Excursions from Kansas City
Several destinations within a few hours of Kansas City offer another layer of local culture, history, and heritage that will become an unforgettable part of your Kansas City experience.
Wine and dine in Rocheport, a hamlet along the bluffs of the Missouri River that features Les Bourgeois winery and restaurant and several bed-and-breakfasts, as well as a direct connection to Missouri’s famed Katy Trail, a must for hikers and bikers.
For a college-town escape that’s much closer to Kansas City, spend a day—or weekend—in Lawrence, Kansas. Sample the food and brews of Free State Brewery, shop the boutiques of Mass Street, and stop at the University of Kansas to pay homage to the site where basketball inventor James Naismith worked for decades.
Lawrence is also home to a flourishing arts community, resulting in a number of galleries, museums, and live-music venues that add a healthy dose of culture to your visit. A trip to Lawrence isn’t complete without a stop at one of the city’s many historic sites, still-standing tributes to Lawrence’s turbulent role in the Civil War and other local historical milestones.
Or consider a trip to Omaha, Nebraska, home of the famous Henry Doorly Zoo, for a day trip or a full weekend spent exploring Nebraska’s ever-evolving metropolitan center. An appealing, eclectic mix of shops, bars, and restaurants makes Omaha’s Old Market hard to leave, and it’s best to keep your camera out and ready as you walk the brick-paved streets through an area oozing with charm and character.
Pry yourself away and you’ll be rewarded with worthy stops like the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge and the Omaha push pins, an inventive sculpture system that’s part public art installation and part giant guidebook.
Planning Your Time
Because each of the proposed day trips are within reasonable drives of Kansas City, you could opt to spend a day at each location, or a weekend if you’d prefer more time to explore and get a feel for some of the surrounding areas. All three drives are easy to navigate: take I-70 west to Lawrence or east to Rocheport, or head north on I-29 to reach Omaha.
Lawrence, a college town, may be crowded and difficult to navigate during fall football season and Jayhawk home games. The summer months and late December/early January leave Lawrence a bit emptier as many students opt to go home for holiday and summer breaks. Omaha and Rocheport tend to be more crowded during special events and festivals, but the excess foot traffic shouldn’t have a detrimental impact on your excursion.
- Best Place to Relive Your College Years: Jayhawk Boulevard
- Best Shopping: Massachusetts Street
- Best Way to Learn on Vacation: The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics
- Best Architecture: The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
- Best Local Attraction: Henry Doorly Zoo
- Best Photo Opportunities: The Old Market
- Best Recreational Activity: A Missouri River Boating Tour
- Best Blast from the Past: The Friends of Rocheport Historical Museum
- Best Reason to Rent a Bike: Katy Trail
- Best Spot for Souvenirs: The Rocheport General Store
© Katy Ryan from Moon Kansas City, 1st Edition