good selection of gourmet coffees and teas, smoothies, pastries and desserts, plus salads, and several outstanding breakfast wraps, breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches.
320 2nd Avenue SE, about a 4-minute walk from the DoubleTree Hotel. Local hangout with a full bar and a full menu. Over 50 beers on tap, and a menu featuring meats smoked in-house, all inside an historic century-old building. Open 11am-2am seven days.
✔️ 223 2nd Street SE, about a 5-minute walk from the DoubleTree Hotel. Ruby’s Pizzeria is a local favorite serving giant pizzas, subs and sandwiches and salads, plus a nice selection of craft beers on tap. Super lunch deals with slices starting at just $3.
305 2nd Ave. SE, about a 4-minute walk from the DoubleTree Hotel. White Star Ale House is an upscale casual restaurant and bar located inside an historic old bank building. Featuring an American Contemporary menu, White Star Ale House has a very large menu available for dinner seven days a week, with everything from burgers and seafood to beef, chicken, pork and pasta entrées. Open 3:30-10pm daily, plus late night on most weekend nights.
411 3rd Street SE, about a 7-minute walk from the DoubleTree Hotel. A downtown location of the ubiquitous sub shop, with nearly instant free delivery in downtown! About a 5-minute walk from the DoubleTree Hotel. Open 10:30am-9pm Mon-Sat, closed Sunday.
1100 3rd St SE — An indoor farmer’s and artisan market located right up the street from the DoubleTree Hotel, about ten blocks walk (20 minutes). Filled with nearly a dozen food vendors offering everything from locally-produced wines and produce to pizza, ice cream, sandwiches, baked goods, coffees and teas and much more, the Newbo Market is a must-see stop when you visit Cedar Rapids. There’s also a Cedar Rapids Visitor Center booth inside, and the Market is adjacent to the Czech Village shopping and dining district (see below). Open Thursday & Friday, 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-4pm.
✔️ 616 2nd Ave. SE, about a 7-minute walk from the DoubleTree Hotel. Superb pinball bar and restaurant, and the home of the IJA’s Pinball Tournament, hosted during this year’s festival by Richard Kennison. Very nice selection of Iowa craft beers on draft including up to a dozen of their house brews, plus a full menu of pizza, salads, appetizers, and sliders. And check out the array of classic and contemporary pinball machines in the bar and play to win in this year’s IJA Pinball tournament!
✔️600 1st Street SE, about a 13-minute walk from the DoubleTree Hotel. Astoundingly elegant bar and restaurant along the river, located inside an historic clock factory. Featuring Midwest “comfort food” served in an upscale casual setting inside a beautiful, fully-restored factory building, Black Sheep Social Club is a top favorite among locals for lunch and dinner. The bar is one of the most beautiful spaces you will ever see in an old building, so be sure to check it out! Open Mon-Sat 11am-2pm for lunch, 5pm-10pm dinner; bar open all restaurant hours plus late on Friday and Saturday nights.
Walk ten blocks southeast on 3rd Street SE out the door of the DoubleTree Hotel and you’ll be in the Czech Village / NewBo area of downtown Cedar Rapids. The district has a collection of excellent local, independent restaurants, bars, coffee shops and breweries, and they are all worth the walk. “Czech” out all of these fine establishments in the Czech Village and NewBo area during your week in Cedar Rapids:
✔️ 1125 3rd Street SE — Fabulous food for lunch and dinner, plus over 50 beers on tap and a full bar! Amazing burgers, sandwiches, pizza and much more. Open 11am-2am Monday-Friday, and opening at 8am on Saturday and Sunday for breakfast!
✔️ Very cool coffee shop with breakfast and lunch selections in a cozy, airy space, plus beer and wine and free Wi-Fi! Open for breakfast and lunch 7am-6pm Monday-Thursday, 8am-7pm Saturday, and 8am-5pm Sunday.
1006 3rd Street SE — Upscale American restaurant with a varied menu of pizza, sandwiches, entrées and much more, and rated to have the “best burger in Cedar Rapids!” Open 11:30am-8:30pm Tuesday-Saturday.
59 16th Ave. SW — Across the “Lion Bridge” from NewBo/Czech Village, Lion Bridge is Cedar Rapids’ local downtown craft brewery and restaurant. Excellent house-brewed ales and lagers always available in the taproom, plus sandwiches and bar favorites from the kitchen. A great place to hang out, drink or eat, right on the banks of the Cedar River! Open Wednesday-Friday 3pm-10pm, Saturday Noon-10pm, Sunday Noon-8pm.
Cedar Rapids Resources
Click on any of the restaurant names above for the restaurant web page. Here are some additional resources to check out for even more ideas on places to eat and drink in downtown Cedar Rapids:
NewBo City Market
Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance Dining Guide
Cedar Rapids Downtown & Metro Area Map
Go Cedar Rapids (Official Tourism Authority) Dining & Restaurant Guide
Yelp’s listings for restaurants in our downtown festival area, most of which are listed above.
The Cedar Rapids Ale Trail: Buy a 7-day Cedar Rapids Ale Trail mobile passport for just $10 and get over $100 in coupons and discounts at more than 25 participating breweries, distilleries and restaurants!