Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Branson City Trip

Wildfire Roller Coaster at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Where to Stay Where to Eat What to See & Do

DAY 3: Silver Dollar City, Frisco Silver Dollar Steam Train and Chateau Grille

No trip to Branson would be complete without a visit to the area's top attraction: Silver Dollar City. This 1880s-themed park hosts six festivals throughout the year and features more than 30 rides and attractions, 60 craft shops, 100 demonstrating craftsmen, 40 live-entertainment shows and 12 restaurants. Even if you don't plan to take in any thrill rides today, there are many great shops to browse, as well as other attractions to see.

This morning you'll pony up for a hearty, country-style breakfast buffet at Molly's Mill Restaurant, just inside the park on Main Street (buffets are ubiquitous in Branson). For lighter fare, hit the snack bar inside Hospitality House or stop at Eva and Delilah's Bakery located at the entrance.

Several scenic attractions are quite popular at the park. Marvel Cave, which boasts the largest entrance room in the U.S., has been open to tourists since 1894. The guided tour, which lasts about an hour, will take you up and down some 700 steps as you progress through the cave, so be prepared. A cable car at the end of the trek, however, will take you back to the surface so you don't have to turn right around and climb back out again.

The 20-minute ride on the Frisco Silver Dollar Steam Train out into the neighboring forest and back is a park favorite, so expect a line. In fact, catch the train early on Valley Road if you don't want to miss it. On Homestead Ridge, stop in at McHaffie's Homestead and the Wilderness Church, both originally built in the 1840s.

The Frisco Silver Dollar Steam Train at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri

As you shop, don't worry about having to carry your purchases around the park. You can use the Package Pick-Up service to have your purchases delivered to the front of the park and pick them up when you leave for the day.

Not to be missed this morning are the shops on Main Street and on Midtown. Observe a blacksmith at work at Wilderness Road Blacksmith Shop and watch the grain-grinding demonstration at Sullivan's Mill. Then dip your own candle at Carrie's Candles. To celebrate the holidays in any season, linger at Christmas Hollow. Also, take in the shops on Hugo's Hill Street: Mountain Leather Shop, Mountain Outfitters Gun and Knife Shop and the popular Heartland Home Furnishings.

For lunch, go barbecue at Riverside Rib House on Riverfront or go green at Poke Salad Mary's on Valley Road. Otherwise, head over to the Lucky Silver Mine Restaurant on Main Street for the buffet. The entrance to the mine restaurant is down a 60-foot tunnel. The plates are miner's pans and the tables, ore carts.

After lunch, take in a show. You'll find hilarious fun-filled entertainment at Silver Dollar City Saloon (expect a line). For a Broadway-style show, hit the 1,000-seat Opera House. Both are on Hugo's Hill Street. The Riverfront Playhouse (on Riverfront) features various performers.

Continue shopping on Riverfront at Hillcreek Pottery, where you can watch the master potter at the wheel. Observe more craftsmen plying their trades on Valley Road at Hazel's Blown Glass Factory and Valley Road Woodcarvers and Basket Shop.

The biggest thrills are to be had on WildFire, PowderKeg and Thunderation, which are outdoor roller coasters. Head indoors for the Baldknobbers-themed Fire-in-the-Hole coaster. The Giant Swing will launch you 230 degrees forward and backward at a terrific speed. If you don't mind getting wet — and you will get wet — take the American Plunge, float the Lost River of the Ozarks, or participate in "America's Biggest Water Battle" on RiverBlast, Silver Dollar City's newest ride.

For family-friendly fun, take it easy with an arcade-style shoot-out in The Flooded Mine, a boat ride, or a walk through the funhouse Grandfather's Mansion. Also visit The Grand Exposition for a whole host of kid's rides and activities.

You'll have an opportunity to do a last bit of shopping at Ozark Marketplace, where you exit the park. This is also where you'll pick up your packages.

The dining room of Chateau Grille at Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center

For dinner, escape the park to the softly illuminated Chateau Grille for fine dining inside Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa & Convention Center. After dinner, mosey on up to the Atrium Café and Wine Bar and take a glass of wine out onto the patio overlooking Table Rock Lake. If the Chateau Grille isn't for you, sample the avocado dip at Cantina Laredo back at Branson Landing. Fill up with a gourmet Mexican entrée and then sip a drink outside overlooking Lake Taneycomo. However you choose to end the evening, eventually you'll have to force yourself to remember why it is you have to leave Branson. Making plans to come again will ease the process.

By Shane Tasker

*Silver Dollar City images courtesy of Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB


Plan a voyage to a tropical paradise aboard one of GAYOT's Best Caribbean Cruises.
Get the 411 on the City of Angels. Find the city's top hotels, restaurants, attractions and more with GAYOT's guide.