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Historic Springfield Combines Old World Charm With Outdoor Excitement

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Springfield, a gateway to Missouri’s rugged Ozark Mountains, is a vibrant hub that offers cosmopolitan culture in a warm, small town environment. Theater productions and art galleries are plentiful, as are music festivals - October's Jazz & Roots Fest is a must. You can swim, kayak, and raft in crystal clear lakes, while over 7,500 miles of shoreline make fishing or sunbathing an ideal afternoon pursuit.

Vibrant arts scene

 

Springfield's art scene is renowned for celebrating emerging creative talent. First Friday Art Walk takes place on the first Friday of every month and sees the Downtown Arts District come alive with original art, live music, and interactive art demonstrations. On any other day of the week, you can pick up a Public Art and Sculpture Tour map at the Springfield Regional Arts Council office (or download one from their website) and take to the streets. You’ll spot kaleidoscopic mosaics, murals, and sculptures as you go.

 

  • Public Art and Sculpture Tour, Downtown Springfield, Springfield 65806; Tel: +1 417 862 2787; Website: Public Art and Sculpture Tour
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  • Fresh Art Gallery, 400 W. Walnut St., Springfield 65806; Tel: +1 417 862 9300; Website: Fresh Art Gallery

100 years of history

 

On the Battle of Springfield Tour, you'll explore the battleground where Union soldiers defended Springfield against the Confederates in January 1863. Osage Village State Historic Site, a 2-hour drive away, is dedicated to the Osage Indians, whose territory included parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. You can tour the remains of 200 lodges and follow a trail through outdoor exhibits that offer insight into village life. At Pythian Castle, an orphanage built in 1913 that later became a military stronghold, history tours, ghost tours, and murder mystery dinners offer intriguing insights into the castle’s enigmatic history.

 

  • Battle of Springfield Tour, Downtown Springfield, Springfield 65806; Tel: +1 417 831 1976; Website: Battle of Springfield Tour
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  • Pythian Castle, 1451 E. Pythian St., Springfield 65802; Tel: +1 417 865 1464; Website: Pythian Castle

 

Thrilling day trips

 

Soar high above the Ozarks and catch the sunrise or sunset over Springfield on a hot air balloon adventure. If you feel more comfortable at ground level or below, you can take a 55-minute tour at the Fantastic Caverns, the only ride-through cave in the U.S., that allows you to follow an ancient underground riverbed packed with huge stalactites and stalagmites. More thrills can be had at Lazer Force laser tag arena. The 4,000-square-foot space features pounding music, fog effects, and black light-filled areas where you can live your shoot-‘em-up fantasies.

 

 

The great outdoors

 

Outdoor enthusiasts will love the plethora of activities Springfield and its surrounding area has to offer. You can hike the trails of Big Sugar Creek State Park, 80 miles from downtown, and take in the wild flora and fauna otherwise rarely spotted in Missouri, including the Ozark Chinquapin tree and armadillos. Fellows Lake is a 20-minute drive northeast, and is home to picnic spots and playgrounds. It’s also a great place for bird-watchers to spot local waterfowl. If you’re interested in catching your own dinner, Fellows Lake Marina offers fishing boat rentals and sells live bait.

 

  • Big Sugar Creek State Park, Big Sugar Creek Rd., Pineville 64856; Tel: +1 417 847 2539; Website: Big Sugar Creek State Park
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  • Fellows Lake Marina, 4208 E Farm Rd. 66, Springfield 65803; Tel: +1 417 833 2058; Website: Fellows Lake Marina

 

Wineries and breweries

 

Feeling thirsty? Springfield has got you covered. Missouri Spirits is the region's first spirits house that produces bourbon, vodka, and corn whiskey made from Midwest-grown ingredients. Stone Hill Winery, a 1-hour drive from downtown Springfield, has 7 rolling green vineyards, 6 of which are located in the Hermann Viticultural Appellation, which is noted for growing a variety of grapes including cabernet sauvignon and Riesling. The winery's historic main property houses the largest series of underground cellars in North America, and offers tours that comprise the property’s winemaking history, a bottling demonstration, and a wine tasting.

 

  • Missouri Spirits, 507 W Walnut St., Springfield 65806; Tel: +1 417 501 4674; Website: Missouri Spirits
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  • Stone Hill Winery, 601 State Highway 165, Branson 65616; Tel: +1 417 334 1897; Website: Stone Hill Winery