A Foodie’s Adventure in #MasonCityIA

Are you a Foodie?!

Are you interested in the latest food fads? Do you enjoy gourmet meals and love the thrill of dining in a new restaurant? If that sounds like you, then you’re in luck – Mason City has great dining options!

Suzie-Q Café

Suize-Q Cafe

One of only 52 surviving “Valentine-style” diners in the United States, the Suzie-Q Café has been at home in Mason City since 1948. This cute little café is a great stop. We highly recommend you try the Omwich breakfast sandwich or the Spic ‘N Span Tenderloin – rated second in the nation!

Hungry Mind

The Hungry Mind has been serving the best soups, salads, sandwiches and gourmet hamburgers in the Mason City area since 1976 Be sure to try one of the local favorites such as the Philly Cheese Steak,  quiche, or the ultimate Bayou Burger.

Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant

Add a little spice to your life! Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine while sipping on a refreshing margarita – recently ranked “Readers’ Choice” by locals.  Our staff favorites include their chimichanga, taco salad, and their burritos!



Craving something sweet? Birdsall’s Ice Cream has been serving refreshing, handmade ice cream since the 1930’s. Not only will you appreciate the homemade ice cream, but the building itself will remind you of a vintage ice cream parlor from days gone by. Be sure to try a local favorite such as a hot fudge sundae, hot fudge marshmallow malt, or everyone’s favorite summertime treat – FRESH PEACH!

Bill’s BBQ

Enjoy the best ribs in Mason City! Hickory smoked loin back ribs, savory baked beans, cabbage salad, and fresh baked bread await! (Is your mouth watering yet?) Dine-in or carry out… whatever suits you best!

Northwestern Steakhouse

Northwestern SteakHouse

Family-owned since 1920, Northwestern Steakhouse is well known for their mouthwatering, Greek-style steak (don’t forget the side of savory spaghetti). If steak’s not your thing, be sure to try their roasted chicken, broiled shrimp, Canadian walleye or lamb chops. Recently named ‘Most Iconic Restaurant in the State of Iowa’,  you don’t want to skip out on this stop.  One last guarantee, besides the food being delicious, is that this is perhaps the most in-demand restaurant in town, so be there early to get your name on “the list.” We promise, it’s worth the wait. (Advance reservations are available for parties of 6 or more.)

Papa’s American Café

In the mood for cold beer, good food and catching the game on TV? Well then, Papa’s American Café is the place for you! Legendary food, a relaxing atmosphere and 35 flat screen TVs…  what else could you possibly need? As for favorites, there are many – such as fresh soups (made daily), hand-pressed burgers and delicious salads. Bring your friends, family, neighbor and dog… well, maybe not the dog, but you get the idea – Large crowds are welcome!

State Street Deli

State Street Deli offers a little taste of Chicago right here, in Downtown Mason City. Menu “creations” (named after streets in Chi-town) offer a variety of options. Traditional favorites include the Reuben, Ham & Swiss, Roast Beef, and Swiss & Pastrami.

Cabin Coffee

Cabin Coffee

Any average day starts off with a cup of coffee, right? Well, start your morning off GREAT with a locally roasted and packed-fresh-daily coffee from Cabin Coffee. Experience a cabin-like atmosphere while enjoying your made-to-order coffee, latte, espresso or a cold drink (my favorite is the Twister Frappuccino). If coffee isn’t your thing,  the menu features a variety of other options including Italian Sodas, teas, hot chocolate, smoothies and more!  Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat… Choose from their famous cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins, butter biscotti, sandwiches, and more!

Thai Bistro

Thai Bistro & Sushi Bar offers a variety of traditional and modern Thai cuisine. Recently listed by the Des Moines Register as one of the ‘New Restaurants to Try in Iowa’.


Lorados, located right on the Plaza in Downtown Mason City, is where you will find great service AND the best Bloody Mary in town! Enjoy a relaxing lunch on the Plaza (Blackened Chicken Pasta Salad… YUMM) or partake in the nightlife atmosphere, including live music most weekends!

Mason City Brewing

Mason City Brewing

If you are looking for great craft beer, look no further than Mason City Brewing. With eight locally-brewed taps, there is surely something for everyone. Brews change regularly, check their Facebook page or website to see what new styles they have on tap.

FION BARRA Ales & Spirits

Classy and sophisticated, this is a great place for a low-key night and conversation. With over 40 wines, 35 imported microbrew beers, and 8 varieties of Japanese sake to choose from, there is something to satisfy every palate.  Simple menu offers options such as charcuterie, cheese board, and shrimp cocktail.

Prime & Wine


Enjoy yourself  with a bottle of wine and dinner sure to please. Choose from steak, pastas, sandwiches, fish, salads, soups and more. Staff’s personal favorite is the Cajun Chicken Pasta, spiced chicken tossed with linguini in an alfredo sauce, topped with tomato and onion – Can you say, YUM?!


Locally owned for over 20 years, Jitters offers many flavored lattes, coffee, smoothies, Italian sodas, pastries, teas and more! My personal favorite is the Vanilla Chi Tea.

