Top Things to Do in Independence in 2023: Must-Visit Attractions

Welcome to Independence, a city that promises a memorable trip with its diverse range of attractions and activities. Whether you’re a history buff or a nature lover, a foodie or an adventure seeker, Independence has something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the top things to do in Independence in 2023. From exploring the city’s rich history to immersing yourself in nature, indulging in shopping and dining to experiencing thrilling adventures, and attending festivals and events to relaxing and unwinding, Independence has it all.

Key Takeaways

  • Independence offers a diverse range of must-visit attractions and activities.
  • Explore the city’s rich history at landmarks like the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, the National Frontier Trails Museum, and the Vaile Mansion.
  • Immerse yourself in nature at parks, gardens, and outdoor activities like the George Owens Nature Park, the Discovery Center at Waterfall Park, and the Bingham-Waggoner Estate gardens.
  • Enjoy family-friendly activities like visiting the Independence Square, the Puppetry Arts Institute, and the Independence Events Center.
  • Discover art and culture at places like the Truman Library and Museum, the Noland Home & Carriage House, and the National Frontier Trails Museum.
  • Indulge in shopping and dining at popular destinations like the Independence Center and the Englewood Arts District.
  • Experience thrilling adventures at attractions like the Adventure Oasis Water Park, the Independence Events Center, and the Jump City Trampoline Park.
  • Attend festivals and events like the Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival, the Independence Heritage Festival, and the Vaile Victorian Christmas.
  • Relax and unwind at spas, wellness centers, and serene spots like the Rockwood Golf Course and the Sermon Center.
  • Explore surrounding areas like Kansas City, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, and the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Explore the Rich History of Independence

Independence is rich with historical sites and landmarks that offer insights into the city’s past. Visitors can take a step back in time and explore the many historical attractions that Independence has to offer.

Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site is a must-visit attraction for history buffs. The site includes the Truman Home, where President Truman lived with his wife Bess from 1919 until his death in 1972. Visitors can take a guided tour of the home and see where Truman made many important decisions during his presidency. The site also includes the Truman Presidential Library and Museum, which features exhibits and artifacts related to Truman’s life and presidency.

National Frontier Trails Museum

The National Frontier Trails Museum showcases the history of westward expansion and the pioneers who traveled along the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails. The museum features exhibits and artifacts related to the trails, as well as interactive experiences that allow visitors to experience life on the trails firsthand.

Vaile Mansion

The Vaile Mansion is a stunning example of Victorian architecture. Built in 1881, it was home to Harvey and Sophia Vaile and their family. Visitors can take a guided tour of the mansion and see its beautiful interior, which features elaborate woodwork, stained glass windows, and other ornate details.

Overall, Independence offers a wealth of historical sites and landmarks for visitors to explore. Whether you’re a history buff or simply interested in learning more about the city’s past, be sure to take some time to check out these fascinating attractions.

Immerse Yourself in Nature

Independence is home to several natural attractions that are perfect for nature lovers. Whether you’re interested in exploring hiking trails, watching wildlife or simply enjoying scenic views, there’s something for everyone to experience.

Attraction Description
George Owens Nature Park This 86-acre park includes trails, a lake, and a visitor center with exhibits and educational programs. Visitors can enjoy birdwatching, fishing, and picnicking.
Discovery Center at Waterfall Park This park offers a playground, walking trails, and a chance to learn about the environment. Families can enjoy interactive exhibits, a stream table, and outdoor classroom space.
Bingham-Waggoner Estate gardens The historic home and gardens of one of Independence’s earliest families. The gardens feature a beautiful terrace, a rose garden, and a pond with a bridge. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the mansion.

With its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere, Independence is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a break from the city and immerse yourself in nature.

Enjoy Family-Friendly Activities

If you’re planning a family trip to Independence, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. From exploring historic sites to enjoying fun-filled attractions, there’s something for everyone in the family.

Independence Square

The Independence Square is a must-visit destination for families. This charming downtown area is home to unique restaurants, boutiques, and specialty shops. Take a stroll around the square, grab an ice cream cone, and take in the sights and sounds.

