I'm always running around Downtown Springfield. So fast that sometimes I forget to do more than inhale my coffee or enjoy the view the city has to offer. With wide open skies, mature trees, historic buildings and amazing local shops to get the early morning fix, it is a crime not to stop and smell the espresso.
The other day, I was speaking with my friends over at University Plaza and I found out about the awesome service they afford their guests: complimentary bike rentals. Knowing this, we decided to explore the caffienated possibilities for patrons of downtown by biking to the best coffee shops, asking about the shop and the view and enjoying the brew alongside the beautiful city.
Directly along Historic Route 66 is a café straight off the streets of Paris, the European Café. An elegant interior and masterful, sweet staff craft Paresian confections, brews and even wedding cakes! Map it.
The Brew - the Raspberry Latte, subtle raspberry that does not overpower the rich coffee.
The View - The Historic Hotel Sterling. Sitting in the European Café is one of the most unique experiences I have ever had in the city. Where else can you eat a French pastery, have a brew from a South American bean, while sitting in a Euro-American café while watching vintage cars drive by? Simply put, this is probably the most worldly coffee experience you could have in Springfield.
Quality sourced, locally prided and sustainably maintained are the three claims to fame of the Coffee Ethic. Map it!
The Brew - the Americano, if you don't truly believe the bean quality definitley makes a difference, then I challenge you to try this.
The View - the History Museum on the Square and the Square of Downtown Springfield. Trees, trees, trees! Everywhere. It makes inhaling the aroma of your Americano all the more envigorating with so much fresh air in a city. Not to mention the art, fountain, historical significance of the square. Speaking of history, while visiting the History Museum on the Square I learned the first shootout of the Wild West was actually right here on the Square!
Mudhouse is the melting pot of patrons with a little bit of something for everyone. Local art, a real insight into the city scene and some of the best coffee around, Mudhouse is a cultural mecca of downtown Springfield with an equally diverse menu. Map it!
The Brew - the Honey Almond Latte, the absolute best in my opinion. A subtle nutty taste just enough to off play the sweetness from local honey that blends perfectly with a rich roast.
The View - the local art inside and one of the busiest streets in the heart of downtown with street performers. Mudhouse takes pride in showcasing some of the fresh talent the city has to offer. That talent actually overflows onto the streets just outside with street performers, artists and musicians.
Mudhouse also has an nightlife option: Mudlounge
Just off the square, Heroes Coffee reminds us that you can do good, just by starting with your morning coffee. Combined with their mission to provide fair trade coffee, Heroes Coffee also takes an active role locally and globally with volunteer and support. Map it!
The Brew - the Rwanda Coopac Fair Trade Coffee, a strong earthy blend really wakes you up with a consistent flavor till the end.
The View - the city skyline and a walkable downtown. After a short peddle, Heroes Coffee is a great place to park your bike and walk the beautiful downtown.
The name says it all! Come for coffee, leave with a full stomach, a pat on the back and a great day. Big Momma's provides it all from coffee to sandwiches to dessert. It is impossible to leave without a smile thanks to an outgoing staff and a quirky charm. Map it!
The Brew - the Mint Momma, enough espresso to fuel your bike ride back downtown and sweet minty tingle.
The View - the Jefferson Footbridge and Historic Commercial Street. Commercial Street has been around for a good amount of time and has sites, shops and the hum of history. This is a great place to end a week. Watch the sunset as trains rumble underfoot and then look up to see one of the best places to stargaze in the city.
Whether you are a guest at University Plaza borrowing a bike, a visitor cavorting about the city or a local that needs to get out more - try exploring downtown and enjoying that next cup of coffee. You won't regret it with a view like this.