Pasta Bella

Best Italian food around! Your mouth will be watering the second you walk through the doors. Start by ordering a glass of wine while enjoying their homemade bread when looking through their decadent menu. Lasagna, manicotti, cannelloni, ziti, tortellini, pizza…it’s never ending! If you’re as indecisive as I am give the pasta combo or sampler a try for a little bit of everything.

The Quarry

The Quarry

Choose from fresh seafood, salads, pasta, steak, sandwiches and more all while dining at the best outdoor eatery in town.

LD’s Filling Station

Breakfast for dinner? Sure, why not!?! Serving the best breakfast in town – all day long, LD’s Filling Station is a haven for car lovers with décor dedicated classic cars, muscle cars, domestic and imports. This menu features a great variety of selections – named for various autos and car parts, of course…  Grand Prix, Rambler, Ferrari, Mustang 2+2 and Peterbilt. But breakfast isn’t the only thing that will get your motor running… burgers, sandwiches, and home-style entrees are also available. Family-owned and family-friendly, LD’s Filling Station also offer great options for the kiddos. Open at 5am every morning, 7 days a week.

Fat Hill Brewing

Fat Hill Brewing

Mason City’s newest 7-barrell brewery offers a variety of locally-brewed crafts and sixteen taps – including ciders! Personal favorites include the Foreign Export Stout and the Wilson’s Orchard Cherry Crush Cider. Mix and match with a flight and then enjoy your favorite by the pint of take a taste of Mason City home with you in a crowler.

Pastime Gardens

Since 1955, Pastime Gardens has been the taco heaven of the Midwest! Indulge in an amazing, wholesome dining experience with homemade Mexican cuisine. If you’re a sampler foodie, stop in every Tuesday and Saturday afternoon for an a la carte meal. That’s right, try out a variety of options without a hefty price tag – Enjoy big flavors at small prices.

1910 Grille

1910 Grille

Experience fine dining in a historic landmark in Downtown Mason City- whether you’re looking for an intimate setting or casual dining you’ve stopped at the right place. Chef Kurt Nyfuard is sure to impress when serving up any meal on the menu. We recommend the Chicken Marsala or the Prime Rib Sandwich. Groups of 7 or more should call ahead of time to arrange reservations.

1910 Lounge

1910 Lounge

After dinner,  mosie downstairs to the 1910 Lounge for an after dinner drink. You’ll instantly feel relaxed with dim lighting, comfy seating and a scotch in hand.


Aroma of coffee beans and fresh baked scones will be sure to get  you in the door of Beanzy’s! Once inside choose from fresh handcrafted coffee drinks and made from scratch baked goods. Perfect atmosphere for reading or catching up on office work.

I would love to stay and chat, but my mouth is WATERING!

– Sincerely, your local #MasonCityIA Foodie

5 Breweries in North Iowa you have to Try!

It’s freezing outside and what better way  to spend cold winter evenings than enjoying yourself in one of five great breweries in or close to Mason City, Iowa.

Local? Great, try out a different brewery every week for a month

Visiting? Even better, try to hit all five on a weekend stay in #MasonCityIA

Mason City Brewing


Photo Credits: Mason City Brewing



Mason City Brewing

28 E State St.

Mason City, IA 50401



Thursday-Saturday: 5pm-11pm



Did you know,  Mason City Brewing is the first brewery to open in Mason City in 130 years? Try a beer  or a cider (my personal favorite is the Pineapple Hula Cider Boy!)  whichever you decide – you won’t be disappointed.


Photo Credits: Mason City Brewing

Next up is Fat Hill Brewing, only a two minute walk from Mason City Brewing


Fat Hill Brewing


Fat Hill Brewing 

17 N. Federal Ave

Mason City, IA 50401



Wednesday-Friday: 4pm-11pm

Saturday: Noon-11pm



Opened in December 2016, Fat Hill Brewing is a 7-barrel craft brewery across from Central Park in downtown Mason City. The brewery provides a  fun-hip atmosphere with  a variety of events such as food pairings, live music and more.

Photo Credits: Fat Hill Brewing

30 miles directly South of Mason City is Rustic Brew located in Hampton, Iowa.


Rustic Brew



Rustic Brew

117 1st St NW

Hampton, IA 50441

(641) 456-2141


Monday-Wednesday: 7:30am – 5pm 

Thursday: 7:30am – 7:30pm 

Friday – Saturday: 7:30am – 9:00pm 



Enjoy all of life’s finest things such as roasted coffees, craft beer, wonderful wine and rustic artistic decor. Assortment of soups and sandwiches are also available for dine in or take out. 

Photo Credits: Rustic Brew

Head on over to the Lake! Clear Lake, a neighboring community of Mason City is just a 40 minute drive from Hampton’s Rustic Brew. 


Lake Time Brewery                          


Photo Credits: Lake Time Brewing




Lake Time Brewery

801 Main Ave. Ste C

Mason City, IA 50401


Thursday  4pm-9pm

Friday 4pm-10pm

Saturday 2pm-10pm



Take a break, sit back and enjoy Lake Time at Lake Time Brewery in Clear Lake, a neighboring community just west of Mason City.  With a great location on the beautiful Clear Lake and offering 10 different beers on tap, including specialty and seasonal brews you too will see why so many people love ‘Lake Time’! All brews on tap are crafted specially for their  customer base and served in an inviting atmosphere that is conducive for conversation.


