8 Free Things To Do In Mason City, Iowa In The Winter

Winter can be long and dark in the midwest and it doesn’t have to be that way. Look around in your own backyard and you may be surprised at what you find. Music and architecture enthusiasts will appreciate what North Iowa has to offer. Mason City, Iowa is where Meredith Willson’s Boyhood home and several Frank Lloyd properties can be found. Here are 8 free things that you can experience in Mason City, Iowa in the thick of winter.

Charles H MacNider Art Museum

The gallery at one of the most recognized art museums in the midwest. the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, offers a stunning staircase.

Art Museum Mason City Iowa

Here you can experience Bill Baird’s World of Puppets, as well as several other thought-provoking works of art. Each piece has a description and the artist’s name nearby. Free to stroll through and get your creative juices flowing. Tip: Plan a different event on Monday, as the museum is closed on this day.

Today’s Your Day: Southbridge Mall

If creative balloon designs excite you, look no further than a stop in Southbridge Mall. Here you will find unique balloon creations designed with you in mind!

Todays Your Day Mason City Iowa

The stunning designs that Lisa has created will wow you.

River City Sculptures On Parade

Dress warm and stroll around town viewing the stunning River City Sculptures on Parade. A variety of sculptures are located in the historic downtown area. Tip: Plan a minimum of 45 minutes to take them all in.

Music Man Square

Music Man Square is home to the 1912 River City Streetscape and Meredith Willson’s Boyhood Home.

Music Man Square Street Scape

There is no cost to take photos of Meredith Willson’s Boyhood Home, which is a historical site in Mason City. Should you want to visit the Streetscape, Museum & the inside of Meredith Willson’s Boyhood Home, tickets are available when you walk through the doors at Music Man Square. Plan a minimum of one and a 1/2 hours to visit the museum and tour the home. Tip: Can you count the 76 Trombones on display?

Mason City Public Library

The Mason City Public Library is a state of the art library in North Iowa. The children’s room is family friendly with books for all ages. Genealogy enthusiasts and history fans will love digging through the historical areas of the library. If a new book has been on your radar, this may be the time to check out a book or two to cozy up around the fireplace

Live Music at Brew Pubs

Two breweries have recently popped up on the scene downtown Mason City. Mason City Brewing and Fat Hill Brewing both offer free live music throughout the winter season. Gather up some friends and family and head out for an evening of music in River City. You Knew Me When is a local favorite when they are in town!

Fat Hill Brewing Mason City

Historic Park Inn Hotel

The Historic Park Inn Hotel is located in the heart of Mason City. Swing in to view the beautiful architecture that Frank Lloyd Wright offers guests at this historic property.

Park Inn Hotel

From the beautiful windows to the low ceilings, you will feel as though you are in a different period of time.

Meredith Willson Footbridge

Take a walk across the Meredith Willson Footbridge and take a “selfie” part way across. This beautiful bridge spans across Mason CIty’s Willow Creek. Tip: A “selfie” with snow falling is always fun!

Sara Footbridge feature image


These are 8 free things to do while in Mason City over winter. Mason City is my hometown and I can tell you, if you spend a little bit of time in your own backyard, you will be pleasantly surprised. The Charles H MacNider Art Museum is a favorite of ours. With the changing exhibits and events throughout the year, it’s a place we visit several times a year. Each visit, we experience something new. When is the last time you played tourist in your own backyard?

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Sara is a travel enthusiast that resides in North Iowa. You can find her traveling where the plane, train, ship, or car will go. Are you looking to take a road trip? Sara has solutions for you!

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