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2024 is a leap year! To celebrate, here are 29 ways to spend your Leap Day in North Iowa. There are plenty of places to shop, eat, explore, and even a couple of special events!

Shop

Mason City is home to many local businesses that offer a wide variety of goods to shop:

(1) Simply Nourished (pictured) is a popular place to get produce and housewares. Right next door, you can explore (2) Three Bells Books, a new bookstore that has a large variety of books, so there’s sure to be something for everyone! (3) Affordables is a great place to go thrifting. Selections change every day, so stop in often to find something you like. Check out (4) Leaf Green Gaming for lots of rare and vintage video games and consoles, as well as newer items. They also sell trading cards for many popular series (Pokémon, Magic the Gathering, Yu Gi-Oh!).

Dine

There are tons of tasty options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at local restaurants in Mason City:

Why make breakfast at home when (5) Three on the Tree Café (pictured) and (6) LD’s Filling Station both offer everything breakfast. LD’s is also open later in the day with more menu options. For lunch or dinner, grab some pizza at (7) The Corner Pizza & Alehouse, Pipe Dream Pizza, or Godfather’s. Each of these joints use locally sourced Iowa ingredients, so be sure to give them your support! (8) The Happy Donkey is located in downtown Mason City and serves authentic Mexican cuisine in a lively atmosphere. For dessert, why not get some ice cream at (9) The Olde Creamery or Birdsall’s? The Olde Creamery has several locations in North Iowa (Mason City, Clear Lake, Garner).

Get Creative

North Iowa is a very artistic community and the surrounding area offers even more to explore:

(10) Pottery on the Plaza (pictured) is a paint-your-own-pottery studio, perfect for all ages who want to watch their creations come to life. Pottery on the Plaza will officially close on March 16th, so please stop by and support them this Leap Day before they are gone! (11) MacNider Art Museum is one of our biggest attractions and right now (12) Kim Bromley: Monet’s Garden is open to the public! You can also visit the (13) Clear Lake Arts Center which houses galleries from both local and regional artists. In Forest City, there is an (14) Art Gallery at Waldorf University available to the public 8 AM – 10 PM. On February 29th, the (15) Regional Arts Forum in Decorah will take place from 2 PM – 5 PM. The Iowa Arts Council is hosting this event as an opportunity for our growing local artists. Visit their website for more details.

Enjoy Nature

Take advantage of the warm weather this month with some outdoor activities on Leap Day:

Spring seems to have come a little early this year! Enjoy the nice weather by embracing our beautiful (16) Lime Creek Nature Center (pictured). Hike the trails and discover the diversity of nature in North Iowa. Also in Mason City, (17) MacNider’s Woods is located along the north bank of Willow Creek. This trail connects Parker’s Woods to our downtown area. In Forest City, (18) Pilot Knob State Park is one of Iowa’s earliest state park systems, featuring unique landscapes, a variety of trails, and the main attraction: the observation tower. (19) Pikes Peak State Park, located in McGregor, is one of Northeast Iowa’s most scenic locations with views of the Mississippi River and over 11 miles of trails and valleys.

Activities

There are a few events happening on Leap Day this year, and more fun places to visit:

(20) NIACC Enfolding Cranes, Enfolding Community is an exhibit located at North Iowa Area Community College in the Activity Center. Through July 31st, students and the public can view over 10,800 hand-folded cranes representing Iowans who lost their lives to COVID-19. The NIACC Activity Center is open 7:15 AM – 4:15 PM on weekdays. North Iowa has several movie theaters including (21) Cinema West Theatre in Mason City and Lake Theatre in Clear Lake. Make plans for a movie night or enjoy a daytime show! You can also plan a night of family-friendly mini-golf at (22) River City Mini Golf in Southbridge Mall. There are 18 holes of indoor mini-golf at this location, with themes ranging from trucks to pets to farms! (23) Country Axe is a recreational ax throwing facility that is family-owned and operated, also located in Southbridge Mall. Or why not enjoy a spa day at (24) Bare Sugar Med Spa, a state-of-the-art medical spa created to help people love the way they look. (25) NIP Fitness has three locations in the Mason City and Clear Lake area. They are known as a great spot for weightlifting, plus each location features a smoothie bar!

On February 29th from 5 – 9 PM, Roller City is hosting a (26) Bonus Family Skate! Bring your whole family for a fun night of roller skating for only $15! (27) Together Thursdays is a weekly event at the Mason City Public Library that lands on Leap Day! Enjoy different activities every week September through May. Fat Hill Brewing is also hosting (28) Bingo on Leap Day this year. There will be 15 rounds and small prizes from local businesses with big prizes for the first and last round (must be 21+ to play). Lastly, (29) Brix Wine & Whiskey (pictured) is hosting a ridiculous Leap Day Party beginning at 7 PM!

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