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Springfield’s Downtown Art Scene, Dining and Entertainment

Oct 7, 2022 | Lifestyle, Springfield

When you mention the Ozarks, people typically think of lakes and forests, not a thriving downtown scene. But in Springfield, Missouri, that’s exactly what you’ll find. From live music and craft breweries to trendy boutiques and award-winning restaurants, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant hub.

Whether you’re looking for a night out or just somewhere to spend an afternoon with friends, Springfield’s downtown has something for everyone. You can also catch a summertime game with the Springfield Cardinals, a Double-A affiliate of the 11-time World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.

springfield missouri downtown - Photo of Springfield's downtown

Make a Day of It in Downtown Springfield

Downtown Springfield offers a dynamic blend of historical landmarks, local shops, and trendy restaurants. Keeping with the city’s rich history, many of the buildings have been beautifully preserved and offer a glimpse into local heritage. 

Visitors can stroll through charming neighborhoods filled with unique boutiques and art galleries, or grab a bite to eat at one of the diverse culinary options ranging from traditional barbecue to ethnic cuisine. Downtown Springfield is also home to several major events throughout the year, including live music concerts and an annual holiday lights parade. 

The vibrant atmosphere combined with its stunning architecture make exploring downtown Springfield an experience not to be missed.

Arts and Entertainment in Springfield

Springfield has long been known for its vibrant performing arts scene. Whether you’re a fan of big Broadway musicals or prefer to support the funky, edgy vibe of local theater companies, this city has it all. 

From dance performances to comedy nights and everything in between, Springfield is truly a destination for anyone seeking cultural enrichment through the performing arts. So ditch your Netflix binge and treat yourself to a night out at one of its amazing theaters – you won’t be disappointed.

  • Springfield Little Theatre: Produces a season of plays and musicals for some 60,000 patrons annually, but those aren’t the only options for theater-goers.
  • Springfield Contemporary Theatre: This non-profit production company in downtown Springfield performs modern works on the cutting edge of theater production more than 30 weekends per year.
  • Gillioz Theatre: From movies, concerts, opera, plays, comedians and other productions, the Gillioz offers year-round entertainment, including the Emmy Award-winning comedy talk show, “The Mystery Hour,” which is filmed at this historic Route 66 theater in front of a live audience.
  • Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts (MSU campus): Home to the Springfield Ballet and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, southwest Missouri’s largest regional, professional orchestra, this theater also hosts national Broadway productions.
  • Tent Theatre (MSU campus): This summertime favorite hosts high-quality productions featuring collegiate stars alongside theater professionals from around the country.

Sculpture Walk Springfield: The Museum Without Walls

If you want to add some culture and creativity to your next stroll through town, look no further than Sculpture Walk Springfield. This initiative aims to bring cutting-edge contemporary artwork to the streets, giving residents and visitors alike the chance to see these awe-inspiring sculptures outside of a traditional gallery setting. 

Located in the heart of downtown, Sculpture Walk Springfield is constantly rotating new works into the program, ensuring there’s always something captivating on display. This unique attraction features sculptures by local and national artists, with pieces ranging from thought-provoking abstract designs to whimsical depictions of everyday objects. 

As you stroll through the neighborhood, keep your eyes peeled for hidden gems tucked away in alleys and gardens. Plus, the walk runs year-round, so there’s no need to wait for warm weather to start exploring. And with more than 30 sculptures scattered throughout downtown Springfield, it’s easy to plan a day of exploring and appreciation for the art in our community. 

Historic C-Street

Located just north of the city’s central business district, Historic Commercial Street is a historical gem in Springfield. Designated as the city’s first historic district in 1983, it encompasses portions of both St. Louis and Commercial Streets and showcases a variety of architectural styles ranging from Victorian to Art Deco. The district was once the bustling center of commerce for North Springfield and features many landmark buildings such as the National Handle Company Building, commercial stores, warehouses, offices, and fraternal organization buildings. 

Today, Historic Commercial Street continues to thrive with a mix of businesses, including restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and offices, while also serving as a popular spot for history enthusiasts and photographers alike. Visitors can even take a self-guided walking tour to explore the rich history and architecture that make Historic Commercial Street a unique destination in Springfield. 

springfield missouri restaurant scene - people sitting at a restaurant table toasting with drinks in hand

Food and Drink in Springfield

Foodies, listen up: Springfield, Missouri might be your next go-to destination for a delicious dining experience. The city may not immediately come to mind when thinking of culinary hot spots, but it’s time for those preconceived notions to be put aside.

Springfield boasts amazing barbecue joints, inventive farm-to-table restaurants, and even James Beard Award-winning chefs. From mom and pop shops to upscale eateries, there’s something for everyone in this surprising foodie paradise. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – check out Springfield’s fantastic dining scene for yourself. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re looking for a dining experience unlike any other, look no further than Lambert’s Cafe. This quirky restaurant is known for its ‘throwed rolls’ – servers actually throw freshly-baked rolls to customers at their tables. And trust us, the rolls are worth it – just be sure to catch them before they land on your plate (or, potentially, your lap). 

Have you ever had cashew chicken? Chances are, unless you’re from Springfield, Missouri, you haven’t tried this delicious local delicacy known as Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken. The origins of this dish—crispy fried chicken coated in a sweet and savory sauce and sprinkled with crunchy cashews—are uncertain, but one popular theory points to a Chinese restaurant owner in the 1960s who combined flavors from his native cuisine with locally sourced ingredients in an effort to appeal to Midwestern tastes. Whatever its origins, Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken has become synonymous with the city and can be found on menus all over town.

Park Central Square: A Vibrant Spot with Something for Everyone

A gem that often flies under the radar is Park Central Square. With its central location and close proximity to local hotspots like Lindberg’s Tavern and Civil Kitchen, it’s the perfect place for an afternoon break or a night out with friends.

From weekly farmers markets to live music events, this vibrant square offers something for everyone. Grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat at one of the outdoor cafes while you people watch, or bring your furry friend to the dog park just steps away. At night, the square lights up with colorful lights and energy as locals gather for drinks and live entertainment. 

But Park Central Square isn’t just a fun hangout spot – it also boasts historic architecture, vibrant public art displays, and just happens to be the location of Abraham Lincoln’s first campaign speech in 1858. So come check out this eclectic mix of history and modern culture in the center of Springfield’s city life at Park Central Square.

Come Home to Trendsetter Homes

If you’re looking for a home that satisfies all your cultural cravings, look no further than Springfield, Missouri. Home to a thriving cultural scene, from music venues to art galleries to acclaimed restaurants, there’s something for every taste in Springfield. 

With our experienced and professional staff, we will work with you to find the perfect home for your needs. We understand that moving can be a time full of emotions, so we offer a variety of services to make the process as smooth and easy as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you make the most of your new home.

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