17 Ways to Relax and Stay Sane

Your guide for how to relax and be happy this year. These 17 relaxation techniques include spa treatments, connecting with the great outdoors, pampering yourself at home, warming drinks and so much more.

By Megan Dollar, Katie Pollock Estes, Krysten Muench

Jan 2021

Woman holding a mug of hot cocoa
Photo by Brandon AlmsNothing says cozy quite like a warm sweater and a hot cup of cocoa. Purchase Photo

Last year was a doozy, and now winter is in full swing. If you’re anything like us, you need a little relaxation and indulgence—a little warmth and comfort too—to get you through the chilly months. And when life is throwing stress your way from every direction, even taking the time to think of ways to relax can feel like a chore. Hopefully, this guide will do the work for you, so all you have to do is choose. We’ve rounded up ways to treat yourself to spa experiences, connect with nature, disconnect from the daily grind and so much more.

If you missed us on KY3's The Place, catch up here!

Garden Forest Yurts Reeds Spring
Photos by Kyndal Hawkins of Inner ImagesGarden Forest Yurts
Garden Forest Yurts Reeds Spring
Photos by Kyndal Hawkins of Inner ImagesGarden Forest Yurts
Garden Forest Yurts Reeds Spring
Photos by Kyndal Hawkins of Inner ImagesGarden Forest Yurts
Garden Forest Yurts Reeds Spring
Photos by Kyndal Hawkins of Inner ImagesGarden Forest Yurts
Garden Forest Yurts Reeds Spring
Photos by Kyndal Hawkins of Inner ImagesGarden Forest Yurts

Hole Up in a Historic Yurt in Reeds Spring

Grab the family (or maybe just your spouse… or maybe even go solo) and get away from it all by getting cozy in a perfect-for-winter yurt in Reeds Spring.

Forest Garden Yurts
23732 MO-413, Reeds Spring
Forest Garden Yurts are available for weddings or other special events as well as nightly stays. Search “Forest Garden Yurts” at to book.

Although big travel plans have been put on hold for most of us, everyone still feels that familiar itch to escape the stress of day-to-day life. Or at least, my husband Eli and I do. But last fall when the urge to travel hit, we knew we wanted to find a spot where we could be secluded and socially distant from other travelers—a place that felt like home, but wasn’t.

So one very, very chilly weekend, Eli and I packed up the kids and drove to Forest Garden Yurts in Reeds Spring. On four wooded acres sit four little round buildings that are as quaint as they come. The first is the largest yurt of charming stone, gingerbread-house-worthy shingles and curving woodwork. It serves as an event space for weddings and other gatherings. But if you keep going up the steep gravel driveway, you’ll find three more yurts in a sweet little cluster at the top of the hill, all connected by a stained glass adorned pavilion roof and sparkling string lights. The biggest one has Hobbit Hole vibes and is where guests stay when they book a couple of nights at Forest Garden Yurts, and the two smaller ones serve as a bathroom building and a storage space.

The current owners of the property, Amanda and Nick Francis, have been booking the space recently, but the structures have a history that goes much further back. The large yurt was used by Tom Hess as a pottery studio, and he and his wife Lory Brown lived up the hill in the smaller buildings for four decades.

From the moment we all ducked through the teensy teal door of the living yurt (only my 4-year-old could walk through standing), we were smitten. The yurt was built by renowned yurt designer William Coperthwaite and has architectural and artistic features that give you tons of delightful details to notice in just about every square inch of the buildings. Local artist Jeff Brundege carved much of the striking woodwork, and there are super-efficient built-ins throughout.

The interior space was perfect for tucking in with a book or playing a board game on the floor with the kids, and the upstairs bedroom had the most interesting skylight surrounded by cherub-head carvings. The yurt was lined with windows that gave us constant glimpses of the trees outside, and the kitchen counter took up about a third of the perimeter of the yurt—plenty of space to cook around the super-vintage stove. In fact, we did a lot of cooking. Rachael West, owner of Eating the Ozarks and host of brunch and dinner events on the yurt property, had left us supplies for spicebush pancakes made with foraged ingredients and two kinds of homemade syrups: hickory bark and dandelion root. They were delightful—with wild flavors that felt so perfect for a weekend in the woods.

