There’s no denying that Branson is full of fun and adventure, but if you’re staying here a while (or just looking for more to do), you might want to shake up your trip and explore some nearby areas. Lucky for you, there are plenty of things to do in Springfield, Missouri, which is just a 45-minute drive north of Branson. If you’re in southwest Missouri and looking for more restaurants, more shopping, and simply more fun, look no further than Springfield.
Best Things to Do in Springfield
Make a New Furry Friend at the Dickerson Park Zoo
The Dickerson Park Zoo, located on the north side of Springfield, has more than 160 different species of animals for visitors to meet and learn about. Nowhere else in southwest Missouri can you see elephants, tigers, and monkeys this closely. The zoo even lets you get up close and personal with giraffes, allowing visitors to gently pet them as they stick their long necks over the exhibit fence. And on the weekends, you can participate in the zoo’s outreach programs for conservation.
Catch a Game at Hammons Field
There’s nothing like a good game of baseball. Home of the Springfield Cardinals, Hammons Field has been considered one of the best minor league stadiums in the country. Located in downtown Springfield, Hammons Field sometimes features rising stars before they hit the major league. The stadium can accommodate around 8,000 fans.
Have a Beer at Mother’s
If you’re not traveling with young ones, take advantage of Springfield’s burgeoning local beer scene. Right in the middle of downtown, Mother’s Brewing Company is a great place to try a flight of local brews. The educated brewmasters will be able to tell you all you could want to know about beer, local or otherwise, and you can relax outside in Mother’s “backyard.” You could also check out White River, Lost Signal, and Springfield Brewing Company.
Let Your Kids Run Wild at the Discovery Center
Springfield’s educational-yet-fun Discovery Center is right in the heart of the downtown area. This learning museum features educational programs that encourage visitors to explore, think critically, and learn new things. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch one of their many engaging events. For example, the museum offers robotics workshops and educational sessions to learn about farming.
Grab a Delicious Local Meal
There’s no shortage of great food in Branson, and Springfield is no different. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you can find a great locally owned restaurant at which to eat. Try The Big Slice for pizza, Bambino’s Cafe for Italian, Cafe Cusco for Peruvian, That Lebanese Place for (you guessed it!) Lebanese, and Early Bird at breakfast time.
Get Cultured at the Springfield Art Museum
Who needs the Met or MoMA? Springfield’s art museum, located just south of downtown, has more than 10,000 works of art in its permanent collection. It also features traveling exhibits. You can see anything from printmaking and pottery to paintings during your visit, and the museum does an excellent job featuring local and regional artists. If you’re planning ahead, see if you can take one of their classes. The Springfield Art Museum will bring a little bit of history to your vacation, too: Founded in 1926, it is Springfield’s oldest still-standing cultural institution.
Run Around at Nathanael Greene Park
If the weather’s nice, one of the most fun things to do in Springfield is to visit this beautiful park. Nathanael Greene Park covers 114 acres and is located on the south side of town. Families will have a great time on the park’s play sets, and groups of any kind can relax with a picnic or play a game of frisbee on one of the open fields. For those who want some activity, the park has nearly three miles of trails for jogging, biking, or just casual walking. Plus, if you want to get more of a mental exercise out of your visit, the park offers plenty in the way of education; Springfield’s botanical center and arboretum are located in the park, helping people of all ages learn more about the local environment.
Explore Food, Shops, and More Downtown
Springfield’s downtown area is small but thriving. You’re guaranteed a good time no matter what you want to do. Start your morning with a coffee from The Mud House, grab a bite to eat at Springfield Brewing Co., or tuck away in Bookmarx and find your next page-turner. This option is perfect whether you’ve got an hour or a whole afternoon to spend — either way, you’ll find something to do while walking around downtown.
Did we miss your favorite go-to spot? Let us know! We’ve listed a few excellent options, but this city offers plenty more for visitors. In fact, there are so many things to do in Springfield that you might not be able to fit everything into one day!
If you’re planning a trip to southwest Missouri, be sure to check out Branson Vacation Rentals. Our cabins and cottages are perfect for a fun family trip, a romantic getaway, or a relaxing weekend with friends. Browse our cabins, condos, villas, and cottages, or give us a call at 417-832-9991 to learn more.