There's So Much to See and Do in Springfield MO!
Top Things to Do in Springfield: The Ultimate Bucket List for 2021
In this resource:
First, you’ll discover the “bucket list,” the top attractions (1) in Springfield you need to experience at least once, or more!
Next, you’ll learn a bunch of local unique things to do (2) and foodie favorites, (3) that likely won’t make it to the top of any Trip Advisor or other nationally curated reviews list!
Check out what we have below and find your perfect adventure today!
You might also want to check out these other guides that can provide you with more specific fun you may wish to explore in Springfield.
1. The Bucket List – Top Attractions in Springfield MO
Image by Heidi and Matt at http://freedom-photography.com/
Just driving up to the Original Bass Pro in Springfield MO will make you say WOW. Then, when you walk in any door you’ve realized you’ve entered into an experience you won’t get anywhere else.
Enormous, aquariums, fireplaces, statues, taxidermied animals, boats, knife shops, and even museums are all inside of this over 500,000 square feet of shopping, history, and fun.
Don’t think this is an experience for only the outdoor enthusiast!
In addition to golf clubs, hunting gear, and other sport activities, unique jewelry, sunglass options, clothes and more are all on display in Bass Pro.
You gotta go at least once and…
If you live in Springfield, before going into a boring department store like Academy, I highly encourage you to think of Bass Pro first for shopping!
Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area
Want to take a short drive and get away from the stress of the mundane?!?The 2,500 acres of peace invocation awaits you at Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area.
From trails, streams, camping grounds, a gun range, and more, you can enter this “alternate” universe in about a 30-minute drive from Springfield.
Get out to Busiek to get some alone time in nature or go hold hands with your partner or kids on one of the trails and take plenty of pictures to remember the moment!
Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden
The Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is a great way to enjoy a few hours or more! There's something new around every corner so you'll never get bored exploring the Springfield Japanese stroll garden.
You will find beautiful ponds, streams, gazebos, flowers, plants, trees and more at Japanese Stroll Garden at Nathanael Greene.
The gardens are open year-round so there’s no excuse not to stop by when it suits your schedule best.
Lambert’s Cafe is the perfect destination for anyone who loves Southern or country cooking. But that’s not really why you go.
With it’s generous portions, a variety of side dishes called “pass arounds,” and hot rolls being thrown to customers by typically high school baseball players, it's a “restaurant” unlike any other.
And when I say throw, that’s what I mean…
These aren’t casual underhand tosses (unless you require that,) fastballs are often thrown across the large dining rooms!
Delicious food and fun are what make Lambert’s Cafe an unforgettable experience!
And kinda crazy, if you don’t get full, you get free seconds on your entree (or at least it used to be this way!)
Ever wanted to explore a cave, but never had the chance?
Being America’s ONLY ride-thru cavern, Fantastic Caverns make cave exploration accessible to everyone!
You can take in all of the amazing formations and wildlife without ever having to get out of the jeep-drawn tram. Plus, it’s a fantastic place for kids or handicapped friends and family members since you only need to sit down for this tour.
And don’t worry about getting lost because an expert guide will be driving who will make sure you see everything that makes Fantastic Caverns so special.
Click here now to learn more about the ride-thru Fantastic Caverns tours.
Moonshine, Spirits, & Beer Oh My
Did you know the Springfield area is home to more than a dozen breweries and distilleries?
In addition to places that craft these beverages locally, there are also large hubs of spirits, wine, and beer supply shops and even coaching available so you can become a maker yourself which may even be more fun!
You can check out the extensive list of Springfield breweries here.
And to peruse rows of malt, hops, beer supplies, and more for fun or investigating brewing yourself the largest (and I think the oldest) in the area is The Home Brewery by Lamberts (mentioned above) in Ozark.
And for creating beverages yourself and partaking now, Copper Run Distillery (about 30-minutes south of Springfield) and Show-Me Brewing both offer epic beverages you can enjoy immediately and options to create your own for later.
With escape rooms, castle tours, fairy tail princess events, murdery mystery dinners and more—The Pythian Castle is a sight to see and experience you’ll never forget. It’s history is pretty crazy as well.
In 1913, the Knights of Pythias built this Late Gothic Revival-style castle. As World War II was going on in 1942, it became a military prison and held captured German and Italian prisoners-of-war, in Springfield!
In 1993 the U.S. military sold the property however, it's laundry room is still owned by U.S army today.
You can check out the upcoming tours and events here at pythiancastle.com.
World's Largest Fork
The giant fork in Springfield is an awesome sight to see and behold.
The Giant Fork is a 35-foot tall, stainless steel sculpture that stands in Chesterfield village in southwest Springfield.
Come visit this icon and take your photo standing next to it or even climb on it!
Even though it’s huge it is kind of difficult to find, you can learn how to find it and more of the history of this giant fork here.
