If you’re planning a move to Springfield, MO, you may wonder what your new city has to offer. Springfield is home to about 160,000 people as of the 2015 U.S. Census estimate and is the third most populous city in Missouri. People move to Springfield because of its beautiful outdoor spaces, such as the nearby Ozark Mountains. Park Central Square in the heart of Springfield is a popular place to go because of its fountains, sculptures and enjoyable people-watching. You may also want to check out one or more of these top ten restaurants and attractions in and around Springfield.
Missouri Institute of Natural Science
Get ready to learn and get your hands dirty at the Missouri Institute of Natural Science. This interactive learning center features skeletons of mammals from the Ice Age, such as the saber-tooth tiger and woolly mammoth. There is also an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, including a triceratops skull and a tyrannosaurus rex. You can learn about some of the insects and reptiles that also inhabited the Earth in the days of the dinosaurs. The museum is home to a world-class collection of shells and fossils of shells as well as coral specimens from around the world. There is an entire room of gems and geodes that sparkle and glitter in natural light that filters in from the windows. The Missouri Institute of Natural Science is a free museum, and the schedule varies based on the season.
Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
If you like sports or simply enjoy learning about the history of the sports culture in America, visit the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame features star athletes of all sports, from women's professional basketball to men's football, baseball and soccer. In the museum, you can see relics from the careers of greats such as Stan Musial and Babe Ruth. You can walk through the Legends Walk of Fame and check out some of the greatest NASCAR racers, baseball players, PGA athletes and professional basketball players. The museum hosts special events such as inductions that are open to the public. You can also attend a guest lecture or a speech given by a current or retired player. The museum has a gift shop and a listening library for you to explore.
Relics Antique Mall
If you need a few chic, vintage items to decorate your new house or apartment, visit the Relics Antique Mall. The Relics Antique Mall spans more than 90,000 square feet, and antiques of all types can be found here. From decades-old sheet music to postcards, buttons and vintage aprons, there is so much to be found. You can also purchase large pieces of furniture, collectable glass bottles and toys and antique quilts and textiles. On weekends throughout the summer, you can take advantage of the outdoor garage sale with additional vendors. It is like a traditional garage sale where antiques and other treasures can also be found. If you have some things to sell, the Relics Antiques Mall accepts items on consignment. All of that shopping may cause you to work up an appetite, and you can stop by the Tea Room for soft drinks and light fare.
When you want a casual place to get a filling meal or snack, try out Bambino’s Café. The menu includes appetizers such as hummus, garlic bread and toasted ravioli. Lunch entrees include salads, panini, soup and pasta. For dinner, you could try their crab cakes and pasta or the ziti. Bambino’s Café also offers a kids' menu with choices such as spaghetti with marinara sauce or a small personal pizza. With choices such as tiramisu and cheesecake, you’ll want to make sure you save some room for dessert. The drink menu includes soda, red and white wine and a selection of beers. You can also take advantage of the catering services for special events.
Dickerson Park Zoo
If you enjoy watching animals, you and your whole family can visit the Dickerson Park Zoo. The zoo is home to animals such as the amur tiger, peacock and aldabra tortoise. There are indoor and outdoor viewing areas so that you can see bears and other animals hibernate. Check out the reptile house, where you can see geckos and other lizards. The zoo hosts frequent special events and fun educational programs for children and families. You can also rent out the zoo’s facilities if you want to host a memorable birthday party, anniversary reception, or other private event.
Whole Hog Café
The Whole Hog Café is a casual restaurant featuring slow- barbecued meats and homemade sauces. The secret recipes have been in use for generations, and some of the most popular dishes include pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches, beef brisket, pork loin, sausage and ribs. Sides include coleslaw, onion rings, biscuits, french fries and macaroni and cheese. You can wash down your meal with beer or a soft drink. If you want to do your own grilling, you can purchase the restaurant’s sauces to use at home. Catering is available for special events, and the food can be delivered or picked up. Whole Hog Café has earned many industry awards, including the Memphis-in-May World Barbecue Championships for first place in the “Whole Hog” category in 2002 and second place for ribs in 2000, 2002 and 2008.
PaPPo’s Pizzeria and Pub
If you have pizza on your mind, try out PaPPo’s Pizzeria and Pub. The pizzas are baked in an authentic stone hearth oven, and the dough is hand-tossed. The appetizer menu includes mozzarella and tomato crostini, meatballs, garlic bread, salads and calzones. The pizza toppings are freshly prepared, and you can choose from a variety of cheeses, including mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, goat, feta, pepper jack and ricotta. Meat toppings include pepperoni, homemade Italian sausage, Angus ground beef, smoked bacon, slow-cooked pulled pork, hormone-free chicken breast, Genoa salami, anchovies, Italian meatballs, Canadian bacon and apple-bourbon pulled pork. If you prefer veggies on your pizza, choose from caramelized or red onions, black or kalamata olives, green or jalapeno peppers, breaded eggplant, avocado, spinach and mushrooms. You can customize your own pizza toppings or choose one of the house combinations.
Leong’s Asian Diner
If you have a taste for something out of the ordinary, visit Leong’s Asian Diner. The menu consists of traditional favorites such as pot stickers, dim sum platters, cashew chicken and hot and sour soup. American fusion favorites are also served, and these include honey walnut shrimp, bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin and crab rangoon. If you still have some space left in your belly after your entree, try one of the desserts. They offer mango upside-down cake, cheesecake and almond cookies. You can eat in the restaurant or place an order for take-out. If you are bringing your children, request the separate kids' menu, which has options such as hamburgers and miniature pizzas.
If you like fresh ingredients and hearty portions, the Farmers Gastropub is a great restaurant option. The company works directly with the farmers who provide their vegetables, fruits, dairy and meat products. Ingredients in the dishes here are sourced locally as often as possible. The beers and even the chocolates are locally sourced as well. Signature side dishes include roasted pork belly cubes, homemade naan bread, smoked trout salad and mushroom and sage soup. When you’re ready to order your entree, try the fish and chips or one of the organic hamburgers made from grass-fed beef. The Farmers Gastropub also offers catering for special events. (Photo Credit: http://farmersgastropub.com/)
Mother’s Brewing Company
At Mother’s Brewing Company, you can taste as many different beers as you would like. The brewery is known for its expansive tasting room, which features fun lighting, large, flat-screen televisions and lots of goodies, including temporary tattoos, stickers and more. If you prefer to sip a pint in the fresh air, sit in the shade in the backyard, and cool off with your friends on a hot summer day. The beer selection includes year-round options such as Imperial Three Blind Mice, Towhead and Loopty Loop. You can also try the seasonal brews, such as pumpkin ale and hard cider in the autumn and gingerbread and winter spice coffee stout during the colder months. The brewing company was voted Best Microbrewery in Mid-Missouri in 2016. Mother's Brewing Company is open every day of the week.
A move to Springfield marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life story. After you settle in, get out and explore one of these great places. You’ll have fun becoming more familiar with your new community. These hot spots are some of the best of what Springfield has to offer, and you can bring your family or friends along, too.