While I whipped up breakfast and Eli built a fire in the wood-burning stove to warm our freezing toes, the kids plodded around the grass outside all bundled in their coats and looking for cool rocks and mushrooms. The whole experience was the definition of disconnecting from our stress and reconnecting with each other. There was no TV, we brought no tablets, and we didn’t spend any time on our phones. Instead we holed up together, staying close to stay warm and indulging our primitive urges (we kept two fires raging—one inside and one outside) while staying comfy in a homey space loaded with charm.—Katie Pollock Estes

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville AR
Photo courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, by Stephen IronsideWander through the galleries at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR.

Take a Stroll Through a Local Museum

For a serene and peaceful day out with your significant other, try this recipe: 1 part relaxing walk, 1 part date excursion and 1 part culture. Sounds like a day at the museum to us! Here are three of our favorite options.

Springfield Art Museum

If you aren’t already a regular at Springfield Art Museum, then you’re missing out on one of Springfield’s best spots for art lovers. There are more than 10,000 works that live permanently at the museum, and new exhibits cycle in and out regularly to add variety. Outside, you can stroll through the sculpture garden and take in the beloved bright yellow Sun Target II by John Henry and other outdoor works of art too. Through April of 2021, stop by to see the “Afloat: Artists and Rivers” exhibition featuring works from the museum’s permanent collection that feature rivers.

[READ MORE: 46 Things to do in Winter in Springfield]

History Museum on the Square

Located in a prime spot at Park Central Square and tucked into restored historical buildings, History Museum on the Square focuses on our rich regional history and was even voted by USA Today readers as America’s No. 1 Best New Attraction in 2019. Come see interactive exhibits that immerse guests in 417-land’s past, including permanent galleries that cover topics like Route 66, Wild Bill Hickok, Native American history, trains and transportation, the Civil War and more. When you’re ready to visit, just look for the retro neon sign perched atop their building on the Square. You can’t miss that glow!

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

If you’re up for more of a road trip, then Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art should be your artsy stroll of choice. For one thing, the “stroll” part is extra-nice here, as the museum is surrounded by 4 miles of trails through the woods, dotted with water features, foliage and of course art—like the R. Buckminster Fuller “Fly’s Eye Dome” you walk through or Dale Chihuly’s vibrantly colored “Fiori Boat.” In addition to a permanent collection of American artwork, there are also temporary exhibitions like the gorgeous North Forest Lights open through April 4.

Loaves of homemade sourdough bread by Krysten Muench
Photo by Brandon AlmsLose yourself in the process of making homemade bread. Try making a sourdough loaf, like pictured above, or choose another bread recipe. Purchase Photo

Knead it Out and Bake a Loaf of Bread

Flour, water, salt and time: the minimal ingredients necessary to bring a loaf of bread to life.

Working with my hands is a type of therapy for me, and when I can remove screens from an experience, the happier and more fulfilled I feel. Whether it is cooking, gardening or any multitude of art projects, I love to lose myself in a process that results in something tangible. So it should come as no surprise that experimenting with sourdough recipes is a natural fit—coaxing flour and water together to create something simple, beautiful and nourishing. Bread the way it’s meant to be experienced.

Since starting our sourdough journey two winters ago, my husband and I haven’t looked back, or really bought a loaf of bread, since. One of the beautiful things about sourdough is that you can be as technical as you want and really hone in on your amounts, techniques and percentages. But you can also just jump in and go for it, and in the end, your home will still overflow with the smell of fresh baked bread and you’ll still pull a warm, delicious loaf of bread out of the oven.

We’ve found so much joy in not only baking for ourselves, but also in sharing bread with family, friends and neighbors. The hands-on process becomes even sweeter when you know you’ll be able to make someone smile. Plus, I welcome any excuse to start a new loaf or two.—Krysten Muench

Ready to bake? Get the full sourdough bread recipe here.

