cedar falls, iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa – A Microcation

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Cedar Falls, Iowa – A great Midwest destination

Hello everyone. Just back from one of our Microcations, and this one we spent in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

cedar falls iowa
Main Street – Cedar Falls, Iowa

What was the appeal of Cedar Falls, Iowa in the middle of February? Funny you should ask. We (my wife and I) were looking for a place to shake off some Cabin Fever and were looking for a destination that had a lot to offer with a great Midwest feel. Cedar Falls, it turns out is a great destination if you are looking for a relaxing getaway that has tons of stuff to do.

Being big fans of Galena, Illinois, which we have visited numerous times over the years, we were looking for a location that had a similar feel but offered something new, or at least newer to us that is. Cedar Falls, Iowa has an “old town” feel located on their Main Street mixed with just the right amount of modern conveniences to still feel like the 21st Century.

Where we stayed

My wife and I are nostalgic and love the charm of the past and we certainly found that at the Blackhawk Hotel.

Located right on Main Street, Cedar Falls, The Blackhawk Hotel was just what we were looking for in a charming, historic hotel. With origins dating back to the mid-1800s, the Blackhawk is one of the oldest operating hotels in the U.S. Read the history of the Blackhawk Hotel.

Now, a hotel this old has to be something that you love for what it is – “old”. Experiencing this type of history is something my wife and I love to do, so we really did enjoy our stay at the hotel. The Blackhawk Hotel has modern conveniences; free wifi, access to great food, comfortable beds, a kitchenette, and dish television to boot. However, your rooms will have antique furniture, period design, and some features to keep you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time.

blackhawk hotel

The hotel has a robust website for online reservations. Prices are what my wife and I would normally spend for a Bed and Breakfast for a weekend. The hotel does have a lower cost option for the budget conscious traveler. Check out the hotel’s Contemporary Mobile Digs, as they call it – you can get a more modern room in that section of the hotel for less cost.

We definitely recommend the Blackhawk Hotel if you are planning to be in the area of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and we sure hope you do.

Main Street

Food and Drink

We arrived for our weekend stay mid-afternoon on Friday, February 16th. After getting situated in our room we decided we wanted to stroll the Main Street to see what we wanted to do the rest of our weekend.

Stopping about halfway down the street, we stepped into the Pump Haus Grill for an appetizer of Spinach Artichoke Dip, and we sure were glad we did. We ended up here again for lunch on Saturday. The service was great, food was very good, and a casual environment – just what we were looking for. Definitely recommend.

the pump haus grill

The SOHO Sushi Bar and Deli was another highlight for great food. The SOHO is actually attached to the Stuffed Olive Martini Bar, which is a part of the Blackhawk. Both great locations that you should check out while visiting.

We elected to eat at the SOHO on Friday night. My wife went for a sushi roll and I went for the Ruben. Both were very good.

Great coffee is a must for us. Luckily the Cup of Joe is located right across the street from the Blackhawk Hotel. An Espresso Bar by definition, but you can get just about any coffee you wish. Decorated nicely in a 1950s/60s style, this is a must visit if you are a coffee snob like me 🙂

cup of espresso

Some other great places that you must visit:

Urban Pie – Located just a short block away from the Main Street, Cedar Falls. Pizza is on the menu here, and it is good stuff. Fast Fired is their deal. Situated in a modern building, this eatery gives you that modern feel to keep you from feeling too crusty 🙂  There was live music on Friday night which we enjoyed.

The Horny Toad – We stumbled into this bar and grill Friday night after strolling back from the Urban Pie. We had a couple drinks here and this was a more diverse crowd than we had encountered since arriving. We had drinks only so I cannot attest to their food, but based on the crowd, I would say it must be pretty good.

Single Speed Brewing – I love a good craft brew once in a while. Single Speed Brewing has some great choices and was a really nice place to take in a flight of craft brew. A very good mix of lighter, darker, IPA, and even some sours, which I had for the first time. Not my cup of tea at all, but hey, it might be for someone else.

flight of beer


Since our visit was in the middle of February, and it snowed Saturday of our visit, we only really strolled up and down the Main Street and kept it relaxing.

