Springfield, MO, is a vibrant city with exciting things to do. We live in St. Louis, MO. Springfield is about 3 hours southwest of us. We’ve visited Springfield many times.
To create this guide, we combined our experience from our family trips with recommendations from friends who live in Springfield, MO.
As a bonus, we included several things to do in Branson, Missouri. Branson could easily have its own guide filled with activities. But we decided to include their attractions worth the 45-minute drive if you spend most of your time in Springfield, MO.
Table of Contents
Springfield, Missouri Attractions
Explore the Ozarks
The Ozarks are a beautiful mountain range in the Midwest, providing a fantastic backdrop for exploring Springfield. This stunning region has many outdoor activities, including hikes, watersports, boating, and camping.
Take a scenic drive along one of the many winding roads and soak up all that nature offers. You can also take advantage of fishing spots, rock climbing areas, canoe trips, and more.
The jewel of the Ozarks is the largest man-made lake in the United States. The Lake of the Ozarks spans over 54,000 acres and features 1,100 miles of shoreline. This lake offers plenty of outdoor activities for visitors.
You will find numerous marinas and boat docks along the shoreline where you can rent boats or participate in fishing charters.
We actually avoid the Lake of the Ozarks. It is just too busy and overcrowded.
Experience Thrills and Chills On Silver Dollar City’s Wild rides
Located in nearby Branson, Missouri, Silver Dollar City is a theme park that offers thrills and chills for the whole family and has over 40 rides and attractions spread over 80 acres.
Silver Dollar City features wild roller coasters like Outlaw Run and Time Traveler and thrilling water rides like American Plunge. There is also an entire section dedicated to younger children.
Kids can enjoy kiddie rides like Fire In The Hole or spin on The Grand Exposition Coaster. Plus, there are plenty of shows and music performances to enjoy throughout the day.
We loved our trip so much that we wrote a thorough Silver Dollar City Review. It is our favorite theme park, and we spent less than $1,000 for our family of five.
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Shop ‘Til You Drop At Battlefield Mall
Battlefield Mall is perfect for shopaholics looking for an in-person shopping spree. Sometimes it’s more fun shopping in person than staring at a screen searching for the best deals on Amazon.
Southwest Missouri’s largest shopping center is perfect for that in-person experience. The mall attracts over 12 million annual customers because of its exceptional and unmatched shopping atmosphere.
Battlefield Mall is a vast shopping center covering over 1.2 million square feet and features over 125 unique businesses, including Macy’s, Dillard’s, JCPenney, and many others.
The fast food selection includes Chick-fil-A, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, and London Calling, among others. Bourbon & Beale, Nakato Japanese Steakhouse, and Pizza Ranch are just a few of the excellent restaurants in the area.
Discover Art, History, and Science At Springfield Museums
Discover Art, History, and Science At Springfield Museums. Located in the heart of Springfield, Missouri, this incredible museum complex offers a variety of attractions that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.
Springfield Museums include art galleries featuring world-renowned artwork and interactive science exhibits exploring the wonders of nature and technology. The museums also offer educational programs for kids and annual special events.
Enjoy a Show at the Gillioz Theatre
This historic theater is one of the town’s oldest and most iconic buildings. Originally built as a movie house in 1926, it has since been transformed into a multi-purpose performing arts center that hosts live events, including comedy shows and musical performances.
The Gillioz Theatre sits in the middle of a downtown round about and is a great place to spend an evening seeing a show or looking at its classic architecture. Gather your friends and family for a night that’s sure to be unforgettable.
Catch a Game at Hammons Field
Hammons Field is a must-visit destination for sports fans visiting Springfield, MO. This multi-purpose stadium is home to the Springfield Cardinals, the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.
On our last trip to Springfield, we had to stop at Hammons Field. We’re from St. Louis, and had to see where our minor league team plays.
Hammons Field seats 10,000 people and offers an exciting atmosphere with plenty of room to cheer on your favorite team.
If you’re seeking a fun family outing or an enjoyable day of baseball, visit Hammons Field and enjoy everything it has in store. Children who hang out near the field are likely to snag a ball from one of the minor leaguers or umpires.
Bass Pro Shops, Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium
(500 W. Sunshine): The locals waited over a decade for the aquarium to finally open! The rest of the store is also filled with neat, free things to see.
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield, Missouri, is the perfect place to go. Not only does it have a huge selection of sporting goods and outdoor gear, but it also has attractions that make it more than just a store.