Igloos at Vantage Rooftop Lounge & Conservatory in Springfield MO
Photo by Chuck TraversWarm up in an igloo at Vantage Rooftop Lounge & Conservatory

Dine on a Heated Patio

Take advantage of those random warm, sunny days in January, and make plans to dine outside on a patio that has a little extra something to keep you toasty.

Vantage Rooftop Lounge & Conservatory

260 E. McDaniel St., Springfield, 417-851-1768
Warm up with: firepits and igloos
How to get cozy: Grab a table inside one of the wind-blocking igloos. Bonus points of super-social distancing in there too.
What to order: A Memories of Summer cocktail and the shareable peppadew peppers stuffed with grilled pineapple and cream cheese with balsamic sauce.

Cherry Picker Package x Fare

601 S. Pickwick Ave., Springfield, 417-986-5800
Warm up with: chimineas
How to get cozy: Pack a scarf to shield you against the wind, so you can sit a spell and people watch at Pickwick and Cherry.
What to order: A CP Hand Warmer pear hot toddy and a slice of whichever beautiful, creative cake is up for grabs from Cake SGF.

[READ MORE: 5 Best Heated Patios in Springfield, MO]

Tie & Timber Beer Co.

1451 E. Cherry St., Springfield
Warm up with: a tent to keep the winter wind at bay
How to get cozy: Go on those lovely unseasonably warm days and dress for the tempurature because the tent walls can only do so much.
What to order: A Juicy Brewski New England IPA and a couple of Globetrotter smoked pork belly tacos from Team Taco across the street.


820 E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-862-6400
Warm up with: infrared heaters
How to get cozy: Try to get a seat near a heater, and enjoy the covered patio space that was remodeled last year.
What to order: The menu of beautiful pasta, salads and Italian favorites changes weekly, but be sure to get the meatballs appetizer any time it’s available. That dish is a sure bet.

Aviary by Lavender Falls

2144 E. Republic Road., Springfield, 417-881-9736
Warm up with: infrared heaters
How to get cozy: The patio extends across both the east and north sides of the building, so try to get a seat on whichever side will block the breeze a bit.
What to order: A steamy bowl of French onion soup to warm you up, and lavender prosecco if you’re feeling fancy.

Los Cabos Mexican Grill

4109 S. National Ave., Springfield, 417-823-9114
Warm up with: cozy fire pits
How to get cozy: Wear warm boots to keep your toes toasty while you warm your hands by the fire.
What to order: Start with a margarita and then dive face first into a bowl of their ridiculously tasty white queso. As your appetizer it’s certainly shareable… but you won’t want to.

Top of the Rock

190 Top of the Rock Rd., Ridgedale, 800-225-6343
Warm up with: fireplaces and firepits
How to get cozy: Sit as close to the firepit as possible, and make sure you’re there at sunset for the bagpipe ceremony—it’ll warm you from the inside.
What to order: The Spiced Bison (a whiskey-spiked hot cider) and the house-made pappardelle pasta that comes with roasted mushrooms.

Sip on Something Warm and Strong

This is not the season for icy margaritas. When it’s time for a cocktail, indulge in something that feels like a warm hug in a mug and order a hot toddy or other steamy sipper instead.

If You Want Something Classic

Hot Toddy 
from J.O.B Public House, 319 E. Walnut, Springfield, 417-831-1158
What’s in it: Infused Earl Gray tea, Goslings black seal rum, organic apple cider, cinnamon sticks, lemon slices and a teaspoon of local honey

If You’re Craving Something Sweet

Boozy Hot Chocolate
from Farmer’s Gastropub, 2620 South Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-864-6994
What’s in it: RumChata, homemade hot cocoa, graham cracker and a fluffy marshmallow topping

If You Want Something Rich and Spicy

Mulled Wine
from Mudlounge, 321 E. Walnut, Springfield, 417-865-6964
What’s in it: Cabernet Sauvignon, honey, orange, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon

If You’re Craving Apple Cider

Hot Apple Cider Toddy
from Civil Kitchen, 107 Park Central Square, Springfield, 417-501-8456
What’s in it: Four Roses Bourbon, honey and hot apple cider

If You Want A Winter Cider

Jack’s Winter Cider
from The Finley, 206 E. Elm St., Ozark, 417-582-1912
What’s in it: Jack Daniels Winter Jack, Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, hot tea, cinnamon sticks and orange slices

Cedar Creek Spa at Big Cedar Lodge
Photo courtesy Big Cedar LodgeTry a hot shell massage at Cedar Creek Spa at Big Cedar Lodge.

