Best of 417 2014
Your guide to the best of everything to eat, do, buy and enjoy right here in 417-land!
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
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|Best Branson Show
Second place: Liverpool Legends
Third place: The Haygoods
|Best Afternoon Out With the Kids
Silver Dollar City
Second place: Dickerson Park Zoo
Third place: Nathanael Greene Park
|Best Branson Attraction
Silver Dollar City
Second place: Branson Landing
Third place: Table Rock Lake
|Best Charity Event
Sertoma Chili Cook-Off
Second place: Ball of the Wild
Third place: Cattle Baron’s Ball
|Best Weekend Getaway
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Second place: Big Cedar Lodge
Third place: Kansas City
|Best Date Night
First Friday Art Walk
Second place: Flame Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Third place: Marquee Suites at B&B Theatre
Model Megan Lemon was styled by Isha Mahan at Studio 417 Salon and dressed by Ashby’s Boutique•Denim Lab. Clothing and jewelry are available at Ashby’s for $152–394.
â¬†Best Girls’ Night Out
Ernie Biggs Piano Bar
Second place: Kai
Third place: Touch
Schultz & Dooley’s
Second place: Bugsy Malone’s
Third place: Tipsy Turtle
Springfield Nature Center
Second place: Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
Third place: Buffalo National River
|Best Place to Meet Somebody New
Second place: Downtown Springfield
Third place: Farmers Market of the Ozarks
|Best Bicycle Route
Galloway Creek Greenway
Second place: Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
Third place: Katy Trail
|Best Trivia Night
Patton Alley Pub
Second place: Dublin’s Pass
Third place: Finnegan’s Wake
|Best Float Trip
Buffalo National River
Second place: Current River
Third place: Niangua River
â¬†Best Date Night With Your Family
Get a babysitter, gather up your parents and siblings, swing by the wine shop for your liquid muse, and get artsy. RSVPaint (rsvpaint.com) in Springfield is the perfect place for a creative night out with your family or your pals. An artist leads the class, and you let loose on your own canvas creating a one-of-a-kind painting—no artistic experience required. Regardless of whether or not the end result is something you’ll frame, the night out will be awesome.
Best Fulfillment of Our Wildly Lofty Expectations
Last year we gave Outlaw Run an Editors’ Pick for Best Tingling Anticipation because we were so anxiously excited about the opening of this super-fast, super-looping wooden roller coaster at Silver Dollar City (silverdollarcity.com). This year, we finally got a chance to ride it, and we were not disappointed. We were so incredibly un-disappointed, in fact, that we thought the ride deserved another award to celebrate how well it lived up to the hype. First we rode it in the front row, absolutely losing our minds as we saw the drops, turns and corkscrews speeding toward us. Then (immediately after ride No. 1), we rode it in the back row, losing our minds again as we were whipped and snapped along the track. It’s a breathless ride, and one we can’t wait to try again and again and again when the park reopens in March.
Best Date Night With Your Sweetie
Friday Flix at Mother’s Brewing
During the warm months, Mother’s Brewing Company (mothersbrewing.com) and Moxie Cinema (moxiecinema.com) team up to show an outdoor movie in the Mother’s backyard. Pack a cozy blanket, scope out a good spot on the lawn, and snuggle up with your honey to sip some good beer and watch a good movie. (Want to take advantage of Friday Flix before the weather warms up? Not to worry, Mother’s and the Moxie show the films at the Gillioz Theatre during chilly months. This month: The Princess Bride on February 28.)
Best Place to While Away an Afternoon
One of 417-Land’s Wineries
Missouri’s wineries churn about some seriously good tasting vino, and here in 417-land we’re lucky to have several of those wineries right in our backyards. They are friendly, casual spots that sell and sample tasty handcrafted wine, and many of them also offer up their lawns and patios for leisurely picnics and events. You can find a list of local wineries at ozarkmountainwinetrail.org.
Best Day in the Sun
No, we’re not a coastal region. But we do have a beach! 417-land’s lakes are some of its best features, and Moonshine Beach (3778 State Highway 165, Branson) at Table Rock Lake is the perfect little patch of sand to make you feel like you’re on a coast right here at home. The spot has a volleyball net, picnic tables, a playground, grills for cooking and concessions for snacking, bathrooms and even a big pavilion. There’s a $5 per car daily use fee, but it’s worth it for an entire day at the beach soaking up the sun and swimming your little heart out. If you think you’ll be there a lot, you can even purchase a season pass (the beach is open mid-May through mid-September) at the Dewey Short Visitor Center (417-334-6394).
Best Ever-Changing Art Destination
We love the non-stop creativity that goes on at the ideaXfactory (ideaxfactory.com). This contemporary art space is housed in the IDEA Commons and sponsors non-traditional art projects and art installations. One installation in November 2012 involved weaving plastic into gigantic knit sheets that were big enough to interact with—you could climb inside! Plus, the spot has even been involved in some local yarn bombing. Our favorite: They wrapped the entire Sun Target sculpture outside the Springfield Art Museum in a knit cozy last October.
Best Place to Kayak Under a Full Moon
Fellows Lake usually closes down for the night at sunset, but every so often the spot stays open until midnight for a moonlight float under a full moon. The second annual full-moon float at Fellows Lake Marina (4208 E. Farm Road 66, Springfield) took place on September 18 last year. The event is a chance for paddlers to see the lake in a whole new way, under the serene calmness of a moonlit night. The marina stays open, too, so paddlers can grab snacks and fishing gear or rent a canoe, kayak, pontoon canoe or paddle boat. Stay tuned for details on this year’s full-moon float, so you can experience it for yourself. (You’ll need to register in advance to participate.)
Best Afternoon Without the Kids
You think White Water (silverdollarcity.com/white-water) is just a kids’ place? Sure, it’s fun to take your little ones there to watch them gleefully zip down the water slides, but in order to extract full enjoyment of the park for yourself, you need to leave the rugrats at home. You won’t have to hold anyone’s towels. You won’t have to break up any fights. You won’t have to worry about that shirt that your son took off, left somewhere and forgot about. And you won’t have to fret over who was slathered with sunscreen and when and how often. It’s just you, your friends and a fast ride down a steep slide.
Bonus for 2014: The new KaPau Plummet opens this summer, launching riders from a drop floor into a 70-degree plunge. You better try it yourself before you take the kids, right?
Best Place to Hang Your Hat
Rountree in Springfield
One drive down Pickwick Avenue or one of the other streets in Rountree, and you’ll understand why people love this in-demand neighborhood. Old-but-cared-for bungalows and mature trees line the quiet streets, and there’s a strong sense of community that (let’s be honest) makes the rest of us a little jealous. Our favorite big neighborhood event is the huge (seriously, so huge) Halloween parade. You know what Halloween looks like in the movies, when absolutely everyone participates? It’s like that. Plus, there are plenty of businesses within walking distance that are perfect for an afternoon about the neighborhood. Take, for instance, the little cluster at Pickwick and Cherry: Elle’s Patisserie, Imo’s Pizza, Pickwick House, Ott’s Pasta, Zen 3 Spa, Josh Mitchell Gallery, Lavaré Spa, Homegrown Food and more.
Best Big Plans
History Museum on the Square
From the outside, the most noticeable recent change to Park Central Square is the gigantic illuminated sign above History Museum on the Square (historymuseumonthesquare.org). Go ahead and let that siren song pull you in because this museum is taking over four historic buildings on the square and has big plans, including interactive galleries, restoration of the Fox Theatre and even a gift shop. History just got cool.
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