Local Area

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Local Area


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4 College Freshman

Local Area: I like the small town, but Cedar Rapids is close

4 College Freshman

Local Area: The town is small and quiet, but adorable.

3 College Senior

Local Area: Small town, fun stores, mostly antique.

3 College Junior

Local Area: A typical small town. Quaint. One Main Street with shops and restaurants lining its sides. There's a park nearby. Other than that, there's not much else to the "city". Every business in town is small and family owned. A good and bad thing, as pricing can be a bit higher than if it was at a chain store. It also means students may have to drive out of town if they need something that's not there. But Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are usually only a 30-45~ drive from campus.

The locals are generally nice to students. The neighborhoods are a confusing hodgepodge of even more confusingly-named streets (e.g. First Street and First Avenue). Most students feel safe venturing around campus and town at night. Though there have been several bias-related incidents on campus, there have not been any crimes - that I know of - in town.

3 College Junior

Local Area: Mount Vernon is a really, really small town. Incredibly small. There is one theater. It only has one screen, so not only will you have one course at a time, you can only watch one movie at a time. The first time I saw it, when it was painted red, I thought it was an old barn. The town itself is pretty cute, and there are at least 3 antique stores, a chocolatier, and a store that has seven businesses under one roof, including a tanning salon. There are some nice, but expensive, restaurants, and many nice small business. There are places to go for basic supplies and groceries.The clothing stores are actually pretty great, and the Silver Spider is fun. Mount Vernon is small, but interesting. However, you need a car if you actually want to go out and have fun.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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If you're hoping for bustling, big city life, then you'll need to look elsewhere. Mount Vernon is chock-full of small-town charm. The uptown shopping district features great, locally-owned restaurants and boutiques, including the nationally renowned Lincoln Café. For the most part, the students and community members coexist peacefully. There is the occasional complaint about drunken college students being disruptive. However, many Mount Vernonites take advantage of the sporting events, concerts, and other entertainment that Cornell brings to the community.

Entertainment in Mount Vernon itself is kind of slim pickings. There is a single-screen movie theater that shows a different movie each week, and a bowling alley and three local bars offer some nighttime fun. The Palisades-Kepler State Park is located just a five-minute drive from campus and is perfect for students who are more outdoorsy, with hiking trails and access to the Cedar River. If you’re looking for more mainstream stores or restaurants or larger entertainment venues, Cedar Rapids is only a 20-minute drive to the west and Iowa City only 35 minutes south. There are four other schools located in Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor: Mount Mercy College, Coe College, Kirkwood Community College, and the University of Iowa, the largest college in the state. Though there isn’t a ton of interaction between the schools, Cornell students do sometimes take advantage of programs or speakers at the University of Iowa.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Named one of ten "America's Coolest Small Towns" for 2009 by Budget Travel magazine.
  2. Lies in the heart of Iowa's Cultural Corridor and is home to events like Chalk the Walk and the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival.
  3. Boasts the award-winning Lincoln Café , which has received rave reviews in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and O Magazine.
Notable Natives
  • Ashton Kutcher - actor and former model, was born and raised in nearby Cedar Rapids.
  • David Loebsack - current representative for Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, is a resident of Mount Vernon and served as a professor of political science at Cornell College until his election in 2006.
Points of Interest
  • Amana Colonies
  • Lake MacBride
  • Lincoln Café
  • Palisades-Kepler State Park
  • Sutliff Cider Company
Shopping Centers
  • Coral Ridge Mall
  • Lindale Mall
Movie Theaters
The Bijou
123 Second St. SW
Mount Vernon
(319) 895-6165
Major Sports Teams
  • Cedar Rapids Kernels: Minor League Baseball
  • Cedar Rapids RoughRiders: USHL Hockey
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Cedar Rapids: IA: 20 minutes
  • Iowa City: IA: 20 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 34 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 35 responses

  • 6% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 9% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 71% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 0% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 14% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 34 responses

  • 32% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 53% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 15% There aren't any nearby schools.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 34 responses

  • 9% Totally.
  • 35% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 56% No way.



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