Looking forward to your first trip to Branson this Spring, or maybe your thirty-first? Do you make lots of plans in advance of your visit, or do you just like to “wing it” or “play it by ear” and decide on the fly? Regardless of which type of traveler you are, sometimes it’s nice to have someone offer suggestions of what to do, where to go, what to see once you’ve arrived at your destination - but without being part of a group tour or organized event. We’re going to offer up a few ideal days in Branson - which shows to see, attractions to visit, places to eat and shop, and maybe a couple of other ideas to shake it up a little! (Speaking of places to eat, check out these fantastic spots for red meat lovers - “Branson for Dinner! 8 Great “Only in Branson” Places for Steak & Prime Rib!” Like something a bit more exotic? Branson has plenty of options - a few ideas are offered in this post: “Branson Has International Options for Dining? You Bet It Does!”)
Here are five “sample” days you can enjoy in Branson, the destination that’s all about incredible live entertainment, exceptional hospitality, fascinating museums, exciting attractions, and fun for the entire family...or maybe just the two of you! We’ve made sure that every place we’re recommending for a meal is a restaurant that’s unique to Branson - you’ll still find your familiar dining names here, but we’re hoping you’ll give the local eateries a try! We have more information on nearly everything we’re suggesting, just follow the links:
Sample Day #1
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, take in a morning show followed by lunch, then pay a visit to one of Branson’s museums, get in a little bit of shopping, followed by dinner, and wrap up your day with a show in the evening.
Morning Show: Amazing Pets - if you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a show full of fun, friendly, fancy furry-friends performing tricks! And many of the happy animals on stage were rescued, putting a little heart into your happy time! Show Time: 10:00 a.m. Location: Grand Country Music Hall in the Grand Country Resort - 1945 West Highway 76 (a.k.a. Country Music Boulevard and The Strip)
Lunch: Grand Country Buffet - You’re already in the complex, go ahead and take advantage of one of Branson’s best buffets for lunch!
Attraction: World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex - Sticking with a family-friendly type of day, this is the perfect museum for kids, and for bringing out the kid in all of us! It’s also home to several other museums - Harold Bell Wright, National BB Gun, World of Checkers, Stearnsy Bear, and the Paul Harvey Jr museums are all housed here. Location: 3609 West Highway 76
Shopping: Historic Downtown Branson - You’ll discover lots of neat little stores in the Downtown district, including the unforgettable Dick’s 5&10! (This holiday post talks about a lot of shops Downtown and elsewhere in Branson: “Christmas in Branson - It’s Time to Go Shopping!”)
Dinner: Danna’s BBQ & Burger Shop - A true Branson treasure, this is one of those places everyone looks for in a destination - a place where the locals eat! Location: 963 State Highway 165 - less than 5 minutes off Highway 76
Evening Show: Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety - Magic, music, comedy, dance, acrobatics, and beautiful birds to boot - this show’s name says it all! Show Time: 8:00 p.m. Location: Hamners’ Variety Theatre - 3090 West Highway 76
Sample Day #2
Eat breakfast at a Branson landmark, spend some time at Branson Landing, including lunch, followed by an afternoon show. Shop a little after your show, grab a nice dinner, then spend an evening at one of Branson’s most “amazing” shows.
Breakfast: Branson Cafe - A staple of the Historic Downtown District of Branson - good basic breakfast food (lunch and dinner, too) served up by friendly waitstaff; some of them have worked here for decades. Location: 120 West Main Street
Shopping & Sightseeing: Branson Landing - Plenty of familiar names for shopping, and you can walk along the boardwalk and enjoy seeing ducks on the lake and folks fishing. And there’s always the magnificent fountain show that features water, music, lights, and fire. Location: Branson Landing Boulevard - just downhill from Historic Downtown.
Lunch: Black Oak Grill - With only one other location (in Nebraska,) this is the most unique-to-Branson spot for dining at the Landing, and you’ll find a wide variety of tasty eats on their menu. Location: At the Belk end of the Landing.
Afternoon Show: Broadway to Bublé starring George Dyer - A dynamic performer with a beautiful voice, he’s sure to make you laugh, get you singing along to familiar favorites, and lift your spirits for the rest of the day! Show Time: 2:00 p.m. Location: Americana Theater - 2905 West Highway 76
More Shopping: Grand Village Shops - Very close to the afternoon show you just left, you’ll find a quaint English village-like collections of shops. No big retail chains here, most everything is unique to Branson, including a Christmas store and an honest-to-goodness independent book store. Location: 2800 West Highway 76 (NOTE: There’s plenty of parking at the back of the center.)
Dinner: St. James Winery & Restaurant - Keeping with the “classy” feel of your day, enjoy some wine tasting followed by a fabulous meal at the on-site restaurant featuring specialty dishes and brick-oven pizza. Location: 405 State Highway 165 - about a block from Highway 76
Evening Show: Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai - A truly stunning sight to see, this collection of amazingly talented young people perform stunts that’ll have you on the edge of your seat! Show Time: 8:00 p.m. Location: Grand Shanghai Theatre - 3455 West Highway 76
Sample Day #3
Grab a breakfast at a real home-cooking style cafe, spend the day, including lunch, at Branson’s multi-award-winning theme park, head back to your hotel to freshen up for dinner, then enjoy a music-filled evening at one of Branson’s longest-running shows.
