Although there are only around 12,000 residents, Branson has so much to do that nearly 8 million people visit annually. There are museums to explore, unique dining experiences, an 1880s-style theme park, outlet shopping, and so much more in the small city in the Ozarks.
Below is a mini-guide of some fun things to do in Branson, Missouri, that the entire family will enjoy.
1. Visit The Titanic Museum
Over 100 years ago, the ship that was deemed virtually indestructible collided with an iceberg five days into its voyage and met a watery grave. While survivors of the catastrophe numbered 705, there were 1,503 people who lost their lives.
The Titanic Museum in Branson pays honor to all of those who boarded the luxury ship on April 10, 1912. There are 20 galleries to explore, 2,208 stories to read, and over 400 actual artifacts from the Titanic, including an actual menu of the last meal that was served that fateful night.
If you have been to other Titanic museums, be sure to stop at the one in Branson, too. The museums are different and have different artifacts. At the Branson museum, I was able to experience what it was like to be a passenger on the Titanic by sitting in a life-size replica of one of its lifeboats, tried my go at staying upright on a mock deck of the ship at different stages of sinking, and placed my hand in frigid water.
2. Eat at Mel's Hard Luck Diner
Mel's Hard Luck Diner is more than just a place to grab a bite to eat. It is a unique dining experience that you won't find anywhere else. Throughout the day, the servers will pick up a microphone and sing to the diners. While there, I was lucky enough to have one of the servers join me in my chair while he sang.
The menu at Mel's Hard Luck Diner consists of classic diner food such as burgers, fries, and shakes. Lighter fare can be had, too, such as the Groovin' Grilled Chicken Salad or Southwest Grilled Chicken Wrap. I ordered a salad and saved room for dessert because Mel's serves up a mean banana split.
3. Go to Silver Dollar City
Nestled in the woods of The Ozarks lies one of the most fun amusement parks you will ever encounter. Silver Dollar City is a 100-acre family-owned theme park that has more than 30 thrilling rides, 12 restaurants, and 60 shops with wares made by over 100 resident craftsmen.
The park is owned by the Herschend family, who also happens to own Dollywood, Stone Mountain Park, and the Harlem Globetrotters.
I was in Branson at Christmas time and absolutely loved A Dickens' Christmas Carol at Silver Dollar City. The amazing performance features 15 talented actors and actresses, uses special effects and a live band, and is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. It is an incredible production that on its own would be worth the trip to the park.
Two other things to see during the Christmas season are the Light Spectacular on Main Street featuring a 5-story special effects Christmas tree and Rudolph's Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade led by Rudolph himself.
Park tickets begin at $79 (for ages 12-64). Be sure to check the park's calendar for dates and hours of operation.
4. Board The Showboat Branson Belle
One of my favorite things that I got to do in Branson was to board the Showboat Branson Belle. The Branson Belle has been serving dinner and entertaining guests for 20 years.
While on board for the two-hour cruise, guests enjoy a 3-course meal while being entertained with singing and dancing, as well as magic and comedy performed by Christopher James. During the performance break, guests can make their way to the top of the boat and enjoy the beautiful views of Table Rock Lake.
5. Shop at Tanger Outlet
There are loads of bargains and a lot of great shops at the Tanger Outlet in Branson, among them Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Disney Store, Harry & David, OshKosh B'gosh, Tommy Hilfiger, and Under Armor.
Should you get hungry while you are shopping, you can grab a bite to eat at A&W Restaurant, Kings Subs & Deli, or at The Fudgery. Be sure to get a coupon book to save money while you shop.
6. Shop and Dine at Branson Landing
Another popular attraction is Branson Landing, a shopping and dining complex on the shores of Lake Taneycomo. The Landing features over 100 stores and 17 restaurants, as well as a boardwalk and amphitheater.
Among Branson Landing restaurants, you'll find Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, Guy Fieri's Kitchen + Bar, and Level 2 Steakhouse.
Branson is located in the Ozarks of southwest Missouri and is in the Central Time zone.
Ready to go?
I found Branson to be a fun little city with a lot to do, see, and explore. You can plan your own trip by visiting ExploreBranson.com. There you can order a free guide, get directions, search for deals, and start making plans.
Like to go on tours? Me, too! Check out these ideas from Get Your Guide (affiliate links):
What's your favorite thing to do in Branson?
Pamela Branson-Rodriguez says
I know a lot. More about Branson than most. First of all I was born Pamela Sue Branson. Secondly I was born on Flag Day 1949. Further I have 2 brothers (oldest has past away), both retired Air Force. I joined and was in for 2 years and met my husband 49 years ago and he is retired Air Force. I hope to come visit when we get enough money. All 4 of my children were in the military. My dad was in Army and wounded in the Alutions Islands during WW2. My husband and I have our very autistic 22 year old grandson living with us and he can't wait until we visit again. I know Ruben is an ancestor of mine. We were hoping for a visit next week but unfortunately that does not look like it will happen but hoping to make it some time this year.