A couple and their dachshunds explore the best pet-friendly places in Springfield, Missouri, including the historic district, dining, parks and a winery.

Have dogs will travel. That’s the motto my husband, Dave, and I follow. Our two beloved dachshunds, Oscar and Ralphie, are part of the family and pretty much go wherever we go. Recently, we headed out on a road trip that took us through Springfield and we were delighted to find a city that our pups could enjoy as much as we did.

A Morning Stroll 

When we pulled into Springfield, both humans and pups alike needed to stretch their legs after being cooped up in the car. What better way to do that than the C-Street Stroll? We made a beeline for the Commercial Street Historic District, excited to take in six blocks of eclectic entertainment and shopping. About 150 years ago, the railroad came through the area and turned Springfield into a booming metropolitan city. Now, this thriving historic district is buzzing with creative energy.

My inner artist got plenty of inspiration from cool and funky shops like Hakaar’s Bazaar and MJ’s Flea Market. I even popped into a class at Creative Escape Glass and made my own fused glass art piece while Dave played outside with Oscar and Ralphie. Next we took a walk across the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge, one of the longest footbridges in the country, to get an overhead look at the historical train tracks.


The Jefferson Avenue Footbridge.

The weather was sunny and warm, and it seemed like all of Springfield’s dog owners had the same idea we did. About halfway across the bridge, Oscar made friends with a little Yorkie named Lou, and Lou’s owners mentioned that they loved taking him to the Botanical Gardens and even a nearby winery! We added those spots to our list.

Just Sniffing Around

The Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park boast 114 acres of beautiful and fragrant flowers. We spent the afternoon soaking up the sunshine as we sniffed our way through themed gardens, like the elegant Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden and the gorgeous Day Lily Garden, before being enchanted by the hundreds of butterflies in the Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House. We explored the Gray-Campbell Farmstead, the oldest cabin in Springfield, and took a peek down the trail that leads to the South Creek Greenway, which then connects to Horton Smith Golf Course. Dave didn’t bring his golf clubs on this trip. So, we made a note for next time.

All of that walking around certainly worked up our appetites, so Dave, Ralphie, Oscar and I headed to Café Cusco for dinner. Inspired by cuisine from Peru and the Andes Mountains, Café Cusco’s dishes really hit the spot. We sat outside at a lovely patio table and let the pups have their dinner, too, while we ate. I had the vegetarian Puca Picante, an ancient Incan recipe with toasted peanuts, garlic and potato, while Dave devoured the seared Chilean trout.

Sweet Treats

After a delicious dinner, my sweet tooth was calling, and we swung by Andy’s Frozen Custard. The Mint Oreo Concrete was just the treat we needed to wrap up the night before heading to our room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Springfield. With their Furry Friends package, Oscar and Ralphie were welcomed to the hotel like VIP guests. The hotel staff even had doggie treats waiting for them when we arrived. Knowing that our pups were being treated like part of the family helped me rest easier that night. Although, the comfortable bed and knowing I would have delicious omelets and pastries the next morning at Gracie’s, the hotel restaurant, gave me pretty sweet dreams, too.

Picnics, Wine and Misadventure

The next morning, we ventured out to 7C’s Winery and Vineyard. The dog owners we met on our C-Street Stroll mentioned that the place was perfect for furry-friends-inclusive picnics, and the winery had grills and grill tools available to use. So, we picked up a couple of pork chops and yummy sides from the local grocery store and drove out to the beautiful countryside.


7C's Winery & Vineyard.

After touring the vineyards, the owners helped us pair a great wine with our pork chops and showed us an available grill. I had the Prairie Sunshine, a semi-dry wine made with Catawba grapes, and Dave tried the Norton, a dry red wine made with Norton grapes, which had the light tannin finish that he typically likes. Oscar and Ralphie had puppy-dog eyes, as they admired our pork chops and hoped for a bite.

After a lovely picnic on the grounds of this lush, stunning vineyard, we took Oscar and Ralphie to Cruse Dog Park for a little more off-leash fun before hitting the road. Unfortunately, the little rascals had too much fun. They found a patch of mud and managed to cover almost every inch of their fur with it. So, we stopped by the Glenstone location of Petsway to use their self-serve dog wash station and stock up on a few pet supplies before saying goodbye to Springfield.

As we drove away, Oscar and Ralphie were wagging their tails, and Dave and I both were smiling. We love those little guys and were so grateful to have passed through a city like Springfield that our pups could enjoy as much as we did.

Plan your pet-friendly getaway to Springfield, MO.

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