I am absolutely charmed by the sweet town of Springfield, Missouri! This was my first time spending any real time in the state and while I’d heard good things – my weekend definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s easy to love the downtown, food and fun holiday traditions but at the end of the day the people are what make Springfield so special. Here are a few of my weekend highlights:
Farmers Market of the Ozarks
It’s a cruel form of torture to visit such a wonderful farmers market from out of town – I wanted to bring everything home! Most of the farmers markets I’ve been to over the years take place on streets or empty parking lots, but Farmers Market of the Ozarks has a permanent pavilion and is open all year long. I love the idea of “putting a face to your food” and the vendors were happy to chat about their incredible goods. There was everything from local, fresh vegetables to baked goods, flowers and even a dog training group! Live music made for the perfect backdrop on an adorable market.
Springfield Little Theatre
If you’d told me the quality of a theater performance in a town of 170,000 would be this good, I wouldn’t have believed you. But Springfield Little Theatre was truly a highlight of the weekend. Their rendition of “Elf the Musical” was not only incredibly fun, but I was blown away at the cast and scenery. I’ve been a theater critic for 5 years for countless rotations of Broadway shows and I saw less technical difficulties at SLT than I do in a regular Broadway performance. Plus, the theater itself is beautifully ornate. Theater lovers won’t be disappointed, and families will love it, too.
Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
I am the biggest holiday lover so I was elated to find out I happened to be in town for their big Christmas kickoff! The official tree lighting wasn’t until 8 pm so I started to get a good idea of how popular this event is when by 4-5 pm the crowds started to pack in. The line to meet Santa wrapped around the park when the sun went down as volunteers passed out cookies and jingle bells, Anna and Elsa greeted excited kids – the holiday magic filled the entire square. Once the lights came on for the massive, 54 ft tall Christmas Tree the holiday season has officially begun!
Eat Your Heart Out
My favorite part of traveling – the food! Downtown Springfield is so wonderfully walkable you can really make a night out of sampling multiple restaurants and bars.
A few of my favorite spots…
Springfield Brewing Company – I found SBC at the Farmers Market Saturday morning and their Bourbon Cider was so good I knew I’d be trying their downtown location that night. Their seasonal drink menu was as delicious as it was unique and the food was incredible.
Team Taco – Grab tacos from the walkup stand and enjoy them across the street at Tie & Timber Beer Co. Delectable tacos and the guacamole was delicious and more than big enough for sharing!
Vantage – This rooftop spot on top of Hotel Vandivort(which, by the way, is in the top 3 for most beautiful boutique hotels I’ve stayed at) is an easy favorite. Make sure you head up to watch the sunset over downtown as you enjoy unique cocktails and tasty apps.
A City or Museum?
One of the things that sets Springfield apart is the art on literally every corner. There’s the officially designated Sculpture Walk described as a “Museum Without Walls” encouraging access to art for all. You don’t need any sort of plan to run into one of their more than two dozen sculptures, but if you want to make a day of it, there’s a printable map or QR code on every sculpture. Then there’s the #417StreetArt, with stunning murals covering brick walls and corners. Some spanned multiple stories of buildings, while others were more discrete and stumbled upon. It made what would be a typical stroll through downtown a colorful game of I Spy.
A Common Theme
Whether it was at the Farmers Market, holiday extravaganza or bopping to different restaurants, one thing stayed true everywhere I went in Springfield: the people. Springfield has some of the kindest, most welcoming people I’ve met on a quick weekend getaway. I loved chatting with helpful strangers as I made my way through downtown and the Ozarks. It’s easy to tell a place is truly beloved when a community talks about their town with so much pride and care—and that’s exactly what I experienced in Springfield.
There are always new things happening, so make sure you check with their event calendar to stay up to date with the latest adventures when planning your trip to Springfield!