Cedar Rapids is known as the "City of Five Seasons," signifying its citizens' perspective on life with the traditional four seasons and a "fifth season," which is "a time to enjoy." The Tree of Five Seasons sculpture is the city's centerpiece, located where 1st Avenue crosses the Cedar River. It was constructed in the mid-nineties by a local businessman who commissioned a three-dimensioned version of the city's logo. The name "Five Seasons" and representations of the sculpture appear in many forms. Cedar Rapids is also jokingly referred to as "the city of five smells," due to various factories and grain processing plants around town.
As of the census of 2005, there were 119,670 people, and approximately 30,838 families residing in the city. Cedar Rapids is home to several large businesses and industries, including General Mills, Cargill, Alliant Energy, Rockwell Collins, Quaker Oats, AEGON, McLeodUSA, Archer Daniels Midland, Qwest, GreatAmerica Leasing, RuffaloCODY, and a major factory for Square D. Cedar Rapids is also home to a large number of high-tech industries that have recently boosted the local economy; city leaders continue to market the area as a prime location for progressive business interests. Universities and colleges in the area include the University of Iowa's evening MBA Facility, Coe College, Mount Mercy College, Hamilton College, Kirkwood Community College, and Capri College.
Located near the center of the city along the Cedar River is the historical Czech Village, a business district composed of several ethnic businesses and historical buildings, thus helping to maintain the city's Czech heritage. Keeping with their rich history and ethnic diversity, the city of Cedar Rapids is home to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. In 2003, the African-American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa opened its doors. Cedar Rapids is also home to the historical 26-acre Brucemore Estate and the Iowa Masonic Library and Museum. Downtown Cedar Rapids includes a Science Center and an Art Museum, the legendary Grant Wood Studio at 5 Turner Alley, Kirkwood Community College's Iowa Hall Gallery, the 1920s Paramount Theatre - home to the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Cedar Rapids Area Theatre Organ Society and Community Concerts, and the Mother Mosque of America (built in 1934), which is believed to be the oldest purpose-built mosque in the U.S.
Cedar Rapids has been residence to several famous figures, including Elijah Wood (actor in The Lord of the Rings trilogy), American artist Grant Wood, the Wright Brothers, journalist and historian William L. Shirer, writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten, actor Ashton Kutcher and Dr. Alexander Lippisch.