Warm Up at the Spa

Indulge in something ultra relaxing with spa experiences that warm you up and help you relax.

A New Way to Relax

Hot Shell Massage
at Cedar Creek Spa at Big Cedar Lodge, 190 Top of the Rock Rd., Ridgedale, 800-225-6343
It’s like the hot stone massages you know, but this add-on uses warm shells, which add another soothing element to the treatment. Post-massage, explore the relaxing and luxurious spa, with perks like a candle-accented grotto pool and warm fireplaces.

The Warmest Massage

Hot stone massage
at Acacia Spa, 4058 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield
A massage from Acacia Spa is always a good idea, but you can make it an even warmer experience for cold winter days by adding hot stones to the experience. When you’re finished, take advantage of some of the day spa extras, like the eucalyptus steam shower. 

Float the Day Away

Floatation Therapy
at Theta Float Spa, 1339 E. Monclair, Springfield, 417-812-5135
Have you ever spent an hour and a half simply floating in a dark pod in super-salty water? It might sound strange, but it’s actually an extremely relaxing meditative experience. You can also book an infrared sauna session for after your floatation therapy to get extra warm before heading home.

Breathe Deeply

Dry Salt Therapy
at Breathe Salt Vault, 1730 E. Republic Rd., Suite R., Springfield, 417-881-7258
Besides being a warm and relaxing experience, dry salt therapy is also known for helping ease skin issues like eczema and chronic conditions like asthma. The session involves micro-particles of sodium chloride dispersed form a machine called a halogenerator. But for you it’s simpler than that: All you have to do is sit back and relax.

Sweat it Out

Steamy Wonder Session
at Nu Essence Spa, 1319 E. Republic Rd., Suite C, Springfield, 417-890-7378
Warmth plus steam can equal a seriously relaxing experience, and the steam sauna sessions at Nu Essence can ease muscle pain and help with a little detox too. Tack it on to your spa day after a facial or massage to make a day of it.

Pamper Yourself at Home

Step 1

Bon Bon Soy Candle
from Harrison House Market
Shoo away the kids and set the mood by lighting a yummy scented candle. 

Step 2

The Barr Co. Balt Salts 
from The Market
Run yourself a bath, and make sure it’s a fancy bath while you’re at it with some indulgent bath salts. 

Step 3

Cashmere Lounge Set 
from Harem & Co.
Once you’ve had a nice, long soak, throw on the most stylishly comfy thing you can find.

Step 4

Baby Foot Peel
from Baglady Boutique
Now settle in to dunk your toes into a foot peel that means business. It removes all that dead skin. 

Step 5

Poppy & Pout Lip Gloss
from Clothe Boutique
Don’t neglect your lips! While your feet peel, you can tend to your pout.

Step 6

Dolce Vita Slippers
from STAXX
Once your foot peel is over, slide those toes into some super-cozy fuzzy slippers.

Step 7

PJ Salvage Fleece Robe
from The Market
Steps 8 and 9 require ultra comfort, so throw on a soft robe to round out your outfit. 

Step 8

Good Clean Rosé
from Good Clean Wine
You’ve soaked, you’ve peeled, you’ve wrapped up in softness, and now it’s time to wine down. 

Step 5

Chocolate Bon Bons
from Bon Bon’s Candy House
And finally: Chocolate! All the bon bons are delish, but we recommend tiramisu.

Give Yourself a Break and Hire Someone to Clean Your House

Chores never end, but your responsibility for them can take a backseat every now and then if you hire a house cleaner. Here are a few.

Quality Clean

Since 2003, this family-owned company has been doing commercial and residential cleaning. They’re licensed and insured and offer a variety of cleaning options for all parts of your home—from the big stuff to little details.

