What are some of the best things to do in Mason City, Iowa?
After all, when we think about the city of Mason City in Iowa, what do we really know about it?
Well for starters, Mason City is the county seat of Cerro Gordo County in Iowa. The Micropolitan Statistical Area of this place includes all of Cerro Gordo and Worth Counties. It also has a nickname where it is commonly referred to as the “River City”, mainly because the city grew up centered on the Winnebago river.
And as of the 2010 census, the population of the city was estimated to be around 28,079 which is a decline from the previous 29,182 census taken in 2000.
Mason City is also a city known for its long musical heritage. They consistently produce some of the best performers and educators around. For example, the city’s “Favorite Son: Meredith Willson”, grew up here in this city and played in the Mason City Symphonic Band as a high school student.
Besides this fact however, what else do we know about the city of Mason City?
Mason City is one of the best places for people to visit if they are wanting to travel to someplace really fun and creative.
It may seem small, however this city actually has so much more to offer than it may seem. For example, the amount history, music art and food here is just out of this world. Plus, with things like music playing, beautiful architecture, or even street art and more, this city has it all.
And best of all is that it is only located about 2 hours south of the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Which means visiting this place can make for a really fun day trip or weekend trip event.
Which is why if you are wondering exactly what there is for you to see and do here in this city, then you are in luck.
In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Mason City, Iowa.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
- Things To Do In Mason City, Iowa
- Visit The Stockman House Museum
- Check Out the Historic Park Inn Hotel
- Explore The Music Man Square
- Roam Around Lime Creek Nature Center
- Have Fun At East Park
- Roam Around At Rock Crest – Rock Glen Historical District
- Drink Some Brew At Fat Hill Brewing
- Eat At NorthWestern SteakHouse
- Go On A Sculpture Tour
- Visit The Rancho Deluxe
- Visit The Charles H Macnider Art Museum
- Swim Around At The Mason City Family Aquatic Center
- Explore The Kinney Pioneer Museum
- Play Some Golf At North Iowa Golf Center
- Visit Mason City Information Center
- Visit Mason City, Iowa
Things To Do In Mason City, Iowa
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Mason City, Iowa.
Visit The Stockman House Museum
One of the best things to do in Mason City, Iowa is to simply visit the famous Stockman House Museum.
The Stockman House Museum is a place that was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and offers an interesting glance at Wright’s Prairie School Style of Architecture.
This house, which was built back in 1908, is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first homes of its nature built in the state of Iowa, and has remained the only one since. This house symbolizes the outstanding architectural ingenuity and design that was put fourth to build such a masterpiece.
Visitors who come here are able to go on a tour fo the Stockman House and allows them to see all the wonderful details that make this house as famous as it is. From the beautifully spacious floor plan to the cantilevered roofs or even the black band trim that everyone has come to know and love from the architect’s work. It is preserved in its entirety for people to see for many years to come.
Plus, aside from the house, there is also an Architectural Interpretive Center that contains various exhibits on display. There is even a gift shop dedicated to promoting architectural, historic and local artisan crafts. From things like books, puzzles, postcards and more all await your visit.
The Stockman House Museum should definitely be on your list of places to visit if you ever get a chance to visit the city of Mason City, Iowa.
Check Out the Historic Park Inn Hotel
You can’t just visit the city of Mason City, Iowa without visiting the most famous building of all here in this city.
Known as the “Historic Park Inn Hotel“, it is one of the most beautifully preserved Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotels that overlook the downtown area of Mason City. It is also considered to be the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel in the world. All of which makes for a great place to visit.
Visitors are able to come tour this hotel and see all of that which makes this place so amazing. For instance, some of the things you might see includes stuff like spacious rooms, interesting architecture, sophisticated lounge with a century-old billiards table, and more all available for you to see. But best of all is that the details that make up this hotel are just a spectacular sight to see.
Plus, there is also a fun lounge where you can hangout and drink some cocktails, wine and craft beer. And also an upscale restaurant area where you can enjoy some high quality dining experiences. Which is why it should be of no surprise as this is the place where VIPS come to stay.
And best of all is that in order for visitors to come and tour this area, all you’ll have to pay is a simple $10 dollars. Which is totally worth it as the experience is out of this world.
Overall, the Historic Park Inn Hotel is truly a one-of-a-kind place where everyone would enjoy everything that it entails.
Explore The Music Man Square
Have you ever heard of the person called “Meredith Willson”?
If so, then one place you definitely have to visit is a place called Music Man Square.
Music Man Square is basically an indoor museum located in the heart of Mason City. It is here where they celebrate and honor the life of Mason City’s favorite musical son, Meredith Willson.
