Best of the CRANDIC 2018: Health & Recreation

The results are in! Here are the winners of Little Village’s 2018 Best of the CRANDIC competition in the Health & Recreation category, representing voters’ favorite outdoor destinations, care providers and businesses in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area. Browse the winners in the other four categories here.

Best Place to Experience Nature:

Macbride Nature Recreation Area

2095 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE, Solon

MacBride Nature Recreation Area — photo by Dawn Frary

Shout outs

Hickory Hill Park

“Hickory Hill Park is a little oasis in the city. Each season brings new views, animals and experiences.”

— Tara M.

Kent Park

“It has outstanding restored and native prairie, as well as beautiful wetlands and wooded areas.”

— L.A.

Woodpecker Trail

“The Woodpecker Trail is always a good time. You can continue along the river or climb down to the banks. The slight elevation makes you think you’re floating in a canopy of trees.”

— Alexander L.

Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

“From the dock, the walking path or the water — a truly idyllic local escape from the city.”

— Syndy C.

Best Gym:

University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

“The UI Campus Recreation and Wellness Center is heads above every other gym in the area. It has a wealth of equipment—both cardio and strength—in a bright, open space. I have never experienced any suggestions of judgment there.”

— Nick K.

Best Bike Trail:

Cedar Valley Nature Trail

Trail length: 67.8 miles

Location: Stretches from Ely to Evansdale, covering Linn, Buchanan, Black Hawk and Benton counties

Surface type: Asphalt, gravel

Used for: Hiking, running, biking, in-line skating, cross-country skiing

The scenery: The Cedar River, forests, creeks, farmland, prairie campgrounds (McFarlane Park and Blackhawk Park)

Other features: 10 trailheads, 15 parking areas, 10 restrooms, 12 drinking fountains

Opened in: Spring 2017, when Cedar Valley Nature Trail, Cedar River Trail and parts of the Hoover Nature Trail were connected

Best Fitness Instructor:

Simone Fernandes

Simone Fernandes leads a Zumba class. — photo by Ellie Yao

“She is a zumba instructor at the CRWC and her classes are always a great and positive environment to be apart of. She motivates all of the people in her class. Her teaching style is effortless and easy to follow!”

— Grace G.

“She is so, so, so kind and energetic and is always smiling throughout her classes!”

— Bernardo D.

“As an avid Zumba goer, I get quite picky when it comes to my instructor. When I first went to Simone’s class, I was not sure what to expect as she was brand new in this field. An hour later of dancing, smiling, laughing and sweating—I could not have been any more pleased. Simone allows for every single individual to feel accepted and complete every workout/dance to the best of their ability, completely free of judgement. In addition, she creates an environment that is fun, energetic and lively to provide for the maximum amount of personal gain as well as personal development. Simone has only been an instructor for a few months, but she is already taking over the field and I cannot wait to see her grow in years to come. Thanks for making Zumba possible for everyone, Simone!”

— Charlie E.

“Not only is she a great dancer, she also tries to bring diversity into her choreography by incorporating Bollywood-style dances, which makes dancing with her super fun!”

— Qianyi S.

Best LGBTQ Hangout:

Studio 13

13 S Linn St, Iowa City

Best Home Away from Home:

George’s Buffet

312 E Market St, Iowa City

Shout outs

Critical Hit Games

“The little game store has built a ground-up community of gamers and hobbyists who welcome everyone and make sure everyone has a good time. The staff are constantly working to make everyone feel safe and comfortable.”

— Oliver P.

“Whenever I’m there I’m always comfortable, happy and feel like i get to be myself; basically the perfect home away from home!”

— Steven D.K.

Cafe Crema

“It’s like your grandma’s living room with beverages and comfort snacks.”

— Katy B.


“The Deadwood, for the memories. I used to hang out with a fair number of pinball wizards (and aspiring alcoholics). I still have embarrassing pics from the ’80s photo booth (mostly due to my terrible taste in hairstyles).”

— Sara L.

Java House

“My husband and I consider this our second living room.”

— Pam

Best Place to Read a Book:

Prairie Lights Cafe

15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City

A patron reads in Prairie Lights Bookstore. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

“There are lots of other people around you reading books, inspiring you to stick with it instead of getting distracted by technology.”

— Elizabeth B.

Best Place for a First Date:

Clinton Street Social Club

15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City

Clinton Street Social Club, Iowa City
Clinton Street Social Club, Iowa City

Best Place to Break Up:

Brothers Bar and Grill

125 S Dubuque St, Iowa City

Brothers Bar and Grill in the Iowa City Ped Mall — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Most Trusted Physician:

Katie Imborek

Family Medicine Physician, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Best Massage Therapist:

Jaime Nevins, Back Together Massage

1700 S 1st Ave Suite 11, Iowa City

“Jaime’s massages are great and they really work to figure out what needs to be done to get the best result, depending on the problem you come in with. In addition, part of Jaime’s mission is to create a safe space for all individuals.”

— Elisabeth R.

Best Bike Shop:

Goldfinch Cyclery

208 C 12th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

“Those guys are the friendliest folks ever.”

— Christina S.

Shout outs

World of Bikes

“So friendly and helpful, even to those of us who are starting to bike again after years of not.”

— Renee T.

Geoff’s Bike & Ski

“Seriously, this guy has taken the Racquet Masters bike business and grown it into a destination shop.”

— W.P.

Broken Spoke

“It’s a small business run by two people who have a passion for bicycles. The Broken Spoke is a bike commuter-focused shop that tailors to the everyday rider.”

— Peter M.

“Michael and Pete are the best. They do the best work and are trustworthy, affordable and very competent. And so cool!”

— Sonatina F.

Best Women’s Health Clinic:

Emma Goldman Clinic

227 N Dubuque St, Iowa City

Francine Thompson, the Emma Goldman Clinic’s director of health services, stands in front of the original wooden sign. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

“Emma Goldman Clinic not only provides quality health care but also serves as a huge resource for women’s needs.”

— Alexander L.

“Planned Parenthood and Emma Goldman are both amazing, misunderstood and underappreciated.”

— Jessica B.

“Bravely and boldly!”

— Salome P.

Best Massage Therapist:

Jaime Nevins, Back Together Massage

1700 S 1st Ave Suite 11, Iowa City

“Jaime’s massages are great and they really work to figure out what needs to be done to get the best result, depending on the problem you come in with. In addition, part of Jaime’s mission is to create a safe space for all individuals.”

— Elisabeth R.