What to Do and Where to Eat in Independence
Independence, Mo., is one of the oldest and most historic cities in the Kansas City metro area. It was the home of Missouri’s only president, Harry Truman, and was the first part of modern-day Kansas City settled by pioneers moving west across America. Over the years, Independence has been a business center and family community, continually growing and changing to meet the needs of the day. Whether you live in the area or not, there are plenty of reasons to visit, and no better time to do so than during one of the many exciting events in Independence, Mo.
There are events in Independence, Mo., that celebrate culture, history, holidays, food and more. From parades to festivals, these Independence, Mo., upcoming events are fun for the whole family. This guide will give you all the information you need to plan a fun day in Independence, as well as some tips on where to find the tastiest meal while you are there.
Independence, Mo., Upcoming Events
From historic celebrations to races, food festivals to sporting events, here are the events in Independence, Mo., that every Kansas Citian should know.
- Santa-Cali-Gon Days: This annual festival is one of the longest running events in Independence, Mo. Now nearing its 50th year, Santa-Cali-Gon Days celebrates the origin of the famous Santa Fe and Oregon Trails that led west to California. The town of Independence was an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail. This four-day-long festival takes place on Labor Day Weekend and attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Bring the family for games, food booths, carnival rides and other great entertainment.
- Strawberry Festival: The Vaile Mansion is an incredible piece of historic architecture and host to the annual Strawberry Festival. Walk the grounds of this beautiful home and enjoy strawberries from the Vaile Society as well as other festival commodities like games, antiques, crafts and ice cream.
- Independence Heritage Festival: This free event in Independence, Mo., is a celebration of the city’s past, present and future. It pays homage to the history that made Independence great in the past and the diversity that is making it great today. This is done through storytelling, dances, food and activities for kids.
- The Truman Library: Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, was from Independence, Mo. He loved his hometown, and his hometown loved him. The Truman Library was created in his honor and memory. It is a local institution, a field trip almost every Kansas City elementary school takes, and a place you should visit. Make a day of learning U.S. history at this important site.
- The Kansas City Mavericks: If you’re looking for Independence, Mo., upcoming events, you can almost always find a Kansas City Mavericks game at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. The Mavericks are local minor-league hockey team. Games are cheap and fun, and a great opportunity to introduce the kids to a new sport.
- The Annual Independence Park Trot 5K Run/Walk: If you are a runner, or if you want to be a runner, this event in Independence, Mo., is for you. This 5K is a good chance for experienced runners to set a new personal record and for beginners to complete their first race. Also, registration is free!
- Cherry Blossom Festival: Did you know Independence, Mo., has a sister city in Japan? Higashimurayama, a city in the western portion of Tokyo with a population of just over 150,000, is Independence’s sister city. Celebrate this globe-spanning connection and the Japanese culture in Kansas City at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. This event includes food, shopping and musical performances.
Where to Eat During Events in Independence, Mo.
Independence is rich with restaurants. There are fine-dining establishments, hole-in-the-wall taco shops and old-school barbecue joints dotting the map. When you’re attending one of these events in Independence, Mo., you can take the opportunity to try one of these restaurants.
La Fuente: If you’re craving Mexican food, La Fuente is the place to go. Stop by any time for an affordable, quality meal with authentic Mexican ingredients. If you can make it for Taco Tuesday, tacos are only $1.50 each.
Smokehouse Barbecue: This classic barbecue restaurant has been serving high-quality smoked meats for a quarter of a century. It is still family-owned and operated, and the perfect destination for lunch or dinner after attending one of these events in Independence, Mo.
Ophelia’s: The historic Independence Square had gone quiet for several years in the 2000s after a decline of business and dining options. Ophelia’s opened in the square with a mission to revitalize this important district. A vibrant square makes Independence better, and a high-quality establishment like Ophelia’s will go a long way in bringing the square back to its glory days. Check it out during any of the Independence, Mo., square events.
There are many more restaurants in Independence that you can read about in our complete guide to the city’s eateries. For now, this is enough to get started. We hope you enjoy one or more of the items on this list of events in Independence, Mo., and find some good food while you are there.