Visitors who come here will find that the indoor museum is basically an exact duplicate of the street scene from the 1962 Warner Bros. Motion Picture “The Music Man”. The reason for this is because that was the money that made Meredith Willson famous.
Inside this museum, visitors will find an array of exhibits that tells the story behind the musician, how he rose to fame after that acclaimed movie, as well as the history of music. From things like how he was an award-winning conductor, playwright, and author to his first broadway musical and more, you can learn it all here in this museum.
But that’s not all.
In fact, next door to this museum, visitors can even find a beautifully restored 1895 Queen Anne House, which was the birthplace and boyhood home of the renowned musician. That house too can also be explored during guided tours where you’ll learn even more about his amazing past.
Overall, it’s a fantastic place where you can see and learn so many cool and interesting things.
Roam Around Lime Creek Nature Center
IF you love learning about all kinds of new things dealing with nature and wildlife, then one place you will definitely love to visit is the Lime Creek Nature Center.
The Lime Creek Nature Center which opened in 1984, is located on the high ridges of the limestone bluffs of the Winnebago River. It is here where visitors can find a conservation-focused educational institution that features over 440 acres of beautiful landscapes ranging from woodlands to wetlands or even restored prairies and forests.
Visitors can come here and find an array of interesting exhibits for them to see and explore. For instance, there will be things like mounted animals on display, several aquariums containing reptiles, amphibians, and fish. As well as many “hands-on” learning opportunities for people of all ages. It’s a place where people can come and learn all about the local fauna and flora as well as the surrounding natural landscapes.
Plus, aside from all of that, this center also contains an auditorium, a natural resource library with books and periodicals, and even the Cerro Gordo County Conservation Board Staff Offices.
The Lime Creek Nature Center is really an intriguing place that will offer so much in terms of what you can see or do. Visitors will be able to explore for hours on end as they learn about so many new and interesting things.
Have Fun At East Park
If you have kids or just love surrounding yourself with beautiful parks, then one place you might be interested in visiting is “East Park”.
East Park is situated right alongside the banks of the Winnebago River and is a recreational area that spans over 57 acres wide. It is pretty interesting to know that this park is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Locals and tourists all alike come to this park for all it has to offer.
For example, visitors who come to this park will be able to see things like shaded picnic areas, grassy lands to play on, tennis courts, nine-hole disc golf course, basketball court, volleyball court, a sledding hill, playgrounds with the Prairie Playground, and even fishing in a pond. Plus with things like a 2-mile hard surface trail system, a gazebo and even a place for special events, this park has it all.
And plus, all around the park, visitors will find many historical structures laying around. One of which is the most popular and is known as the “Cannonball 457”. This structure is the last Minneapolis and St Louis Railway steam locomotive and was built way back in 1912. It’s completely free to visit and offers visitors a chance to see something truly historic.
With all the things this park has to offer, it’s no wonder it is always highly recommended by everyone who has visited it before.
Roam Around At Rock Crest – Rock Glen Historical District
One of the most interesting and unique places you can ever visit here in the city of Mason City, Iowa, is a place called “Rock Crest- Rock Glen Historic District.
This historic district is a nationally recognized historic district and was even listed on the National Register of Historic Places back in 1979. The reason for this is because it boasts the largest assemblage of Prairie School Architecture in the world.
For example, the 7.2-acre district on the southeast side of Mason City features things like eight Prairie School Houses and the remains of a 1970’s mill on the west bank of Willow Creek. The houses here includes the Schneider House (built in 1915), the Gilmore House (built in 1915), the Franke House (built in 1917), the Rule House (built in 1912), the Page House (built in 1912), the Blythe House (built in 1913), and the Melson House (built in 1913).
All of these houses listed here share a boundary along the glen, and makes for one of the most interesting places to roam around and explore. After all, no other places in the world will you find this many Prairie School style houses built in this manner.
So if you have the time to spare, see if you can visit the Rock Glen Historic District here in the city of Mason City. It’s an experience you will not want to pass up on!
Drink Some Brew At Fat Hill Brewing
One of the best things to do in Mason City, Iowa when you are visiting for the first time is to simply try out the local brewery.
After all, no matter where you decide to visit in the world, all the breweries will have their own unique take on making some local craft brew. Which is why trying out the local brew can definitely be a fun thing to do.
And here in the city of Mason City, Iowa, you can find that there is a local craft brewery called “Fat Hill Brewing” that serve sup some of the best tasting brew on this side of the planet.
For instance, visitors who come here will find that they serve a variety of different brews for you to try. Some of the things you might be able to encounter includes drinks like “Honey Kolsch, American Wheat, Robust Porter, Rongorongo NEIPA, Malbec Barrel-Aged Saison” and more. They also have some cider and root beer drinks which are equally as good.