Breakfast: Billy Gail’s Cafe - If you’ve been to Branson and listened to local chatter, you’ve learned of the place with huge pancakes and other perfectly-prepared comfort foods! And it’s close to your next stop.
Location: 5291 State Highway 265 (NOTE: Important to remember - cash only, no cards - parking is limited and it gets very busy, so arrive early.)
Daytime Entertainment: Silver Dollar City - This gorgeous 1880s-themed park is brimming with rides, including record-breaking coasters, lots of music, food, shops, and working craftsmen. Enjoy lunch while you’re there; we recommend one of the big skillet meals - you can’t miss these spots, they’re actually cooking in open-air kitchens using huge iron skillets. You’ll want to spend a few hours here for sure! Location: 399 Silver Dollar City Parkway - just off Highway 76, you can’t miss it!
Dinner: Branson’s Center Stage Grille & Bar - Sensational dining that’s managed to maintain a “best-kept secret” status, while serving up scratch-made meals that’ll put this great restaurant, with incredibly good service, on your must-return list for every Branson visit! Location: 1810 West Highway 76
Evening Show: Haygoods - Don’t be fooled by how young they all look, this talented family has been performing in Branson since they were wee little things! Enjoy a wide variety of music, dancing, laughter, and cool special effects - be ready for high energy! Show Time: 7:30 p.m. Location: Clay Cooper Theatre - 3216 West Highway 76
Sample Day #4
Have breakfast at the hotel, spend some of your morning doing a little sightseeing, visit one of Branson’s most treasured attractions, followed by lunch. Experience Branson’s outlet shopping before dinner, then wrap up your day with one of Branson’s founding families of entertainment.
Sightseeing: Branson and the Lake - You’ve seen a bit of the Historic Downtown and been up and down the Strip, now go ahead and take a drive out Highway 165 to see Table Rock Dam and Table Rock Lake - and there’s an incredibly scenic stretch of road called the Ozark Mountain Highroad, it runs from Highway 65 out to Highway 76 just a bit before Silver Dollar City. If you don’t have a vehicle with you, or prefer not to drive, we highly recommend taking a VIP Tour - and that’s their name - VIP Tours has a Discover Branson Tour that begins at 9:30 a.m. - it’s a 3-hour tour, so you’ll skip your morning attraction and head to lunch instead.
Attraction: Titanic Museum Attraction - A stunningly realistic “ship,” including an exact replica of the famed grand staircase. One of those rare attractions that both entertains and educates. The true definition of a Branson “can’t miss.”
Lunch: Mel’s Hard Luck Diner - Home of the “singing servers,” Mel’s serves up a mean milkshake as well as delicious burgers and sandwiches. Location: Grand Village Shops on Highway 76
Shopping: Tanger Outlets - Boasting dozens of your brand-name favorites, Tanger helped put Branson on the shopping destination map! Location: Just a block downhill from Highway 76 - the sign is easy to see!
Evening Show: Presleys’ Country Jubilee - Lots of great country music accompanied by a more-than-generous dose of fun, clean hillbilly-style humor from Branson entertainment icons, Herkimer and Cecil! Show Time: 8:00 p.m. Location: Presleys’ Family Theater - 2920 West Highway 76
Sample Day #5
Try a buffet for breakfast, followed by some zipline excitement before lunch at another “local” favorite dining spot. See a show in the afternoon before enjoying some of Branson’s award-winning barbecue, then wrap up your evening with one of Branson’s famed tribute performances.
Breakfast: Jackie B. Goode’s Uptown Cafe - Offering a nice variety of breakfast favorites, including ham, bacon, eggs, biscuits, waffles, and more. Location: 285 South Highway 165 (you can see the sign from Highway 76)
Attraction: Branson Zipline - Featuring multiple canopy tours and other activities; there’s even a scenic walking tour if you’re not feeling adventurous today! Location: 2339 Highway 65 - just a few minutes north of Branson
Lunch: Billy Bob’s Dairyland - All you need to do is check out the online reviews and you’ll discover what a gem this is! Great burgers, fries, onion rings, tater tots, and more - probably the biggest thing that sets them apart from other great, small burger joints are the fresh fried pies. (NOTE: Bring cash or a check, they don’t accept cards of any kind.) Location: 1829 West Highway 76
Afternoon Show: Janice Martin Cirque Show - If you can find a more unique and unusual performer than Janice Martin, you need to tell us about it! She’s an aerial artist, violinist, singer, an acrobat, and a pianist - and she does more than one of these things at the same time! Whoa! Show Time: 2:00 p.m. Location: Americana Theater - 2905 West Highway 76
Dinner: Gettin’ Basted - If you ask most anyone living in the Branson area “where’s the best barbecue?” you might get a few different answers, but a lot of people will simply say “Gettin’ Basted.” They’ve only been here for a couple of years or so, but they’ve been racking up awards at competitions around the country, and the packed parking lot will tell just how good it is! Location: 2845 West Highway 76
Evening Show: Sinatra & Friends - The music of Ol Blue Eyes, as well as a few songs made famous by some of his unforgettable friends, will round out your day in style! Show Time: 8:00 p.m. Location: King’s Castle Theatre - 2701 West Highway 76
Obviously, you can mix up any of these sample days to better fit your schedule and preferences for entertainment and food. And, keep in mind, this post was written with early to late Spring in mind; some of the shows included may have different schedules during different seasons, so check with us to confirm dates and times for you. If you’re interested in what’s new for Branson this year, check this out: “New in Branson for 2019 -17 New Reasons to Visit!”