If you're ready to see a bunch of holiday lights this season, add this eastern Iowa city to the list of places to visit during the holidays. They are starting a new tradition and it's going on throughout the month of December.


A new holiday tradition lights up Cedar Rapids this December. The 2023 Five Seasons Lights begins December 1st at the McGrath Amphitheatre and will feature an incredible light display, live entertainment, food, drinks, and more.

2023 Five Seasons Lights In Cedar Rapids

Get ready for the first-ever Five Seasons Lights at the McGrath Amphitheatre (475 1st St SW) in Cedar Rapids. The holiday fun begins on December 1st and ends on New Year's Eve.

CR Events Live
CR Events Live

Stroll through an enchanting wonderland of holiday lights while enjoying local music, making memories and so much more. Don’t miss Cedar Rapids’ holiday glow-up on the banks of the Cedar River.

This is free and open to the public daily throughout the month of December 2023. The schedule of events and hours of Five Seasons Lights each day are:

  • Sundays - Thursdays, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.:
    • Light Displays & Music
  • Fridays, 4:30 - 9:30 p.m.:
    • Light displays
    • Live entertainment
    • Food & Beverages
  • Saturdays, 4:30 - 9:30 p.m.:
    • Light displays
    • Live entertainment
    • Food & Beverages
    • Visits with Santa - 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Getting Involved At Five Seasons Lights

Local not-for-profits are invited to participate in the event by providing volunteers and collecting donations appropriate for the charity. Information about the organization and its mission will be included in event advertising.

Local businesses are invited to create their own DIY light displays and install them at the event with their company name. A small donation to the venue will be required to cover the costs of including the display.

Christmas lights on Christmas tree, decorative garland in dark space

Calling all bell-ringers, church choirs, dance troupes, and carolers! Local entertainers are very welcome to perform on the main stage during the event.
If you would like to illuminate your business, musical artist or nonprofit organization, email info@creventslive.com for more information.

Iowa's Island City

There is something unique about every town, but there is really something special about Sabula, IA. Known as "Iowa's Island City," Sabula is the only town in the state of Iowa that is entirely on an island. While not a lot of people have been to, or live in Sabula, it is a quaint little town nestled right on the Mississippi River.

Before we show you around "Iowa's Island City," let me give you the history of Sabula. Sabula was established in 1835, according History of Jackson County, Iowa, Volume 1 by James Whitcomb Ellis. Isaac Dorman and a man named Hinkley crossed the river from the Illinois side on a log and decided to settle on what is now Sabula. An Ohio couple, James and Margaret Woods would settle on Sabula about a year later in April of 1836. Their son, Dr. E. A. Woods would purchase Hinkley's interest in the claim. Charles Swan and W. H. Brown would soon purchase Dorman's interest. The three men, Woods, Swan and Brown later had the land plotted in 1837.

The idea behind plotting the land was because there was no town between Lyons (north Clinton) and Bellevue. The plot of the new town was recorded in Dubuque as this area was part of Dubuque county at the time, according History of Jackson County, Iowa, Volume 1 by James Whitcomb Ellis.

According to Island City Harbor's website, Sabula went through a few names before landing on the official town name. In 1837, Sabula was first called Carrollport. Residents of the town didn't like the name because there was a man's name who was Carroll who had a bad reputation. The town changed its name to Charleston, after early settler Charles Swan. The only issue was that there was already a town called Charleston in Iowa which caused much confusion.

In 1846 the settler’s decided to find a name. Island City Harbor's website says that because of it’s sandy soil, William Hubble suggested the town be called "Sabulum" which is Latin for sand. A party was being held around the time the town name was being discussed, when a woman, supposed to be Miss Harriet Hudson, suggested the town be called Sabula as it was easier to pronounce and sounded more elegant, according History of Jackson County, Iowa, Volume 1 by James Whitcomb Ellis.

Sabula did not actually become an island until 1939. According to Wikipedia, in the 1930's, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed the lock and dam system. In 1939, Lock and Dam No. 13 between Clinton, IA and Fulton, IL was built which caused the bottomlands west of the town permanently flooded. With the Mississippi River east of the town, this created the "Island City." A levee was built around Sabula in 1957 for protection, according to Island City Harbor's website. This also allowed for the south sand pit to be turned into a boat harbor.

I would like to thank my mom Beth, her fiancé Matt, my brother Nolan and my wife Ellie for accompanying me to Sabula. We always have a blast on our trips and this one was no exception.

It's now time to introduce you to Sabula, Iowa, Iowa's Island City.

Gallery Credit: Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities

LOOK: Here are the 25 best places to live in Iowa

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Iowa using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from realtor.com.

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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