Table Rock Lakeshore Trail
We can’t think of a better free thing to do in Branson than hiking on a beautiful day.
This gorgeous 2.2-mile asphalt trail is perfect for those who want to get into nature without the difficulty of maneuvering through brush or uneven terrain.
Hikers and bikers of all ages will be right at home on this trail. It runs from the Dewey Short Visitor Center to the Table Rock State Park Marina.
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Take in the view of Table Rock Lake and keep your eyes peeled for native tree species, like Dogwood trees blooming in the spring and Maple trees bursting into color in the fall.
Pro Tip: Be sure to grab a map before you go to ensure you dont get lost!
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Other Cities in Missouri: Springfield embodies the perfect balance of culture and community of a mid-size city. Just an hour away, Branson has a similar vibe, with a constant live music soundtrack. The university city of Columbia also shares the same appeal three hours to the north. For guides on Missouri’s most populous cities, check out our articles on St. Louis and Kansas City.
Visiting Lake of the Ozarks: The stunning Lake of the Ozarks is less than 90 miles from Springfield. This water-rich environment offers numerous activities to explore. For some of the best places to pitch a tent or park an RV at Lake of the Ozarks, check out our article on the best campgrounds at Lake of the Ozarks. For some upscale accommodations, our guide to the top resorts at Lake of the Ozarks features many excellent places to stay.
Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon
The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon in Springfield is a 12-story tower located in Washington Park. The structure has three observation decks at different levels that allow visitors to get a close-up view of the 67 imported bells, as well as the beautiful surrounding green space.
The Carillon is also home to numerous community events, including the International Carillon Festival held each year since 1962. To hear original compositions and pop classics chiming from the bell tower, it’s recommended to check out this community attraction when the weekly concerts are scheduled.
Address: 1740 West Fayette Avenue, Springfield, Illinois
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Milsaps Farm Pizza Night
Milsaps farm pizza nights are more than just woodfired and baked to perfection theyre pizzas made with fresh organically grown produce from Milsaps farm, as well as entirely local cheese, meat, and sauces.
But the pizza is only half of the experience!
Theres campfires, picnic tables, and plenty of enchanted forest space under twinkling string lights to roll out a picnic blanket and relax while you and your kids get mesmerized by the local musicians that perform at each Millsap Farm pizza night.
Delicious homemade pizza in a one-of-a-kind setting goes on weekly for most of the year and they fill up fast! You can check out the upcoming availability for pizza night here.
Hotel Vandivort Springfield Missouri
Visit the newly renovated Hotel Vandivort to dine at The Order restaurant or stay overnight in one of the stylish accommodations. Located in Downtown Springfields historic center, Hotel Vandivort is a modern, upscale boutique hotel surrounded by an array of attractions and entertainment.
Originally built in 1906 as a Masonic Temple, the hotel has been beautifully restored to its former glory to create a stylish base in the heart of downtown for both leisure and business travelers. Luxurious rooms range from Master and Balcony Suites to Humble King and Queen rooms, all of which feature spacious interiors, lovely en-suite bathrooms, and modern amenities, including a mini-bar, fridge, coffeemaker and snack basket, as well as HD televisions and climate control.
Guests can dine at The Order, which serves modern Missouri cuisine and craft cocktails in an elegant setting or enjoy a meal in the privacy of their rooms with in-room dining service. Hotel Vandivort is conveniently located within walking distance of several attractions and an array of shopping, dining, and entertainment.
305 E. Walnut, Springfield, Missouri, Phone: 417-832-1515
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Bare Witness To The Worlds Largest Fork
Yes, the largest fork in the world really is one of the most popular attractions in Springfield! This may sound crazy, but standing next to a 35-foot tall fork is actually a really impressive sight to behold!
This unique attraction is tucked away behind an ad agency. The 11-ton sculpture may not be your typical kind of artwork, but it sure is fun to visit! Seeing the giant fork is definitely one of the best artsy things to do in Springfield.
Air & Military Museum Of The Ozarks
If you are interested in military history, the Air & Military Museum of the Ozarks on East Kearney Street would be a great place to learn more. The cost of admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
The museum is dedicated to all of the men and women who fought and died in the Armed Forces to help the United States. The Air & Military Museum of the Ozarks was established in 1989 and has grown with more than 5,000 pieces of military history.
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Springfield: Abraham Lincoln Sites
Sites that put Abraham Lincoln’s life and presidency into perspective are all within a few miles of each other.
