Downtown Springfield Hotel Just Off the “Mother Road,” Route 66
Nat King Cole, Chuck Berry, and the Rolling Stones all sang about "getting your kicks on Route 66." The first transcontinental paved highway in the United States, Route 66 stretches from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Coast. You can get a sense of Route 66's glory days in Springfield, Missouri, where the route was officially born; mom-and-pop diners and old service stations line the city's Kearney Street and Glenstone Avenue.
These nifty roadside haunts are situated near the upscale University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, which is centrally located in Springfield's Jordan Valley Park neighborhood—just across from the Springfield Expo Center and near Missouri State University.
Terrace Grille, the onsite restaurant, is helmed by Executive Chef John Luchtel, who prides himself in crafting uncomplicated dishes that use local and seasonal ingredients. A complimentary breakfast buffet is available in the morning at the hotel, and at night you can order from an à la carte menu that includes Angus sliders with a poblano sauce and chesapeake chicken topped with lump crab cake.
Springfield, Missouri: Small Midwestern City with Resurging Downtown Cultural Scene
Though it's third largest city in Missouri, Springfield has a small-town feel to it all the same. In recent years, the downtown area has come alive with restaurants, bars, and nightlife. In the summer, you can take in free concerts every Friday and Saturday at the C-Street farmers' market. The farmers' market is situated just near the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, the world's longest pedestrian footbridge that is still in use. Take a walk or hitchhike on a dogsled to check out the footbridge, where you'll see stands with freshly harvested fruits, vegetables, and free-range fowl from small-scale farmers as well as handicrafts made by local artisans.
Take a roughly one-hour drive south and you'll find Branson, a city that’s like a miniature, more-family-friendly version of Las Vegas. Dozens of stages and music halls line Branson's main strip, some of which are owned by stars such as Andy Williams and Dolly Parton. On any given night, you can watch anything from country-music performances to circus acrobatics to magic shows.
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