RCH Professional Cleaning Co.

Choose the rooms and frequency that  you need for your professional home cleaning with RCH. The company, which also services commercial spaces, can offer green cleaning by request too if that’s something you prefer.

Champion Cleaning

Residential and commercial cleaning along with carpet cleaning have been their specialties, and they use environmentally responsible products too. Like the other businesses on our list, Champion is licensed and insured.

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in winter
Photo courtesy Dogwood Canyon Nature ParkClear your head on a nature walk at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park.

Take a Solo Scenic Walk to Clear Your Mind

Hitting the trail isn’t just an activity reserved for the warm seasons. We love it in the winter too. There’s something so invigorating about throwing on a scarf, stepping out into the brisk air and strolling through the wilderness to reset your mind and wake up your body. Here in the Ozarks, there are plenty of hiking options, but for a solo walk to connect with nature you really can’t beat Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. The property is halfway wild and halfway meticulously manicured, meaning you get to take in the Ozarks in all its splendor—but you’ll be doing it on a pristine paved pathway. It’s an especially beautiful place to go if you find the sound of water therapeutic. Rippling steams and rushing waterfalls are abundant, each one more peaceful and lovely than the last. If you hop on the tram while you’re there, you’ll be treated to a little natural history lesson about this particular Ozarks spot. But even if you don’t spring for the tram, you can learn a lot at the Nature & Conservation Center before you fuel up at the Canyon Grill.

[READ MORE: 3 Great Winter Hikes in the Ozarks]

Pagination Bookshop Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsStop into Pagination Bookshop to pick something out yourself, or let them know what you like to read and they'll pull something for you.

Snuggle Up With a Book

If your idea of relaxation includes snuggling up with a book on your sofa at home wearing the same sweats you had on the night before (you know you’ve done it), then you’ll want to connect with some local resources than can help you pick your next great read. (Did you hear that? You even get to skip the decision fatigue in this scenario!) At Pagination Bookshop, owner Jennifer Murvin is a pro at recommending books that match your preferences, and she can even curate a surprise bundle of used books that will definitely get you through the winter. In fact, we’ve ordered a used book bundle recently and Murvin’s picks were spot-on. The Springfield-Greene County Library District’s website offers a similar service—you just click on “your next read” and answer a few questions about your preferences to get a recommendation. Or if you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, you can always go inside and talk to your favorite librarian. Once you’ve picked your next page-turner, all that’s left to do is burrow under your favorite fuzzy blanket, silence your phone and dig in.

Stock Up on Loose Leaf Tea From Local Shops

Travellers House Coffee

Tastes like: unflavored and satisfying green tea

Chabom Tea + Spices

Tastes like: yerba mate, apple, rosemary and more

The Spice & Tea Exchange

Tastes like: Tart and fruity (and bright red too)

Mudhouse Coffee & Tea

Tastes like: warmly sweet and similar to rooibos

Tantara Farms

Tastes like: peppermint plus floral chamomile

Springfield MO Chef Anna Davis
Photo by Tessa CooperFrom recipe ideation to the grocery shopping to the final preparation of the dishes, Anna Davis puts a lot of care and thought into her craft.

Get the Restaurant Experience at Home

Hire a personal chef for the ultimate relaxation: giving yourself a break in the kitchen.

Nobody wants to cook in January. You filled yourself to the brim with homemade meat and potatoes over the holidays, and now you want to venture out and try something new. But, in January? It’s extra cold out there. Or, maybe you don’t mind cooking, but you can’t seem to find a restaurant that serves the patatas bravas you were dying to get on your now canceled trip to Barcelona. Might we suggest treating yourself to an in-home personal chef? Lucky for you, 417-land is home to an impressively robust personal and private chef scene. Whether you’re looking for authentic, homemade Italian, a modern, gourmet twist on seasonal produce or a traditional farm-to-table experience, there’s a local chef who will make it for you in your home.

What’s Alfredo?

