Downtown Springfield Association
Classic cars driving down Route 66 in Springfield
Downtown Business Spotlight

Six ways to get your kicks at the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival

August 09, 2018


A crowd of more than 53,000 people will come to Downtown Springfield Aug. 10-11 for the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival. That’s more people than live in nearby Nixa and Ozark combined.

And there will be plenty to entertain everyone at the free event. We’re talking car and motorcycle shows, a BBQ Throwdown, 6.6K run, Route 66 exhibits — the list goes on and on. Combine that with the buffet of fun Downtown Springfield already offers? You’ve got the right mix for a perfect weekend.

We want to help you make the most of the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, whether you’re a Springfield native or visitor from far away. Here are the keys to having a great time this weekend.

  1. Don’t miss the parade: What’s better than walking around looking at cool cars? Sitting down and watching them drive right past you! The Birthplace of Route 66 Parade starts next to Mother’s Brewing Company. It meanders through Park Central Square and heads down St. Louis. The parade ends near National. Pro tip: Lost Signal Brewing Company is hosting a watch party on its patio. Consume award-winning BBQ and craft beer while you watch the show.
  2. Stay cool: Temperatures will be in the 90s. You’re going to need to cool off at some point. Like milkshakes? Check out Steak ‘n Shake, Black Sheep Burgers & Shakes or Hurts Donut Company. Hurts will top your creamy refreshment with one of their famous donuts. Need an energy boost? The Coffee Ethic has an espresso milkshake. Coffee shops like Mud House and Kingdom can also blend you something cool and caffeinated. Pro tip: Feeling adventurous? Head to Black Sheep Burgers & Shakes. Their shakes can be served with alcohol. The Purple Haze includes homemade blackberry pie, blackberry whiskey and frozen custard.
  3. Get some culture: The event falls on the second Saturday of the month. That means Second Saturday Art Walk. Fresh Gallery presents The Route 66 Show this month. It features Fresh Gallery artists and several visiting artists whose work is available exclusively at Fresh until Aug. 28. The History Museum on the Square, at the Fox Theatre, will have its popular Memories of the Mother Road exhibit. It invites you to travel back in time on Route 66 and learn about the places that put Springfield on the map. Pro tip: Keep your eyes open for public art! There’s a butterfly painting at the corner of Walnut and South. The west side of the Discovery Center features a Springfield mural. There are also 24 sculptures around Downtown thanks to Sculpture Walk Springfield.
  4. Find the perfect Springfield souvenir: Don’t be afraid to stroll outside the festival footprint and explore Downtown Springfield’s retail scene. Stick It In Your Ear has an incredible collection of records for sale. Five Pound Apparel has a whole wall of Springfield and Missouri-themed shirts. Honky Tonk Threads & Smoke Shop carries a variety of clothes to suit any tastes. Sharks Surf X Supply will have plenty of summer gear to help you keep cool. A Cricket in the House has an incredible selection of home furnishings and collectibles. Pro tip: Check out the newly-opened SOAP refill station. If you need to clean it, they’ve got the right product for you — and it’s all eco-friendly!
  5. Fill your belly: All that walking is sure to make you hungry. Don’t worry: Downtown Springfield is home to dozens of restaurants. From burgers to pizza, and from Greek to Italian to Japanese to Mexican, you’re sure to find something you love. That includes gourmet cuisine at The Order, inside Hotel Vandivort, and Flame Steakhouse. It also includes quicker options like Chicago Cheesesteak Company and Slider’s Hamburgers. Pro tip: Tinga Tacos is one of Downtown’s newest eateries. Their menu is full of playful takes on traditional tacos and customizeable options. And they make some of the best chips and queso you’ll find anywhere.
  6. Sample award-winning beers: The craft beer scene in Springfield is exploding and Downtown is the epicenter. We’ve got three breweries all within a few blocks of each other. Springfield Brewing Company is the godfather on the scene, having opened in 1996. It’s Mayhem Märzen captured silver in the World Beer Cup’s German-style Maerzen category in May 2018. Mother’s Brewing Company’s tap room features a rotation crew of innovative takes on classic styles. It’s Asceticism won a silver medal at Chicago’s Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer in November 2017. Lost Signal Brewing Company is the newest addition to Downtown. Its Smoked Pecan Porter won a bronze medal in the Robust Porter category of the 2018 U.S. Open Beer Championship. Pro tip: If beer isn’t your thing, pay a visit to Missouri Spirits. This distillery makes delicious bourbon whiskey, corn whiskey, gin, rum and vodka.

We hope this guide helps you plan your weekend wisely. Most of all we hope you relax, soak up Springfield’s hospitality and have a great time at the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival.