Greater Than a Tourist – Springfield Missouri U.S.A. – 50 Travel Tips from a Local

Greater Than a Tourist –





50 Travel Tips from a Local

Author – Linda Morris

  1. Bass Pro Shops for the Hunters and Fishermen

Outdoorsman paradise for all your needs.  Bass Pro is the leading national retailer of outdoor gear and apparel of North America.  This is the largest and the original of all the Bass Pro Shops.  Almost 500,000 square feet dedicated to the beauty of the outdoors.  Waterfalls, aquariums, firing range, Tracker boat showroom, Hemingway’s Blue Water Café will keep you busy for most of a day.  Shop from a large selection of outdoor gear, family apparel, and specialty shops for tackle and lures, and hunting.  Don’t forget to visit the NRA museum and the Archery Hall of Fame.  There is plenty to see and do for young and old.  They hold special events throughout the year.

Have Fun at the Fair


Ozark Empire Fair is family fun for young and old.  This fair has been around since the 1900’s.  The fair is held the end of July through the beginning of August.  You can visit the KY3 Grandstand and meet the local news team.  You will get a variety of events from concerts, Outlaw Nationals Monster Truck Show, Demolition Derby, and a Rodeo.  Events change almost nightly, so you will want to spend a couple of days with this.  Ag-Venture Day Camps are also offered.  These camps are designed to help children learn about food and how it is produced.  The livestock area is a must see.  There are all types of animals, and with shows, you get the best of the best.  Make sure to visit the FFA Building while you’re there.  You can visit the Life and Arts exhibits where you can see demonstrators and competitors.  You will experience Train models, Quilting, Gardening, and Cooking, to name a few.  When it comes to food, you have a grand selection, to old favorites of corn dogs, popcorn, and funnel cakes, to new soon to be favorites such as fried Twinkies and pickles.  And who could forget the rides.  There is a huge selection of rides from thrilling to leisurely.  The fair even has a special section for the younger kids.

  1. Who doesn’t like Baseball?


Welcome to the home of the Springfield Cardinals.  The Cardinals are located at Hammons Field and are a Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Make sure to catch a game and see Baseball’s future stars.  What better way to spend an afternoon.  Meet Louie the mascot, and enjoy America’s favorite past time.  Hammons Field holds various events thru out the year.

  1. Historic Events


Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, one of six national parks in the state of Missouri, is a perfect stop for an entertaining and educational experience.  Fought on August 10, 1861, the Battle of Wilson’s Creek was a pivotal battle in Missouri and the second major battle of the Civil War.  When the smoke cleared, more than 2,500 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded or missing in five hours of intense fighting.  The visitor center features a new 27-minute film, a museum and changing exhibits.  A five-mile self-guided tour road allows visitors to explore the battlefield at their own pace.  Walking trails lead to various battle sites, including Bloody Hill, the Historic John Ray House and the Edwards Cabin.  You can also take a horseback ride on a special trail of 7 miles The Ray House was used as a temporary field hospital for Southern soldiers following the battle.  Some of the Living History programs you will get to enjoy are Civil War soldier life, musket and artillery firing demonstrations, Civil War medicine, and special events held thru out the year.

  1. Who doesn’t love animals


Who doesn’t love animals.  At Dickerson Park Zoo you get Up-close natural adventure with hundreds of animals from around the world.  Tropical Asia features elephants, tigers and siamangs.  With the Missouri Habitats you will see wolves, mountain lions, river otters and black bears.  Reptiles in the Ambler Diversity of Life Building is a must see.  The zoo also features a children’s playground with great photo opportunities, on and around the bronze statues of the animals.  They have a water feature alongside the playground.  There is a café and gift shop for your enjoyment.

  1. Archery Hall of Fame


The Archery Hall of Fame has a 3,500-square foot facility.  It boasts a collection of some of the most unique memorabilia depicting archery history available anywhere in the world.  These items include an original prototype of the first compound bow manufactured by Holles Wilbur Allen (2010 inductee), as well as an authentic bow built by Apache War Chief Geronimo in approximately 1900.  Also on display is a giant world record Alaskan Brown Bear taken with a bow and arrow by archery legend and Hall of Fame inductee Fred Bear.  The Archery Hall of Fame is located on the upper floor of Bass Pro Shops.  Stop in while your shopping.

  1. Stroll through a historic district


Experience Springfield’s first Federal Register Historic District.  Take a stroll down historic C-Street and catch the vibe of this eclectic artisan, entertainment and unique shopping destination. Visit the local coffee shop to meet this tightly-knit community of trendsetters, artists and environmentalists. Train watch from the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, one of the country’s longest footbridges. Shop at the seasonal C-Street Market nearby on Saturdays, or at the art galleries, antique & flea markets or chic vintage clothing venues sprinkled throughout the district. Treat yourself to one-of-a-kind artisan destinations: a chocolate factory that imports and roasts its own beans, two bakeries, a 53-year-old family pizzeria and Springfield’s newest microbrewery. Spoil yourself at a massage/day spa school, learn a new dance in one of the most beautiful ballrooms in town, take a break in the city’s oldest tavern, or just take in the six unique historic blocks of a beautiful, turn-of-the-century railroad boomtown.

  1. Science made fun


Discovery Center is an interactive hands-on science center for all ages. Imagine, create, have fun and learn with hundreds of exhibits that explore physics, chemistry, energy, health and culture all in an environmentally-friendly building, first southwest Missouri LEED Gold Certified. Explore galleries and exhibits such as High Wire Bike, Bodyworks, Discovery Town and Energy Exchange.

  1. Natural Wonders

America’s only ride through cave.  A 55-minute guided tour follows an ancient underground riverbed filled with massive formations.  The cave stays a comfortable 60 degrees year-round.  Enjoy the natural beauty of what Missouri has to offer.

  1. Harry S. Truman Birthplace


One of our State Historic Sites.  Harry S Truman, the only Missourian ever elected U.S. President, was born here on May 8, 1884. Truman’s family stayed in the six-room home until he was almost one year old. Furnishings from the period fill the house. Guided tours are free.


  1. Aquarium at its finest


Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium consists of an all-new 1.5-million-gallon aquarium adventure showcasing 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles and birds.  And an immersive wildlife gallery that brings visitors eye-to-eye with the greatest collection of record setting game animals ever assembled.  Located at Bass Pro Shop, the 350,000-square foot experience celebrates people who hunt, fish, and act as stewards of the land and water.  Imagine seeing all the different types of animals, in one place.

  1. Missouri Sports Hall of Fame


The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is a great, family-friendly environment. The museum includes more than 4,000 pieces of sports memorabilia, hands-on exhibits and interesting displays. Come and have a ball at the hall.

  1. Movie Night


Cold beer, hot movies, and delicious snacks and meals; The Alamo Draft house is dinner, drinks, movies and events, all under one roof.  Their attention to detail in film presentation and programming has made them a second home to movie fans all over the planet and earned notable mentions from the likes of Entertainment Weekly (#1 theater in America), (Coolest Movie Theater in the World) and (One of the Best Theaters in the Country).

  1. Family Night and Pizza Buffet


Incredible Pizza offers an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet that is full of variety, more than the pizza and pasta their name might imply. Other offerings include chicken pot pie, pasta bar, chicken nuggets, a hot dog bar, and a taco/nacho bar. They also offer gluten-free pizza, healthy pizza options and full salad and dessert bars for those of us watching our diets. After enjoying their buffet enter the world famous Fair Grounds and play over 100 arcade and carnival style games. In addition, they offer a variety of attractions that the family will love, including: go-karts, laser tag, bumper cars, Springtown Trampoline Park, mini-bowling, XD Theatre and tilt-a-whirl ride. So, whether you’re 6 or 60, enter our fairgrounds and have an incredible time while making memories that will last a lifetime! America’s Incredible Pizza Company is smoke- and alcohol-free and offers seating for hundreds of people.

