What to Do in Branson Spend the day at Silver Dollar City (399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy.). This 1880s village-themed park preserves Ozarks heritage with its working crafters and a bevy of festivals devoted to holidays, music and folk culture. It also has some pretty awesome thrill rides and downright tasty theme park eats.
With so much live entertainment on the Branson Strip, what (or who) should you see? Put Branson's Famous Baldknobbers at the Branson Famous Theatre (645 SR 165) and the Presleys' Country Jubilee (2920 SR 76W) near the top of your list—both of these down-home music and comedy shows are pure family fun.
Wikimedia Commons/Brad A. Totman
See how small a third-class cabin actually was, feel the icy ocean water and clamber into a lifeboat at Titanic—World's Largest Museum Attraction (3235 SR 76W). It's not only a total immersion experience; you'll relive James Cameron's 1997 movie blockbuster all over again.
Handpicked by Louise Harrison (George's big sister), the Liverpool Legends are the ultimate Beatles experience. They perform songs from the time of the band's first U.S. appearance on the Ed Sullivan show to the music of the Sgt. Pepper's album at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center & Theatre (2500 W. 76 Country Blvd.).
Have breakfast at the Farmhouse Restaurant (119 W. Main St.) and then amble the downtown streets, which still conjure up small-town charm in an age of iPhone apps. Dick's 5 & 10 (103 W. Main St.) has everything from coconut incense to Lucy and Ethel lunch boxes; it's certain to stir up some nostalgia.
flickr/Missouri Division of Tourism
“See you at the Landing!” The 2006 opening of Branson Landing (100 Branson Landing) was the biggest thing to hit town since the early days of music theaters. This village-style shopping and entertainment complex spreads out along the shore of winding Lake Taneycomo. Non-shoppers won't want to miss the daily dancing fountain water show combining water fountains, fire cannons and lights choreographed to music.
Branson shopping isn't all about T-shirts and souvenirs. Explore Branson Mill Craft Village (3300 Gretna Rd.), where local artists sell a wide array of high-quality crafts.
Watch contortionists, acrobats and jugglers perform astounding (and in a few cases, death-defying) feats at the Grand Shanghai Theatre (3455 SR 76W). This mesmerizing show by the Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai is a dazzling display of bravura skill.
With its Ozark Mountains setting, Harold Bell Wright's 1907 novel “The Shepherd of the Hills” sparked initial interest in Branson as a place to visit. The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead (5586 SR 76W) re-creates the farm at the center of Wright's inspirational story, which also is dramatized at The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theatre.
Once upon a time Branson was a speck of a town in the middle of the Ozarks, and you can still appreciate the region's natural beauty on a relaxing cruise around Table Rock Lake aboard the Showboat Branson Belle (4800 SR 165). The scenic cruise on board a late 1800s-style paddle wheeler includes a three-course meal and a sensational show with talented performers and live music.
Courtesy of Chateau on the Lake Resort and Spa
Indulge yourself at the Spa Chateau. This luxurious retreat at the Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa (415 N. SR 265) offers deep massages, salt scrubs, mud baths, facials and other treatments, with pampering touches like chamomile-infused towels added for good measure.
In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.
The Branson/Lakes area levies general retail sales, tourism sales and food and beverage sales taxes based on three different jurisdictions: Branson Landing/downtown, citywide and Branson Hills. General retail sales taxes range from 8.6 to 9.6 percent; sales that include a tourism sales tax range from 11.6 to 12.6 percent; food and beverage sales taxes range from 8.975 to 9.975 percent.
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Skaggs Regional Medical Center, (417) 335-7000; CoxHealth Cox North (Springfield, Mo.), (417) 269-3000; CoxHealth Cox South (Springfield, Mo.), (417) 269-6000; Mercy Hospital (Springfield, Mo.), (417) 820-2000.
269 SR 248 Branson, MO 65615. Phone:(417)334-4084 or (800)214-3661
(BKG), 1 mile south of the Hollister exit off US 65, east on Branson Creek Boulevard, then following signs to 4000 Branson Airport Blvd., is served by Buzz Airways and Frontier and handles commercial and general aviation; phone (417) 334-7813.
Hertz, which only operates out of Springfield-Branson National Airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (417) 597-5313, (800) 654-3131 or (800) 654-3080. Rental cars are available at Branson Airport.
Gray Line Branson
Cab companies include Jerry’s Shuttle, (417) 348-1419; and Checker Cab, City Cabs and Yellow Cab, all of which can be reached at (417) 332-2227 (Branson Cab Service).
Unless you're part of a motor coach tour, getting around Branson is much easier if you have your own vehicle. One convenient alternative to driving is a free ride aboard the Downtown Trolley. The red-and-gold, hop-on and hop-off trolley makes 12 stops in the historic downtown area, including two stops at Branson Landing. It operates daily 9-6, Mar.-Dec.; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Trolley maps are available at downtown retail locations and at the Downtown Branson Betterment Association, 112 W. College St.; phone (417) 334-1548 or (866) 523-1190.