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, Pythian Castle and Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.

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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.

Fantastic Caverns; photo courtesy of Fantastic Caverns
Fantastic Caverns; photo courtesy of Fantastic Caverns

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. Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden on Facebook

Springfield Art Museum Special collections include art of the Midwest and printmaking.

Springfield Art Museum
Springfield Art Museum

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.

Springfield Hot Glass Watch blown-glass art created by the owners or browse beautiful and reasonably priced glass items including platters, pitchers, lamps, paperweights, jewelry and bottles. Springfield Hot Glass on Facebook

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 In the former lobby of an early-1900s hotel, this spot serves affordable tastes of France, such as sweet and savory crepes.

City Butcher and Barbecue Try Texas-style pulled pork and brisket, smoked daily.

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. Gailey's Breakfast Cafe on Facebook

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 reveals giant steel fermenters brewing beers, like the Mayhem Marzen, which go well with pizzas, tacos and sandwiches.


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.

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

Hotel Vandivort A former Masonic temple downtown now houses upscale accommodations.

Hotel Vandivort
Top right and bottom right photos courtesy of Hotel Vandivort; photo at left by Porcshe Moran