I did do some research and looked up some great activities to meet just about every desire. During our stay, we saw several people out jogging and several people riding bicycles.

There is so much to discover in Cedar Falls, Iowa that you must plan a longer visit in order to experience some of the best the area has to offer.

Check here for some activities in the area.

Final thoughts


  • The Blackhawk Hotel – a wonderful, historic hotel with that “old world” feel.
  • Main Street, Cedar Falls – A must visit for anyone looking for Midwest Charm. A great mix of nostalgia and modern enhancements.
  • Costs – A welcome surprise. Our costs were very low for this trip. Food was very affordable and sales tax is low. We are used to 10% sales tax where we live, so this was a bonus.
  • Socially responsible – we visited several shops and eateries that are well ahead of the curve in socially responsible efforts. Cudos to the City of Cedar Falls and business for adopting great social/environmental practices.
  • Nightlife – This one is hitting both lists. The nightlife here is great if that is what you are looking for. Plenty of bar and grills to keep you full and hydrated.
  • Dietary options – We saw several places with Vegetarian options and Gluten Free options on the menus. Yeah! That’s just good business.

Low points

There weren’t any “real” low points, but some things that you should consider if visiting.

  • Shops all have strange hours of operation. Most were open on Friday when we arrived, but Saturday there were several shops that didn’t open until 11am. Many of the restaurants also didn’t open until at least 11am. Not much to do until about lunchtime.
  • Lodging near Main Street is pretty much limited to The Blackhawk Hotel. If you want to stay on the Main Street, this is pretty much your only option. Ok with us, but those looking for something else might be left with few options, at least not close.
  • Nightlife, as I said, was great if that is what you are looking for. We are not nightlife people, which turns out was a good thing. After 8 or 9pm most places became very busy with younger crowds. Not our thing but Millenials would love it.

Some useful area links





All-in-all this Cedar Falls, Iowa was a great choice for us on this mid-February Microcation. Anyone traveling in and around the Midwest should most certainly put Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Iowa on the list of places to visit. We were very happy with our visit and think you would be as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your plans made to visit this beautiful Midwest destination.

Until Next time 🙂

Featured photo courtesy Community Creations, Inc. – internet search. Otherwise, all photos are mine. 

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  1. I enjoy travels through towns and observing something unique in each one. You capture well the local life and provide excellent photos and reviews.

  2. Cedar Falls is great – I live in the area!
    Next time, I’d recommend going to Whiskey Road. Some of the best American-style food in the Cedar Valley, and they have an incredible selection of whiskeys.
    Also, Figaro Figaro is an awesome jazz restaurant/bar that just opened up on Main Street.

  3. Main Street Cedar Falls is pretty wonderful. I live in the area.
    Next time, I’d recommend going to Whiskey Road for food – also located on Main Street. Some of the best food in the Cedar Valley. Also, a great jazz bar just opened up on Main Street called Figaro Figaro. 🙂

    1. We saw both of those places. We basically ran out of time to see it all. We will certainly go back. Glad you read our post

  4. Don’t know if my last comment took–but I just wanted to tell you what a great post this is. Thank you! Beautiful historic main street and hotel–the kind of things I miss so much about the Midwest! Glad you and your wife got away; makes the winter feel shorter, doesn’t it?

    1. It did but I’ll take the extra feedback 👏🏻😂. It was such a great escape – little cold on Friday and it snowed Saturday but everything was right there. Definitely try to get there if you can.

    1. Wow – what a coincidence then. Yes, loved it there. The downtown was pretty neat. Like to go back when it’s warmer so we can take advantage of more outdoor stuff. Thanks for reading.

      1. We saw the Amphitheater – looks fabulous. Thank you so much and hats off to all in Cedar Falls that made our stay so enjoyable. Great destination and community.

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