(Disclaimer: This post is based on my experiences on a press tour hosted by Springfield, CVB. My room, meals, and activities were comped, but my opinions are my own. Before this trip, I wasn’t sure what to do in Springfield, Missouri… but now I’ve got all kinds of recommendations. )
Honestly, I’ve been a little miffed with Springfield, Missouri ever since it kept my childhood best friend, Maggie, from moving back to St. Louis. I visited her and her husband in the city about a year and a half ago, but we spent so much time playing Settlers of Catan that the only thing I saw was her house (and London Calling for lunch – which was oh so British delicious.) Needless to say, I had no idea what to do in Springfield, Missouri.
So when I was offered the opportunity through the Missouri Women Bloggers to take part in a press tour hosted by the Springfield CVB, I knew it was time to stop blaming the Queen City of the Ozarks for stealing my friend and learn to love it as much as she does.
So just what converted me to loving this awesome city? Read on to learn what to do in Springfield, Missouri (and why you should visit).
The Food of Springfield, Missouri
Okay, I’d be lying if I said the food wasn’t the best part of the trip. Like many other cities, Springfield, Missouri claims through unofficial rumor to have the most restaurants per capita in the country. I’m not sure how true that is (San Francisco has 1 restaurant for every 269 people!), but there are certainly countless options to choose from – and most of them are intimate unique eateries rather than large corporate chains. We ate so much food on the trip, and I didn’t have anything that wasn’t phenomenal. I’ll be doing a write-up of all the delicious food over at the Missouri Women Bloggers blog in February, but just look at some of these photos and tell me you don’t want to eat there…
Restaurants we ate at while staying in Springfield (I highly recommend all of them):
In addition, I ate at:
The Activities of Springfield, Missouri
With such a small-town feel (traffic was never horribly congested like in St. Louis), I was surprised that Springfield, Missouri has everything you can possibly want. They have a symphony, a theater, sports, opera, and so much more. The art museum was an unexpected gem, featuring a traveling display of Andy Warhol’s work along with other pop artists and a beautiful display of watercolors in addition to their permanent collection.
We had the opportunity to make suncatchers at Creative Escape Glass with Rebekah which was absolutely delightful. And apparently, these things only cost $12 to make! For an hour and a half of unique fun, I think that is a great bargain.
We also got to see Fantastic Caverns, which I did see as a child. It was much more interesting as an adult. I had forgotten that the cave was originally explored by 12 women; how inspiring and empowering!
And then there was Relics Antique Mall, the largest antique mall in Missouri. They were mentioned above for their tea room, which was delicious. But I just have to talk about the antique mall for a second. The owners travel to Europe at least once a year to find antique pieces (ranging from furniture to small treasures) to add to the wares available in the mall. I have never seen this much antique furniture in one place. The pieces are so unique and beautiful… and honestly, I wanted to buy it all. Next time I come to Springfield, I am renting a U-Haul.
And they just opened an event space. Check out this adorable bride’s room. I couldn’t resist getting a picture of this sweet room. I can just imagine the countless brides who will look at themselves in that mirror with excitement about the moments to come.
Of course, one of my favorite activities was soaking in the hot tub at the Ramada Plaza Hotel & Oasis Convention Center each evening after returning to the hotel – and then falling asleep in one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in. I know stealing is wrong, but I was so tempted to just strip the whole bed and take every piece of the bedding. Don’t worry, integrity won out. (And look at these selfies I took in the bathroom. I loved the green of the walls and door.)
The Attitude of Springfield, Missouri
There are small business owners making big waves like the owners of Hurts Donuts who don’t even have a website yet, but have already moved into a larger location and started expanding to new markets (which is warranted seeing how many people go nuts for their donuts). Disregard the look on my face. I was about to try the Fruit Loops Cereal Killer donut. It was delicious; I was just scared.
There is the revitalization of the downtown area. Apparently, at some point in the past, the downtown area was a little bit sketchy. You would certainly never know it now. With countless restaurants, cafes, shops, and small businesses, the entire downtown is walkable and includes plenty of free parking on evenings and weekends. If you are wondering what to do in Springfield, Missouri, just drive downtown; you’ll find plenty of fun activities and great places to visit.
And then there is Hotel Vandivort, a gem of a boutique hotel situated in the heart of downtown. Every inch of the space looks like the setting of a Pinterest photo, impeccably designed with comfort and aesthetics in mind. There are textures and patterns everywhere, but somehow they all work together to create something amazing. Some locals say it doesn’t feel like Springfield, but it is Springfield. With light fixtures that were blown by local glass artisans, metal work that was done by local metalsmiths, and local alcohols and snacks available in every room, Hotel Vandivort is a blend of all the best things Springfield has to offer.
Apparently, Springfield, Missouri is more unique than I ever imagined.
Springfield Cashew Chicken? It’s a thing. Sorry… no pictures because we didn’t actually end up eating at Leong’s as planned… but trust me, Springfield Cashew Chicken is real.
#HotelVandivortBathroomSelfie? It’s a thing too. I was a skeptic, but look at the pictures we took… #nofilter of course because the bathroom’s lighting does it all for you.
What to do in Springfield, Missouri
Now, I know a little more about what to do in Springfield, Missouri, and I guess I won’t hold the grudge about the city stealing my friend – since it is a pretty amazing place. I can’t imagine the unique treasures I will find the next time I visit Springfield, Missouri, but I can assure you that I look forward to discovering them.
Thank you to the wonderful Springfield businesses who made our trip amazing, especially to those business owners who took the time to meet with us and tell us about your businesses.
Thank you to Susan Wade, our delightful host from the Springfield CVB, for being a great tour guide and a wonderful new friend. Plus, she is an absolute PRO at what to do in Springfield, Missouri. Be sure to stop by the CVB if you need some advice for your next trip to Springfield.
Thank you to Missouri Women Bloggers (especially Fawn Rechkemmer) for setting up this opportunity. If any other Missouri (or almost Missouri like me) bloggers are reading this, you should definitely join the group. Sign up here and be sure to mention that I referred you as we are doing a membership drive currently. I love this group and the opportunities it has provided, and it is only going to get better as we grow.
Thank you to Erin, Alicia, Stefany, and Fawn for making the weekend so enjoyable and treating me like the crazy little sister of the group. I needed to cut loose and have a good time, and you ladies helped me do that.
Check out the other bloggers who attended this press tour with me. They are awesome!
Fawn Rechkemmer at Instead of the Dishes
Erin Hardy at Humble Hardy Happenings
Stefany Thode at To Be Thode
Alicia Myers at The Sensible Family
So tell me, what do YOU want to do in Springfield, Missouri? Share in the comments below.
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