Photo Credits: Lake Time Brewery

Last stop – Jump on I-35 to Northwood, a  30 minute drive from Clear Lake- where Worth Brewing Company resides, a project of the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) in Mason City, Iowa


Worth Brewing Company


Photo  Credits: Worth Brewing



Worth Brewing Company

835 Central Ave

Northwood, IA 50459



Wednesday & Thursday


Friday 5pm-11pm

Saturday 12pm-11pm



Worth Brewing  Company started out in the Pappajohn’s Center at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) . Working with the Pappajohn’s Entrepreneurial Center (small business development) for nearly  ten years, Worth Brewing has not only expanded in recent years but serves hand-crafted, high quality, distinctive beers.


Photo Credits: Worth Brewing 

Now, back to Mason City for the night where more adventures await tomorrow!


Hotel Lodging in Mason City:

Ashley Inn

3451 S. Federal Ave – HWY 65 S.


Country Inn  & Suites

4082 4th St. SW – HWY 122 W.

641-423-1770 / 800-456-4000

Days Inn

2301 4th St. SW – HWY 122 W.

641-424-0210 / 800 329-7466

Decker House Bed & Breakfast

119 2nd St. SE


Hampton Inn & Suites

2111 4th St. SW


Historic Park Inn Hotel

7 W. State St.

641-422-0015 / 800-659-2220

Holiday Inn Express

3041 4th St. SW

641-424-1200 / 800-465-4329

 Quality Inn & Suites

410 5th St. SW – HWY 122 W.

641-423-4444 / 877-424-6423

Super 8

3010 4th St. SW – HWY 122 W.

641-423-8855 / 800-800-8000

Willow Inn

2781 4th St. SW – HWY 122 W.



16 Best Instagram Photos

16 Best Instagram Photos 

Before we say ‘see ya later’ 2016 – Check out 16 of the best Instagram photos, posted by others of Mason City, Iowa in 2016

1. “My view here @ NIACC. 💙💛 #Trojans


Captured By: @___miriamg

2. “Happy Wednesday! Taking a break from my flood of autumn photos today. Here are 2 favorite buildings from our road trip last summer. The #suzieqcafe, a #valentinediner and #thekirk, a #copperclad #victorianera apartment building in #masoncity #iowa. #roadtrip2016 “


Captured By: @beevco

3. No Caption Needed – Featuring: The Historic Park Inn


Captured By: @iowa_diecast

4. “What is this, a castle in Iowa? Practically!
#iowa #thisisiowa #architecture#masoncityiowa #americancastle#designgenius #WalterBurleyGriffin#canimovehere #dreamhouse #onlyiniowa#MelsonHouse” 


Captured By: Iowa_Journeys

 5. “It’s great to be home❄️🎄”


Captured By: @jrowe_7

6. “Racing is a matter of spirit, not strength.”
-Janet Guthrie 

Photo Credit: Buck Monson Photography

Image: North Iowa Event Center


Captured By: @northiowaeventscenter

7. “The first snow in @visitmasoncityiowa – East Park is quiet today as the winter season begins in #ThisIsIowa “


Captured By: @travelwithsara

8. “It’s December 4th and the snow finally decided to stick around!! I love how pure the snow looks right after it falls. I love how the trees look with those white flurries piled up on their branches. I love how people’s excitement is awakened when the earth turns white. Lastly, I love that God created snow, because He knew that it would make people happy on that first snowfall! Have a great Sunday y’all ❄❄” NIACC


Captured By: val.sorensen.9

9. “#hike #hiking #fun #outside#clouds #sky #blue

Lime Creek Nature Center


Captured By: @cdoop4

10.#eastpark #iowa #rivercity #fall#nature #naturephotography

East Park


Captured By: @jkscharper

11. “I looked at this statue from a different angle, both literally and metaphorically. Meredith Wilson was such a talent and as I took this photo, I saw his creative spirit by his raised hand and his head held high…”


Captured By: @lijbrod

12.”Christmas walk around my mom’s hometown”


Captured By: @margowinter

13.”Diaries of a Curly Toed Elf: Today’s theatre was in Mason City Iowa, which is also where The Music Man was filmed! How fun! Loved this windy, chilly city, and it’s warm hospitality!”


Captured By: @samanthamchenry

14.”If you’re a fan of “The Music Man,” you can visit the birthplace and boyhood home of playwright Meredith Willson in Mason City, Iowa. The Queen Anne style home dates from 1895 – you gotta love that eyebrow window!”


Captured By: @ourbrickstory

15.”Frank Lloyd Wright could do no wrong”


Captured By: @david1959


“Flight cancelled consolation prize – Iowa Broadway Baby: #themusicman#meredithwilson #seventysixtrombones “

Captured By: @schatzisf

Highlights of 2016

The New Year is almost here, and as many of you are contemplating on your newest resolutions,  we thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and revisit the ‘highlights of 2016’ in Mason City, Iowa.

