Bordered entirely by rivers to the east and the west and home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the country, the Hawkeye State of Iowa is charming, quaint, and beautiful and offers a plethora of fun things to do. Two hours south of the Twin Cities of Minnesota, Mason City is home to a world-famous hotel, an array of interesting attractions, an award-winning steakhouse, and friendly, warm people. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Mason City. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Stockman House Museum
© Stockman House Museum
Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Stockman House Museum is an exceptional example of Wright's Prairie School style of architecture. Built in 1908, the house was the first Wright-designed Prairie School-style structure in the state and has remained the only one since, standing as an outstanding architectural ingenuity and design. The exquisitely restored home features an open floor plan that set the standard for the modern American home and is furnished with a range of Arts & Crafts and furniture designs by the world-renowned Wright designs. The Architectural Interpretive Center boasts several exhibits on the architectural mastery of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Stockman House, and the Prairie School style, and guided tours are available year-round.
530 1st St NE, Mason City, IA 50401, Phone: 641-423-1923
2.Historic Park Inn Hotel, Mason City, Iowa
© Historic Park Inn Hotel
The Historic Park Inn Hotel is a beautifully preserved Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel overlooking downtown Mason City. The 27-room boutique hotel features exceptional architecture with typical Frank Lloyd Wright details, spacious guest suites with luxury amenities, an elegant restaurant serving gourmet cuisine, and a sophisticated lounge with a century-old billiards table that serves classic cocktails, and fine wines from around the world. The beautiful, historic hotel is a one-of-a-kind piece of architectural history.
7 W State St, Mason City, IA 50401, Phone: 641-422-0015
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3.Music Man Square, Mason City, Iowa
© Music Man Square
The Music Man Square is a streetscape in the heart of Mason City that celebrates and honors the life of Mason City’s favorite musical son, Meredith Willson. The streetscape is an exact duplicate of the street scene from the 1962 Warner Bros. motion picture, The Music Man, which made Meredith Willson famous. The Meredith Willson Museum features an array of exhibits that tell the story of the musician, and his rise to fame after the movie, and the history of music. Next door to the museum is the beautifully restored 1895 Queen Anne house, which was the birthplace and boyhood home of the renowned musician and can be explored on guided tours.
308 S Pennsylvania Ave, Mason City, IA 50401, Phone: 641-424-2852
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4.Charles H MacNider Art Museum
© Charles H MacNider Art Museum
The Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, also known as the MacNider Art Museum, features a collection of modern American art and an exclusive collection of Bil Baird marionettes, ephemera, and hand puppets. Established in 1964 and opened in 1966, the museum, which is named after Charles H. MacNider, the father of General Hanford MacNider, the museum boasts several excellent exhibits of paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints, ceramics, textiles, and fused and blown glass. The museum also houses an interactive playground in the Salsbury Room that provides a hands-on experience for children and families during the winter months and on the museum lawns in the summer. Several educational programs are offered such as art classes, workshops, kid’s clubs, and the annual Artoberfest.
303 2nd St SE, Mason City, IA 50401, Phone: 641-421-3666
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5.Lime Creek Nature Center, Mason City, Iowa
© Lime Creek Nature Center
Set on the high ridges of the limestone bluffs of the Winnebago River, the Lime Creek Nature Center is a conservation-focused educational institution that features 440 acres of pristine landscapes ranging from wetlands and woodlands to restored prairies and forests. The education facility boasts an array of hands-on exhibits and displays showcasing local fauna and flora, and the surrounding natural landscapes, as well as live animal exhibits, and a research library. The nature center is home to over nine miles of nature trails, and an outdoor amphitheater for special events.
3501 Lime Creek Rd, Mason City, IA 50401, Phone: 641-423-5309
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6.Rock Crest - Rock Glen Historical District
The Rock Crest - Rock Glen Historic District is a historical district in Mason City that boasts the largest assemblage of Prairie School Architecture in the world. The 7.2-acre district on the southeast side of Mason City features eight Prairie School houses and the remains of a 1970s mill on the west bank of Willow Creek. The houses include the Schneider House (1915), the Gilmore House (1915), the Franke House (1917), the Rule House (1912), the Page House (1912), the Blythe House (1913), and the Melson house (1913). The six houses share a boundary along the glen, and the district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rock Glen Historical District, Mason City, IA 50401
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7.East Park, Mason City, Iowa
© Sved Oliver/stock.adobe.com
Set along the banks of the Winnebago River, East Park public park, and a recreational area spanning 57.6 acres that features several historic structures and offers an array of public amenities and outdoor activities. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district, the urban park boasts plenty of grassy and shaded picnic areas, three tennis courts, a nine-hole disc golf course, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a sledding hill, playgrounds with the Prairie Playground, and fishing in a pond. There is also a two-mile hard surface trail system, a gazebo, and a bandshell for special events.
802 3rd St NE, Mason City, IA 50401, Phone: 641-421-3673
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8.Northwestern Steakhouse, Mason City, Iowa
The Northwestern Steakhouse is an award-winning restaurant that specializes in Greek-style broiled steaks, prime Iowa beef steaks, and contemporary cuisine in a quaint, elegant setting. The longstanding steakhouse has traditional décor with banquette and table seating, soft lighting, and a warm and friendly atmosphere. Seasonal menus feature a range of Greek-style and American steaks, roasted chicken, grass-fed lamb chops, fresh seafood such as Canadian walleye and broiled shrimp, and delicious sides like traditional baked potatoes, French fries, rice and olive-oil-drizzled spaghetti with butter and parmesan cheese. A full-service bar serves a range of libations, including fine wines, craft beers and ales, imported spirits, and classic cocktails, and the restaurant is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
304 16th St NW, Mason City, IA 50401, Phone: 641-423-5075
9.Decker House Bed and Breakfast, Mason City, IA
© Decker House Bed and Breakfast
Located in the heart of the architectural, cultural, and historical district, the Decker House Bed and Breakfast is a beautifully restored guesthouse set in a grand Neoclassical house built in the 1890s that offers luxurious guest accommodations and gourmet cuisine. Based next to the Music Man Square, the guesthouse has six traditionally decorated rooms with oak floors, antique furnishings, and marble en-suite bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. The bed-and-breakfast has an elegant staircase, a living room in which breakfast and complimentary snacks and coffee are served, and the Decker House offers a historical setting for private events and functions.
119 2nd St SE, Mason City, IA 50401, Phone: 641-423-4700
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9 Best Things to Do in Mason City, Iowa
- Stockman House Museum, Photo: Stockman House Museum
- Historic Park Inn Hotel, Mason City, Iowa, Photo: Historic Park Inn Hotel
- Music Man Square, Mason City, Iowa, Photo: Music Man Square
- Charles H MacNider Art Museum, Photo: Charles H MacNider Art Museum
- Lime Creek Nature Center, Mason City, Iowa, Photo: Lime Creek Nature Center
- Rock Crest - Rock Glen Historical District, Photo: Rattanachat/stock.adobe.com
- East Park, Mason City, Iowa, Photo: Sved Oliver/stock.adobe.com
- Northwestern Steakhouse, Mason City, Iowa, Photo: rebecca/stock.adobe.com
- Decker House Bed and Breakfast, Mason City, IA, Photo: Decker House Bed and Breakfast
- Cover Photo: The Decker House Bed and Breakfast
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