A coworker of mine, who is a transplant from the east coast, recently posted a blog on her perspective of what we Cedar Rapids residents need to stop complaining about. Her observations after being here just over a year mostly echo mine after living here nearly my whole life.

One part, in particular, peaked my interest. Nothing to do in Cedar Rapids? Like Bridget, I disagree. Just start with our events calendar.  What I tend to hear is that the available free or inexpensive options are too boring, and certainly, no one wants to have to burden themselves financially to have fun. Here's a list of my favorites, and some others you might want to check out:

1. Entertainment. I'm looking forward to the Freedom Festival concert and the NewBo Music Festival. A couple of great concerts at a lower price tag than most, and with multiple national acts on the bill you can't go wrong. You can also check out Marion by Moonlight every Thursday night in June at Marion Square Park. There's live, local music and it's absolutely free (with some nominal concession costs). Uptown Friday Nights at McGrath Amphitheatre also offers more live music for just $5.

For family entertainment, there's the Free Kids' Movie Summer series at Collins Road Theatres. Free for kids, just $1 for accompanying adults to see great movies as a family. The prices at Collins Road stay reasonable year-round, as well.

2. The Downtown Farmer's Market. For something easy on the pocketbook, you can't go wrong with this every summer (starting tomorrow!). Merchants are selling their wares, but it's perfectly acceptable -- and fun -- to just walk around and browse, although don't be surprised if you do find that "must-have" purchase.

3. Ellis Park. There are lots of city parks but this one is my favorite, as its closest to home. They have their own fireworks show the night before July 4th, to extend your holiday festivities. You can walk, run or bike along the water, or just kick back and enjoy your surroundings in the fresh air. Noelridge Park, among others have dedicated walking trails.

4. Sunday brunch at Red's Public House.  This is obviously going to cost you something, but it's worth it. You've got to eat, right? For an occasional treat, I love this place.

5. Cedar Rapids Public Library. Now that summer is here, you'll want to cure your cabin fever by getting outside to take in the nice weather while it lasts, and the outdoor fun that comes with it. But there's never a bad time for a trip to the library to pick up a few good books (you can even check out e-books)--for free--to take to the park or the pool with you.

If you're still not convinced, go to the small town where I lived as a kid until I was 12, and you'll feel better about how good we have it here.  I'm not sure I could handle such huge cities as Chicago as a permanent residence, either, so Cedar Rapids' size is basically perfect.

What I always ask of people who say there is nothing to do here is, what, specifically, would you like to have here that would improve our options (without creating a financial hardship)? Give me your ideas! What fun spots and activities do we already have that I'm missing?