The impressive 300,000 square feet store features everything from hunting and fishing gear to camping supplies and apparel. You’ll find all the latest products from top brands like Remington, Browning, and Yeti.
Plus, you can take advantage of special events like seminars on hunting and fishing techniques or learn about the history of firearms in their museum-quality displays.
But that’s not all. Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World offers plenty of activities to entertain your family. Take aim at their interactive shooting gallery, or try your luck at the fish pond, where you can catch real fish with provided equipment!
You can even explore the wonders of nature in their aquariums, filled with exotic species from around the world. Plan to spend several hours making your way through this aquarium.
Alamo Drafthouse (4005 South Ave.)
A fun movie theater, where you can order and have food and drinks delivered right to your seat
Relics (2015 W. Battlefield)
A favorite flea markets in the city, the good, cheap finds are further in the back.
Things To Do In Springfield With Kids
Wear Your Kids Out At Fritz’s Adventure
Located in Branson, Missouri, Fritz’s Adventure is a kid-friendly indoor adventure park that offers a unique experience. This family-friendly place has over 80,000 square feet of interactive activities and attractions, encouraging kids to explore and play outside.
Branson is about 45 miles from Springfield, MO. Kids can climb walls up to 45 feet high, swing on ropes through the air, or explore a multi-level ropes obstacle course. Meanwhile, adults can relax in the lounge area or enjoy a massage chair while their little ones release steam.
There is a food court to order pizza, giant soft pretzels, or enjoy a smoothie or milkshake while you take a break from the fun. VIP areas are available at an additional cost and include a special private setting with couches and tables for eating.
VIP Is a great idea to ensure your family has a place to sit, rest, and store drinks and coats. If you decide not to reserve a VIP area, lockers are available for rent to hold your personal belongings while you play.
The Discovery Center is a unique and exciting destination that offers fun for the entire family. This museum is packed with hands-on activities, demonstrations, and educational displays for curious minds of all ages.
From the moment you enter, your mind is pulled in every direction to learn and understand science, the body, and engineering.
In the Bodyworks exhibit, you get an in-depth look at what our bodies look like from the inside and also a detailed explanation of how the body works.
In Discovery Town, you will enjoy playing in the market, shopping for healthy foods, building in the lego room, playing with magnet tiles, and watching bees function in their hive.
There is a mini theater where children can perform a puppet show as your sit in the audience to enjoy. They can explore a TV news station, sit behind the camera at an anchor desk, or prepare to deliver the day’s forecast.
The Discovery Center hosts special events throughout the year, such as scavenger hunts, science experiments, and more. This science museum is a perfect indoor activity on a rainy day or when visiting Springfield in the winter.
When planning your visit to the Discovery Center in Springfield, MO, you will want to plan at least 4 hours to ensure you can enjoy all the center offers. You could easily spend 6-8 hours inside soaking in all there is to learn and discover.
While there is no area for eating, the center does have an in-and-out return policy for same day, remember to save your receipt. A little further down in this post we share several ideas for great places to grab a bite to eat.
Branson Zoo: Branson’s Wild World
If you want an unforgettable experience, look no further than Branson’s Wild World. Located in Branson, Missouri, this indoor aquarium and zoo offers a variety of fun activities for its visitors.
You can get up close to exotic animals. You’re even allowed to feed sharks and stingrays. While we were at Branson’s Wild World, all three of our kids held a few snakes (which was a dream for them and a nightmare for us!).
The animal exhibits are the highlight of the attraction. You can get up close to sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, alligators, and more.
There are also interactive classes and activities that allow you to learn more about the animals and their habitats.
During our visit, on several occasions, the handlers took animals out of their cages to let our kids touch and hold them.
There is also an indoor blacklight mini golf, which was built and designed by the owners!
Visit Dickerson Park Zoo for Animal Encounters
In Springfield, Missouri, Dickerson Park Zoo is a unique animal sanctuary that offers visitors an up-close and personal encounter with some of the world’s most beloved creatures.
With over 200 species of animals from around the globe, this zoo offers something for everyone.
Let yourself be captivated by the majestic beauty and playful personality of creatures like African elephants and crafty sea lions. Learn about conservation initiatives or observe animals interact with one another.
Visit Fantastic Caverns
If you want fun things to do in Springfield with kids, visit Fantastic Caverns in Springfield. This natural wonder is one of the only cave systems in the world that you can explore via Jeep-drawn guided tours.
