Situated along the Cedar River in the heart of northern Iowa, Cedar Falls has 10 free things to do during an affordable family vacation. Points of interest include the University of Northern Iowa – an academic institution which gives this small community its flair for the fine arts.

1. Metro Trails – More than 85 miles of paved trails for cycling. Trail enthusiasts can meander thru and loop around parks, lakes, waterways, prairies, riverside, and more while taking in the scenery. Also cycle through our downtown district and explore the trails that loop around the University of Northern Iowa. In the winter, try cross country skiing. Trails are open year round

2. Cedar Falls Municipal Band – One of Iowa’s oldest concert bands Its 45 talented musicians present free open-air concerts every Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. in June and July and 7 p.m. in August at Overman Park.

3. Sturgis Falls Celebration – Live entertainment spread out over four city parks all within walking distance of each other. Jazz, country, rock, classical, and blues music, along with parades, street fairs, rides, and food vendors. June 26-28, 2009.

4. Cedar Basin Jazz Festival – Jazz musicians from all over the world travel to Cedar Falls to perform a total of 42 hours of music. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. June 26-28, 2009.

5. College Hill Arts Festival – This juried arts festival showcases 75 Midwest artists, presenting original works and offering demonstrations in various mediums. The Festival takes place on the shady corner of 23rd and College Streets in Cedar Falls – July 17-18, 2009.

6. Cedar Trails Festival – Commemorating Cedar Falls’ extensive trail system. Features family events that include bike safety courses, a doggie run, candle-lit bike ride, a tour of the valley, and live entertainment. August 6-9, 2009.

7. Downtown Cedar Falls – “Where Good Friends Meet.” Public art displays, shops set in historic buildings, the Black Hawk Hotel, and the Oster Regent Theatre. This downtown district is the recipient of the Great American Main Street Award and has been designated a Cultural District by the state of Iowa. Open year round.

8. Cedar Falls Historical Society – Six museums that make up the Cedar Falls Historical Society, all within walking distance of each other, are open May-October.

9. Hearst Center for the Arts – Featuring local and regional artists as well as a broad collection of illustrations by world-renowned artists, this multi-purpose center features two galleries, a recital hall, and a sculpture garden. Open year round.

10. Hartman Reserve Nature Center – This 300-acre wooded reserve located in the heart of metro Black Hawk County features lakes, valleys, prairies and meadows teeming with wildlife, as well as an Interpretive Center open year round that is located on top of Hartman Bluff, bordering Hartman Bluff State Preserve.