Ever wonder what a community founded by anti-slavery advocates might look like? Look no further than Lawrence, Kansas! Located a short 45 minutes drive west of Kansas City and 30 minutes east of Topeka, Lawrence provides many big-city attractions while maintaining a charming, small town feel. It’s home to both the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University and has been ranked 6th in the nation by the U.S. Census for per capita bachelor degree attainment, making Lawrence a perfect destination for those who prefer overhearing heady conversations whilst drinking their coffee.
Things to do in Lawrence
Arguably one of the most beautiful main streets in the US, Massachusetts Street (AKA Mass Street or simply “Mass”) runs through the heart of Lawrence and has numerous shopping and dining options. Once you’ve filled your heart’s desire with window shopping and tasty treats, walk over to the University of Kansas campus where you can check out the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, or the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, a must see if you’re a basketball fan (basketball was invented here!). End your day with a well-deserved beverage (all that walking!) at Free State Brewing Company, located on the northern end of Mass, nearby the Kansas River.
Day trips from Lawrence
A trip to Lawrence would not be complete without checking out the nearby Clinton State Park where you can swim, bike, jog, hike, boat, or simply lie on the beach (there’s a beach in Kansas!) and take in the wildlife around Clinton Lake. Prefer to take in beautiful scenery with a glass of vino in hand? Visit Eudora, a small town 6 miles to the east, home to award winning wineries, Victorian homes, and an historic downtown area. Feeling more educational sights? Travel 15 miles south to Baldwin City, home to the oldest four-year college in Kansas, Baker University. For dining, treat yourself by climbing aboard the Kansas Belle Dinner Train and soak up 22 miles of rolling hills while dining formally.
There’s no shortage of places to stay in Lawrence and you can choose between staying amongst Jayhawks on the University of Kansas campus, along bountiful shopping and dining options on Mass, or near the city’s 35 acre Centennial Park where you can check out a Cold War era Polaris missile. If you’d rather stay outdoors, reserve a cabin or camp out in Clinton State Park.
Transportation in Lawrence
For the most part, a comfortable pair of walking shoes is all you’ll need to check out the sights in Lawrence. Cover more area faster by renting out a bike, or take advantage of the economical bus system ($2.75 for a day pass). The nearest commercial airport is Kansas City International Airport, where there is no shortage of rental car options (there’s also rental options within Lawrence). Rather take in the rolling hills without being behind the wheel? Enjoy a train ride with Amtrak and imagine you’re heading out west like the pioneers!