River City Sculptures on Parade Arrived

The 2016 outdoor exhibit of Sculptures on Parade made their way Downtown in May of ’16. This exciting exhibit is the work of artists from all over the country and is displayed year-round.


The Great Race

The Great Race, hosted by VMC was  held Saturday, June 25, in conjunction with Cannonball Days. Hundreds of spectators made their way to East Park to see vintage/antique vehicles from the Great Race. The race began on June 18 in San Rafael, CA and finished in Moline, IL on June 26. As the drivers parked their vehicles, spectators had the chance to talk to the crew, take pictures and able to get autographs from the drivers! Staff and volunteers of Visit Mason City served  guests lunch before their departure. There were many compliments of lunch served, Mason City’s hospitality and BEAUTIFUL East Park. Guests and many Mason City residents enjoyed this event as well as volunteers and staff.


Willow Creek Waterfall Featured on the Ultimate Iowa Waterfall Road Trip

The Willow Creek Waterfall in Mason City was ranked #5 on the Ultimate Iowa Waterfall Road Trip. Travelers completing the waterfall road trip frequently stopped in at the Mason City Visitor Information Center  for directions to the waterfall. The waterfall road trip blog post created social media buzz all over the Midwest. The waterfall is located in the Rock Crest- Rock Glen Historic District and can be seen from the State Street Bridge.

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The Iowa Downtown Conference

The Iowa Downtown Conference took place in Mason City the first week of August. The conference brought in Main Street & downtown community members from all over  the state. During the conference there were seminars and workshops held in various venues throughout the Downtown District and focuses on downtown development. Mason City businesses benefited from tourism dollars as visitors were shopping and dining.

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River City Sculptures on Parade Announced 2017 People’s Choice Award

The votes were tallied up and the winner was announced -“Ralph Moose”, was named the 2017 People’s Choice. “Ralph Moose”, a sculpture of a shy moose will be added to the community’s permanent collection. The Moose  is now on permanent display in front of Moorman Clothiers.


Piano on the Plaza

Mason City natives, Tara Fitzpatrick and Joshua Brueggeman repurposed and created a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired piano.  The piano was donated by the Clarion Inn of Mason City and is located in the Downtown District out, on the Plaza.

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  Mason City Municipal Airport & Air choice One Offers Flights To Minneapolis

Air Choice One, a family owned and operated company  recently announced why will offer flights form Mason City to Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport. The new service will help grow tourism in Mason City, and offers residents of  Mason City and North Iowa Area accessible and affordable airfares to 3 major airports; Minneapolis-St.Paul, St. Louis-Lambert International and Chicago O’ Hare International.

The Historic Park Inn Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary

The Historic Park Inn celebrated their 5 year anniversary of the re-opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright Hotel in the world. Wright on the Park along with other organizations in the community such as Visit Mason City raised funds and received grants to make this multi-million dollar project happen. The hotel now provides  a 27-room boutique lodging, & HPI 1910 restaurant & lounge, ballroom and meeting space. Wright on the Park celebrated with many activities during the week including a murder mystery, speakeasy, glow run and more!  It was a fun week for residents in the community as well as out of town guests.

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The Historic Park Inn Named Outstanding Lodging Property

Congratulations were in order as the Historic Park Inn Hotel was named Outstanding Lodging Property at the 2016 Iowa Tourism Awards. The award ceremony took place on October 20th, 2016.

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Mason City Community Threatre Mural Completed

The Downtown District was brightened up  with a POP of color as the mural at the Mason City Community Theatre was completed.  A big thanks went out to Keely Hertzel and her amazing work!

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FAM Tour Iowa Group Travel Association

The IGTA FAM tour made it’s way to Mason City on the evening of October 31. Unfortunately the FAM group didn’t have time to spend a day in our community, but they enjoyed a full evening in Mason City. The group of 30 tour operators enjoyed a fantastic meal by the 1910 Grill as they dined in the ballroom of the Historic Park Inn. Visit Mason City, the host of this event,  presented 2 “River City Mystery” on the completion of their meal. The guests were to stop at attraction booths from Mason City & Clear Lake to receive clues after listening to information about each attraction. As the evening came to an end, the  guests stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Express. Visit Mason City’s main mission was to make their stay ‘memorable’ and we think we did just that!

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Iowa Journeys Filmed TV Episode of Mason City

Visit Mason City, brought on Iowa Journeys to film a TV episode of Mason City – showcasing attractions, quality of life and local  businesses.  Visit Mason City staff had fun showing the cast around town and filming the TV episode. The episode will be aired in the first quarter of 2017 (January – March).

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

November 18 kicked off the premier of ‘It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas’ at the Music Man Square. Friends and family shared the holiday spirit as they enjoyed the sights and sounds of the holiday season strolling down the 1912 streetscape, experiencing nostalgia and warm memories of Christmases past.

Did you know, this Christmas display right here in Mason City, Iowa is the longest running Christmas Tradition in all of Iowa?! Starting with the Friday after Thanksgiving and running all the way until the last weekend of December.