Silver Dollar City
Looking for a fun getaway?
Silver Dollar City is the perfect destination for families, couples, and friends of all ages. With more than 100 attractions to choose from, there’s something for everyone!
Whether you want to be entertained by world-class entertainment or experience the thrills of record-breaking coasters, Silver Dollar City has it all.
You can spend hours on end exploring glass blowing, homemade taffy, turkey legs, music, and unique rides like the Time Traveler!
And if you just need some downtime after all that excitement then head over to Silver Dollar City's Campground where you'll find plenty of space away from everything else.
Whatever type of adventure sounds best - the epic roller coasters, 1880’s festivals, shops, and more are all waiting for you at Silver Dollar City!
Wonders of Wildlife
Image by Heidi and Matt at http://freedom-photography.com/
The Wonders of Wildlife is not your average zoo, but rather an interactive and educational wildlife park that features more than 1.5 million gallons of freshwater and saltwater habitats and live animals from 800 to 1000 different species.
This 350,000 square foot museum and aquarium is even larger than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History!
Check out their website here for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
2. Unique Experiences Hiding in Plain Sight
Looking for something new to do in Springfield?
Galloway Village is a great place to find unique shops, local breweries, spas, and more. It’s also home to many outdoor activities like hiking trails and parks. There are plenty of things for the whole family, date nights, or just some relaxing alone time.
Visit this list of unique experiences only in Galloway Village or…
Just drive to this general area on Google and start looking!
Askinosie Chocolate Factory (and Tour!)
A real chocolate factory in Springfield MO?
More than just fun though, Askinosie is making a positive impact in the world!
Askinosie is on an admirable mission: To buy cocoa directly from farmers at origin countries such as Ecuador, Tanzania, The Philippines, and Amazonia; they also teach students about making world-changing decisions through unique programs like "Chocolate University."
You can experience the process of making chocolate by hand (and get samples!) on one of their factory tours described here.
Or learn more about their impactful bean purchasing process and chocolates they make by hand here.
Get Out and Explore Nature
Do you need to get out in nature? Smell the flowers, do some grounding?
Of course you do, everyday!
Springfield is home to an abundance of pretty remarkable “nature” trails.
The city has done an incredible job at ensuring nature is within a few minute drive from anywhere in the Springfield area!
You can learn about some of the best Springfield walking and hiking trails here.
Springfield Sculpture Walk
Want to see some unique art without having to pay?
You can see one-of-a-kind sculptures all over Springfield at the “museum without walls” for free!
You won't find another experience like this anywhere else! It's not just a cool thing to do but also an incredible way to explore art, culture, and the entire city of Springfield all at the same time.
You can download an app that has all of the sculpture locations and their story here, or learn more about this unique Sculpture Walk in Springfield here.
Want to make something unique, this week?
The possibilities are endless!
You can make something special for yourself or someone else at one of the many workshops you can only find in Springfield.
From glass blowing, to painting, pottery, woodworking, and more… here’s a list of creative classes in Springfield that will empower you to explore creating.
Yes, you need to dance more!
Dancing is a great way to get in shape and have fun. There are many benefits to dancing such as improved heart health, flexibility, balance, weight management, etc.
Plus, you can create unique memories all by yourself or with your favorite peeps.
Click here to discover some of the top dance classes, lessons, and workshops in Springfield.
Smallin Civil War Cave
Looking for a new adventure?
The Smallin Civil War Cave is the perfect place to explore. It’s home to stalactites, stalagmites, and a natural spring with crystal clear water. You can even see some of the historic artifacts from Native American tribes who once lived in this area!
This tour is great for families with kids or adults looking for something different than your typical tourist attraction. There are plenty of photo opportunities as well as educational information about the history of the Osage tribe that you won’t want to miss out on!
Plus, the guides are knowledgeable and entertaining so you’ll be sure to have an amazing time!
You can learn more about visiting Smallin Cave here.
3. Local Foodie Favs You Should Know About
Andy's Frozen Custard
Kinda crazy but it’s true…
When Hannah Dollar Vale saw the big ice cream (custard) cone at Andy's on North Glenstone, she knew that Springfield was where her heart belonged.
If you haven't tried Andy's Frozen Custard yet, get on it ASAP. This amazing custard shop started in Springfield and has been spreading nationwide for good reason!
The concretes, (packed with fruit, nuts, or candy bars), jackhammers (a concrete with hot fudge or other toppings “jack hammered” in the middle) sundaes, splits, shakes, cones, and malts offer a trip down memory lane through flavors of youth!
There are many Andy’s locations scattered around Springfield, go get a locally inspired frozen treat now!
Have you ever wanted to go back in time?
Cafe B-29 is the perfect place for a date night, family outing, or just some quality time with friends. When you walk through the doors and see all of the memorabilia on display, you'll be inspired to reflect on the selfless service given in WWII. And don't worry about being hungry - they've got amazing food!
