Best of 417 2015

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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Model: Madalyn Faucett | Clothing by STAXX | Model’s hair by STUDIO 417 | Karaoke provided by KO-ED Entertainment

Best Karaoke

Dennis’ Place

Second Place: Bugsy Malone’s

Third Place: Friend’s Karaoke Pub

Best Branson Show


Second Place: Presley Country Jubilee

Third Place: The Haygoods


Best Branson Attraction

Silver Dollar City

Second Place: Branson Landing

Third Place: Dixie Stampede


Best Weekend Getaway

Eureka Springs

Second Place: Big Cedar Lodge

Third Place: Branson


Best Afternoon With the Kids

Silver Dollar City

Second Place: Discovery Center of Springfield

Third Place: Dickerson Park Zoo


Best Afternoon Without the Kids

Branson Landing

Second Place: Copper Run Distillery

Third Place: Downstream Casino


Best Charity Event

Rock’n Ribs

Second Place: Sertoma Chili Cookoff

Third Place: Cattle Barons Ball


Best Date Night

Flame Steakhouse

Second Place: First Friday Art Walk

Third Place: B&B Marquee Suites


Best Girls’ Night

Ernie Biggs Chicago Style Dueling Piano Bar

Second Place: RSVPaint

Third Place: Touch


Best Place to Meet Someone New


Second Place: Farmers Market of the Ozarks

Third Place: Downtown Springfield

Best Trivia Night

Finnegan’s Wake

Second Place: Patton Alley Pub

Third Place: Dublin’s Pass


Best Hike

Springfield Nature Center

Second Place: Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Third Place: Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area


Best Outdoor Event

Springfield Cardinals games

Second Place: Mother’s Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest

Third Place: Artsfest


Best Sunday Drive

Eureka Springs

Second Place: Copper Run Distillery

Third Place: Branson back roads


Best Bicycle Route

Galloway Trail

Second Place: Frisco Highline Trail

Third Place: Dogwood Canyon Nature Park


Best Float Trip

Buffalo National River

Second Place: Current River

Third Place: Niangua River


Best Neighborhood

Phelps Grove

Second Place: Rountree

Third Place: Southern Hills


Best Park

Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park

Second Place: Sequiota Park

Third Place: Phelps Grove Park    


Best Event Venue

Gillioz Theatre

Second Place: Enchanted Hills

Third Place: Branson Convention Center


Best Winery Day Trip

Stone Hill Winery

Second Place: St. James Winery

Third Place: Oovvda Winery

This soundsuit by artist Nick Cave is a part of the permanent collection at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. 

Best Art Gallery

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Second Place: Springfield Art Museum

Third Place: Randy Bacon Art Gallery

Best Place to Have a Scrabble Date

Brick and Mortar Coffee

With no free internet for college kids to mooch off of and a simple-but-fabulous lineup of coffee to enjoy, Brick and Mortar Coffee (1666 E. Saint Louis St., Springfield, 417-812-6539, is the perfect spot for your next Scrabble date. It's quiet, and the massive community-style wooden table offers plenty of space to spread out and really get into your game. Celebrate your win with a cold glass of iced coffee straight from the tap!


Best Reason to Watch Your Step

Native Tarantulas

Did you know tarantulas can live up to 30 years? Luckily, these furry creepy crawlies are way more terrified of us than we are of them, and should a chance encounter occur, these brown giants would probably scream just as loudly as you. But if there’s one time when you should be extra-wary of where you step, it’s August and September. According to the Springfield Plateau Chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalists, the male Missouri brown tarantula is particularly randy this time of year and likes to wander about in search of a mate. So keep your eyes peeled for lonely brown tarantulas looking to have a good time.


Best Views

Top of the Rock

Once a favorite fine dining restaurant, the original Top of the Rock (150 Top of the Rock Rd., Ridgedale, closed in 2005 after a fire. But in June 2014, the spot came back with a bang, revealing a gorgeous 462-acre property complete with four restaurants, a 2.5-mile nature trail and cave, golf courses and more. In addition to many lovely sites around its well-manicured properties, Top of the Rock offers gorgeous views as far as the eye can see. It sits at the highest point in Taney County and commands a bluff overlooking the ruggedly serene Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake, and visitors can take it all in with their own two eyes.   


Best Bucket List Check Mark

Seeing 417-land From the Basket of a Hot Air Balloon

There are a lot of ways to catch a thrill in 417-land, but none of them are quite as dreamy as floating above the Ozark Mountains in the basket of a hot air balloon. We snagged a ride with Branson Balloon (, and the experience was surprisingly serene and not at all scary. With hills rolling by below and clouds hovering above, we felt like we were the luckiest folks in the world during our trip. But perhaps even more fun than taking in the views from above was helping land the balloon and pack it up. We felt like one of the team! 


Best OMG Thrill


The lose-your-stomach thrill of racing down the main hill on a tall roller coaster is nothing compared to the sheer terror of falling face-first toward the earth supported by nothing but a harness in a giant 100-foot-tall swing. At Skycoaster, you’re securely strapped in, then lifted way, way, way up high. Before you can take the plunge, you have to pull the rip cord yourself. Yep, not only do you plummet toward the ground, but you have to pull the trigger. What feels like milliseconds before you hit the ground, you swing out in a comfortable arc. It’s a scream-fest for sure. Find it at Track Family Fun Parks in Branson (


Best Place to Play Chase 

Ornamental Grasses Garden at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park

Gravel paths plus super-tall grasses are the perfect recipe for toddler giggles. Take the kiddos for a run-around in this pretty little area at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park (2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield) for guaranteed family fun with a pretty setting to boot.


Best Place that Won’t Blow Your Cover 


Sure… you’re just here to entertain your kids. You just popped into 1984 (400 S. Jefferson Ave., Springfield, 417-831-3665, because you’re a good dad, right? We know this has nothing to do with your own video game nostalgia. We’re positive that you haven’t sunk dozens of quarters into that pinball machine just to entertain the kid in you. And all those $5 bills you used for admission for your entire family just happened to be in your pocket. Total coincidence. You’re not indulging yourself at all. (Don’t worry. We won’t tell.)


Best Boozy Day Trip

Piney River Brewing Co.

A visit to Piney River Brewing Co. (15194 Walnut Grove Dr., Bucyrus, 417-967-4001, is almost like a visit to see a long lost family member. After a drive on windy country roads and even crossing a cattle guard, you’ll spot a big red barn. At this point, you’ve arrived, and owners Joleen and Brian Durham will welcome you with open arms. You can head into the BARn tap room (clever!) to sample beer, or pick a spot on the craft beer deck or nearby field to camp out for the afternoon. You’re invited to bring a picnic or goodies to prepare on the barbecue grills, if you wish, and sometimes there’s even a food truck on site. Oh, and there’s often live music, too! At press time, we learned that there will soon be even more sampling available: Piney River Brewing announced a $1.2-million expansion that includes an additional 12,000-square-foot barn near the current production facility. This means you’ll have a whole lot more beer to sample. Don’t forget to bring a sober driver! The tap room is open each Saturday from 2 to 7 p.m.


Best Invigorating Gasp

Jumping into Althea Spring

Did you know that one of 417-land’s lovely streams, the North Fork of the White River, has easy access to Althea Spring? While it isn’t the biggest spring in the state, it is one that offers the unique opportunity to hop right in. This is not an activity for the faint of heart. In fact, it will surely take your breath away. But on the hottest of the hot summer days, it’s just the cool-down you need.

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