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Top Five Destinations of Springfield, Missouri

As a native of Missouri, I can’t say that I ever viewed Springfield as a destination. I visited there a few times as I had a great friend that went to school there, but I knew little about the town as I usually went from house party to house party, meeting folks in the drama department there after watching my buddy perform on stage. I also know it as the “gateway” to Branson, but because I’m under 60 and not a big fan of 1970s country, I have never visited there either. (I would think of mentioning locations to visit in Branson, but I think I’ll wait and explore the Hillbilly Vegas of the Midwest at some other point, and probably not do it ironically because like any city I examine, I end up being surprised at the breadth of things to do just about anywhere.)

spring2So, I’m going to look at Springfield with fresh eyes, eyes that have journeyed a bit more through the United States and can appreciate what a decent sized Missouri town can offer. Then, when next I travel up I-44 on some sort of long road trip or maybe dart down south after flying into Kansas City or St. Louis, I’ll take the opportunity to check out these five things.

Go see a Springfield Cardinals game

Since I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan and I definitely have an interest in the younger, cost-controlled players that my team develops in the minor leagues, I have to make a stop by Hammons Field to watch the Springfield Cardinals play. It’s a little early to tell which players will be in AA next year, but with the depth and quality of the Cardinals system, I would expect to see a few exciting players this year.

Fly-fish at Bennett Spring State Park

I have been to Bennett Spring State Park before, but since it is only about an hour away from Springfield, this seems like the ideal time to think about visiting again. As far as fly-fishing for trout in the Midwest goes, Bennett Spring brings back very fond memories, standing in ice cold water up past my waist while wearing neoprene waders and casting repeatedly into the clear water hoping to entice a nice rainbow. Trust me on this, it’s great.

Play video games at the 1984 Arcade

The 1984 Arcade may be one of the best finds I have ever made. Five dollars at the door buys you unlimited video gaming while pinball still costs a quarter or two to play. There are well known games like Donkey Kong and Galaga, but there’s also Omega Race, Sinistar and Time Pilot. The only one I don’t see is Wizard of Wor. I’m sure I could spend hours at this place even if it doesn’t look like they sell beer.

Visit the Wilson’ Creek National Battlefield

On the southwest outskirts of Springfield is Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, site of the second major Civil War battle and the first one west of the Mississippi as well as where the first Union general perished. There’s a seven-mile hiking trail off the auto tour road that would be a great way to stretch the legs.

Eat at Flame

It didn’t take long while perusing the menu at Flame for me to add it to my list of must-sees and dos. Filet baby burgers, Parmesan crusted fried portabellos, several cuts of steak and sweet potato mash are just the tip of iceberg at this restaurant. Yes, you can also get an iceberg lettuce salad, but don’t order that when you’re with me.

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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