"Springfield (by a British Student on holiday)" Springfield by JJ1988

Springfield Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 114 photos

Our itinerary: Springfield, Hartford, New Haven

In researching American cities, one reads a lot about "revitalizing" cities, which were once very wealthy, but experienced "white flight" decades ago, leaving them impoverished for awhile. A travel book I've grown to trust wrote that these cities can be fascinating cities to visit, because one can experience "the real America" in such places - as opposed to plastic cities like Los Angeles or Miami.

My mates and I prefer to travel "off the beaten path," so we decided to visit Hartford, Connecticut, Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut - three very different cities which are all in the midst of "revitalizing." In each of our opinions, we found Springfield to be the nicest of these three cities.

First impressions of Springfield

After having visited Hartford, we were expecting Springfield to be similarly dead; however, we found it to be much more vibrant, attractive, and with much friendlier locals. (The two cities are just 20 miles apart--one road takes you from Hartford to Springfield.)

Massachusetts seemed much nicer than Connecticut. Immediately on entering it, we all noticed a difference. It was in much better order, with more nature and less crass development.

Springfield has many hills. Entering the city we drove down one of them and saw a gorgeous view of the skyline and Basketball Hall of Fame. We wanted to stay and look but didn't have time because there were cars speeding behind us. Still, we did not know what to expect because Hartford looked brilliant from far-away too. We soon discovered that Springfield was very lively.

We parked and walked through Metro Center. The commercial architecture in Springfield is brilliant. It reminded me of Manchester in England, with a mixture of red-brick and neo-classical buildings. However, that was nothing compared with the architecture in Forest Park. Personally, I have never seen such an attractive residential district in a city the size of Springfield (160,000.) It surrounded a park designed by Olmstead, who also designed NYC's Central Park. I liked Forest Park better - it was more peaceful and had a lot of strange sculptures.

Unlike Hartford (or later, New Haven,) my friends and I never once felt threatened in Springfield. We walked around day and night and people said "hello." It was very cool.

Best moments

I'll make this quick because I could go on about the fun I had in Springfield.

We went to Six Flags New England, which was excellent. It's the best amusement park I've ever attended. It features the #1 roller-coaster in the WORLD - the Bizarro. It was brilliant; however, I got sick after it. There was a new roller coaster called Batman: Escape from Arnham Asylum which I liked better because it was easier on my stomach.

The Basketball Hall of Fame is located in a really cool building beside the Connecticut River. It's metallic, shaped like a basketball, and glows at night. All of my mates love basketball so we loved this place, although my girlfriend doesn't and even she found it entertaining. The museum is interactive and lets you test your own skills as well as lern about the game. Cool place, worth the admission price.

Springfield's Club Quarter around Worthington Street is like Manchester's. It features hundreds of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. The best night of our entire trip was spent here getting to know Springfield locals, who I found to be very fun and nice people. No one hassled us (like in New Haven) or threatened to fight us (like in Hartford.) It was just good fun and I couldn't recommend it more highly.

The only disappointment about Springfield is that my friends wanted to walk along the Connecticut River-a huge river as wide as the Thames that runs through the center of town-and we couldn't get there because of a highway. It seemed like a terrible place to put a highway. We tried for awhile to get to the riverfront park (which I was told exists) but could not find a way there. Oh well.

I hope to visit Springfield again in the future. By that time, maybe it won't be "revitalizing" anymore, but "revitalized." I hope that doesn't ruin its atmosphere. It was the most American city we visited, and we all loved it.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Gorgeous American-Victorian architecture; Nice locals; Diverse, safe American city; great club quarter; fun attractions
  • Cons:After riding the "world's #1 roller-coaster," The Bizarro, I got sick.
  • In a nutshell:A brilliant mid-sized city where you can find the "Real America"
  • Last visit to Springfield: Apr 2011
  • Intro Updated May 3, 2011
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