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Trip in January 2010

California
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Trip in January 2010

My family will be traveling to Cedar Rapids in late January 2010 for an ice skating competition. Does anyone know which hotels are near the ice rink? We'd love walking distance if possible. Also, has anyone driven from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids at that time of year? How is the interstate and what kind of weather should we expect?

Thanks

Des Moines, Iowa
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1. Re: Trip in January 2010

I have driven from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids often during the winter. The interstates (I-80 and I-380) can be icy and snow covered during a storm, but they are usually cleared quickly after the snow stops falling. It usually takes around 2 to 2 1/2 hours to travel from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids, but I would allow an extra 30 - 60 mins. in case of bad weather.

If you haven't already checked and don't have to fly into Des Moines, you may want to consider flying directly into Cedar Rapids. Fares on most airlines that fly into both cities are typically the same or very close in price. That would eliminate any concerns you may have about driving in the winter.

If you do choose to drive between the two cities, it's likely to be very cold, maybe below zero, while you're here. Make sure that the car you use has an ice scraper for the windows and that you take blankets, extra clothes, emergency flares and cell phones with you, just in case you get stuck on the road.

I am not sure where the ice skating facility is in Cedar Rapids, so I'll let others who are more familiar with that city provide hotel information.

Good luck with the competition!

Cascade, Iowa
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2. Re: Trip in January 2010

The previous poster pretty well summed up the travel situation in Iowa in January. It is a crap shoot at best. It can be perfectly clear or perfectly crappy. The Ice Arena is at 1100 Rockford Road SW near Kinston Stadium and Veterans Memorial Stadium. You won't fine any hotels with in walking distance (nor would you probably want to - It will January in Iowa! COLD!).

Your best bet will be to look near the 33rd Ave/6th St Area. You will be with in about a 10 minute drive from the arena. There is a Red Roof Inn, Super 8, Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, Clarion, etc all in that area. One of them should meet your price/amenities list.

If you want to be closer to any shopping, dining etc., I would reccommend staying at a hotel on Collins Road - there is a Marriot, a Holiday Inn Express, etc along there. That would be about 15-20 minute drive to the arena from there.

I would also recommend flying into Cedar Rapids (CID) instead of Des Moines if possible. Fares are usually comparable, and you wouldn't have to contend with the weather as much.

Let us know if you need anything else!

California
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3. Re: Trip in January 2010

Thank you so much for the advice. We were hesitant to fly into Cedar Rapids because it looked like a smaller airport but I wasn't taking the weather into account. What can I say? We live in southern California:)

Thanks for the lay of the land about hotels. Are there any hotels or areas to avoid - I know there was some flooding damage recently.

Also, any good local restaurants that could host a team dinner for 30 - 40 people. possibly with a family style menu.

Thanks for all the help!

Cascade, Iowa
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4. Re: Trip in January 2010

Both areas I suggested for hotels are away from the flood damaged area.

If you go with a hotel on Collins Road, all the standards are there, Biaggi's, Olive Garden, Appleby's, Arby's, Granite City etc. Also, depending on which hotel you choose, in either the 33rd Ave/6th St area, or Collins road, the hotel itself my be able to accommodate you in a private room. Some may be able to cater the meal themselves, while others may be able to provide a room for you to have food delivered in. Some of the grocery store chains (Hy-Vee) offer catering services that may work for you also.

My recommendation would be to decide on a hotel and then ask the hotel for suggestion, or let us know what you decide and we will give you more ideas based on your hotel location

California
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5. Re: Trip in January 2010

Thanks .. great plan!

California
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6. Re: Trip in January 2010

I just found out our group may be booked at a hotel in Iowa City. What kind of drive are we talking about between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City at the end of January? I know the maps say 20 - 30 minutes, but what is the reality?

Thanks for the help!

Janis

Des Moines, Iowa
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7. Re: Trip in January 2010

It depends on where your hotel and the ice rink are located in the two cities, but it's usually about a 30 min. drive from the Coral Ridge Mall area in Coralville (Iowa City) to downtown Cedar Rapids. I would allow 45 - 60 mins. if you're driving in a snow or ice storm or if the hotel is on the east side of Iowa City (e.g. Dodge St.) or the ice rink is on the north side of Cedar Rapids (e.g. Lindale Mall area).

It's an easy drive on I 380 and unless you drive during a snow or ice storm, they keep the roads cleared pretty well in winter.

8. Re: Trip in January 2010

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