Old State Capitol Take a 30-minute guided tour of the building where Lincoln served in the Illinois Legislature, gave his famous “House Divided” speech in 1858 and where his body lay in state following his assassination in 1865. illinois.gov
Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site On self-guided tours, docents can answer questions about the lives, deaths and burials of Lincoln and his family . Pay tribute at Lincoln’s final resting place, a 117-foot brick tomb sheathed with Quincy granite. lincolntomb.org
Lincoln Home National Historic Site Tour the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned. Lincoln and his wife, Mary, lived in this Greek Revival-style house from 1844 to 1861 the decor captures 1860s style. Tickets are required pick them up for free at the nearby Lincoln Home Visitor Center. nps.gov
Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site Visit a reconstruction of the town Lincoln lived in for six years . Interpreters chronicle frontier life, and self-guided tours weave through a tavern, store, one-room school and timbered houses. lincolnsnewsalem.com
Best Places To Visit In Missouri
Defined by the magnificent Ozark Mountains, caves, lakes and the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Missouri is a Midwestern state that was once known for its thriving, rough frontier towns, outlaws, and adventurers. It is a state with modern metropolitan centers such as Kansas City and charming, touristy towns like Branson. Visitors on their weekend getaway or day trip can enjoy great beaches, resorts, RV parks, wedding venues, parks, and more. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
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Wander Through Adams Wildlife Sanctuary
Owned and operated by the Illinois Audubon Society, the Margery Adams Wildlife Sanctuary is a 40-acre natural space close to the center of town. A good place to begin a visit is the historic Adams family home, built in the 1850s and now the state headquarters for the Audubon Society.
From here, it’s easy to navigate the hiking trails that wind through the property, as well as the different habitats, including prairies, wetlands, and upper woodlands. Birders often flock to Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, as does anyone who appreciates time spent in nature.
Admission is free.
Indoor Games & Activities For Kidsview All
Escape the heat of the summer with the many kid-friendly indoor activities offered in Springfield. The whole family can enjoy a delicious meal and amazing entertainment at Andy Bs Entertainment. Check out the following list for the best indoor games and things to do with kids in Springfield:
- Sky Zone: your kids will have a blast on this indoor network of trampolines
- Itty Bitty City: imagine, play, and learn in a clean, safe environment featuring a cafe, fire station, vet hospital, market, police station, and more
- 1984: step back in time by playing these classic arcade games from the 80s
- Andy B’s Entertainment: the go-to destination for amazing dining and entertainment
- Enterprise Park Lanes: see which one of your kids is the best bowler
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Enjoy Learning At The Discovery Center Of Springfield
This science center offers some of the best activities for kids in Springfield, as well as adults! Everyone can enjoy this large, interactive museum a place that is just as informative as it is fun.
From dinosaurs to giant eyeballs and a highwire bike, the exhibitions here are truly exciting. The Discovery Center of Springfield can easily be enjoyed by absolutely everyone.
Hike The Beautiful State Parks
One of the absolute best Springfield, MO attractions is the plentiful natural surrounding the city. When visiting, be sure to check out the stunning hiking trails around this destination.
One of the most popular routes starts in the stunning State Park of Ha Ha Tonka. This park includes magnificent natural landscapes, caves, cliffs, and even castle ruins! If you want to truly experience the outdoor beauty of the Ozarks, then this is one of the best places to go.
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Dewey Short Visitors Center
4500 MO-165Open daily 10 am 5 pm
Called the crown jewel of Table Rock Lake, this $7.9 million, 15,000 square foot center features a state-of-the-art interactive map, beautiful wall murals, a Native American artifact exhibit, and a 20-minute movie on how the Table Rock Dam was built. They also have a great observation deck for taking in the beauty of Table Rock Lake in comfy chairs. Find out more about Dewey Short Visitors Center here.
The Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
CJ Hanevy / Shutterstock
The Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is among the most popular of the Springfield attractions.
This 500,000 square-foot complex was the first Bass Pro Shop in the United States.
Many Bass Pro Shops stores exist throughout the United States and Canada, but the Springfield, Missouri store remains the largest store.
The Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is an outdoor sportsmans retail mecca.
You can see the best fishing, boating, hunting, camping, and cooking equipment around or shop for quality outdoor/sport clothing, shoes and nature-themed gifts.
Points of interest are the TRACKER boat showroom, a firing range, waterfalls, aquariums, and the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum.
When you need to sit down and take a break, there is a place you can buy some refreshments.
If you are looking for stuff to do in Springfield on a weekend, the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World will fill many hours.
This complex is a must-see when you visit the city.
It remains one of the most loved of the free things to do in Springfield.
Address: 1935 S Campbell Ave, Springfield, MO 65807, USA
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Start Planning Your Trip To Springfield
Fun things to do in Springfield abound.
Whatever your age, budget or interests, you will find activities in Springfield, Missouri and the surrounding area that will educate, delight, and lift your spirits.
The Ozarks offer visitors caves, cliffs, lakes, wildlife, marine life, and other natural resources, which makes the areas outdoor sports and nature-related attractions the go-to places for serious nature lovers.
Also prevalent is the areas somewhat hillbilly culture, which long ago brought about delicious home-style food, bluegrass music, unique handmade back-hills musical instruments, and various other works of art.
