Whether you’re a fan of culture, sports, or glitz and glamour, the city of Springfield in western Massachusetts has something to satisfy every taste. Perched along the Connecticut River, some of the city’s most notable attractions, including a sprinkling of top class museums.
There’s enough to see and do in Springfield to keep visitors occupied for weeks. If you’re planning a trip here in the future and would like to put together a short-list of activities and attractions that includes some lesser known ones, we’ve helped make your job easier by selecting 12 of the most unique things to enjoy in Springfield.
1. Melha Shriners Feztival of Trees
Combining a week-and-a-half of festive fun with a philanthropic cause, the annual Feztival of Trees is one of the most eagerly awaited events on Springfield’s Christmas calendar. Hosted by the Melha Shriners, a charitable organisation which is dedicated to supporting the Shriners Hospitals for Children, the festival takes place at the Clarion Hotel & Aqua Lagoon Waterpark and invites Springfield’s creative types to put their talents to the test by decorating their own Christmas trees and putting them on display for widespread admiration. A raffle gives visitors the chance to win their favourite tree. As well as the tree display, there’s also a craft fair, live entertainment, a chance to get your photo taken with Santa, and lashings of food and drink.
2. Mattoon Street Arts Festival
Fast approaching its 50th anniversary, Mattoon Street Arts Festival is the Pioneer Valley’s longest running annual arts shows and down the years has flourished into a major regional cultural event, as well as offering a great chance to pick up gifts and souvenirs. Each year more than 100 exhibitors, food vendors and musicians descend on the family-friendly, free-to-enter festival, along with huge numbers of revellers keen to soak up the top class entertainment, creative wares, mouth-watering food, and unique atmosphere. The 2020 festival takes place from 12-13 September.
3. The Big E
There’s no more quintessentially American occasions than The Big E, said to be the largest agricultural event on the entire east coast. Held over 16 days each September and attended by more than 1 million visitors, the show presents a huge array of exhibitions and activities, all centred around the region’s rich farming and agricultural heritage. Highlights include livestock displays, a Military Appreciation Day, a funfair, a 5K road race, and Open House tours of local historical buildings.
4. The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum
Created as a tribute to Springfield native Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss and one of the most beloved children’s book author of all time, this unique museum is spread across three floors of exhibition space. The first floor is perhaps the highlight, designed for children and families and exploring Geisel’s childhood in Springfield as well as the characters and stories that sprang from his imagination through three-dimensional colourful displays with interactive components.
5. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Basketball fans visiting Springfield are in for a treat thanks to the city being home to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Named after James Naismith, a school PE teacher credited for inventing basketball in the late 19th century, the venue honours hundreds of basketball heroes whose contribution to the sport has afforded them a coveted place in this distinguished Hall of fame. Fun for all the family, visitors can enjoy hands-on mini games and shows, shooting challenges and live skills exhibitions.
6. Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Visitors to Springfield with a keen interest in military history can explore a diverse collection of exhibits and artifacts at this national Armory. Housing the country’s largest collection of US military small weapons, including some dating back to the confederate era, the historic site offers a fascinating insight into the way that weaponry has evolved down the years from the rudimentary to the high-tech.
7. Museum of Springfield History
Showcasing Springfield’s distant past, this fantastic museum is home to a huge assortment of esoteric exhibits all telling their own story of the city. Among the highlights is the Esta Mantos Indian Motocycle collection, a vast number of antiquated firearms dating back centuries, and a superb automobile collection that includes a couple of early Rolls-Royce roadsters that were built in Springfield.