  1. Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks


Farmers Market of the Ozarks combines farm-fresh goodness, hand-crafted products and local eateries, all in one place.  You can shop for weekly groceries, find unique gifts that are made from local artisans, enjoy musical talents of local artists and enjoy breakfast and lunch, all within the market’s laid-back atmosphere under the only permanent farmers market pavilion in the Ozarks. In addition, FMO was named the number 15 farmers market in the country in 2013 by The Dish.

  1. Theatre


Come experience the arts in the 1926 historic Gillioz Theatre! Through an exquisite and formal lobby to a golden sky of ornate paintings and detailed architecture, you will enjoy live theatre, movies, conventions, concerts, film festivals and much more! Visit website for coming attractions. The Gillioz Theatre is the premier arts destination in Springfield!

  1. Love the feel of a Castle


Pythian Castle was originally built in 1913 as an orphanage by the Knights of Pythias. Later, it was owned by the U.S. Military for more than 50 years. This certified haunted castle is rich in history. History tours (daytime), ghost tours (nighttime), murder mystery dinners and other holiday events occur regularly. Times and schedules may vary seasonally. Visit website for schedule and book reservations. Must attend a scheduled event to visit the castle.

  1. Family Games


Choose from a variety of scavenger, treasure and decipher code style quests as you explore our uniquely themed facility. Challenge yourself or others while solving entertaining riddles, puzzling clues and creative images. Each adventure is unique and can be performed as individuals, teams or as groups.  Once a month they have an interactive free-flow style Murder Mystery evening. Each month is a different themed mystery to be performed and solved by the guests. No actors involved, all characters are chosen and played by guests! This is an excellent opportunity to reveal that hidden actor in all of us! Pre-register on site for the next event. Choose your character, then join in for a great time. We encourage costumes and props for these events! Coming Soon – 10-character Murder Mystery quest – reserve a 10-character murder mystery any day of the week (during normal business hours) for your own group event, family get together, date night etc. Ask about school field trips too. New facility recently opened at the NW corner of Hwy 65 & CC in Ozark. Explore the forest, pirate ship and the old West on your intriguing quest.


  1. Relics Antique Mall, Tea Room & Event Center


Voted Best Antique Store by popular vote in prestigious 417 Magazine. A first-time visitor to Relics typically stops just inside the store and says, “WOW!” It is impressive, with literally a million decorative antiques and collectibles.  Huge mall with so much to see, spend the day just shopping.  Featuring over 2,000 pieces of French, British and American antique furniture and a fun home decor section all in an air-conditioned, well-lit and clean setting. Relics even has marble top vanities in their restrooms! Relics Old World Tea Room offers amazing quiches, chicken salad and desserts all made from scratch daily, plus local wine and beer. New is Relics Event Center, with seating capacity for 500 in a wide open 9,200-square-feet. You are going to love Relics, Missouri’s Largest Antique Mall!

  1. Exercise and Fun


Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline park for loads of fun for the whole family.  For the sky lovers, thrill seekers and people who believe that jumping is freedom.  Fitness can be fun, and play can be smart.

  1. Live performances


Springfield Little Theatre is a great little theatre, it has been around a very long time.  There is always something they are working on.  Springfield Little Theatre is a volunteer-driven organization energized by the highest artistic ideals that strives to entertain, educate, and involve the community in live theatrical productions and in the preservation of the historic Landers Theatre. Springfield Little Theatre’s 82nd Season “There is a place where dreams are born…”

  1. Locally Owned Brewing Company


Mother’s is a growing family that’s all about heady craft beers. They’ve also got a whole lotta love for our friends, neighbors, local and global communities, great food, and living it up.  Mother’s is committed to artistic craftsmanship and brewing craft beers that make life’s everyday moments anything but. So, sip away, and consider yourself one of the family.  Whether you’re unwinding after work, winding things up on the town, sharing some laughs around the camp fire, or gripping your beer in one hand and your canoe paddle in the other, Mother’s is a go to local.

  1. Get Your Wine On


. Relax and unwind in the country at 7C’s Winery & Vineyard. American wine and mead. Tasting room and gift shop. Check website for events and directions. Live music on Sundays May through Mid-October. Drink what you like & like what you drink.

