Historic Downtown Branson gives attend-
ees a glimpse of yesteryear with brick-lined
streets, a scenic train ride, free trolley service
and more than 80 family-owned shops. Vis-
itors can stock up on old-fashioned candy,
get an ice cream or drop in at the famed
Dick’s 5 & 10, a local shopping landmark
that still carries toys and novelties from
America’s past. Add in shows and restau-
rants and there’s plenty to do in downtown
Branson, according to Cohen.
“Meeting attendees enjoy wandering
through this charming downtown when
they have a few minutes to spare, or can
enjoy an entire evening shopping and eating wonderful local cuisine,” she said.
While entertainment is well-represented,
the town’s art community is also growing.
The Branson Arts Council started new
community theater productions at the Historic Owen Theatre in downtown, which
is a short walk from the convention center
complex. The Council has also installed art
exhibits inside the convention center itself,
so attendees can view the work of local artists without even leaving the building, and
each work is also available for sale.
Main Street is a source of pride for most
towns, but in Joplin it means even more;
Joplin’s Main Street is also part of the
famous Route 66. Known as the Mother
Road, Route 66 was one of the first highways created in the 1920s as part of the U.S.
Highway system. Groups can still enjoy the
history and culture of Route 66, from historic home tours in Murphysburg to lunch
at the Joplin Museum Complex or a driving
tour that includes the Wildcat Glades
Audubon Center, the butterfly garden at
Cunningham Park and a quick glimpse of
the apartment where the iconic outlaws
Bonnie and Clyde once lived.
Although the city doesn’t have a dedicated entertainment district, the downtown
region of Main Street and Joplin Avenue
offers several options for fun and dining,
including JB’s Downtown, which features
live music, pizza and karaoke; the Infuxn
vodka bar which features out-of-the-ordi-nary cocktails and snacks; and the Turtleheads Raw Bar, with seafood, Cajun cuisine
and live music.
The arts scene is thriving in Joplin, and
groups can experience art through the
First Thursday Artwalk held monthly, or
get hands-on at sites like Firehouse Pottery
or RSVPaint, where they can decorate
and create their own works of art. Planners can combine art with a health and
wellness outing by taking advantage of the
self-guided mural tour, which highlights 10
different murals in a variety of styles, from
classic history scenes to contemporary and
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➜ The four-floor, 103-room Fairfield Inn &
Suites Springfield North ( www.marriott.
com) opened this spring, along with a
10,000-square-foot convention center
also connecting with the adjacent Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Springfield. The
property also offers a fitness center and
➜ The former Days Inn has been purchased by Bass Pro Shops owner
Johnny Morris and has reopened after
renovations as the 67-room Bass Pro
Shops Angler’s Inn (https://bassproan
glersinn.com). The property features a
rustic outdoor decorating theme and is
located directly across from Bass Pro
Shops and the new Wonders of Wildlife
National Museum and Aquarium, which
opened last fall.
➜ The 50-rooom Hotel Vandivort (www.
hotelvandivort.com), a boutique hotel
property located in downtown, is currently expanding with the construction
of a second building, which will offer an
additional 48 rooms and a rooftop bar.
The new addition is expected to open in
➜ The 92-room Vib by Best Western
Springfield ( www.bestwestern.com) is
slated to open later this year and will
be the first of Best Western’s new Mil-
lennial-focused boutique brand to open
in the Midwest. Amenities will include
a restaurant on-site, cocktail lounge,
game room, fitness center and business
➜ Also opening later this summer is the
111-room Holiday Inn Express and
Suites ( www.ihg.com), located northwest of I- 44 and Glenstone Avenue. The
property will feature 1,500 square feet
of meeting space and an indoor pool.
➜ The 99-room Home2 Suites by Hilton
Springfield North ( www.hilton.com)
opened last fall with pet-friendly suites,
an outdoor saline pool, on-site convenience store, outdoor grills and more.
The property is located five miles from
➜ A 97-room Home2 Suites by Hilton
( www.hilton.com) is currently under development and is slated for completion
by January 2019. The property will be
located in the city’s hotel district along
South Range Line Road.
➜ The 115-room Holiday Inn Joplin (www.
ihg.com) opened earlier this year. Amenities include an on-site restaurant, indoor pool, fitness center, cocktail lounge
and business center. Also available is
3,800 square feet of event space that
includes 1,500 square feet of prefunction space and a 2,300-square-foot
SIGHT & SOUND THEATRE, SAMSON
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