Springfield City is the third biggest in the state of Missouri and has a population of nearly 170,000 in 2021.
It lays claim to more than one important part of American history, and one that will interest anyone keen on driving and adventuring is Route 66.
Springfield is the birthplace of the famous Route 66, also known by many as the Main Street of America. This unique road originally stretched from Chicago, Illinois on the east, all the way to Santa Monica in California.
John Steinbeck added a certain romanticism by naming Route 66, The Mother Road, in his novel The Grapes of Wrath. Nowadays, travelers can still take sections of Route 66 that are maintained, and Springfield is a great place to stop over and explore.
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What can you expect from Springfield?
If you decide to take a Route 66 trip and stay at Springfield then you can expect plenty of places to visit.
Restaurants, bars, and nightlife exist for letting off some steam, and there is plenty to do in the daytime. Art galleries, museums, parks, and even caves, await those who want to explore.
But, one place that has to be on your list, whether you are a basketball fan or not, is this place.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
James Naismith was just 31 when he invented a new sport that would become part of American culture. Naismith invented basketball in Springfield, MO. and it is perhaps not surprising that there is at least one place dedicated to this sport.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is dedicated to all that is good about the sport. While you are there you can visit the museum, see lots of memorabilia, and learn more about your favorite basketball players.
When it is time for a break, hit Plan b Springfield inside the Hall of Fame for a burger. They also sell craft beers and bourbons but be careful when driving in Springfield, save the drinks for when you walk so you don’t get a DWI.
Where else to go in Springfield?
If you are actually local to Springfield and just have your license then you will be keen to get out. There are a few steps to take after passing your driving test, such as buying and insuring a car.
However, one of the most important things is to get behind the wheel and get used to driving without an instructor. Safely, of course.
Whether you are a Springfield resident or a Mother Road adventurer, read on for more places to explore in the city.
Drive through caves
A few kilometers outside of Springfield are some remarkable caves. Drive north from downtown Springfield and you will arrive at the aptly named Fantastic Caverns.
This incredible underground area is the only ride-through cave network in the whole of the US. Although you will have to leave the car outside as it’s tram driven.
Check out Batman’s car
Sticking with the theme of driving and also Route 66, there is no better place for car enthusiasts than the local car museum.
The Route 66 Car Museum houses some fine examples of classic and celebrity vehicles. Cars here include a truck that featured in the original celluloid adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath. The museum also houses a 1971 Gotham Roadster from the Batman TV show.
Take a stroll through a Japanese garden
When it is time to move away from the car and properly stretch those legs, the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is just the ticket.
Seven acres of koi carp lakes, zig-zag bridges, and stepping stones, will take your mind away from the highway, and help to bring tranquility to your mind. All for just a few bucks.
View some art at the local museum
Springfield has its very own art museum, and as long as you aren’t expecting pictures of The Simpsons, you may find it very enjoyable.
There are over 10,000 pieces held in the museum, and the focus is largely bent towards American art. There is also an outdoor sculpture area to explore.
Check out the marine life
Springfield is also home to an aquarium and wildlife museum. Aptly named the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium, where you can explore underwater tunnels and get immersed in 4D dioramas.
Many things can go wrong on a road trip, but at least by knowing where you are going you won’t miss out. These are only a few of the places to visit in Springfield, and the list doesn’t even include the zoo or the conservation center.
Picnic in Memorial Park, and visit the battlefield at Wilson’s Creek for an insight into a momentous part of the Civil War.
Being a major part of Route 66 means that it is a perfect place to include in a road trip. Staying over means that you will be able to enjoy a cold beer or two at the fantastic bars Springfield has, without worrying about driving anywhere too.