9 FREE Activities in Mason City, IA

9 FREE Activities to Take Advantage of when Traveling to

 Mason City, Iowa

mason city iwa

Whether you’re here visiting some of Mason City’s fantastic attractions or just visiting family and friends – Here are 9 inside secrets to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Visit Mason City Information Center 

Located at 2021 4th St. SW  – This is one stop you don’t want to miss when starting your trip. At the Visitor Center, you will find an array of brochures and free information about local attractions, entertainment and local community events. A friendly staff member will greet you at the door and point out all of the must-sees, lodging, dining /shopping information, driving directions and so much more! Grab a FREE Mason City Travel Guide and look for a FREE souvenir coupon- (HINT, HINT). The Visitor Center is staffed: M-F 8-4:30am. 24-hour access to maps, brochures and information is available.


Prairie Playground East Park

Prairie Playground, located at East Park, (East State St.) is the largest outdoor play area in Mason City. The wooden maze will be sure to burn off energy, and the shelter houses make a perfect place to eat a snack, lunch or have a picnic.


Cannonball 457

After burning off some energy and with a full tummy, walk over to the Cannonball 457, east side of Prairie Playground (East Park, East State St), before exiting the park. The Cannonball 457 was built in 1912 and is the last remaining Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway steam locomotive. The “Cannonball” has been restored to reflect its appearance in the late 1920’s. The Cannonball 457 is a fun stop for any age – take pictures and admire this historical site!  Mason City is also home to Iowa Traction Railroad, the only remaining organization that still uses electric locomotives to haul freight in regular service in the United States. Visitors can see an electric freight-hauling locomotive in operation on almost any day while traveling on 19th St. SW / County Rd B 35.

Cannonball 2016 from Friends 457

Music Man Footbridge/ Meredith Wilson

The Music Man Footbridge is named in honor of Mason City native Meredith Wilson, an internationally renowned composer.  The Footbridge is located on 2nd St. SE in Mason City over Willow Creek – connecting River Heights Drive and South Connecticut Ave.


Charles H. MacNider Art Museum

The Charles H. MacNider Art Museum (303 2nd St. SE) houses a permanent collection of American art, the famous Bil Baird Puppets and an impressive range of ceramics. Admission is FREE  for a self-guided tour. The museum offers changing exhibits, films, studio classes, special events, Imagination Playground and a gift museum shop.

Prairie School Architectural Tour

Enjoy a leisurely walk while taking in the largest group of Prairie School designed homes on an unified site. The self-guided tour is FREE, walking tour books are available for $5 at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, The Music Man Square, Mason City Visitor Information Center and Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House.  The tour encompasses 14 blocks and the Historical Tour is an additional 13 blocks beginning at 303 2nd St. SE. Explore and be amazed when walking in the Rock Crest-Rock Glen Historical District.  Architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, William Drummond, Francis Barry Byrne and more.

Mason City Veterans Monument in Central Park

Located in Central Park (West State St.) is the Mason City Veterans Monument. The monument honors over 3,300 veterans with Mason City connections. Standing 8 feet high and weighing 4,000 pounds it features 12 Black India Granite stones!

Mason City Vetrans Monument

River City Sculpture on the Parade

River City Sculptures on  Parade are located in various parts of Downtown Mason City. The outdoor exhibit is on display year-round. The self guided tour starts Downtown and loops through the Cultural Crescent which includes historic architecture, art museum, public library and the Music Man Square. Tour map is available at the Visit Mason City Center.


Lime Creek Nature Center

Nestled atop the limestone bluffs of the Winnebago River is the Lime Creek Nature Center; (located at 3501 Lime Creek RD; HWY. 65 N). The Nature Center features a variety of educational exhibits on wildlife and natural resources in Northern Iowa.  An outdoor amphitheater, hands-on nature displays and over nine miles of trails through prairie, forest and wetland habitat provide fun experiences for everyone. FREE Admission

After your day or days visiting Mason City we hope you found this helpful, as there are many other attractions to see and do. But, sometimes it’s nice to have a couple FREE activities in the itinerary. For more information on what all Mason City has to offer and lodging information please visit: http://www.visitmasoncityiowa.com

We hope you enjoy your visit to Mason City!


About visitmasoncityiowa

Mason City, Iowa is best known as the hometown of "The Music Man", Meredith Willson. This charming town also showcases Prairie School Architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and is home to the only remaning hotel in the world designed by Wright. The largest selection of Bil Baird puppets can also be found right here in Mason City, located in North Central Iowa.

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