Plus, all year round the brewery will also be host to a variety of different events for the public to enjoy. From things like a book club to a knitting group or even a writers group, there are all kinds of events happening here.
With over 16 taps and many drinks to choose from, Fat Hill Brewing is one of the best places to visit if you ever come to the city of Mason City.
Eat At NorthWestern SteakHouse
If you are ever in the mood for some mouth watering steak, then you are in luck.
Here in the city of Mason City, Iowa, visitors are able to find one of the best steakhouse around. Known as the “Northwestern Steakhouse“, they are an award-winning restaurant that specializes in making some of the best steaks you’ll have ever have.
It is here where you’ll find that their way of cooking steaks is actually quite unique as they specialize in the art of Greek-Style broiled steaks. They use only the best Iowa Beef Steaks and offers an experience unlike any other steak house in the region. With traditional decor all around and banquette and table seating, soft lighting, and a warm and friendly atmosphere, it’s a joyful restaurant that everyone will love.
Here they offer seasonal menus that change our every few months and offers a wide range of things for you to choose from. For instance, you can have your pick of Greek-style and American steaks, roasted chicken, fresh seafood like broiled shrimp or Canadian Walleye, grass-fed lamb chops and more all made fresh for you to enjoy. Plus they also have some amazing sides like Greek style spaghetti, french fries, salad and more.
Plus, aside from the food, they also have a full-service bar that serves a wide range of drinks like fine wines, craft beers and ales, imported spirits, cocktails and more.
It’s one of the best places to visit if you are wanting some high quality steaks to eat and for good reason. With so many things being offered here, it’s no wonder this place is always highly recommended by everyone who has eaten here.
Go On A Sculpture Tour
If you’re ever bored and wanting to find something interesting to do here in the city of Mason City, Iowa, then one thing you might be interested in doing is something called a sculpture tour.
Here in the downtown area of Mason City, visitors will find a variety of different and unique sculptures for them to see.
These sculptures are scattered all around the area which means touring around and exploring them is definitely one of the best things you can ever see or do. After all, by touring around for these sculptures, not only are you getting a good exercise but also getting a chance to explore the area of downtown Mason City in finer details.
There are also many places where you can get a map for this walking tour, or you can use one online which makes things even more convenient. The entire tour is about 1.7 miles long and is entirely self guided. The map will be able to tell you the place of each and every sculpture, the name, and also the location of the artist. It’s truly a fun filled adventure that will bring lots of fun and joy.
Best of all is that each and every year, the residents of this city will vote on their favorite sculpture. The winning sculpture with the most votes will win the title of “People’s Choice Award”. That sculpture will then be purchased by the city to be part of its permanent collection! How cool is that?
Which is why if you ever have the time to spare, definitely try going on this sculpture tour. It’s a really awesome experience that will help you see and learn more about the culture of this city.
Visit The Rancho Deluxe
Speaking of sculptures, if the downtown sculpture tour isn’t enough for you, then you’ll be happy to know that there is another place filled with all sorts of sculptures and art work available for you to see and explore.
Known as the “Rancho Deluxe“, it is a place where visitors can come visit and see a garden that is filled with art. But not just any kind of art, it’s art that has been made from recycled, re-purposed, and rogue pieces of Mason City’s history
The garden is about a half acre of land wide that is filled with all types of art and sculptures that are constantly being changed. It is here where you’ll find elements from North Iowa’s history which includes bicycle racks, hub caps, license plates, school gates, signs and even 3,000 pound piece of granite used to create strangely unique and ever changing works of art.
The Rancho Deluxe asks visitors to walk around slowly as they make their way around the garden. This is so that they are able to take in every bit of detail while enjoying all these beautiful pieces of art. And best of all is that this entire garden is completely free to visit!
So if you have an appreciation for odd, quirky, and interesting pieces of art work, then the Rancho Deluxe is definitely the place for you to visit. Plus, it’s fun to explore and will offer you a plethora of different photo opportunities too!
Visit The Charles H Macnider Art Museum
Do you love art?
If so, then one place you definitely have to visit is the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum.
This museum which is also known as the MacNider Art Museum, is the premiere place where locals and tourists alike can come visit and see all kinds of beautiful art works on display. It was established back in 1984 and opened in the year of 1966, and was named after Charles H. NMacNider, who is the father of Gneeral Hanford MacNider.
For instance, this museum features a variety of exhibits that includes things like paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, ceramics, textiles and even fused and blown glass. Not to mention that the museum also features a collection of modern American art work as well as an exclusive collection of Bil Baird marionettes, ephemera, and even hand puppets.
Plus, the museum also houses an interactive playground in the Salsbury Room that gives people a hands-on experience for kids and adults alike all throughout the year. There are also various educational programs and events that are being offered here all throughout the year, such as art classes, workshops, kid’s clubs, MacNider Arts Festival and even the annual Artoberfest.
