Branson’s Downtown is a uniquely Branson experience … and also an all-American experience. Here’s everything you need to know about planning a fun and productive visit to our downtown.
Downtown is Historic
This is where Branson began more than a century ago. On the banks of the White River (later Lake Taneycomo), this small mountain settlement quickly turned into a hub of commerce and also a bustling tourism destination known for outdoor activities and later live entertainment. After the Civil War, shallow paddleboats could travel as far upstream as Branson, and eventually to the mouth of the James River near Kimberling City.
But in 1906, the railroad came to Branson, and the river faded as a highway for travel and commerce. It was fortunate too, because only four years later the White River was dammed near Forsyth, creating Lake Taneycomo. By that time, the town was solidly established, and was officially incorporated in 1912.
Downtown is still home to many of the city’s firsts: Branson’s first theatre, the Historic Owen Theatre, is located on Commercial Street and is still in operation today. The city’s first hotel, first cemetery and oldest structure are all still waiting to be discovered.
There’s Shopping Everywhere
From clothes to antiques, from unique crafts to one-of-a-kind collectibles … totaling more than 200 specialty retailers … Downtown Branson is one the region’s best places to shop!
With so many unique shops in the Historic District, and even more at Branson Landing, you’re sure to find everything you’re looking for, and probably some items you didn’t know you needed.
Don’t forget that many downtown businesses have online stores and can also take phone orders!
There’s (literally) Lots of Parking
Old-school, on-street parking is still available, but it’s always been very limited. That’s why Branson has built numerous other parking lots and decks throughout downtown. In fact, there are more than 1,800 free parking spots and two convenient paid-parking garages in Downtown Branson.
Celebrity Chefs and Food Galore!
Whether it’s dining with a celebrity chef like Paula Dean or Guy Fieri, or enjoying a home-style plated meal at a quaint diner, Downtown Branson has a wide variety of dining options. You’ll find amazing barbecue, sandwiches and a variety of style like Mexican and Asian dining.
A number of downtown restaurants offer patio or outside dining, especially the eateries along Lake Taneycomo. Ask your host or hostess if you can be seated outside and get ready to enjoy the experience!
Don’t forget dessert! You’ll find gourmet popsicles and homemade fudge, ice cream and so much more. It’s enough to satisfy any sweet tooth!
And Sparky, the Free Trolley
Easily get around Downtown Branson on the free Sparky trolley system. The system has trolleys that operate in a loop serving 13 pre-defined stops throughout downtown. This makes it easy to park the car and travel anywhere you want in downtown. Find out more about the trolleys, and track the nearest one using your phone at RideSparky.com