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Independence

Known for Sports, Museums and Family-Friendly

Follow in the footsteps of American pioneers and a former president when you explore the historic landmarks and museums of this Western Missouri city. 

How do you get to Independence?

Discover the true essence of America’s Midwest in Independence, the Queen of the Trails. Browse galleries, relax in gorgeous parks, tour national monuments and visit museums. Independence is famous as the childhood home of U.S. president Harry S. Truman. It was also once the last supplies stop for pioneer families traveling west to California, Oregon and Santa Fe in the 1840s.

Start your visit at Historic Independence Square, at the heart of Downtown Independence. Originally the center for judicial proceedings, today it is a colorful district with boutiques, cafés, fashion outlets, ice cream parlors and theaters. Historic Truman Courthouse dominates the square and is the site of the Visitor Experience Center, where you can pick up free information and plan your itinerary. Learn about notorious criminals, such as Confederate soldier Frank James, at the 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Museum.

Stroll along the Truman Walking Trail, a 2.7-mile-long (4.3-kilometer) route that passes 43 buildings, plaques and trees related to the life of Harry S. Truman. Among these are the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and Truman Memorial Building. See religious landmarks frequented by Truman and his family, including the First Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church.

A 10-minute walk south of the main square is Bingham-Waggoner Estate, one-time residence of artist George Caleb Bingham, with displays of 19th-century furniture, paintings and wagon swales. The nearby National Frontier Trails Museum offers an insight into life on a wagon trail. North of downtown visit Vaile Mansion, a magnificent Second Empire home open for guided tours.

Enjoy Missouri’s natural beauty at the city’s collection of over 40 parks. Choose between George Owens Nature Park, McCoy Park and Santa Fe Park Picnic Pavilion. Fleming Park is a great location for camping, fishing and water sports.

Independence is a 20-minute drive east of Kansas City. Truman Road connects Historic Independence Square with Downtown Kansas City. Get into the pioneer spirit by exploring the fascinating attractions by mule-drawn wagon tour.

Things to do in Independence

Ride roller coasters, get wet on the water slides and explore the world in a day at this family amusement park. 

Join a docent-guided tour of this 19th-century home to get a glimpse into the unassuming lifestyle of President Truman and his family.

A commemoration to those who fought during World War I, this memorial site includes a museum with one of the largest collections of artifacts from the Great War.

Delve into the family and professional life of the 33rd president of the U.S. via artwork, storyboards, multimedia exhibits and original artifacts.  

Home to some of the world’s most iconic works of art, this globally recognized museum also offers one of Kansas City’s best outdoor spaces.

Take a trip through an African plain, as well as meeting animals from other parts of the world, at this city zoo.

Once Kansas City’s busiest railroad depot, today this historic landmark is home to attractions such as museums, a planetarium and a theater.

This free art museum is home to a vast collection of local and international art. The building’s exterior is just as impressive as the art within.

Tickets & Tours

A wonder for all ages, SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium is home to more than 5,000 sea creatures. Explore interactive touch pools, walk through an underwater tunnel with 180-degree views, and get astonishingly close to a blacktip reef shark swimming alongside graceful rays in the ocean exhibit.

Tickets & Tours

Let your imagination run wild as you build amazing creations, dive into 11 play zones, hop on 2 rides, and immerse yourself in the fantastic 4-D Cinema show. With fun for all ages, this is the ultimate indoor LEGO® attraction and is ideal for families with children between 3 and 10 years old.

Tickets & Tours

Sit back to see the sights of iconic Kansas City as a double-decker bus takes you to some of the most scenic and historic sites around. Your guides cover more than 200 years' worth of history, architecture, and local legends for a fun and entertaining ride around town.

Tickets & Tours

Dive into the ever-growing world of wine in Kansas City. Hop on board a bus for a tour that takes you to 3 hand-selected wineries, from KC's urban core to the area's outermost vineyards. Enjoy easy transportation between locations, where you get to tour the facilities and sample mouthwatering wines along the way.

Tickets & Tours

Using your smartphone, you'll be given nearly 150 objects to find during your scavenger hunt. You'll then wander throughout the downtown area searching for the items. Once you've found the object, you'll send a photo in to score points.

Tickets & Tours

Kansas City has a rich history, and your tour guides will gladly share their expansive knowledge of the city's past, it's present, and it's exciting future! This tour is great for both visitors and locals, as there's always more to learn about our beautiful city's fascinating history.

Visitor guides from our travel experts

Local experts explore every corner of Independence for you

Kansas City museums

Discovering Kansas City's eclectic art, culture and history museums

Beth Whitman
Kansas City museums