Lorenzo Antignano has been cooking from clients’ homes for just over a year. Originally from Italy, he specializes in contemporary Italian cuisine: creamy risottos, fresh pastas, bold desserts and more. “Most of my cooking I learned from my mom and Italian chefs,” Antignano says. With his wife Kaylee, he creates an authentic, Italian family environment as they cook in your home. They’re happy to cook for parties large and small and typically offer four- to five-course meals. It sounds to us like the perfect way to plan a getaway without actually leaving your home.

Private Chef Anna Davis

Private Chef Anna Davis will take you on a different adventure. Davis specializes in Nordic cuisine, which she learned how to prepare while working in kitchens across the world. Using fresh, local ingredients Davis will turn your dining room into a cozy, fine restaurant. Davis says she likes to use ingredients clients will be familiar with, but she uses them in a creative way. “I encourage people to try it because it’s really unique and fun,” Davis says. She offers traditional, multi-course meals or a small plates option, tapas style. And, she’s happy to let you join—she offers in-home cooking classes—or take care of everything herself. Either way, she’ll leave you with a recipe.

Vintage Cookery

Although Antignano and Davis both use local ingredients, too, Austin and Amy Merath create flavors a bit more true to home. They both graduated from College of the Ozarks in 2014, where they participated in the culinary program. While their training is heavily based in French technique, they do their best to offer approachable fare. “We just try to make things as good as we can,” says Austin. Whether you’re hosting a small get-together, a family reunion or gathering for a Branson vacation, Vintage Cookery will work to create a menu just for you.

Chef Paul Allen

Chef Paul Allen will create any meal experience your heart desires. From re-creating international dining experiences to gourmet campfires or a treasure hunt experience, Allen cooks to impress. In addition to crafting a menu to each client’s taste, Allen also offers a menu of amenities. If you’re looking for a simple, luxurious night in, he can put together a gourmet, candlelit dinner. But if you’re looking for something with a bit more fanfare, he’ll order in some Argentinian shrimp and end the night with a firework display.

Hibernate in a New Set of Bed Sheets

If the weather (or your mood) doesn’t lend itself to venturing out, then you could hibernate instead. All you need is some luxurious bedding to snuggle into and some lovely scents to make you want to stay there.

To build your bedroom sanctuary, let’s start with linens. You want something that feels as good as it looks and will hold up to wash after wash for years to come. Springfield’s James Decor carries lots of linen options that fit the bill. There are traditional true linen sheets that soften with every wash alongside more surprising (and luxe) options like silk velvet blankets. Layered onto your bed with your favorite throw pillows, the perfect linens will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud.

Now let’s talk scents. If you haven’t washed your linens in detergent so fragrant it makes you sigh with joy when you pull them out of the closet, well, you haven’t lived. We’re partial to Glamour Wash by Tyler Candle Co., which you can find locally at Brown Derby International Wine Center (2023 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield). It is, no kidding, so luxurious that we’ve given it  to friends as gifts. We’ve bought it for ourselves as a gift that feels as self-pampering as a pedicure. The intense scents are feminine and bold but never soapy. They’ll make you want to sink into those lovely linens and snuggle up all day.

Woman meditating
Photo by Madison LavernRelease your stress with a little meditation.

Try Meditation

When resting, exercising and munching on the foods that warm you from the inside out aren’t enough to make you feel fully de-stressed, try your hand at meditation instead. You don’t have be perfect at it right off the bat, but jumping in and giving it a try could be enough to help you feel centered and bring you a little peace of mind.

[READ MORE: 5 Best Winter Warmer Workouts]

Breath Expressions

Offering breathwork, which is a form of active meditation aimed at reducing anxiety, grief and more.

Ozarks Dharma Community

Offering group meditation (currently via Zoom) for every skill level each Saturday morning.

Pure Hot Yoga

Offering short mini-meditations (10 minutes long) on Monday nights after their Creative Flow yoga class.