As you walk or ride through the caverns, look at the amazing rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites that water has carved over thousands of years.
Listen as your guide shares fascinating stories about this underground world, and enjoy learning about some of its hidden secrets.
On a hot summer day, taking a tour through the always 60-degree caves is a great way to cool off. Adult tickets will cost you $30, kids aged 6-12 are $17, and kids five and under are free with a parent. Special group rates are available for groups of 20 or more.
More Things To Do With Kids In Springfield, MO
- Jordan Valley Park (635 E. Trafficway): Some locals call it the “robot park.” Kids love playing in the fountain during the summer.
- Jenny Lincoln Park (300 E. Harrison St.): A few friends referred to this as “the blue park;” it has some nice, newer playground equipment.
- 1984 (400 S. Jefferson): One fee at the door gets you unlimited access to tons of vintage arcade games; pinball is extra, though. Hours are limited, make sure you check their site before planning your visit.
- Railroad Historical Museum (1300 N. Grant Ave.): Hours are very limited, but check it out if you can. Volunteer workers are friendly and knowledgeable.
- Itty Bitty City (3640 S. Campbell): Great place to take small children where they can pretend and play
Where To Eat In Springfield, Missouri: Restaurants
Since we are out-of-towners, we leaned heavily on asking friends that live in Springfield to create these recommendations of where to eat.
- Civil Kitchen (107 Park Central Square) The smash burger and crisp brussels sprouts are delicious overlooking the downtown square. If adventurous, try their infused vodkas!
- Gilardi’s (820 E. Walnut) A more upscale place with an awesome, down-to-earth owner, it’s great to celebrate a special occasion or splurge on a delicious meal.
- New Oriental (550 E. Chestnut Expy): Our friends favorite place to get Chinese is New Oriental. The spicy Singapore Mei Fun is recommended.
- Cafe Cusco (234 E. Commercial): A short drive north will get you here, where you can get great Peruvian food beyond the norm.
- Lindbergh’s (318 W. Commercial St.): A short drive to this old tavern that hosts folksy bands and has a fantastic Sunday brunch dish each week.
- Primas (2101 W. Chesterfield Blvd. Ste. A 100): Primas is our friends’ favorite Mexican restaurant in Springfield. Guacamole and cheese dip are both recommended.
- The Grotto (301 W. Battlefield Rd.): The Grotto is a favorite for burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
- Jose Locos (853 N. Glenstone Ave.): Our friends that live in Springfield’s favorite place for great Mexican food and delicious margaritas
- City Butcher (3650 S. Campbell Ave.): One of the best bbq places in town, but go early because they often sell out of menu items.
- Jimm’s Steakhouse (1935 S. Glenstone): According to our friends that live in Springfield, the food is always good, especially their salad bar.
- Roots (1645 W. Republic Rd.): A favorite breakfast/coffee place.
- The Big Biscuit (2 locations on Campbell and Glenstone): A chain place but always delicious breakfasts with huge portions
- Historic C-Street: Historic C-Street is a bustling area in the heart of Springfield, MO. It’s home to many restaurants and eateries serving some of the best local cuisines and treats. This vibrant street is an ever-expansive culinary experience, offering something for the most eclectic palette.
Where To Eat In Springfield, Missouri: Pizza
- Pappo’s (221 E. Walnut): Their lunch special is worth the stop. We ordered Pappo’s on our last visit to Springfield, MO. It was delicious and affordable, and worth getting again.
- The Pizza House (312 E. Commercial): A short drive to historic Commercial Street and this iconic Springfield staple
Where To Eat In Springfield, Missouri: Italian
- Bambino’s (1141 E. Delmar St.): You may need GPS to find this great place by MSU’s campus. The portobello ravioli is amazing.
- Nonna’s (306 South Ave.): The chicken parm is supposedly the best in the city, but our friends always order lasagna or cioppino.
Where To Eat In Springfield, Missouri: Burger
- Black Sheep (209 E. Walnut St.): Popular burger place. Go on a weekday to avoid the wait.
- Finnegan’s Wake (305 South Ave.): Buy a beer and order some cheap but good bar food.
- Harbell’s (315 Park Central W.): This sports bar has good burgers and drinks.
