When I tell someone I live in Swisher, I often get a vague look and an, “I’ve heard of it.” If I go a step further and mention the Swisher/Shueyville Exit off of I-380, I usually get more of a glimmer of recognition! My third try is to tell people that I live halfway between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Bingo! Tucked along the north border of Johnson County, Swisher and Shueyville are a couple of hidden gems in the corridor.
Location, Location, Location
Although Swisher and Shueyville share a zip code, they really are two distinct entities. About six miles north of the North Liberty exit on I-380, Swisher is to the west of the interstate (also easily accessible from Highway 965), while Shueyville is to the east of 380. Both towns offer neighborhood living as well as “country living” options on acreages and in subdivisions a little bit out of town.
Swisher has a population of 921, and Shueyville is home to 645 residents, so both truly have the “small-town Iowa” feel. Both also have the advantages of that small-town life while still being near both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids for the conveniences of a larger metro area. For families that commute to IC or CR, this location is perfect, especially if your family is “split” and has members going both directions.
Town Amenities & Organizations
The City of Swisher and the City of Shueyville each have their own city hall and governmental structure. Shueyville has a Community Center that houses a meeting room, gym, and kitchen. The Swisher Library is adjacent to their city hall and sponsors storytimes and other family-friendly activities.
We are big fans of playing at the park, and Swisher offers two nice options. Castek Park (aka Swisher Park) has a playground, a walking trail, a rentable shelter with a grill, a ball diamond, and tennis courts. There is also a smaller park next to city hall that has a playground geared toward younger children.
In addition, you can get involved in the towns by participating in Swisher’s American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary, the Women’s Improvement League of Swisher (WILOS), or Friends of the Library.
Schools and Preschools
Both Swisher and Shueyville are part of the College Community School District, which is also known as Cedar Rapids Prairie. The district covers 137 square miles, spans portions of Johnson, Linn, and Benton Counties, and includes parts of SW Cedar Rapids, the towns of Ely, Fairfax, Shueyville, Swisher, and Walford, and the surrounding rural areas.
One thing that makes the CCSD unique is its 500-acre campus (see aerial view above) with five elementary schools (pre-K through 4th grade), an intermediate school (5th-6th grades), a middle school and 9th-grade academy (7th-9th grades), and the high school (10th-12th grades). In addition, there is one off-site program housed at Four Oaks near the Kirkwood Community College campus. All students in the district are eligible for busing, so it’s especially nice to have all the schools located together on a single campus.
There are two preschool/childcare centers in the Swisher/Shueyville area, along with a number of in-home daycare providers.
Swisher is home to a small grocery store, Shelton’s Grocery, called “Freddy’s” by the locals, after the owner. They carry many of the necessities you’ll need. Additionally, Guppy’s On The Go, the BP gas station/convenience store near the Swisher/Shueyville exit, carries many grocery items to get you by in a pinch! Not far away in North Liberty, you’ll find Fareway, and to the north in Cedar Rapids, the Wilson Avenue Hy-Vee, Super Target, and Wal-Mart are additional convenient grocery options for those bigger grocery trips.
For being small towns, Swisher and Shueyville offer a number of dining options, many of which are “destination” trips for people in the corridor.
- American Legion Club 671 – Bar and food (tacos, wings, ribs, sandwiches, etc.). Open to the public, kid menu, take-out. Open daily at 4-ish 🙂 (bartenders are volunteers).
- Black Squirrel Tap & Beer Garden – Bar, food (burgers, appetizers, tenderloin, chicken strips, pulled pork), live music. Monday is kids’ night. Open at 11 a.m., daily. Happy Hour weekdays, 3-6 p.m.
- Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery – Wine & spirits, small plates, artisan meat/cheese plates, wood-fired pizza, prime rib on Fridays, brunch of Sundays, weekend live music, event space. Closed Mon. & Tues.
Kava House & Cafe – Coffee, pastries, lunch (sandwiches, salads), and dinner menus. Closed Sunday and Monday.
- Maddi B’s – Carryout, a few tables for eat-in, take-and-bake. Pizza, garlic bread, pasta, chicken, wings, salad, ice cream, hot skillet cookie topped with ice cream.
- The Secret Cellar – Wine, beer, cheese, liquor, wine garden, and special events (Bordeaux & Brushes, Wine 101, Wine tastings, etc.)
- Shuey’s Restaurant & Lounge – Bar and food (appetizers, soups & salads, burgers, “comfort food,” wraps, chicken, sandwiches). Serves lunch, dinner, coffee, and drinks. $0.99 kids meals on Sundays.
While not a major shopping destination, there are several shops offering unique gifts and local & handmade wares.
- Cedar Ridge Winery – Wine and wine-related gifts, t-shirts.
- Kava House – Local and handmade gifts
- Plum Creek Boutique – Accessories, clothing, gifts. Services include manicures, pedicures, tanning.
- Vault Boutique – Clothing, home décor, and gifts, many of which are local and handmade.
There are two churches locally in Shueyville with many other options nearby in North Liberty and Cedar Rapids.
- Shueyville United Methodist Church
- King of Glory Methodist Church
There are a number of events residents of Swisher and Shueyville look forward to each year!
- Bunny Breakfast & Egg Hunt
- Swisher Farmer’s Market – held June to October on Thursdays from 4:30-7 p.m.
- Swisher Fun Days
- Fire department soup supper in early October
- Halloween Fair and Trunk or Treat
- Swisher Auxiliary Annual Homemade Turkey Dinner
- Swisher’s A Very Merry Christmas Celebration
For their small sizes, Swisher and Shueyville have quite a lot to offer! If you’re looking for a friendly small town with in-town and country living options, Swisher or Shueyville may be just what you’re looking for! (Shh…let’s just keep it between us, though, OK?)
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