Aug 27, 2022 - Things to Do

Where to eat, stay and play in Mason City, 2 hours from Des Moines

exterior of The Historic Park Inn Hotel

The Historic Park Inn Hotel. Photo: Jim Kruger

Spend a peaceful weekend in Mason City, home of Music Man Square and “Stockman House” designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • Here's what to do and where to eat, drink and stay.

Where to stay

1. The Historic Park Inn Hotel

No two rooms are alike in the last remaining hotel designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • Features: 27 guest rooms of varying shapes and sizes, guided tours about the building's history and renovation, on-site bar and restaurant
  • Rate: $101+ per night
  • Address: 15 W. State St.
skylight room at upscale hotel
Photo: Jim Kruger
king suite bedroom
Photo: Jim Kruger
bedroom of suite
Photo: Jim Kruger

2. Hideaway House

Relax in this cozy cabin that blends modern updates with rustic charm.

  • Features: Fully stocked hickory kitchen, smart TV, free driveway parking, washer and dryer, Wifi, patio
  • Rate: $105+ per night
  • Location: Mason City
updated kitchen with stainless appliances
Photo courtesy of Airbnb
open living and dining area
Photo courtesy of Airbnb
corrugated rustic facade of building
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Where to eat

1. The Quarry

Treat yourself to fresh seafood and top-quality steak at this inviting spot that boasts a breezy patio.

seared scallops on arugala
Photo: The Quarry

2. The Draftsman

This basement bar is a gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, with billiards games, pop-up live music and $5 burger night on Wednesdays.

lower level bar at Historic Park Inn Hotel
Photo: Jim Kruger

3. Birdsall's Ice Cream

Grab a scoop at this iconic ice cream shop that's been in the same Mason City location since 1931.

  • Summer hours: Monday-Friday 12pm-10pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-10pm
  • Non-summer hours: Tuesday-Friday 4pm-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 12pm-9pm
  • Address: 518 N. Federal Ave.

What to do

1. Tour The Music Man Square

Experience the life and works of Meredith Willson, the Mason City native best remembered for his Broadway musical "The Music Man." Admission is $10 for adults or $5 for students.

Playbills reading "The Music Man"
Photo: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

2. Explore the Stockman House

Get a first-hand view of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture and his impact on Mason City. Tours cost $10 per person.

3. Catch a show at Mason City Brewing

Sip small batch beer while you partake in free trivia nights or enjoy live music and comedy events. Check the schedule.

  • Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 5pm-10pm, Friday 5pm-11pm, Saturday 2pm-11pm
  • Address: 28 E. State St.
bunch of brews on a platter
Photo courtesy of Mason City Brewing

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Des Moines.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Des Moines stories

No stories could be found

Des Moinespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more