  1. Tennis Dreams


Twelve indoor and sixteen outdoor tennis courts, pro shop and the 2,500-seat Mediacom Tennis Stadium. Home of the Springfield Lasers pro tennis team, part of the World Team Tennis league.  Great adventure for the whole family.  Day passes available.

  1. Ice Skating


Mediacom Ice Rink is the place to go, for family fun.  Recreational and competitive ice sports can be found at the Ice Park. Enjoy open ice skating, figure skating, or join a hockey team (lessons and leagues available for all ages). The Ice Park is home to the Missouri State Ice Bears, 417 Express Hockey, the Springfield Youth Hockey Association and the Jordan Valley Figure Skating Club. The facility is perfect for birthday parties, group functions or special events. Group discounts available.

  1. Best Frozen Custard


Andy’s Frozen Custard is a quick service frozen dessert business, with drive through and walk-up service windows.  They exclusively sell frozen custard treats. Andy’s has a wide variety of treats from simple vanilla or chocolate cones, to seasonal favorites like our Pumpkin Pie Concretes and Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes.  Andy’s Frozen Custard focuses on three main things: product quality, customer service, and community involvement.

  1. French Delights


Visit Elle’s Patisserie to taste the Pain Aux Chocolate that has been compared to pastries from Paris. You must try the famous salted caramel truffle. The French pressed coffee is for the real coffee drinker in you. Stop by to taste gourmet chocolate truffles, French pastries, French pressed coffee, handmade ice cream, marshmallows and treats. You’ll feel as if you’ve visited a small village in Provence, nestled in the French Alps.

  1. Irish Pub


Finnegan’s Wake, Irish Pub is Springfield’s oldest Irish pub serving traditional Irish food along with burgers, sandwiches, salads, two full-service bars with 40 beers on draft and 17 Irish whiskeys on tap. Shuffleboard, foosball and pool – Why not dip into the Irish culture.

  1. Food made right in front of you


Fuji Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse.  Step into another world today at Fuji’s, their flair is putting on a show. Your chef’s knives flip shrimp and slice steak at the speed of a magician’s wand. Fresh vegetables and savory sauces will be served to you. Your entire family will be greatly entertained.  Great fun to watch your food cooked right in front of you.

  1. Award Winning Food


Hemingway’s Blue Water café is located inside the largest Bass Pro Shops in the country! Relax in the Ozarks’ most unique restaurant named after the famous author, Ernest Hemingway. Dine amid sport fish, African game trophies and a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. Enjoy sandwiches, salads, seafood, beef, chicken and pasta entrées or try our bountiful breakfast, lunch or dinner buffets.  Stop for lunch and finish your shopping.  An adventure in dining!

  1. Route 66 Dining


Make sure to stop by Joe’s Route 66 Diner.  Indulge in homemade onion rings, fresh-cut French fries, hand breaded pork tenderloin, crispy fired pickles and fresh pattied hamburgers.  Friendly, old school diner atmosphere where you are likely to meet Route 66 travelers from all over the world.  Dine in, carry out, or have a picnic on the patio.

  1. Best Donuts in Springfield


Stop at Hurt’s Donut Company.  Over 60 varieties of oversized, handmade donuts.  Just about any kind of donut you can think of, they got it.  Great locally owned establishment.

  1. British Treats


Want a taste of British food, then you’ll want to make a stop at London Calling, a Gourmet Pasty Company.  They have a variety of home make British food such as Shepherd’s Pie, Sausage Rolls, and Banoffee Pie.  You can get your food to go, or sit on a replica double decker bus.  They have desserts, traditional sodas, and candy for sale.  You can order their pasty’s to take home frozen.


  1. For the Campers and Rv crowd


KOA has a campground right here in Springfield.  They have a pool, playground, store, laundry and meeting rooms.  Enjoy a country setting, and still be close to everything.

  1. Special Bed and Breakfast


The Mansion at Elfindale, a Bed and Breakfast.  The mansion has 13 suites, with hardwood floors, private baths, and cable along with internet.  Beautifully decorated in Victorian Style, taking you back in time.  They also have meeting rooms and you can book a tour.

