Just 10 miles apart, these neighbors have distinct personalities (120 miles north of Des Moines).
Stockman House
Stockman House
| Credit: Ginger Crichton

Rock and roll history and lake fun anchor Clear Lake; Mason City is great for architecture buffs.


Stockman House and Robert E. McCoy Architectural Interpretive Center

Frank Lloyd Wright's 1908 Stockman House illustrates how Prairie School style suited middle-class homes. The interpretive center next door shows a video on Wright's influence in Mason City. stockmanhouse.org

The Music Man Square

Tour the childhood home of Meredith Willson, who wrote and composed The Music Man, and see a replica of the 1962 movie's streetscape. The Music Man Square on Facebook

Surf Ballroom Clear Lake Iowa
Credit: Courtesy of Travel Iowa

The Surf Ballroom and Museum

In Clear Lake, big-name concerts typically pack the venue best known for the gig Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper played before all three died in a 1959 plane crash in northern Iowa. Self-guided tours are also available year-round. surfballroom.com

Eat and Drink

Northwestern Steakhouse

Enjoy melt-in-your-mouth steak in a cozy atmosphere in Mason City. Northwestern Steakhouse on Facebook

PM Park

This Clear Lake spot looks a little plain, but the cheerful cafe's breakfast is good. PM Park on Facebook

The Historic Park Inn Hotel
Historic Park Inn Hotel
| Credit: Ginger Crichton


Historic Park Inn

The best stay in town is the world's only surviving Wright-designed hotel. historicparkinn.com

More information: Visit Mason City visitmasoncityiowa.com and Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce clearlakeiowa.com