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‘Home For The Holiday Lights’

The first annual ‘Home For The Holiday Lights’ took place on November 26 – December 23, 2016. The celebration’s kick-off included lighting of the Central Park Tree, carolers singing and refreshments. Throughout the following weeks downtown business lights were display and voted on.

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The 31st Annual Tuba Christmas performed favorite Christmas carols with over 100 tubas, baritone, saxophone and euphonious musicians form across the state.  The performance took place at the Southbridge Mall on December 10, 2016.

We here at Visit Mason City, can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for #MasonCityIA

Have a safe and wonderful new year!


Experience 7 new Businesses of 2016 in #MasonCityIA

It’s time to stay, shop, drink and eat at these new to 2016 businesses! 

Hampton Inn & Suites – April 2016

Hampton Inn Hotel

Experience a relaxing and refreshing overnight stay in Mason City. The Hampton Inn (2111 4th St. SW) is located on the west side of Mason City, close to dining, retail and the North Iowa Events Center. An overnight stay is a quick commute to anywhere you want to go explore! Enjoy many amenities the hotel offers such as a pool, meeting rooms, business center and a fitness room.  Relax and refresh as you rest easy on a comfy bed and wake up rejuvenated. In the morning, wonder down for an amazing breakfast which offers a variety of cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, hot items and more!

Tried & True – May 2016

Photo Credits:  Tried & True’s Facebook Page 

Experience unique, second-hand finds and buys. Tried & True (1631 4th St. SW) is located in the Willowbrook Mall on the west side of town. Shop boutique women’s clothing that have been donated, with proceeds benefiting services for individuals with disabilities. Look fashionable while being money conscious!

Thai Bistro –  June 2016

  Photo Credits: Thai Bistro’s Facebook Page 

Experience a taste of traditional,  modern Thai food. Located next to Wok-N-Roll and across the road from First Citizens Bank in downtown Mason City, Thai Bistro (7 S. Delaware Ave) is a sushi restaurant you don’t want to miss! After skimming through their menu your mouth is guaranteed to be watering! A wide variety of soups, salads and desserts are also available.

Lucy & Olive – June 2016

Photo Credits: Lucy & Olive’s Facebook Page 

Experience unique shopping in downtown Mason City. Lucy and Olive (named after the owners’ dogs) is located on the northeast side of the plaza (7 S. Federal Ave), across from The Quarry. Shop a variety of unique items for any home. This boutique store specializes in lamps, candles, small furniture and electric pieces that fit anyone’s style!

TJ MAXX® – August 2016


Experience stylish brand-name apparel, shoes, accessories and houseware. The chain store is located next to Staples ® and Super Target ® on the west side of town. TJ Maxx (3410 4th St. SW)  is known for their brand names and discounted prices!

Beanzys – November 2016

Photo Credits: Beanzy’s  Facebook Page 

Experience the aroma of coffee beans and fresh baked scones. Beanzy’s (111 S. Delaware Ave.) is located in Downtown Mason City, next to FION BARA Wine Bar. This local downtown coffee shop is dedicated to provide the freshest handcrafted coffee drinks and scratch made baked goods in town! Perfect atmosphere for reading or catching up on office work in a relaxed setting,  drinking your favorite latte.

Fat Hill Brewing – December, 2016

Photo Credits: Fat Hill Brewing’s Facebook Page 

Experience live music, a brew and a variety of events in a historic downtown building. Located in the heart of downtown is Fat Hill Brewing(7N. Federal Ave) . A 7-barrel craft brewery, features 16 taps, and space for up to 140 patrons and a variety of live music and special events is sure to start any Friday or Saturday night off right! The taproom sells pints, flights, crowlers, growlers and kegs on request! The name Fat Hill Brewing is fitting in that it’s the English translation for our ‘Cerro Gordo’ county.

Christmas Time in #MasonCityIA

The weather is cool, people are jolly and snow is on the ground….yes, it’s that time of year,  it’s Christmas time! Mason City, is full of festive events this time of year, from holiday lights to joyous performance that will be sure to give you that warm, tingly feeling this holiday season!

 ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’

November 25- December 30, 2016

Music Man Square, 308 S. Pennsylvania Ave.

The longest running Christmas display in ALL OF IOWA, takes place right here in River City! In celebration of the holiday season the Music Man Square in transformed into a winter wonderland. Admire beautiful Christmas décor, trees, and window displays all alone the a 1912 Streetscape, with an ice cream  parlor and gift shop!  Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 1pm-5m & Friday 1pm-8pm. Closed Mondays & Holidays. Admission is $10 adults, $5 students; children 6 & under free.

“Home for the Holiday Lights”

November 26- December 23, 2016

Central Park, Downtown Mason City

Join us for a kickoff to the holidays at the first annual celebration, “Home for the Holiday Lights”! Take a night to admire holiday lights and shop local business in the downtown district of Mason City. The celebration is a multi-week event beginning with the lighting of the Central Park tree at 5:00pm Saturday, November 26. Santa and local dignitaries will be present for the kickoff! Carolers will provide holiday songs for sing-along and refreshments will be available at the event. Throughout the coming weeks people may vote for their favorite business’ Holiday Lights (via Home for the Holiday Lights Facebook Page). Results will be tallied and a trophy awarded to the top vote-getter, on December 23, 2016.