They have something for everyone from burgers and sandwiches to catfish and salads. Plus their Jalapeno Popper Burger is one of the few burgers in the world to win the people’s vote at a World Food Championship qualifying event.
It's not every day that someone offers to take us back in time. So if you want an experience unlike any other, head over to Cafe B-29 just south of Springfield today!
Casper's Diner is the best real dive joint around and, it’s the oldest diner on route 66!
The food is delicious, reasonably priced and they have an eclectic decor that you won't find anywhere else. They're also known for their chili which can be ordered as a meal by itself or smothered all over some fries; it really doesn’t get better than this!
You'll love this place if you enjoy good food at a reasonable price and want something different from your usual dining experience.
It's not just about the food though - it's about the whole experience of being here with all these unique decorations and people who are as passionate about their diner as we are.
Their only open from 10:30 AM to 3-PM so plan on having a unique lunch in downtown Springfield at Casper’s soon!
Check out These Local Food Trucks
Image by John and Rhonda at Down South Fried Fish Co.
Local food trucks deliver some of the best food, and they’re just cool! They’re mobile, they’re delicious, and they can be found all over Springfield!
If you're looking to try some unique and locally created food, check out this post to discover some of our favorite food trucks in Springfield.
Early Bird Breakfast Pub
What’s better than a great breakfast? An epic breakfast served in a pub.
The ambiance in this top breakfast place is one of my favorite parts. The atmosphere provides a perfect setting for fun or serious chats, and it's great no matter what you're looking to do!
Add to that a creative menu, solid breakfast coffee, craft brews, and other beverages and you have a winning combination any day of the week.
You can check out Early Bird on Facebook here, or drop by almost any day of the year close to Glenstone and Sunshine at 1717 E Cherokee St.
Hurts Donut Company crafts the loudest of any donuts you’ve ever eaten! No, they don't holler at you but their taste bud explosions are something that will have your mouth watering for more.
With unique creations like their cotton candy, fruity pebble, and bacon toppings-you're sure to find a combination that will take your childhood fascination with food and bring it all together into who you are today.
And not just that: Hurts' original glazed donut can please any sweet tooth with its straightforward simplicity too!
Image by Heidi and Matt at http://freedom-photography.com/
Looking for a fun place to spend the day with your family?
Incredible Pizza is the perfect spot! With an arcade, bumper cars, mini bowling, and more than 30 video games and prize-winning games, there's something for everyone. And the buffet features tons of more than good enough food choices like pizza, pasta salad, chicken fingers, and fries - all you can eat!
Go try it out today and see why Incredible Pizza is spreading from Springfield to many other locations all over the U.S.!
Want an epic treat?
Pineapple Whip offer many different flavors, but the original pineapple whip is the most popular flavor by far; it tastes like summer in a cup!
They have kept the original recipe the same since 1974 and they will surely satisfy all your cravings for a cold treat on a hot summer day.
Springfield loves Pineapple Whip so much, Tie and Timber (a local brewery) will sometimes even use it to create a Pineapple Whip Beer Float!
You can find Pineapple Whip at one of three locations in Springfield here - don't miss out!
You’ve been looking for the perfect pizza place, and we think we found it. Pizza House is a family-owned restaurant in Springfield MO that offers thin-crust pizzas with fresh ingredients.
Pizza House has been serving up delicious pizzas for over 60 years (since 1958!) and they still have a lot of love to give.
And, it’s located on the historic C-street, so you get to discover many of the other things that make Springfield unique while your there!
Click here to learn more about Pizza House’s pizza and ambiance.
Milsap's Farm Pizza Night
Pizza night at Millsap Farm is the perfect way to spend an evening in Springfield.
Since 2007 the Milsap family has been delighting Springfield with many events and delicious food with their pizza night being one of the best. It sells out often!
If you want an awesome time with friends, family, or just by yourself then this is the place for you! It’s always a good time when there are delicious pizzas, live music, and beautiful people involved.You can learn more about these weekly epic pizza night evenings here.
The Original Cashew Chicken
In order to earn more customers not quite ready for authentic Cantonese cuisine in Springfield MO in the 60’s, David (Yin Wing) Lee created cashew chicken.
Cashew chicken is a “chinese inspired” deep-fried chicken dish served in a rich and savory light brown sauce made from chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and other milder spices.
I don’t think you can go to a chinese restaurant in Springfield and not have some version of cashew chicken available to you, however…If you want to try as close to the original as it gets, the David Lee’s family restaurant Leong’s Asian Diner is still going strong.
What's on Your List?
Now that you've read our blog post, it's time to get out there and make some memories!
Whether your goal is to see the world or just explore Springfield MO a little more, we hope this list has given you an idea of what to do.
Was there something we missed that is a favorite of yours?You can reach out here and let us know and we’ll likely include it as fast as possible!