Antique and vintage items are also abundant.
Springfield embraces this heritage and pays tribute to its fallen Civil War heroes.
But it also a progressive, forward-thinking city that contains many colleges and offers cultural forms of entertainment.
Safety In Springfield Missouri
Staying safe while visiting Springfield, Missouri is pretty easy to do!
This is definitely one of the safer destinations to visit in the US as it is a fairly quiet and peaceful city. Exercise regular caution as you would in any US destination by keeping an eye on your belongings, pockets, and being careful if walking around at night.
Although Springfield has fairly low crime levels, it is still a great idea to get travel insurance when visiting new places. Read our tips for traveling safely before you fly and always get travel insurance. Check out our roundup of the best travel insurance.
Custom-designed BY the Broke Backpacker FOR broke backpacking, the Active Roots Security Belt will keep your valuables safe no matter where you go.
It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash or a passport copy. Never get caught with your pants down again!
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Day 1 Exploring Downtown
Start your first day off at the Springfield Art Museum where you can witness some of the best art in the state. After this, head over to the Nathanael Greene Botanical Gardens for some fresh air. Now you can head over the impressive Discovery Centre of Learning stopping at the giant fork along the way!
End your day off pedaling through town, stopping off at the best bars and restaurants in the area!
Free Things To Do In Springfield Missouri
Heading to Springfield, Missouri is always a treat for our family because there are so many things to do and see. Whether you are there for a few days or a week there are lots of things you can do for free. What could be better than free?! Free is always the best, so instead of spending your hard earned money on enjoying your day, check out these free things to do in Springfield Missouri:
- Springfield Conservation Nature Center: Take a walk through 79 acres of serene forests, creeks, and prairies. This free venue has paved trails making it kid and stroller friendly. Enjoy wildlife, self-guided tours, hiking, bird watching, and so much more for you and the whole family for free! Just remember to pack your binoculars, camera and a picnic lunch to enjoy the scenery.
- Jordan Valley Park: Open year round to the public, Jordan Valley Park is a free family activity where you can enjoy luscious green scenic trails, birds, and blissful biking trails. Your kids can, also, enjoy a free wading pool as they learn to swim. With so much to do for free, Jordan Valley Park is a great place to go.
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Pay Tribute To The War Veterans
The Springfield National Cemetery was created in 1867 as a place to commemorate Civil War Confederate Soldiers. Many of these soldiers were lost during the famous battle of Wilsons Creek. Since its opening, the cemetery has become a resting place for all US war veterans.
While visiting a cemetery may not be the first thought of things to do in Springfield, the place is wonderfully peaceful and cared for. This is an important landmark in the city and a uniquely beautiful place to visit.
Wilsons Creek National Battlefield
This location, which was where the battle for Wilsons Creek was fought, is an important part of Missouri and Civil War history. The struggle between Union soldiers and Missouri militia occurred on August 10th, 1861. The 1,700-acre park, located just Southwest of Springfield, is dedicated to the 2,500 soldiers who died during the battle.
The Wilsons Creek Civil War Museum which is located on-site contains many relics and stories that curious history lovers will appreciate. Best of all this museum is included with your standard park admission. There is no need to buy a separate ticket!
Hours: 8am 5pmCost: $10 Single Admission / $20 Car
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Dickerson Park Zoo Springfield Missouri
Dickerson Park Zoo was founded with the objectives of educating the public and inspiring them to take an interest in wildlife and nature and conservation.
The zoo is currently home to more than 500 animals that represent 160 different species, and it is involved in several conservation projects, including the Species Survival Plan, which involves Asian elephants, maned wolves, and cheetahs.
The zoo also features in-house and outreach community programs that focus on conservation. Check their website for things to do this weekend.
1401 W Norton Rd, Springfield, MO 65803, Phone: 417-864-1800
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Discovery Center Of Springfield
The Discovery Center of Springfield Missouri is our local, non-profit science center, and offers a range of memorable experiences for parents and children alike.
Do you have some science enthusiasts in your family?
If so, the Discovery Center of Springfield offers attractions thatll keep your kids thrilled for the afternoon, while forming memories thatll last a lifetime.
- Walk through a display that shows the inner workings of a giant eyeball
- Dig for dinosaur bones
- Take home a sample of your own DNA
- Ride the HighWire bike
- And much, much more
With 50,000 square feet of exhibit space spread out over 7 floors, youll find all kinds of hands-on activities related to STEM technologies .
Ticket prices are also reasonable and affordable, even for a big family.
- $8 for children ages 3 to 15
- $12 for adults ages 16 to 59
- $10 for seniors ages 60+
- $7 for Military Personnel with a Military ID
The Discovery Center of Springfield is located at 438 E St. Louis St. Springfield, MO 65806.
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