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Offering premier performances without the abundance of casinos, Branson holds its own as one of America’s leading entertainment destinations. Its value is substantially increased by the backdrop of the Ozark Mountains and a series of lakes and rivers. Settled in 1882 by postmaster and store operator Reuben Branson, the township was incorporated around the construction of the Powersite Dam on the White River. The area’s identity as a tourist destination began to form in 1894, when the Marble Cave was bought by entrepreneur William Henry Lynch. Visitors were charged a fee for tours of the cave; decades later it would be purchased by a couple and renamed the Marvel Cave, becoming retrofitted with electricity and staircases to become more visitor-friendly. In 1907, the popular novel The Shepherd of the Hills was published by Harold Bell Wright, which reinvigorated national interest in the grandeur of the Ozarks. The 1950s and 1960s would see Branson sprout a variety of attraction mainstays, including Silver Dollar City, the Old Mill Theater, Red Foley’s “Ozark Jubilee,” and the Table Rock Dam. But perhaps the most pivotal moment in Branson history came in 1991, when “60 Minutes” dubbed Branson the “live music capital of the entire universe.” Phenomenal growth in the theater, accommodation, dining, retail, real estate and service industries was spurred, bringing a profusion of tourists, business developers, performers and even new residents into Branson. Resorts and golf clubs bloomed on the lakefronts of Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo, while Branson Landing became a hub of dining and shopping attractions along its strip.
Known for its captivating shows, theaters and performances, Branson is a dream vacation for those seeking Vegas-level entertainment without the plethora of casinos. The Ozark Mountains and lakes make for perfect outdoor getaways to hike or swim during the day before catching a show at night.
With the Ozarks and the waterfront views of Table Rock Lake, dining is always memorable in Branson. The cuisine varies as well, from steakhouses and delis to refined establishments. Visitors may find their palate's niche.
From old-fashioned cinnamon buns to homestyle Branson cooking, every cafe is cozy and welcoming to travelers and locals. Comfort food is a frequent on the menus of diners. Enjoy a cup of coffee before filling up on Branson attractions.
Branson is a prime city for bars and pubs, rather than possessing a hip club scene. The venues are friendly and welcoming, with most featuring large screen televisions to show sporting events. Some are located on the beautiful Table Rock Lake, so drinks may be shared with the scenic waterfront vista.
Much of Branson's shopping appeal lies in the local Ozarks culture. A multitude of souvenir shops and boutiques fit the theme of nature. Larger shopping outlets like Tanger and the Branson Landing offer designer brands and accessories.
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