Surf Ballroom & Museum

Surf Ballroom & Museum

460 North Shore Dr.
Clear Lake, IA 50428
(641) 357-6151
“The day the music died.” The final concert site of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and one of the last remaining ballrooms in the Midwest.  Located less than a block to the west of the Surf Ballroom is Three Stars Plaza which features a central art sculpture honoring the rock and roll icons.  The feature is especially striking at night when the neon lights glow.
Directions to Crash Site:  From US Hwy 18, go north on N. 8th St. in Clear Lake for 4.7 miles.  When the paved road (which turns into Grouse Ave) turns to your left (west), take the gravel road (310th St) to  your right (east), then immediately left (north) on Gull Ave.  Follow Gull Ave to the north for one-half mile, just past the grain bins to the first fence row on your left (west).  Walk along the fence row towards the west for just under one-half mile.  A small memorial is located at the place the plane came to rest.  Four trees were also planted along the fence row in 1999, one for each performer and the pilot. The memorial is located on private property.  Visitors are asked to respect their rights while visiting “The Place The Music Died.”
Mon.-Fri. 8am-4pm
Memorial Day-Labor Day: Mon.-Fri. 8am -4pm; Sat. 9am – 1pm; Sun. 1pm – 4pm or by appointment year round
$5 suggested donation for self guided tour

Group Tour Information
Group Tour Hours of Operation: Regular hours plus other times by appointment for motorcoach tours only.
Group Admission Rate: $8 per person for narrated tour and video; additional $1 per person includes snack.
Group Tour Size: 30 minimum and 95 maximum.
Guided Tours Available: Yes, reservations required (2-week notice).
Length of Tour: 60 minutes minimum and 90 minutes maximum
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Motorcoach Parking: Yes
Restroom Facilities: Yes


Tags: ballroom, buddy holly, clear lake, clear lake iowa, concert, iowa, surf ballroom, winter dance party
NOTICE: The Mason City Visitor Center is currently closed to the public. CLICK HERE for important COVID-19 Information & Updates