Designs under the Tree Craft Fair 

December 2-3, 2016

Friday: 10am-6pm, Saturday: 10am-4pm

First Covenant Church, 411 S. Ohio Avenue

Shop all your holiday favorites with a portion of the sales being donated to the Humane Society. Seasonal wreaths, silk and fresh evergreen floral, hand-dyed 100% silk scarves, original designed jewelry, cotton and wool quilted designs, tree ornaments, giftware and more!

 Christmas Tea 

December 3, 2016


The Decker House, 119 2nd St. SE

Enjoy Christmas Tea in a historic building, the Decker House (located next to the Music Man Square). A holiday high tea will be  served featuring 3 settings of scones, savories and desserts. Earl Grey Tea will be served in antique tea cups. Admission $15.00, plus tax. Reserve early for this popular event.


Joyful Christmas Performances

North Iowa Area Community College Auditorium, 500 College Drive

Broadway performance come to you live in Mason City, Iowa! Get into the Holiday spirit by singing along to festive Christmas performances!


‘Love for the Holidays’– December 3, 2016 at 7:30pm

Starring Darlene Love , an annual holiday tradition on the David Letterman Show singing her “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” hit song. Hers was the voice that helped launch hundreds of hits including the #1 “He’s a Rebel, (Today I Met) the Boy I’m Gonna Marry”, “A Marshmallow World”, and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love”.

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’– December 6, 2016 at 6:30pm

Rudolph and his friends soar off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. From fleeing the Abominable Snow Monsters to saving Christmas, join Rudolph® and his friends as their adventures teach us that what makes you different can be what makes you special.

Holiday Pops– December 10, 2016 at 2pm & 7pm

From the creator of Candlelight Christmas comes a new locally produced show for the holiday season. Enjoy music from pop to swing with large choral numbers!

Christmas Celebration-  December 20, 2016 at 7:30pm

Four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of country hits and earned them Grammy®, Dove, CMA, and ACM® awards.

Off the Clock Holiday Edition

December 9, 2016


MacNider Art Museum, 302 2nd St. SE

Mingle with friends  as you explore the beautiful museum filled with a variety of galleries and Bil Baird’s puppets from the ‘ Sound of Music’!  Complimentary wine and appetizers are available throughout the event, in addition to live music by Sam Crosser.  Free admission and open to the public.


Holiday Open House

December 10, 2016


MacNider Art Museum, 302 2nd St. SE

Family fun free holiday event! Children’s activities available during the event such as meeting Santa Claus, make and take activities and more! Adults, can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the MacNider and view beautiful art and watching their young ones have fun with others!


We hope you all have a blessed Holiday Season! For more events and information about Mason City, Iowa >>>  www.visitmasoncityiowa.com


Cannonball 357 holiday lights are up!

Located in East Park, Mason City Iowa

If you’re from Mason City, IA – You should be Thankful for…

The Holidays are such a special time of the year – from the food, music, full hearts and seeing those relatives you only get to see once a year! But, this year be Thankful for just a few more things, like the great community you live in –  Mason City….

Volunteers in the Community 

Have you ever noticed how clean and kept-up our parks and public areas of the community are? If you haven’t, you definitely should, and you may have more of an appreciation for all the volunteer hours that go into this community. Picking up trash, donations, charity events and walking animals at the Humane Society are all part of giving back. Here at the Visit Mason City Center we’ve been blessed with 1288.50 volunteer hours in just the past year and we are so appreciative of those who volunteer at our office. Volunteering not only helps out the community but gives yourself appreciation of giving back. If you’re interested in volunteering in Mason City >> Mason City Volunteer Opportunities 

Image result for volunteering in mason city iowa

Volunteers from Mason City Volunteer Center Photo Credit: Mason City Volunteer Center 

Mason City Attractions

Mason City is booming with a variety of great attractions! As a Mason City resident,  have you visited all of the attractions in your community? If not, it’s definitely time!

If you didn’t already know,  Mason City is home to Meredith Wilson, who is the composer of the “Music Man”! The Music Man Square attracts in visitors from all over who are huge fans of Willson’s many works! Have you taken your family there yet? This is such a great day activity to break up the monotony of a Saturday afternoon!


Mason City is a ‘hot bed’ for world-class architecture. Did you know that we have the largest Prairie-style architecture in the world? In fact, the only remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed hotel – This Historic Park Inn is located right in the heart of our downtown.  Again, visitors from all over the world travel to Mason City to tour an stay in this one-of-a-kind historic architecture treasure! If you’re looking for a weekend stay, call up a sitter and enjoy weekend in this hotel.  Learn more about Mason City architectural significance


In addition to musical heritage and remarkable architecture, Mason City offers many other great attractions including Cannonball 457,  Lime Creek Nature Center, and MacNider Art Museum. Click here to learn More! 

The Performing Arts

The North Iowa Performing Arts Series is not only fantastic, but it’s  affordable and close to home! Performances take place at the North Iowa Auditorium located at NIACC. Take a look at the catalog and purchase tickets to a few shows you want to see, but be quick, shows sell out fast! – BE THANKFUL – you can see award-winning Broadway shows right here at home!