Felix cat sculpture on Springfield Sculpture Walk. Sculptor: Anthony Guntren
Photo courtesy Sculpture Walk SpringfieldFelix. Sculptor: Anthony Guntren

Go Sculpture Hunting with Springfield Sculpture Walk

Imagine this for a relaxing morning: fresh air for your lungs, a walk around downtown for your legs, and some clever art for your heart and mind. Sounds like a pick-me-up, right? We’re talking about taking a wintry walk to find the pieces in the Springfield Sculpture Walk. The quieter streets and sidewalks on a chilly day help create a more serene experience—and you can stop and really spend time taking in the sculptures if you know you’re not blocking anybody’s way on a busy sidewalk. All you need to get started is the Springfield Sculpture Walk map (printable here) so you know where to find the good stuff, and a hot cup of coffee to keep your hands toasty on your stroll. We recommend swinging into Mudhouse, The Coffee Ethic or European Café for that last part. They all serve stellar cups of joe and are within walking distance of numerous sculptures. On Park Central Square and Park Central East and West alone you can spy a giant cupcake, a stack of conversation hearts, a piece inspired by the new proposed Springfield flag, and a dapper egg engrossed in a book. But we recommend venturing over to Walnut Street between Jefferson and Robberson to see one of our favorites: Space Cat by Anthony Guntren. It’s a little cat in an astronaut helmet hanging out near Hotel Vandivort, so it’s exactly what you imagined. And we love it.

Group of women at AR Workshop in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy AR WorkshopAR Workshops are great for a girls night out, and you get a personalized stencil to boot.

Try a Crafting Class

Embark on a little light self-improvement by taking on a new creative hobby or enrolling in some local crafting classes.

AR Workshop

1550 E. Battlefield Road, Suite M-2, Springfield
This spot is great for dabblers who aren’t sure what kind of craft they’ll be good at—you know, the crafting dreamers who don’t know how to become crafting doers yet. There are so many project ideas here. You can make a giant cozy blanket, paint some décor for your home, whip up a stylish pet bed and lots more. They even sell to-go kits if you’d prefer to try your craft at home.

The Workshop at Finley Farms

802 Finley Farms Lane, Ozark
The Workshop has hosted numerous different types of classes since opening, despite a temporary pause due to COVID-19. There have been lessons in charcuterie, floral design, pie baking, gingerbread house making and more. Whichever you choose, make sure you order some eats at the coffee shop, like marinated mushroom toast or the whiskey and sorghum coffee cocktail.

[READ MORE: 5 Best Crafting Classes to Stretch Your Creativity]

Creava Studio

1637 E. Saint Louis St., Springfield, 417-880-3531
Beginner and more experienced potters can find a class at Creava Studio that gives them a chance to take a break from the grind and throw some clay. There’s even a date night option where you can learn the art of pottery with your sweetie in tow. 

Splatter Art + Studio

4160 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield
Artists and aspiring artists alike gather here for classes and workshops that have been taught by local artists such as Andrea Ehrhardt (whose murals you’ve seen around town), expressionist abstract artist Elizabeth Chapman, watercolorist Alicia Farris and lots more. Women’s artist retreats and open paint nights offer opportunities for support and feedback too.

Artistree Pottery

1423 E. Cherry St., Suite 103, Springfield

If you like your art to be a bit utilitarian, you might try pottery painting. While there are certainly decorative items available to paint at Artistree Pottery, we love the idea of picking out what will become your new favorite mug, then giving it a colorful makeover. Order a glass of wine and charcuterie tray to make it an event.

Spike Your Local Cocoa from Askinosie Chocolate

So you’ve just painted a mug, and now you need to fill it. We recommend a little bit of spiked hot chocolate for the ultimate indulgence. You can purchase single-origin sipping chocolate from Askinosie Chocolate (order online then pick up at the window at 514 E. Commercial St., Springfield). It’s made from cocoa beans sourced from Mababu, Tanzania, that are combined with organic sugar for the simple, bittersweet, totally grown-up hot cocoa mix of your dreams. Seriously: Give the kids Swiss Miss and save this stuff for yourself. You can make it entirely non-kid-friendly by spiking it too. Get a bottle of bourbon or small-batch whiskey from Copper Run Distillery and you have yourself a fully locally sourced nightcap.