Introduction to Cedar Falls, Iowa

The Iowa city of Cedar Falls is located in Black Hawk County in the northeastern part of the state and is home to the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). The city sits near the Cedar River and lies 8 miles west of its neighboring city and county seat, the city of Waterloo. Cedar Falls is also 63 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids and about 125 miles northeast of the state capital of Des Moines. Highways serving the Cedar Falls area include Interstate 380; U.S. Routes 20, 63, and 218; and Iowa State Highways 21, 27, 57, 58, and 281.

Settled in 1845 by William Sturgis, the city's original name was Sturgis Falls. When the area was later purchased by the Overman family, the name was changed to Cedar Falls. The Sturgis and Overman names are still prominent today and appear in some of the city's parks and landmarks. Incorporated as a city in 1853, Cedar Falls grew as a lumber- and grain-milling center during the 19th century and today has an economy which relies on the manufacturing of products such as rotary pumps and farm equipment and the development of a fledgling high-technology industry. One of the main sources of the city's relative affluence is the presence of the University, whose students, professionals, and faculty contribute to a lively economic environment.

Cedar Falls Attractions

Cedar Falls offers its visitors the perfect combination of history, culture and recreation. A visitor to the city can explore the past by strolling through structures listed with the National Historic Registry, catch a traveling Broadway show at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, or keep in shape by taking advantage of miles of biking/hiking trails. For history buffs, the Cedar Falls Historical Society operates five museums depicting life in the city's early days:

  • The Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum: Houses memorabilia documenting the first permanent settlement in Black Hawk County.
  • The George Wyth House and Viking Pump Museum: Former home of George Wyth, founder of the Viking Pump Company.
  • The Ice House Museum: A circular structure 100 feet in diameter that once housed the flourishing Cedar Falls ice business.
  • The Little Red School House: A schoolhouse built in 1909.
  • The Behrens-Rapp Service Station: The second gasoline station built in the City of Cedar Falls.

Popular annual events in Cedar Falls include the Sturgis Falls Celebration/Cedar Basin Jazz Festival, which grew out of the 1976 Cedar Falls Bicentennial Celebration. One of the area's most popular summer events, this festival is held during the last full weekend in June and features jazz bands, hometown parades, craft shows and games. The College Hill Arts Festival is a mid-July event held on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa. The festival has evolved over the years from a small art get-together to a full-fledged extravaganza showcasing more than 75 artists from around the Midwest. The Cedar Trails Festival, held every August, features a variety of events including fireworks, "Skate the Lake", and the famous "Light Up the Night" bike ride. Other popular events in the city include the Iowa State Trap Shooting Competition, the Iowa Boat Show, the UNI-Dome Antique & Collectibles Show, the Eastern Iowa Sports Show, the Cedar Valley Sing, the Cedar Falls Bible Conference and the Old Time Power Show. Fans of the performing arts will enjoy The Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, the hub of performing arts and arts education in northeast Iowa. The complex features three state-of-the-art concert halls, an imposing glass-walled lobby and dozens of teaching and rehearsal spaces. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra performs a large number of classical, chamber, and family concerts every season; and the Cedar Falls Community Theatre group presents a large number of plays. In summertime, the Cedar Falls Municipal Band seduces music lovers with outdoor concerts held at the Overman Park band shell.

One of the city's most popular attractions is the James and Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts. Nestled in a woodland setting, the center is home to two galleries, a recital hall, a photo lab, a ceramics lab, a classroom and meeting spaces. The center offers a wide spectrum of performances, exhibits, and programs to suit all tastes. Outdoor recreation lovers can't help but be fascinated by Cedar Falls' impressive trail system. More than 30 miles of trails wind through the city, affording bikers, hikers, and skaters the opportunity to explore the city in depth. George Wyth Park offers even more outdoor fun with boating, fishing, cross-country skiing, and more.

The University of Northern Iowa athletics program brings some first-rate collegiate sports to the area. The Northern Iowa Panthers field 16 varsity teams spanning 12 sports. The university competes in NCAA Division I as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in all sports except football, in which it competes in Division I-AA in the Gateway Conference. The UNI athletic program has enjoyed good success: the men's basketball team has recently been awarded berths in the NCAA tournament three consecutive years and the football team has won eleven Conference Championships and was 2005 runner-up in the NCAA Division I-AA national championship. Professional sports are only an hour away in Cedar Rapids, where the Cedar Rapids Kernels make their home. The Kernels are a Minor League Baseball team playing in the Midwest League. They are the Class Single-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.



Total Population40,828
Male Share of the Population47.3%
Female Share of the Population52.7%
Senior Citizens12.8%
Employed Population 16+22,529
Age of the Population27


% of people married40.4%
Average household size3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher43.4%
Median Earnings25+$40,467
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification$35,372
Median Earnings With High School Degree$30,403


Median Family Income$83,187
% Above Poverty Level81.5%
% Below Poverty Level18.5%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time14 minutes
% Working from Home2.9%
% Walking and Biking to Work10.8%
% Using Public Transportation0.2%


People Living Alone28%
Median Gross Rent$793
Median House Value$171,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American)10.7%
French Except Basque2.2%
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Cedar Falls Almanac

County Black Hawk County
Standard Zip Codes50613
Company Zip Codes50614
Phone Area Codes319
Time ZoneAmerica/Chicago
Approximate Latitude42.52
Approximate Longitude-92.45

Cedar Falls Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance2.8 miles
Jan Temp6 to 26 F
Apr Temp36 to 60 F
Jul Temp62 to 85 F
Oct Temp38 to 63 F
Annual Precip33.1 inches
Distance23.1 miles
Jan Temp8 to 25 F
Apr Temp37 to 60 F
Jul Temp62 to 84 F
Oct Temp40 to 62 F
Annual Precip33.6 inches
Distance28.8 miles
Jan Temp9 to 26 F
Apr Temp38 to 60 F
Jul Temp63 to 85 F
Oct Temp41 to 63 F
Annual Precip34.7 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

LocationPopulationMedian Family Income
New Hartford621$56,058

Cedar Falls Public Libraries

Cedar Falls Public Library
Cedar Falls, Iowa
(319) 273-8643

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Cedar Falls Hospitals

Sartori Memorial Hospital
515 College Street
(319) 266-3584

Cedar Falls Public Schools

Cedar Falls High School
1015 Division St
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2500
Total Enrollment 1131
Cedar Heights Elementary School
2417 Rainbow Dr
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2855
Total Enrollment 504
Helen A Hansen Elementary School
616 Holmes Dr
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2775
Total Enrollment 549
Holmes Junior High School
505 Holmes Dr
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2650
Total Enrollment 543
Lincoln Elementary School
321 8th Street
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2950
Total Enrollment 581
North Cedar Elementary School
2419 Fern Ave
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2810
Total Enrollment 276
Orchard Hill Elementary School
3909 Rownd St
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2465
Total Enrollment 406
Peet Junior High School
525 E Seerley Blvd
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2710
Total Enrollment 584
Southdale Elementary School
627 Orchard Dr
ZIP: 50613
(319) 553-2900
Total Enrollment 663

Cedar Falls Private Schools

Casa Montessori School
215 W 9th St
ZIP: 50613
Total Enrollment 5
St Patrick School
615 Washington St
ZIP: 50613
Total Enrollment 197
Valley Lutheran School
4520 Rownd St
ZIP: 50613
Combined Elementary And Secondary
Total Enrollment 100
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