  1. Historic Bed and Breakfast


Historic Walnut Street, is a wonderful place to stroll.  But staying makes it even more special.  Walnut Street Inn, centrally located in Springfield.  They are in a Nationally Registered Historic District, short walk from Historic Route 66 and close to everything you could need.  They are decorated in an antique style, yet have all the modern amenities you could ask for.

  1. What Clothes should I bring?


Depending on what time of year you are visiting, will depend on what to pack.  From September until April, bring warm clothes, and jackets.  Make sure to pack lighter clothes, this is Missouri, and the weather can change anytime during the day.  Bring plenty of cool clothes, if you’re coming in the summer months, it can get very hot and humid

  1. Festival of Lights


Located at Mediacom Ice Park, the Jordan Valley Figure Skating Club and the Skating School of Springfield host the Festival of Lights Holiday Exhibition.  Enjoy seeing figure skaters of all ages and levels celebrate the season on Ice.

  1. Sushi Bar


Hinode Japanese Steakhouse, enjoy teppan yaki meals like chicken, steak, and lobster.  Your food is cooked right in front of you.  Fresh sushi is also available.

  1. Explore Route 66


Take a trip on historic Route 66.  It comes right through Springfield.  Stop in and see the diners, stores, and old gas stations.  Make sure and spend a day with family, and learn the history of the famous route from back in the day.


  1. Short trip to Branson


With Branson being under an hour away, you have to see this gem of the Ozarks.  With tons of shows, restraunts, shopping, and attractions, there is something for everyone.

  1. Day trip to the Lake


For the avid fishermen, there are two lakes close to Springfield.  For a short drive, your family can spend a day at the lake.  Table Rock lake is south of Springfield.  Tons of activities, shopping, and restaurants.  Stockton Lake is less than an hour away in Stockton, MO.  Great Family destinations for the day.  Build some lasting memories.

  1. Hotels to stay at


Springfield has a lot of hotels, that fit every budget.  We have the well-known brands: Holiday Inn, Arbor Inn, Best Western, Days Inn, and Marriott.  Just to name a few.  Don’t forget the Bread and Breakfast, that offer an even more relaxed and memorable stay.

  1. Springfield’s Night Life


For a great time on the town, just head downtown.  There are tons of bars, restaurants, and clubs.  Something for anyone.  Live music can be heard all around the square throughout the weekend.

  1. Where to Buy Groceries/Necessities


If you find that you need groceries just stop in at the many stores we have to offer.  Hy-Vee always has a sale or two going on.  Food 4 Less is a great place to stop for value.  Don’t forget Aldi’s, we have two in town.  Wal Mart is easily found around town.

  1. Battlefield Mall


Make this your one stop shop.  Along with the food court, for easy selection.  There are 5 full size restaurants located at the mall.  Selections of Asian, Burgers, and South-Western flavor, you’re sure to find one.  For your shopping needs Battlefield Mall is the place to go.  Battlefield Mall is a plethora of amenities, they have a state of the art children’s play area, 3 beauty salons, and over 150 fine stores.  Some of the favorite stores: JC Penny, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Coach, Forever 21, Vitoria Secrets, Old Navy, and Bath and Body.

  1. Annual Beer fest


Springfield Expo Center has an annual Beer fest each year in November.  This laid-back event full of live music, food from favorite area restaurants, and of course samples of unique beers from across the Midwest.

  1. Live Nativity


A must see, for every family.  A live, dramatic presentation of the story of Jesus birth and life.  What better way to teach the wonderful story to the kids.

  1. Renaissance Faire


Dragonfest Renaissance Faire is held each October.  They include games, food, vendors, music, and demonstrations.  Step back in time, and walk a day in the life of Renaissance.  Check out the jousting tournaments.

  1. Why Springfield?


Springfield is located in a great spot.  You can spend your day here, or travel a very short distance, to so many adventures.  I hope you enjoy your visit with us here in Springfield Mo.  For more information, just search for Springfield, MO or any of the places that tickled your fancy.  Have a Great Trip.


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