The third-largest city in Missouri, Springfield is proud to be known as the Birthplace of Route 66. But there are plenty more things to do here, including Fantastic Caverns, a wildlife national museum and Wilson's Creek National Battlefield—and a lively restaurant scene.
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Golden Girl Rum Club
The Golden Girl Rum Club
| Credit: STARBOARD & PORT

Do

The Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks

Military buffs will enjoy the 5,000-plus pieces of military history, including restored vehicles and equipment. Knowledgeable volunteers are on hand to answer questions.

Askinosie Chocolate

There is (almost) no guilt when you indulge in their chocolate made with pure sugar and cocoa beans direct from the farmers. 

Fantastic Caverns 

Trams carry guests past lit caverns, curtains of stone and ponds inhabited by Ozarks-only creatures.

Wonders of Wildlife Springfield MIssouri
Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium

Johnny Morris' Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium

Allow at least three hours to walk through 1.5 miles of dramatic indoor scenes of preserved big game and live sea creatures from around the world.

Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden

Paths lead over 7.5 acres of rolling terrain to streams, waterfalls and a half-moon bridge at the garden, created in cooperation with Springfield's sister city, Isesaki, Japan.

Springfield Art Museum
Springfield Art Museum

Springfield Art Museum

Special collections at the museum include art of the Midwest and printmaking.

Springfield Conservation Nature Center

Familiarize yourself with native plants and wildlife at the educational center, then watch for them on the 3 miles of trails. 

Route 66

Billed as the birthplace of Route 66, Springfield has vestiges of the Mother Road in downtown along Kearney Street, Glenstone Avenue, and College and St. Louis streets.

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

Site of the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River, the 1,750-acre battlefield remains one of the most pristine. Get an overview during a 29-minute film at the visitors center, then take a driving tour and/or walks retracing the battle. On some weekends, costumed interpreters work at Ray House, a field hospital. About 15 miles outside town.

Aviary Cafe
Aviary Cafe
| Credit: STARBOARD & PORT

Eat and Drink

Aviary Cafe 

In the former lobby of an early-1900s hotel, this spot serves affordable tastes of France, such as sweet and savory crepes. Also look for lavender-flavored dishes; part owners Catherine and Thor Bersted also run one of the largest lavender farms in Missouri.

Cafe Cusco
Cafe Cusco
| Credit: STARBOARD & PORT

Cafe Cusco

This restaurant blends traditional Peruvian dishes with fun takes, like fried guacamole. Don't skip the blackened cobia.

City Butcher and Barbecue

Crosstown Barbecue

This no-frills spot has churned out barbecue for four decades.

Gailey's Breakfast Cafe

Eat simple, hearty breakfasts at an old-fashioned dining counter.

Golden Girl Rum Club
Golden Girl Rum Club
| Credit: Courtesy of the Golden Girl Rum Club

The Golden Girl Rum Club 

Enjoy the finest in mixology craftsmanship in an airy space with banana-leaf wallpaper.

Scotch and Soda

Sip craft cocktails while eating gourmet bar fare at the Prohibition-style lounge

Springfield Brewing Co.

A wall of windows at the brewing company reveals giant steel fermenters brewing beers, like the Mayhem Marzen, which go well with pizzas, tacos and sandwiches. 

Stay

Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven

The antique cars in the parking lot reflect the time when this hotel was a favorite stop on Route 66. The simple rooms are more modern now, but still comfy. 

Hotel Vandivort
Hotel Vandivort

Hotel Vandivort 

A former Masonic temple downtown now houses upscale accommodations. The mood hovers between industrial chic and luxe hipster. Rooms in the historic building (it's more than 100 years old) and newer second building include record players, and the hotel puts an impressive focus on sustainability.

Greenstay Hotel and Suites 

The eco-friendly hotel indulges guests with Cloud 9 mattresses, breakfast, a pool and fitness room.

More information: springfieldmo.org