Community Events 

Community events are a HUGE part of living in a great community.  From family fun, workshops and fundraisers, events bring everyone together and create fun and a strong community.  Below are a few favorite community events that are held annually in Mason City.

North Iowa Band Festival is what Mason City is ALL ABOUT – this event celebrates our community’s musical heritage!  This annual music festival,  held over Memorial Day Weekend, features free music, entertainment and various types of events for young and the young at heart.  Festivals includes a carnival, craft market, car show and plenty of food for the whole family! The parade is held Saturday with the route starting at North Pennsylvania Avenue, along East State Street to South Illinois.

North Iowa Annual Band Festival

North Iowa Annual Band Festival

Cannonball Day is held in East Park (East State Street), ttraditionally the fourth Saturday of June.  Lots of fun activities during this annual celebration of the Cannonball457: Kid’s Fun Run, Pedal Tractor Pull, Bill Riley  Talent Search, inflatables, Smoky the train rides and evening entertainment. The Lions Club chicken BBQ is held all day from 9:30am-9:30pm – YUM!

Cannonball 457

Cannonball 457

The Great River City Festival is a great kick-off to the Fall season. The festival, hosted by Main Street Mason City, is held at Central Park in Downtown Mason City. The festival is typically held the third weekend of September. Friday enjoy an  Ethnic Lunch during the day and a pub crawl, live music and street vendors in the evening. Saturday, a re-enactment of the Dillinger Bank Robbery is performed at three different times, along with kids games, and the Craft Beer Shindig & Street Food Fair hosted by Mason City Brewing! This is a fun event for families and young adults to engage with their community and have fun with friends!

 It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas is a must-see during the Holiday Season! Held at The Music Man Square, (308 S. Pennsylvania Ave), starting the Friday after Thanksgiving to the last day of December. A lively, animated holiday display features music by composer, and Mason City native, Meredith Wilson, including his holiday classic “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”

To view all event happenings in #MasonCityIA >> Mason City’s  Calendar of Events 

Remember, to be Thankful this Holiday Season –  We hope you enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family  and eat entirely TOO MUCH FOOD, from all of us at Visit Mason City! 

Halloween Fun In and Nearby Mason City, Iowa

Halloween Fun In and Nearby Mason City, Iowa

I don’t know about you, but Halloween is one of my favorites! From movies such as “Hocus Pocus” to haunted houses and…. the fact that it’s  socially acceptable to dress and be whomever you want on this one day of the year! – I LOVE it all!

If you’re a Halloween Guru like myself,  check out these Halloween favorites in and nearby Mason City Iowa. 

Lime Creek’s Halloween Hike

Lime Creek Nature Center,  3501 Lime Creek Road, Mason City, IA 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016; 6:30pm-8:30pm

Admission: $3/Person 


Photo Credit: Lime Creek Nature Center  

Looking for an educational-friendly Halloween event for the whole family to enjoy? Lime Creek Nature Center will host their Halloween Hike on Wednesday, October 26 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. The woods at Lime Creek come alive with all kinds of interesting creatures with  environmental messages to tell. Groups will be led by a trail guide, and refreshments will follow the hike. Youngsters ages 10 and under are invited to participate in a costume contest. Reservations are required, call 641-423-5309 to reserve your spot.  http://bit.ly/2dmwBAu

D&D Ranch Haunted Hike & Zombie Paintball

2532 S. Shore Dr. Clear Lake, IA

Friday/Saturday’s in October – Starting October 7 & 8, 2016; 7pm

Admission: $10/Person -Hike $15 /Person-Paintball

Photo Credit: D&D Haunted Hike 

Haunted Hike 

D & D Ranch is located outside Clear Lake on the homeowners ranch. The Ranch offers a haunted house that is quite amazing! It may be a little frighting for youngsters but recommended for teens and up. Groups start out watching a scary movie while waiting their turn to go into the Haunted Hike. Once called upon groups will be led through the haunted hike by holding onto a rope, then at the end you must complete a haunted maze to get out! Haunted Hike begins at 7pm and ends at 11pm.

Zombie Paintball

Zombies have officially overtaken the Haunted Hike – build your team, board the zombie assault vehicle and eliminate as many zombies as possible! Starting at 7pm you can reserve your group’s spot to partake in Zombie Paintball! Reservations are required (641-357-1695)  www.thedanddranch.com

Rudd’s Haunted House

501 Floyd Street Rudd, IA – Rudd’s Community Center 

Admission: $6/Person – House of Horrors

Children Under the age of 10 – Should be accompanied by an Adult 

Dates: October 21 & 22/ 28 & 29

Time: 6:30pm-10:30pm

 Children Activities: Mini Haunted House: $1/ Game room: .25 cents/ticket


The Rudd House of Horrors is my ultimate favorite haunted house! I’ve been going to this haunted house annually since the age of 10.  At this haunted house you will definitely get your money’s worth! Filled with terror, fun and chainsaws! After being led by a rope though the maze, enjoy a a bowl of soup, a sandwich, and pop in the kitchen. Also, if you have littles with you, there is a kid’s maze and games in a few of the center’s rooms. This is a great event for youngsters or a night out with your friends!