Where To Eat In Springfield, Missouri: Breakfast & Coffee
- Gailey’s (220 E. Walnut): You can’t go wrong with the downtowner, but there’s usually a wait on weekends
- Mud House (4653 S. Campbell): Springfield’s favorite hip, local coffee shop
- Rise (105 Park Central Square): The newest downtown breakfast/brunch place, but if busy, walk to Euro Café next door for pastries to go.
- Panera (500 S. National): Yes, it’s a chain but reliable. We stopped at Panera while in Branson for convenience.
- Druff’s (331 Park Central East #101): Druff’s is a small place where you can usually grab a table for brunch. The Crump Classic and soup is great regardless of the time of day.
Where To Eat In Springfield, Missouri: Happy Hour
- Mud Lounge (321 E. Walnut): M-F, 4-7: Get the half-price house wine but other discounts on beers, cocktails, and apps. Try the spicy feta dip and shrimp/crab dip. Wednesdays are happy hour all night.
- Kai (306 S. Campbell): M-S 5-6:30: They have awesome deals on wine and sushi and a late-night happy hour from 9-12.
Where To Drink In Springfield, Missouri: Breweries
Mother’s Brewing is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Springfield, MO. Located in downtown Springfield, Mother’s Brewing is an award-winning craft brewery offering various unique and flavorful beer styles.
My husband Greg has visited many breweries nationwide, and Mother’s Brewing in Springfield is one of his favorites. Enjoy their wide selection of beers on tap while exploring their modern tasting room and outdoor patio area.
The outdoor space is the best I have seen at a brewery. There is even a playground for kids.
Other Springfield Breweries To Try
- 4×4 Brewing Company (2811 E. Galloway St., Ste. A): Local, family-friendly microbrewery with great beers, lots of games, and usually a food truck
- Hold Fast (235 N. Kimbrough Ave.): Our local friends’ absolute favorite, most-frequented place downtown used to be a fire station but now holds the closest brewery. Check out the Trafficway IPA, Zamboozy slushes, and delicious food trucks daily.
- Tie & Timber (1451 E. Cherry): Across the street from the neat Pickwick Place, this small brewery hosts local musicians and has a great patio area.
Things To Do Outside In Springfield: Enjoy Nature
We are a family that (mostly) loves to go for hikes, runs, and walks. We spend so much time on trails and playgrounds.
Busiek State Park (Highlandville, MO)
If you want a longer hike and more nature, make the 30-40 min. Drive here. My husband Greg went for a 10 mile run while we were at Busiek State Park. While he was running I enjoyed a short hike with the kids. It was beautiful.
Take in The Wonders of Nature at Nathanael Greene Park
Nathanael Greene Park is the perfect place to take in the wonders of nature. This beautiful park offers visitors many winding hiking trails through verdant forests, calm lakes, outdoor playgrounds, and picnic areas.
Spend an afternoon in tranquility or a busy day exploring the beauty and thrill that nature gives when you visit Nathanael Greene Park. Get ready to be surrounded by lush terrain and breathtaking views.
Go Hiking or Biking Along Galloway Creek Greenway Trail
If you want free things to do in Springfield, MO, experience nature’s beauty with a hike or bike along Galloway Creek Greenway Trail.
This 3.7-mile trail stretches from Grant Beach Park to Jordan Valley Park and offers breathtaking views of wildflowers, trees, streams, and wildlife.
Its wide variety of terrain ranges from flat open spaces to steep inclines.
It’s perfect for hikers and bikers looking for an outdoor adventure. The well-maintained trails also suit runners and walkers who want fresh air while exploring this natural haven.
Springfield Conservation Nature Center
(4601 Nature Center Way): Hiking trails and exhibits inside the building
Other Entertainment In Springfield, MO
- Springfield Little Theater (311 E. Walnut): Historic venue to see plays, musicals, and other performance events
- MediaCom Ice Park (635 E. Trafficway): Offering daily open skate time. Hours vary, so check their website for availability.
- The Outland Ballroom (326 South Ave.): Home of the music your mother hates
- The Moxie (305 S. Campbell #101): Small theater showing independent films
- The Blue Room (420 W. College St.): Comedy club within walking distance that hosts some big name comedians. FYI: drink purchase is usually required with admission.
Springfield, MO: A Destination To Consider
There are many things to do in Springfield, MO. There is abundant entertainment and activities perfect for any traveler. Explore all Springfield offers.
You will surely have a fun trip from shopping and dining to thrilling theme parks and animal experiences. You can easily spend a whole week in the city and still need more time to see what they offer.
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Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.