Puppetry Arts Institute

The Puppetry Arts Institute is a great option for families with young kids. This museum is dedicated to the art of puppetry and features a variety of exhibits and performances. Kids can learn about the history of puppetry and even make their own puppets.

Independence Events Center

The Independence Events Center is a multi-purpose arena that hosts a variety of events, including concerts, sports games, and family-friendly shows. Check the schedule to see what’s happening during your visit.

No matter what you choose to do, you’re guaranteed to have a great time with your family in Independence.

Discover Art and Culture

Independence is renowned for its art and cultural attractions. From historical landmarks to museums and art galleries, there is always something new to discover.

Truman Library and Museum

The Truman Library and Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. This museum offers a glimpse into the life and times of the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. With exhibits showcasing his presidency, personal life, and legacy, visitors can learn about this remarkable man and his contributions to American history.

Noland Home & Carriage House

The Noland Home & Carriage House is a beautifully restored historic home in Independence. Built in 1859, this Victorian-era mansion offers guided tours that take you back in time to the elegant lifestyle of the 19th century. Visitors can see the original furnishings, artwork, and artifacts that make this house a living museum.

National Frontier Trails Museum

The National Frontier Trails Museum celebrates the pioneers who traveled westward in the 19th century. The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, including covered wagons, clothing, and tools that were used by the pioneers. It also has interactive exhibits that provide visitors with a hands-on experience of life on the trails.

Englewood Arts District

The Englewood Arts District is a hub of creativity in Independence. With over 30 art galleries and studios, it is the perfect place to explore local art and find unique pieces to take home. Visitors can also attend art classes and workshops hosted by local artists.

From history to art, Independence has something for everyone. So, make sure you add these cultural attractions to your itinerary when planning your trip!

Indulge in Shopping and Dining

When it comes to shopping and dining, Independence has plenty to offer visitors in 2023. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or a delicious meal, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste. Here are some of the top shopping and dining experiences to check out:

Englewood Arts District

The Englewood Arts District is a must-visit destination for art lovers in Independence. Here you can explore a variety of galleries and shops, showcasing the work of local artists. From paintings and sculptures to jewelry and ceramics, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

Independence Center

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, head to the Independence Center. This mall features a wide range of stores, including Macy’s, Dillard’s, and H&M. You’ll also find plenty of options for dining, so you can refuel after a long day of shopping.

Local Eateries

When it comes to dining, Independence has plenty of options to choose from. For a taste of local flavors, check out restaurants like Corner Cafe or Ophelia’s Restaurant and Inn. If you’re in the mood for something international, head to Habaneros Mexican Restaurant or Siki Japanese Steakhouse.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Independence has something to offer. So be sure to add these shopping and dining destinations to your itinerary when planning your trip in 2023.

Experience Thrilling Adventures

If you’re looking for some excitement during your trip to Independence, then you won’t be disappointed. The city has a variety of thrilling adventures that are sure to get your heart racing. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just looking for some fun, there’s something for everyone.

One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Adventure Oasis Water Park. This park has a wave pool, lazy river, and a variety of water slides for all ages. You can spend the day soaking up the sun and cooling off in the water.

If you prefer sports and entertainment, then the Independence Events Center may be just what you’re looking for. This center hosts a variety of events, including hockey games, concerts, and more. Check their schedule to see what’s happening during your visit.

If you’re looking for some indoor fun, then the Jump City Trampoline Park is a must-visit. This park has trampolines, dodgeball, foam pits, and other activities, making it a perfect place to burn off some energy.

Experience the Thrill of Zip Lining

For those seeking high-flying adventure, zip lining is an exhilarating activity to experience in Independence. Check out Zip KC to soar over the trees on an eco-friendly zip line tour. With a variety of courses and speeds, you can choose your own adventure and experience the beauty of nature from a unique perspective.

Attend Festivals and Events

Independence has a vibrant festival and event scene throughout the year, with something for everyone. If you’re visiting in 2023, here are some must-attend festivals and events:

  • Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival: Held annually over Labor Day weekend in the historic Independence Square, this festival offers live music, food vendors, crafts, and a carnival.
  • Independence Heritage Festival: Celebrate the city’s rich history with reenactments, craft demonstrations, live music, and food vendors.
  • Vaile Victorian Christmas: Experience the charm of a Victorian-era Christmas at the historic Vaile Mansion, featuring live music, refreshments, and a tour of the lavishly decorated mansion.

