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Surf Ballroom & Museum


460 North Shore Drive
Clear Lake, IA 50428

Fax: 641-357-6822
Last Updated: August 31, 2018


About Surf Ballroom & Museum

As one of the last remaining ballrooms in the Midwest, the Surf Ballroom easily accommodates visitors with its 30,000 square feet of entertaining area, including a 3,600 square foot maple dance floor. It's often filled to capacity as nationally and internationally known and locally recognized musicians resound from the stage. Concerts are scheduled throughout the year with a current schedule located at The Surf Ballroom & Museum operates as a non-profit 501c3 organization to ensure the venue's future. The Surf and its gift shop are open year-round to the general public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and additionally from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A donation of $5 is suggested for admission. Guided tours are by appointment for a nominal fee with a minimum of 30 people.  Additionally, the Surf is a unique and memorable place to hold special events and with a capacity of 2,100, the Surf can accommodate some of North Iowa's largest functions. Wedding receptions, reunions, meetings, corporate events and more have all been flavored by the magical Surf.  The Surf is only two hours from Minneapolis and Des Moines and is located just off Interstate 35/US Highway 18.


The internationally-known Surf Ballroom is located in one of Iowa's most popular resort cities, Clear Lake. Since 1933, the Surf has offered music and dancing entertainment from the big band era to the present day, including Big Band, Polka, Country, Blues, Jazz, 50s and 60s and of course, Rock 'n Roll.

The lavish Surf Ballroom was fashioned after a Florida beach club. The dance floor was built to resemble an outdoor patio underneath an arched midnight blue sky with clouds dancing overhead. The promenade and booth seating areas are made to look as if they are under a cabana roof and surrounded by hand painted ocean front murals, to carry out the effect more completely. 

The present ballroom opened July 1, 1948, after the original Surf Ballroom burned in April 1947. Because of the fire at the first ballroom (which was located across the street from the present location) this Surf was made virtually fireproof. The exterior walls are four-inch brick bonded to eight-inch tile. The interior is finished in brick and pecky cypress wood. 

Guests enter the Surf through a 1940s style foyer and lobby that are nearly unchanged. In the lobby is an original coat check as well as the phone used by Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens to make calls prior to leaving on February 2, 1959. Visitors to the museum can learn about the many facets of the Surf's history through rock 'n roll artifacts and memorabilia, the Surf's Wall of Fame, and storyboards that tell about the Winter Dance Party tour and tributes, the Big Band era, plus much more! 



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The internationally-known Surf Ballroom is located in on of Iowa's most popular resort cities, Clear Lake.

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