The year of 2008 was a major change for the city of Cedar Rapids. Many buildings were destroyed and vanished, but rebuilding is always a way to create a new start.

After the residue and homes had been cleaned up, new structures were built to bring the city together. One of those structures just happened to be the McGrath Amphitheatre.

Little do many people know.. The amphitheatre is the first segment of the flood protection system for the west side of the river. The back wall has removable flood panels that separate the facility from 1st street.

The McGrath Amphitheatre is an extraordinary outdoor venue located in Downtown Cedar Rapids right next to the Cedar River which offers lawn seating, performers and other events.

The Amphitheatre is a way for you and your friends to have some fun during the summer and even make some new friends throughout the Cedar Rapids area.

Throughout the spring through fall seasons, there are many different events going on in the Amphitheatre.

Every Friday night up until about September, there is an event called Uptown Friday Nights. Each event costs $5 to get into with the gates opening at 5:30pm and the band of the night starts at 6:30pm for those 21 and older. Whether it’s rain or shine, the show must go on!

Yet, all events aren’t only for adults at the McGrath Amphitheatre. For example, there is a movie night on June 9th sponsored by Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust which is free for all ages and includes activities for children.

Family activities are hard to find in Cedar Rapids, but on June 21st, your whole family can attend the BBQ Roundup’s 30th Anniversary and enjoy some delicious BBQ with your whole family.

Also, on the 4th of July, everyone is welcome to attend the McGrath Amphitheatre for the Freedom Festival which is spread across the downtown area. On the 4th, buttons are given away and Freedom Festival Fireworks are included towards the end of the night.

Most events are free for the family, enjoyable for all ages, and provide a day or night of fun with people throughout the community.

For all events at the McGrath Amphitheatre, there is parking provided in different areas. Onsite parking is $10 per vehicle, is paid by meter, and lot and ramp parking is provided as well.

Despite the fact that the flood happened ten years ago, Cedar Rapids has come a long way and the McGrath Amphitheatre has brought people together after difficult times and helped conquer with the built wall and community interaction.

An extreme loss had brought our community together and helped create a “new” downtown as what we know now. Today, it is still growing and events at the Amphitheatre have become more popular over time.

Also, getting involved with the McGrath Amphitheatre if wanting to be a part of this community interactive venue isn’t too difficult. To work as an operations worker, a merchandise seller, a cook, or a concession worker, just visit their website at to apply.

Not only are jobs available, but there are fundraising opportunities for food & beverage, operations and merchandise for non-profit groups/organizations. Also, if you are looking for an opportunity to help, email Jennifer Mason at for more information.

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