Coming to this museum is like an experience unlike any other. With beautiful art work, informative pieces as well as various kinds of programs and exhibits, this place is definitely a must-see attraction for any and all art lovers.
Swim Around At The Mason City Family Aquatic Center
If you are traveling with kids to the city of Mason City, Iowa, then once place you might be interested in visiting is a place called “Mason City Family Aquatic Center”.
The Mason City Family Aquatic Center is a family fun place where kids and adults alike can swim around in a nice warm pool surrounded by many interesting things.
For instance, visitors who come here will be able to find things like swimming pools with two zero-depth entries, drop slide, tunnel and open slide, several water toys, 50 meter racing lanes and even a concession area. Visitors will be able to swim and have fun for hours on end not worrying about anything else but fun.
Plus, the best thing about this place is that the rates to come in are also really affordable and cheap. For instance, daily admission for people 4 and up is only around $5 dollars. Or if you want to come during the night time, then it gets even cheaper at only around $3 dollars. What a steal!
So if you ever want to get out of the hot sun and cool down in a nice cozy pool, then the Mason City Family Aquatic Center is definitely the place for you to visit.
Explore The Kinney Pioneer Museum
When most people come to the city of Mason City, Iowa, they most likely tend to visit the more popular museums like the art museum or even the Stockman house.
However unbeknownst to many people is that there is a lesser known museum here in this city that is almost equally as fun.
Known as the “Kinney Pioneer Museum“, it is a museum that specializes in trade and life of Iowa during its long history of settlers. In fact, their collection here are pretty impressive as visitors will find things like cars, replicas of old stores with authentic items and furniture, old cameras, old clothes and toys, and much much more. There is even a two legged pig that walked like a chicken!
Not just that but there is also an outdoor “living history” area called Pioneer Village which is simply amazing.
But best of all is that this place is incredibly cheap to visit. Adults are only required to pay around $3 dollars while kids fees are only around $1 dollar. This place is only open during the months of May and September during the afternoon hours, but is totally worth it.
So if you’re interested in see how life was like for the people of Iowa many decades ago, then the Kinney Pioneer Museum is a fantastic place to visit.
Play Some Golf At North Iowa Golf Center
Do you love golf?
If so, then you don’t have to worry as the city of Mason City, Iowa has one of the best golf centers around for you to play at.
Known as the “North Iowa Golf Center“, it is the premiere place for kids and adults alike can come and play the sport of golf while being surrounded by peaceful nature.
For example, visitors who come here will be able to find a really awesome lighted driving range that offers 20 tees on grass, 10 tees on mats, and also 7 covered tee stations. The range has distance markers at 100, 200, and even 300 yards with a maximum of 350 yards for people who love to hit long distances. It’s the perfect place for beginners through professionals as golfers are able to practice their swim all day long.
Not only that, but this place also has an area for kids or beginners to play as well.
It is here where visitors will find a really interesting miniature golf course that offers 18 holes of fun and challenging play. The greens here feature various obstacles for you to overcome and test your putting skills. Plus, the area is beautifully designed and bisected by a meandering creek and surrounded by colorful landscaping.
The North Iowa Golf Center also has a state of the art shop where they sell everything you can ever imagine for golf related needs. From golf clubs to tees to balls or clothes, they have it all.
So if you ever want to play some golf, then this is the place for you.
Visit Mason City Information Center
Although not really some place you might think about visiting, one interesting place visitors might want to visit is the Mason City Information Center.
The Mason City Information Center is your one stop-shop where you can find everything you’ll ever need to know about for the city of Mason City. It’s a must-visit place as it will ensure you find all the amazing places to visit as well as things to do while visiting this amazing city.
For instance, inside this place you will find an array of brochures and free information to local attractions, entertainment and community events, and more. Plus, the staff here are all very knowledgable and nice and will try there best to make sure all your needs are met.
Note: Make sure to pick up the Mason City Travel Guide and look for the Free souvenir coupon which can help you save a lot of money while exploring this city.
Overall, the Mason City Information Center is a fantastic place to start your visit here in the area of Mason City, Iowa.
Visit Mason City, Iowa
Overall, the city of Mason City in Iowa is definitely an interesting place you can ever visit. By visiting this town, you’ll be able to see and learn so many interesting things.
So hopefully this post about the “15 Best Things To Do In Mason City, Iowa” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the city of Mason City in Iowa, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.
Also, if you’re going to be traveling around to the state of Iowa anytime soon, you might be interested in some of my other Iowa related posts:
Or you can check out all my blog posts by clicking this link.
Have fun traveling and let me know how it goes~