Weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts

I just spent this past weekend in Springfield, MA visiting one of my closest friends. For those who aren’t familiar, Springfield is a city in western Massachusetts. I have been to the city over 5 times in the past couple of years and have compiled a list of the best things to do in Springfield or in the western Massachusetts’s area.

The Big E

People from the area speak about the Big E like you would think the pope is coming to town. The Big E, also known as The Eastern States Exposition, is “New England’s Great State fair. It is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the seventh-largest fair in the nation”. My friend Jenn described it as a huge state fair with tons of fried food, rides, and shopping. I heard fried food, so obviously, I was obviously down to go.

The fair is a month long during September and we went the Saturday of opening weekend. We walked around a bit and I was immediately overwhelmed, there were hundreds of food vendors to choose from. Rows of places to eat filled with grease, cheese and meat lined either side; it was a foodies dream. The Big E has everything from fried kool aid, to lobster mac, bbq brisket sundae, fried martini, and donught burgers. If none of that tickles your pickle, then there is a veggie stand or two. Just don’t expect me to give you a review or suggestion on the veggie stand. I wound up getting waffle fry nachos which were obviously delicious. Waffle fries are the superior type of fries, so you can top them with just about anything and it’d be good. The base was waffle fries smothered with sour cream, cheese, ground beef, salsa and jalapeños. The ground beef on the nachos was surprisingly delicious and juicy considering it was probably sitting in a hot truck for a few hours (gross, but true). Jennifer and Justin got the poutine fries which I tried for the first time and they were amazing. Poutine fries are just the fancy, French version of “disco fries” that we have in Jersey. If I wasn’t from NJ, I might just admit that poutine fries might be better.

As if fries and more fries weren’t enough, I got mac and cheese topped with bbq pulled chicken which was also amazing. For dessert, I had a pumpkin spiced whoopie pie which is two of my favorite desserts in one. The stand I went to had almost 15 different flavors and the whoppie pie was the size of a burger for only $3.00. My friend had fried samosas and fried red velvet oreos.

If you aren’t disgusted by the fried foods at The Big E yet, I introduce to you one of their top sellers: FRIED BUTTER. Although it may not seem like it, but I do have limits, so I did not try this nor would ever want to. But it is an option, if you are into fat fried in more fat…judgements here!

After our embarrassing amount we ate, we walked around and shopped. The Big E has hundreds of local vendors selling everything from art, to jewelry, to clothes, to electronics, even bath tubs. We didn’t buy anything but it was fun to walk around and see what all the vendors were offering. Another cool part of the fair is the different buildings showcasing the five states in New England. In each of the state buildings, they had some history and different foods and famous vendors from the state.

Afterwards, we went on a ride or 2 and called it night. The Big E is ginormous and definitely takes the whole day to get through. So if your in the area during the fall, and are looking to try different foods, give The Big E a try!

Basketball Hall of Fame

I’d say if you’ve ever heard of Springfield, it was probably related to basketball, as it is said that basketball was started there. Due to this, the basketball hall of fame is in Springfield. If you are anywhere in western Massachusetts and a basketball fan, you should definitely check it out. Although I am not a basketball, or sports fan in general, it was still a lot of fun. The tickets are $25.00 each if you buy at the hall, but you can also buy online and there are usually Groupons or other deals available. The hall has three levels of exhibits on the history and heroes on and off the court and gives visitors a chance to participate in skill contests.

Although learning about the historical information was cool, I was more into the interactive parts of the hall. There were shooting competitions, sports newscaster stations, and the main court was open to shoot. There are often different events at the hall like special guest appearances, autograph signings and more. Even if you aren’t a huge sports fan, or have any athletic talent (me!), it is still a fun, interactive time for people of all ages and athletic capabilities.

MGM Hotel & Casino

This is Springfield’s newest attraction and efforts to “build up” the area. The casino and hotel is a lot smaller than other casinos I’ve been to but it’s brand new, so it’s bright and impeccably clean, which is a nice change from the musty ones in Atlantic City that I’m used to. The downside of it being so small is there are only three nice, sit down, restaurants in the casino, but if you are there for a weekend, that is enough. Also, there are a handful of fast casual restaurants with burgers and pizza to choose from.

We only stopped by for a couple of hours but there is Top Golf, a spa, comedy club, bowling alley and a variety of shops there as well. I went there in the winter time near the holidays and there were Christmas pop up shops which had local vendors selling candles, jewelry, toys and more. There was also a small ice rink outside lined with heated snow globe tents you can sit in. For a casino in the middle of the suburbs, it is a beautiful establishment with a lot of potential. I’m not sure I would go out of my way to go there from the NYC/ NJ area, but if you are in western Massachusetts, I would definitely check it out!

After going to the city a few times, in many different seasons, I’d say the best time to go to Springfield, or anywhere in the North East is definitely during the fall. Not only is that “Big E season”, but some of the most beautiful foliage is in the North East.


Finding Francesca

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