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Surf Ballroom

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Clear Lake, IA
Phone Number: 641-357-6151
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Day the Music Died

This was well worth our drive. We not only saw the site of the plane clash but then went to the historic ballroom. No charge for either but the museum just asks for donation. The... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 3 days ago
Paulette D
,
Des Moines,Iowa
via mobile
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184 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 183: English reviews
Oak Forest, Illinois
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

Hi, We finally made a short trip to this place. We loved it! To actually walk on the solid wood dance floor was just so good. I kept thinking of how many different artists walked on it.

Helpful?
Thank Irene J
Des Moines,Iowa
Level Contributor
37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

This was well worth our drive. We not only saw the site of the plane clash but then went to the historic ballroom. No charge for either but the museum just asks for donation. The history is great

Helpful?
Thank Paulette D
Houston
Level Contributor
157 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

I was really impressed with the way this old building feels so authentic and well-preserved. There is also a wealth of memorabilia on the walls that tells the story of the last concert of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson who died in the plane crash in 1959. There is also a lot from other... More 

Helpful?
Thank susanwithagoodbook
Minnesota
Level Contributor
126 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I am not a big rock and roll history lover, but the story told at this small museum area at this historic ballroom and event center was interesting. The place itself give a person a happy, nostalgic feeling. This is not far from interstate 35 at the Clear Lake exit. Admission is $5 at an honor-system donation box

Helpful?
Thank Fricky1
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
35 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

If you are anywhere near Clear Lake, you must see the Surf Ballroom, the last place that Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens played before their terrible plane crash. When we arrived, there was no admittance charge although there is a box for donations. There was also no tour although we thought there would be. The ballroom is... More 

Helpful?
Thank Carol T
Level Contributor
590 reviews
161 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 213 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

The Surf Ballroom appears to have been totally preserved in its 1959 condition. This is a large building with so much rock and roll memorabilia that it defies the imagination. Must see.

Helpful?
Thank AngusDad
Crystal River, Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Built in 1948, the Ballroom has been restored to its original appearance complete with the phone booth where Buddy Holly and Richie Valens made their last phone calls. The hallways are lined with photographs of artists who have performed at the Surf in past decades. The Surf Ballroom and Museum are open for self-guided tours daily during the summer months... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Joe_Zeigler
Level Contributor
143 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This is were Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper played their last show before their plane crash. We stopped by not expecting much but were in awe of what was inside. It's completely restored. You are stepping back in time and it's 1950 again. It is amazing and beautiful. You can walk around and see all the restored... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Maria P
Omaha
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Being children of the 50's and 60's seeing the Surf Ballroom was a must when we visited the area. First impression.....HUGE! It is easy to picture people having fun dancing and socializing with friends. A wealth of memorabilia all around. Hope you enjoy if you stop by.

Helpful?
Thank Lyle R
Bradley, Illinois
Level Contributor
80 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We had talked to people staying at our motel and I was so excited to see the Surf. Unfortunately they opened late on Sunday's and we didn't have time to stick around so we took some pics, peeked in the window and moved on to the crash site. Glad we had looked at the pictures the people from the motel... More 

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1 Thank ConnieJo26

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Questions & Answers

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Duluth, Minnesota
6 months ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?