DescriptionOn the Connecticut River, Springfield was established as a trading post in 1636. Duryea Motor Wagon Co. of Springfield, one of the first motorcar corporations in the country, was established in 1895. That year in Chicago, a car made in Springfield won what is reputed to be the country's first automobile race. The city also is the birthplace of Merriam-Webster (originally G & C Merriam Co.), which has been publishing dictionaries here since the 1800s. Smith & Wesson's corporate headquarters is located in Springfield as well.
The game of basketball originated on the Springfield College campus in 1892, a fact commemorated in Springfield at The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. A monument memorializing the hometown invention is in Mason Square near State and Buckingham streets.
Offering access to the hall of fame via a pedestrian bridge, the Connecticut River Walk linear park stretches along the waterfront for 3.7 miles and offers paved paths for biking, walking and jogging, and inline skating.
Another of Springfield's recreational assets is Forest Park, but it's best known as the home of one of New England's largest holiday lighting displays, Bright Nights at Forest Park. The festive event takes place here beginning in late November through early January. Visitors drive through the park, where more than 600,000 lights adorn a 2.5-mile route.
Known as the Metro Center district, the area where European settlers originally settled is now home to many of the city's cultural institutions, including the Springfield Museums and Symphony Hall, (413) 788-7033, an impressive Greek Revival structure next to city hall built in the early 1900s. Held in Court Square, the CityBlock Concert Series takes place every Thursday night from early July to late August. Past performers include John Eddie, the Spin Doctors and The Smithereens.
Visitor InfoGreater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau 1441 Main St. SPRINGFIELD, MA 01103. Phone:(413)787-1548 or (800)723-1548
NightlifeSurrounding Stearns Square in the Metro Center neighborhood, Club Quarter is the longtime epicenter of Springfield nightlife. Concentrated on and around lower Worthington Street near the riverfront, establishments here range from ethnic restaurants to brew pubs to bawdy dance emporiums. Some bars and clubs also cater to the city's vibrant LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.
A staple of the eclectic Club Quarter entertainment district since the 1980s, Theodore's Blues Booze & BBQ (201 Worthington St.) offers live music Tuesdays through Saturdays; phone (413) 736-6000.
Things to SeeForest Park