By: Michael Ayo
Publish Date: September 1, 2016
When vacationing to Branson, a good majority of its main draws reside at Silver Dollar City or near Highway 76. While there are a number of exciting things to do throughout town, one place that can easily be lost in the excitement is historic downtown Branson. Despite having less bright lights and flashing signs, downtown Branson is home to several great activities to make your vacation a memorable one.
Perhaps the most popular spot to visit in downtown, the Branson Landing is a one and a half mile haven for shopping and dining. Located on Lake Taneycomo, there are also attractions such as Parakeet Pete’s Steampunk Balloon and Waterfront Zipline, lake cruises and live concerts in front of the fountains. If you want to spend the entire day here, there’s certainly enough to do. The Landing has over 100 shops and restaurants including Bass Pro, Belk, Victoria’s Secret, Black Oak Grill, and Garfield’s Restaurant and Pub.
Historic Owen Theatre
With the countless number of shows and theaters in Branson, it’s hard to head home before making your way to see one. If you’re in the downtown area, be sure to head to one of Branson’s oldest theaters; the Historic Owen Theatre. Shrouded with history, the Historic Owen Theatre is celebrating its 80th year of operation as a live entertainment and movie theater in 2016. Today, it still shows classic movies every Monday at 7 p.m. along with live shows such as “A Neil Diamond Tribute,” “Carpenters Once More,” “Pure Comedy Feud” and “Hank Williams Revisited” throughout the week.
While the Branson Landing and Tanger Outlets are the main shopping draws in Branson, the downtown area has several other shops that are guaranteed to pique your interest. One of the most popular places to shop not only in downtown, but in all of Branson, is Dick’s 5 & 10. This old-fashioned dime store has been an icon in the Ozarks for over 50 years, and has just about anything you can imagine. From souvenirs and candy to linens and crafts, Dick’s 5 & 10 is a must visit while downtown.
As if there weren’t enough vintage knickknacks and crafts in Dick’s 5 & 10, downtown Branson is also home to several different flea markets to occupy you for hours. From vinyl records and DVDs to antiques and vintage toys, shops such as the Classy Flea, Main Street Flea Market and Cadwell’s Flea Market are guaranteed to have just what you are looking for. Other great shopping locations in downtown include Weezie’s, Burlington Annex and Simply Irresistible Old Fashioned Candy.
After a long day of shopping and walking through downtown, a great meal is exactly what you need. There are several different restaurants throughout the area and they all have different styles and flavors. If you’re wanting something different, Greek Gyros and Deli or Momo Sushi and Grill can provide all your international food needs. If you’re looking for something more old-fashioned, places such as the Branson Café, Clockers Café and Mr. G’s Chicago Style Pizza are great. For something with sugar, Mr. B’s Ice Cream Parlor and Deli is always a popular spot for a sweet treat.
Branson Convention Center
When planning your next Branson vacation, you may want to check the list of upcoming events happening at the Branson Convention Center. Attached to the Hilton hotel, the convention center hosts several special events all year long including Visioncon, the Xtreme Christian Music Conference and the upcoming Branson Car Auction.
With so much to see and do downtown, it feels like it's almost impossible to walk to them all once you have parked. If you feel like you may not make it to every place, or maybe you just want to see what all downtown has to offer, make your way to one of the several trolley stops. This free ride takes you to a number of different locations throughout downtown including both ends of the Landing, the Branson Lakeside RV Park and across the street from Dick’s 5 & 10.
Branson is a wonderful place for a vacation, and time should be made to see as much of it as possible. There are so many fun and exciting things to do along Highway 76 and throughout the Branson Theatre District, but if you want to see some history, do some shopping and feast on delicious food, downtown Branson comes highly recommended.