Springfield, Massachusetts, "The City of Firsts," has lots to offer visitors. The first American-made automobile was produced here, and it's the birthplace of the modern game of basketball and the famed Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess. Vibrant with a growing economy and many public spaces, no day is lost exploring this community—especially when you know some of the best places to visit.
Springfield is home to the first armory in the country. You can tour the Springfield Armory National Historic Site to view one of the largest U.S. military small arms collections. Take an industrial machinery or historic arms guided tour as a history lover. Notable public programs occur throughout the year, and the beautiful, well-maintained grounds are a nice place for a short walk.
Learn about art and explore science through hands-on displays. Find out about the history of Springfield at the five museums that form the Springfield Museums. Various adult- and kid-friendly programs are available, but the collections here are the primary reason to visit. There are over 250,000 objects and over a million documents and photographs to explore, including art holdings, author pieces from Dr. Seuss, and science artifacts.
Within the William Pynchon Memorial Building is the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, which will engage visitors of all ages. Interactive stations include the Whoville with Ball Wall and Light Wall, the Giant Marble Maze, and the Lorax Recycle Game. Each area teaches, guides, and creates opportunities to experiment, whether reading, sound, or rhyming.
Symphony Hall is impressive not just in performances but in its Greek Revival architecture. This historic hall, built in the early 1900s, is an excellent place to listen to the orchestra or enjoy other live performances, including Broadway-style theater, renowned speakers, and children's programming. It's also a concert venue for various groups, ranging from classical to modern music.
Charming in its own right, Forest Park is a historic Victorian garden first developed in the 1880s. Today, it spans 735 acres and is nestled into a residential area. There's much more than just flowers to see. The Forest Park Zoo is located here, and there are numerous ponds, lakes, playgrounds, and a promenade to explore. You can play a game of bocce or basketball and then tour the Barney Carriage House on the grounds.
The Springfield Thunderbirds are a minor league professional ice hockey team that plays at the MassMutual Center. These high-flying, intense games offer an excellent opportunity to be immersed in ice hockey while cheering on the local team. There's also the Fanzone, where the fans get prime seats and various game-time interactive experiences.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Family is a museum any basketball lover must tour. It offers a complete library of basketball history in the United States, plus informative displays about the Hall of Famers. With more than 40,000 square feet of exhibits and the "Court of Dreams" to test your skills, this is a fun day-long experience.
If you love shopping for decorative glass, retro toys, unique furniture, or other antique treasures, visit the Springfield Antique Center. Navigating the 450 dealer booths across 46,000 square feet of space will take some time. Collections change often, but there's lots of memorabilia to see. Check out locally created items like live-edge tables or shop your favorite vintage and antique glass, collectibles, or knives.
South End is the city's Italian community. It's where you'll find numerous Italian restaurants offering everything from handmade pasta and sauces to exceptional pizza, plus fine dining options. Choose locations like Frigo's and Mom and Rico's, which have been in the area for decades. It's also the home to the Catholic Feast Days during the summer months, offering food, rides, and shops.
Once known as Gallup's Grove, Six Flags New England is a high-flying amusement park noted for its roller coasters. It's also home to the largest water park in the region. Some of the most notable rides here include Batman the Dark Knight, Cyborg HyperDrive, and Flashback, with numerous loops. There are kid's rides, a playground for preschoolers, and multiple shows and other programs.
Anthropology, natural science, and physical science lovers can take full advantage of the interactive exhibits at the Springfield Science Museum. There's also the Seymour Planetarium and Dinosaur Hall to explore here. Spark!Lab is perhaps the most exciting opportunity for those who want to experiment and learn about electricity. Also notable is the Solutia Live Animal Center, where you can explore the science behind animal habitats.
Paying homage to history at the Springfield Cemetery is an extraordinary way to spend some time. Its park-like setting and winding paths make it a comfortable place for a long hike with views of many notable gravesites. The Soldier's Rest is a Civil War monument dedicated to those who lost their lives in 1877. Also, visit Milton Clyde Long's gravesite, who died on the Titanic. The Titus family monument also pays homage to the successful real estate tycoon from the mid-1800s.
The Paramount Theater dates to 1926 and was, from the start, one of the most ornate theatres of its time. Though its changed names numerous times, it's still one of the most notable sites in Springfield with its classic revival architectural design. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places and can often be toured, though restoration is ongoing at the theater and adjacent hotel.
The Bings Art Center in Forest Park is a multi-use establishment offering various cultural events and programming opportunities. Designed to provide a higher quality of life for those in the area by offering accessible arts programming and opportunities, this community event center is an excellent place to visit when current events occur.
Spend time exploring the Springfield African American History Trail that takes people through twenty historical points of interest. The trail is a long walk through the Springfield Midtown and Downtown neighborhoods, exploring various stops, including Church Square North, the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, and Alberta's Hotel.