Mason City is the hub of North Iowa. It is full of shopping, recreation and rich in architectural and music history. Located just east of I-35 and a few miles north of the Avenue of the Saints (Highway 18), Mason City is where many people in the surrounding communities come to work, shop and play.
Even though Mason City has a population of 28,100 people, it has many opportunities that many towns this size don’t have. Some of this is thanks to the major employers in the region.
The largest employer is Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa. This hospital is ranked as one of the top 100 cardiac hospitals in the country. Mercy has the best of all worlds. The friendly atmosphere of a small-town hospital with the technologies and services offered by large hospitals in bigger cities.
Other major employers in Mason City include Principal Financial, Kraft Foods Jello & Pudding plant, Curries & Graham door manufacturing, and Woodharbor cabinet manufacturing.
For shopping, you can find almost every major box store. This makes shopping in Mason City something that draws people from the surrounding area. There are also many restaurants as well that allow you to be able to choose from authentic Mexican to Chinese and barbeque to traditional American.
Entertainment options are large in Mason City too. North Iowa Area Community College has many different shows from small locally produced ones to shows on national tours. A large movie theater complex with some special LDX recliner seating theaters is a great place to catch the latest Hollywood show. If you are into hockey, the North Iowa Bulls, a minor league hockey team, is sure to entertain.
Mason City has a rich history of music and architecture. The city is also dubbed “River City” as Mason City is the boyhood home of Meredith Wilson, writer star of “The Music Man.” In fact, Mason City was the town that Meredith Wilson modeled the musical after.
Because Meredith Wilson is a large part of Mason City’s history, every Memorial Day weekend the city celebrates Band Festival. Band Festival is a community celebration that features marching bands from across the Midwest. There are also many musical performances that go on throughout the weekend along with a carnival.
Another famous connection that Mason City has is to Frank Lloyd Wright. There is a strong architectural history of Mason City. Many homes are built in prairie style architecture. The start of these home styles was from Frank Lloyd Wright. Two of his structures remain in Mason City today. Frank Lloyd Wright-designed both the Stockman House and the Park Inn Hotel. The Park Inn Hotel is the last remaining hotel that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
With Mason City being so close to I-35, getting to the larger cities of Minneapolis or Des Moines is an easy 2-hour drive. If you are traveling farther, you can catch a flight out of the Mason City Municipal Airport.