“Don’t miss out on the festivities in Independence in 2023. These festivals and events are a great way to experience the city’s culture and community spirit.”

Relax and Unwind

After exploring the rich history, enjoying thrilling adventures, and indulging in shopping and dining options in Independence, it’s time to relax and unwind. Luckily, this city has a selection of serene spots where visitors can escape and recharge before continuing their trip.

Spas and Wellness Centers

For those looking to unwind and pamper themselves, Independence has a variety of spas and wellness centers. Visitors can book an appointment at AesthetiCare Medspa for a facial or massage or head to the Serendipity Salon and Spa for a full-body treatment. Both venues offer a tranquil atmosphere where guests can enjoy a range of services to rejuvenate their body and mind.

Nature Escapes

Another way to relax and unwind in Independence is by visiting one of the city’s beautiful parks or golf courses. Rockwood Golf Course is a popular spot for golf enthusiasts, offering stunning views and challenging courses. For visitors seeking a more tranquil experience, the George Owens Nature Park is the perfect place to explore and unwind amidst nature’s beauty.

The Sermon Center

Finally, the Sermon Center is a multi-purpose facility that offers a variety of activities to help visitors relax and unwind. Guests can take a dip in the indoor pool, enjoy a workout in the fitness center, or participate in a yoga or meditation class. The center also features a sauna and steam room, offering the ultimate relaxation experience.

Explore Surrounding Areas of Independence

While visiting Independence, don’t miss out on the nearby areas that offer exciting attractions and activities.

Kansas City

Just a short drive away from Independence is the thriving city of Kansas City. Here, you can explore world-renowned museums such as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The city also boasts a vibrant food scene, with acclaimed barbecue joints and innovative restaurants. Be sure to catch a game at Arrowhead Stadium or Kauffman Stadium if you’re a sports fan.

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is located in nearby Kansas City and offers visitors a glimpse into the life and presidency of the 33rd President of the United States. Explore the exhibits and artifacts, including the famous Truman Oval Office replica.

Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, head to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Stroll through the stunning gardens and nature trails, and bring a picnic to enjoy in the serene surroundings.

With these nearby attractions, you can make the most of your trip to Independence and its surrounding areas.

Plan Your Perfect Trip to Independence in 2023

Now that you know about all the wonderful attractions and activities in Independence, it’s time to start planning your trip. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit:

Book Your Accommodations Early

Since Independence is a popular destination, it’s best to book your accommodations as early as possible. There are many options available, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. Consider staying in the Independence Square area for easy access to the city’s main attractions.

Create an Itinerary

With so much to see and do in Independence, it’s a good idea to create an itinerary before your trip. Prioritize the activities and attractions that interest you the most and plan your days accordingly. Don’t forget to leave some free time for spontaneous adventures.

Pack Comfortable Shoes

You’ll be doing a lot of walking in Independence, so make sure to pack comfortable shoes. Sneakers or walking shoes are ideal for exploring the city’s parks and museums. If you plan on dining out in the evenings, bring a pair of dressy shoes as well.

Try Local Cuisine

Independence has a diverse culinary scene, with many restaurants offering local specialties and international cuisine. Don’t be afraid to try something new and indulge in local delicacies like Kansas City-style barbecue or toasted ravioli.

Check Local Events

Independence hosts many festivals and events throughout the year. Check the city’s events calendar before your trip and consider attending any that coincide with your visit. You won’t want to miss events like the Independence Day celebrations or the Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival.

By following these tips, you’re sure to have an unforgettable trip to Independence in 2023. Happy travels!


Q: What are the must-visit attractions in Independence in 2023?

A: The top things to do in Independence in 2023 include visiting historical sites like the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, exploring nature at George Owens Nature Park, enjoying family-friendly activities at the Independence Square, immersing yourself in art and culture at the Truman Library and Museum, indulging in shopping and dining experiences at the Independence Center, experiencing thrilling adventures at the Adventure Oasis Water Park, attending festivals and events such as the Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival, relaxing and unwinding at serene spots like the Rockwood Golf Course, and exploring nearby areas like Kansas City.