Boogie & the YoYoz at the Historic Surf Ballroom

Surf Ballroom, 460 N. Shore Dr. Clear Lake, IA

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Admission: $15 advanced/ $20 door (Must be 21)

Looking to get into costume, have some drinks, and listen to live music with friends this Halloween? This may be the perfect fit for you! First of all, soak in the iconic Surf Ballroom the final concert site of Buddy Holly, and one of the last remaining ballrooms in the Midwest. The Ballroom will be dressed up for the occasion, with decorations, drinks and  a costume contest – all while, Boogie & the YoYoz  are performing! Boogie & the YoYoz, is a good time, playing all of your favorite music from all genres. Later in the evening 10-15 people (or costume groups) will be invited up on stage, while the audience cheers for the best costume! Concert goers must be 21 or older. http://www.surfballroom.com

Planning to partake in any of these fun events this Halloween? Be sure to be safe if drinking – Call a cab & book a hotel room for the night! Mason City, IA is centrally located to all of these fun Halloween events. For Mason City lodging accommodations >>>  http://bit.ly/2ddP0Ky

The First Day of Autumn is Here!


Today is the first day of autumn. I personally love this time of year,  the leaves are changing color, the fresh air is cool against your face, and football games are played on both Saturday & Sunday !

Along with the the beautiful scenery North Iowa has during this season there are many fun activities to do in #MasonCityIA. A personal favorite of mine is exploring the great outdoors.  From Sculptures on  Parade to Lime Creek Nature Center, there are many things to see and do. Below are my top 4 favorite things to do in #MasonCityIA during the Autumn season. 


River City Sculptures on Parade

The River City Sculptures on Parade are located in various locations in downtown Mason City .Click here to download the River City Sculpture Map 


The River City Sculptures on  Parade is an exciting exhibit of outdoor sculptures displayed year-round. Delight in the sights and sounds of downtown Mason City while experiencing the unique sculpture works of artists from all over the country. The self guided tour starts in the downtown district and loops through the cultural crescent which includes historical architecture, art museum, public library, and The Music Man Square.

Lime Creek Nature Center 

A public conservation facility nestled atop the limestone bluffs of the Winnebago River. The center features a variety of displays about the wildlife and natural resources of North Iowa. An outdoor amphitheater, hands-on nature displays and over nine miles of trails through prairie, forest and wetland habitat provide remarkable experiences.

East Park

East Park is a beautiful area that offers several children’s playgrounds, shelter houses, a gazebo, and the largest wooden maze in Mason City. Enjoy a scenic walk around the park or have a picnic outing in one of their many shelter houses. 


Music Man Footbridge

The bridge is named in honor of Meredith Willson, Mason City native and internationally renowned composer. This bridge spans across Willow Creek and is featured on the Prairie School Architectural Tour/ Historical Walking Tour. 

 The music man footbridge connects 2nd St. SE in Mason City over Willow Creek connecting River Heights Drive and South Connecticut Ave.  

Happy Exploring! 

Friday Night Live, The Great River City Festival, Beer Shindig and More!

If you weren’t in Mason City, Iowa this past weekend you really missed out! From Friday Night Live to the Iowa Independent Film Festival, there was a was a lot of GREAT fun packed into the weekend…! 

Starting with the Ethnic Lunch from 11am to  1pm with lots of vendors in Central Park. Followed by Friday Night Live from 6pm-10pm, beer and food for sale, inflatables for children and a live band – The Chocolate Crackers, And Man, they rocked! Below is a picture of the main vocalist – who stopped by the Visit Mason City selfie station before taking the stage! 


Lead Vocalist (The Chocolate Crackers) stops and take a selfie at the Visit Mason City’s Selfie Station before his performance at Friday Night Live


Visit Mason City’s booth at Friday Night Live

While the town was celebrating the Great River City Festival, the Iowa Independent Film Festival was being held just next door at the Historic Park Inn on Friday, September 16 – Sunday, September 18.   Public screenings of 30 new feature-length, documentary, short art films, and student productions were shown. Tanna Frederick was present with  her cutting edge virtual reality film which earlier this year was screened at the Sundance festival in Switzerland.


Saturday was filled with fun –  family activities from 10am-4pm with live music all day, a craft show, photo-booth, root-beer floats, prizes and more!


The Dillinger bank robbery was reenacted three times on Saturday at 10am, 1pm and 3pm at National City Bank in downtown Mason City. Photo credit of Main Street Mason  City

The annual Craft Beer Shindig and Street Food Fair made for an enjoyable afternoon for manyLots of craft beer, ciders and fried food for all!


Downtown Mason City – Mason City Brewery Shindig and Street Food Festival

For someone who is not a HUGE fan of craft beer, I enjoyed the event- as there were many ciders that I liked! My favorites were ‘The Grand Mimoso’ and the ‘Pineapple Hulu’ – YUMM!

Downtown was thriving Saturday Night and the street was packed with people. The Quarry and Lorados also had a great turnout out on the Plaza!

If you missed this weekend for whatever reason, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year. Typically, this event is held the third weekend of September.