Mason City, Iowa
A tourist guide to Mason City Iowa, home to Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, Bill Baird the master puppeteer and Meredith Willson author of the ‘Music Man.’
Welcome to River City, Iowa. Home to Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, Bill Baird the master puppeteer and Meredith Willson author of the ‘Music Man.’ Mason City (River City) is located between Des Moines, Iowa and Minneapolis, Minnesota just off I-35.
Mason City offers up many attractions within a few short miles traveling distance and seven motels for accommodations. Holiday Inn, Super 8, Days Inn, Comfort Inn, Thrift Lodge, Hanford Inn and the Willow Inn offer a wide range of prices and amenities.
Four motels have indoor pools and whirlpools. Two have recreation rooms and one has an outdoor pool. One motel offers an Exercise room, indoor pool, recreation room, sauna and whirlpool. All but one of the motels are handicap accessible and four of them offer complimentary breakfast. Prices range from $32.00 to 139.00 a night. All motels accept credit cards and offer a total of 448 rooms.
Mason City offers up a wide selection of eating establishments also. For a wide variety of fast foods Mason City offers two Burger Kings, two McDonalds, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, Hardee’s, KFC, Long John Silvers, Taco John’s, Wendy’s and Taco Tico.
For Italian dining Mason City offers Fazoli’s and Valentino’s Pizzeria.
For Mexican food you will find Carlos O’Kelly’s, La Margarita Mexican Restaurant and La Hacienda.
For your Oriental taste buds we have many choices including three buffets, China buffet, Hunans and the Garden Buffet. Oriental dining can also be enjoyed at the Great Dragon, Oriental Wok and the Yin Yin Restaurant.
Mason City also offers six pizza places—Domino’s, Godfather’s, Pizza Hut, Pizza & Pasta, Ponderosa Pizza and Justino’s.
For fine dining we offer several choices, the 4th Street Diner located in the Hanford Inn, the Peachtree located in the Holiday Inn, Prime ‘N Wine, Kansas City Steak House, XTABI Supper Club and Northwestern Steak House.
Mason City also has a vast selection of casual dining, bars and grills and some for the sweet tooth—Birdsall’s Ice Cream treats, Dairy Queen and Cookies Etc. Subway sandwiches, Suzie-Q-Café, Starbuck’s Bistro & Pub, Perkins, Pies & More, Diamond Daves, Country Kitchen, Bill’s Bar-B-Q, Applebee’s, Papa’s Café, Royal Fork Buffet, Shill’s Maid-rite and Sandwich Shop and the Lighthouse Café located at the Mason City airport.
For the shopper in your family Mason City offers the Plaza West Mall with Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, Pay-Less Shoes, women’s and girl’s apparel shops, a grocery store and more.
Southport Mall including a Sears, Hobby Lobby, fabric store and discount stores.
Regency Square Mall has a variety of shops and offices including a drug store, grocery store, furniture store and restaurants.
Southbridge Mall is Mason City’s largest mall and includes many fine shops and eateries such as Sam Goody’s, jewelry stores, shoe stores, Radio Shack, J.C. Penny’s, Younkers, a pet store, book stores and a five screen movie theater.
Willowbrook Plaza offers a Christian Book Store, shoe store, discount store, craft gallery, sports store, restaurants and much more.
Mason City also offers a variety of entertainment and recreation year around and seasonal. Auto races at the I-35 Speedway located in the North Iowa Fairgrounds Facility. Lee’s Lanes and Rose Bowl lanes are two great places for the bowling enthusiast. If you are feeling a little puny you can check out the Ironhouse Gym fitness center, Cristy’s Fitness Center or the YMCA fitness center.
Mason City also offers four Golf courses, two swimming pools, tennis courts, rental shops for bikes and other sporting goods. Mason City is also home to the North Iowa Huskies Hockey team and offers a youth Hockey program, North Iowa ice-skating arena and Roller City Skating rink. Mason city also has a community theater and Steben’s Children’s theater plus many other recreational activities.
Within a thirty-mile radius you will find 16 parks and camping grounds. These facilities offer camping, fishing, swimming, bike trails, walking trails, and more. Many of the parks and camp grounds have ball fields, tennis courts, and Volleyball fields, cross country skiing, hockey, horseshoes and more.
The climate for the Mason City area has an average winter temp of 17 degrees. An average summer temp of 70.2 degrees and rainfall average for the area is 31.4 inches and snowfall 32.8 inches average.
Mason City’s population is 29, 040. Mason City is 135 miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, 312 miles from Kansas City, MO, 337 miles from Chicago IL, 253 miles from Omaha, NE and 97 miles from Rochester, MN.
Now what is there to see in Mason City?
Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House located at 530 1st ST. NE. 515 421-3666 or 423-1923. This house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Prairie School style and was constructed in 1908. Admission is $3.00 for adults and children under 11 is $1.00.
Iowa Trolley Park, PO Box 956, 515-357-7433. Step back in time and enjoy a one-mile ride on an old fashioned electric trolley. Admission is $3.50 for adults and $2.00 for children under 12.
Kinney Pioneer Museum located near the Mason City Airport. At this museum you can experience life on the Iowa frontier through this living history museum. Stand back and picture your self trekking across country in a Conestoga wagon, going to school in a one-room schoolhouse. See a log cabin, blacksmith shop and much more. Admission is $2.50 for adults and $0.50 for children under 12.
Charles H. MacNider Museum located at 303 2nd St. SE, 515-421-3666. This museum provides an educational opportunity featuring a collection of American art as well as puppets. This museum is home to the famous Bill Baird Puppets and much more. Admission is free.
Just minutes from Mason City is the Surf Ballroom located at 460 North Shore Dr., Clear Lake, IA, 515-357-6151 just 9 miles from Mason City, “the day the music died.” Site of the final concert of Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens. Admission is $4.00 for adults for a guided tour.
Van Horn Collection is 2 miles north of Mason City, 515-423-0550 featuring the nation’s rarest collection of restored pre-1930 trucks. You will also see many other displays such as early gas engines, tractors, antiques, gas trucks and much more. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $1.50 for children and group rates are available.
The Meredith Willson Museum to be opened this year, and the Meredith Willson boyhood home located at 314 S Pennsylvania Ave. 515 423 3534.
The boyhood home is currently open and is a turn of the century modified Queen Ann House. It is the birthplace and boyhood home of Meredith Willson, playwright and songwriter who made Mason City famous as the “River City” town in the play/movie the “Music Man. Admission is $3.00 for adults, $1.00 for students under 12 and children under 6 are free.
Meredith Willson/Music Man Footbridge. This bridge connects River Heights Dr. and South Connecticut Ave. It was named in honor of Meredith Willson.
Mason City offers a little something for everyone.