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Surf Ballroom

Clear Lake, IA
641-357-6151
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Ranked #1 of 10 attractions in Clear Lake
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Bar/ Clubs, Landmarks/ Points of Interest
Activities: Nightlife
112 visitor photos
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75 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    11
    4
    0
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Nashville, Tennessee
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
7 attraction reviews
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014 NEW

We visited the museum (which is free) and we kind of tagged in with a group tour that were watching a movie in the ballroom about the Winter Carnival and the entertainers. It was extremely interesting. The displays were very nice and I think I looked at each photograph and artifact on display. The concert venue looks to be extremely... More

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Norfolk, Nebraska
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

My wife and are from that "era" of music. We first visited the Surf in 2008 and stopped again earlier this month. It's always interesting and informative and takes one back in time to when that music was popular. Oh for those "good old days" and music.

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Belleville, Canada
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2014

First off I feel the proprietors could easily charge something for a visit yet it is free! The people who were working at the facility shared their vast knowledge of the ballroom and the many stars that appeared at the venue since the thirties. Yes we went there as fans of early rock music but the active place that the... More

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Houston
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
15 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

Nice small atmosphere venue with decent acoustics. There's some booths around the edges for an extra fee but I've found you probably won't be sitting much. The floor is open with no seating and almost everybody is out on the floor. No matter where your at, you are close to the stage/band. It's a part of history so it's a... More

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Tring, Herts
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
8 attraction reviews
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2014

I travelled to Iowa especially to see this attraction, and it didn't disappoint. I fully expected to cry at the crash site, but the tears came as soon as I walked into the Surf Ballroom. What an absolutely fantastic place this is. It has been so faithfully restored to it's original style that you feel that you are walking straight... More

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Ventura, Iowa, United States
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014

Great Place to see a show. Check the website for available tables but if there are no good ones don't pay to reserve one as there is always somewhere to sit.

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Clear Lake, Iowa
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014

The owners of this iconic landmark have done a great job attracting top-tier performers along with maintaining the historical feel of the venue. No one should ever come to North Iowa and not make a stop at the Surf - where history in music lives.

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Wake Forest, North Carolina
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
11 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2014

Having last been at this ballroom in 1970 I am pleasantly surprised at the work and restoration done to capture the rock and roll era of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and DJ Richardson. The museum and collection of guitars is amazing. The best part for me though was the backstage prep-room where performers at the Surf have left their autograph,... More

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Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

Saw Queensryche and Stryper play here 3/22/2014. Didn't realize that this was the venue that Buddy Holly & Richie Valens played their last gigs before their tragic accident. Lot of memorabilia on the walls of the many many acts that performed here in the past. Nice retro type place replete with hardwood floors.

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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

A must see for a Holly, Valens, Big Bopper fan. They have a ton of memorabilia on the walls and you could spend hours just reading through it. It's free to visit, but we've only been there during daylight hours. The routinely have shows there so visiting in the evening may cost you admission. Definitely check out the gift shop.... More

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