At the confluence of three rivers is Springfield, MA, a city in Western Massachusetts. Springfield wears a lot of hats, including the City of Homes because of its Victorian architecture, the City of Firsts because many innovations originated in Springfield and Hoop City because it is the home of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. Notables from Springfield are Timothy Leary, William Manchester and James McNeill Whistler as well as Nobel laureates, famous musicians and politicians. If you are moving to Springfield, you will find many festivals, parks, museums and theaters to keep you occupied for years. Here are a few of the places to visit when you arrive.
As the cultural center of Western Massachusetts, you would imagine it has some excellent museums, and you would be right. Springfield Museums include four world-class museums and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all for one price of admission. These include the famous George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the fascinating Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, the Springfield Science Museum and the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. The latter has a planetarium and art activities for children. You will find a wealth of fascinating information and entertainment, and each makes for a great place to bring the children. There is also a gift shop and a café nearby. The Springfield Museums are located at 21 Edwards Street and open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and Sunday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden
Theodor Robert Geisel, or Dr. Seuss to you, was born and raised in Springfield. The city offers a tribute to him and his contributions to the entertainment of American children and their parents. The aforementioned Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden contains life-size, bronze sculptures of Dr. Seuss’ characters and illustrations. The sculptures were created by his stepdaughter, Lark Grey Diamond-Cates. The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum will be a lasting memorial to the author that will contain memorabilia that includes original oil paintings and a collection of zany hats. The garden is located at the Springfield Museums venue at 21 Edwards Street.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Basketball has become one of the most popular sports in the world, possibly competing with European football. The inventor of this fast-paced and thrilling sport was James Naismith, and Springfield continually commemorates him through the efforts of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Today, it has more than 300 inductees as well as 40,000 square feet of basketball history. The building is a distinctive monument in itself, and it is famous throughout the world of basketball. Even the most avid sports fans are sure to be impressed with the displays and collections. You can participate in interactive exhibits such as shooting contests and skills challenges, and there are always special events that bring sports fans back again and again. The Hall of Fame is located at 1000 Hall of Fame Avenue and is open every day, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
The Springfield Armory is a National Historic Site. It supplied the armed forces with innovative engineering and superior firearms for more than 200 years. Today, it contains the largest U.S. small arms collection in the world as well as archives and beautifully landscaped grounds. Along with exhibitions, the Armory offers special events and concerts that are open to the public. There are also children’s events and activities planned throughout the year. It features demonstrations of black powder firearms and other historical firearms so that people can have first-hand experience of these relics. The Springfield Armory is located at One Armory Square and is open every day from Memorial Day – October 31, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. From November 1 – Memorial Day Weekend, it is open Wednesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Forest Park covers 735 acres, and it is one of the largest urban parks in the country. It overlooks the Connecticut River and features a zoo, an outdoor amphitheater, aquatic gardens and winding trails through woodland and expansive views. It also has a municipal swimming pool, the first in the U.S. During holiday months, it hosts Bright Nights, which is a fantastic illumination display. The south side of the park contains Pecousic Brook, which has been left largely untouched, though it has several walking trails and beautiful bridges. For the last 40 years, Forest Park has been the venue for schoolchildren to take a two-day environmental learning excursion. There are several statues in the park as well as lakes, ponds, playgrounds and sports courts. The surrounding neighborhood is named Forrest Park Heights Historic District.
CityStage & Symphony Hall
The CityStage & Symphony Hall aims to bring consistent high-quality professional entertainment to Western Massachusetts. It increases awareness and patronage of the performing arts and contributes to the quality of life of the community. CityStage presents off-Broadway dramas, comedies and musicals from October – April in the Blake Theatre. Symphony Hall presents Broadway-style theatre, high-quality children’s programs and internationally known speakers as well as concerts and performances. If you are moving to Springfield, you will have a wealth of artistic resources for your enjoyment and participation. CityStage & Symphony Hall combine to make for an artistic resource for educational, cultural and social events. CityStage is located at 150 Bridge Street, and Symphony Hall is located at 34 Court Street. Box office hours are Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. You can find curtain times for your choice on the website.
Springfield Science Museum
The Springfield Science Museum is one of the four main Springfield Museums. It was founded in 1859, and today it houses permanent collections of science, Anthropology and Physical Science. It is home to the Seymour Planetarium, which has the oldest operating star projector in the country. The exhibits include Dinosaur Hall, a perennial favorite with life-sized replicas of a Tyrannosaurus rex, a Stegosaurus and Coelophysis, an early dinosaur that lived in the locality. There is also Mineral Hall, Solutia Live Animal Center, African Hall and much more. Adults and children alike find the Springfield Science Museum educational and entertaining. It is located at 21 Edwards Street and is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Max’s Tavern is a steakhouse that serves delicious classic chophouse fare and American cuisine with a great selection of beer wine and craft cocktails. It offers a trendy, bistro-style atmosphere with polished wood and is a good place to relax and enjoy great food. Part of the Max Restaurant Group, Max’s Tavern maintains the high standard of food, drink and ambiance that customers expect at Max’s. It is located next to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at 1000 West Columbus Avenue and is open Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; and Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Theodore’s Booze Blues & BBQ
This restaurant serves excellent barbecue and other homemade delights as well as the Best Blues Club in the County, according to the Blues Foundation. If you are looking for Creole cooking, this is the place for you. You will find Jambalaya, BBQ ribs, and fried pickles among many other items. There is also live music and a full bar as well as open mic days. Everyone is welcome, including vegetarians. It has a catering menu, and you can order in advance to take away if you do not have time to listen to the music. Theodore’s Booze Blues & BBQ is located at 201 Worthington Street. It is open Monday – Friday: 11:00 am – 2:00 am; Saturday, 5:00 pm – 2:00 am; and Sunday, 4:00 pm – 2:00 am.
The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center
Forest Park also contains a zoo that is an education center on 735 acres of woodland park. The zoo has exotic and indigenous animals from North America and around the world. It offers educational programs and special events on wildlife education that children and adults enjoy. If wildlife and animals are your passion, you will never be bored because the zoo offers a different program almost every weekend. The activities are not only educational, but they are also interactive and fun. They include zoo camps, zoo birthday parties and internship programs. The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center is located at 302 Sumner Avenue and is open Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. (Photo Credit: https://www.forestparkzoo.org)
Whether you appreciate the great outdoors, or top-quality theater, Springfield will not disappoint. Known for being one of the important cities during the Revolutionary War, it is home to many historical sites and buildings. This list encompasses just a few of the amazing things to see and do in the city. There are many great restaurants, parks and shopping malls for your convenience and enjoyment upon your move to Springfield