The brick sidewalks, streetcar tracks and bustling pedestrian traffic announce your arrival in the River Market. This growing community sits north of the downtown skyline and south of the Missouri River. With a continually expanding restaurant and retail scene, parks and the historic City Market, the River Market is one of the highlights of Kansas City’s renaissance.
River Market KC events happen throughout each week, month and year. If you’re looking for something to do here, you can always find it. And if you’re looking for something to eat, well, you have more choices than you’ll know what to do with.
This guide to River Market events will give you the info on things to do and restaurants to visit in one of Kansas City’s best districts.
Regularly Scheduled River Market Events
The Historic City Market: The first River Market event to check off your list is visiting the historic City Market. All year round, vendors fill in the square with local produce, art, baked goods, meats, flowers and more. Come down on a beautiful spring Saturday or Sunday morning for the best experience.
First Fridays: This historic Kansas City tradition began in the Crossroads Arts District. It has since popped up in the West Bottoms and, most recently, the River Market. From 4–8 p.m. on the first Friday of June through September, you can check out visual artists, jewelry booths, and local retailers and even take a painting class for yourself.
Annual River Market KC Events
KC RiverFest: The biggest 4th of July celebration is located just east of the River Market neighborhood. Join thousands of people for this day-long celebration with food, concerts, games and a fireworks show. River Market KC events like this fill up quickly, so arrive early if you want the best seats in the house (or, more accurately, along the river) for the show.
Wine Walk on Delaware: The Delaware Street corridor in the River Market is one of the fastest expanding blocks in the city. In the last year alone, two restaurants, an ice cream shop and a café/bar/bookstore have opened within a couple hundred yards of each other. The Wine Walk on Delaware is the perfect chance to visit these local businesses while sipping on some good wine.
KC PrideFest: The River Market is a diverse community. You can find Brazilian, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican, French and Middle Eastern cuisine within a couple blocks. As a community built on diversity, its important to continue to support the members of our city who are fighting for equal rights. That’s why KC PrideFest is one of the River Market events many residents are proud of. Even if you aren’t a part of the LGBTQ community, you can be a supportive ally and enjoy KC PrideFest.
VegFest: Stop in at City Market Park for VegFest, a weekend-long showcase of delicious plant-based food. If you are trying to shift your diet or if you are an ardent vegetarian, this event is great for you. VegFest can also be fun for people who are just curious and like tasty food.
Restaurants to Try During River Market Events
There’s plenty to do in the River Market. While you’re here, where should you eat? With more than 30 restaurants packed into a few city blocks, you have options. It’s worth checking out our complete guide to River Market restaurants if you have the time. If not, here are several that stand out:
Harry’s Country Club: A Kansas City institution. Look for the green awning on Missouri Avenue when you are ready for good food and drinks at an affordable price. Harry’s serves classic bar food in a classic bar environment. And don’t worry; you can bring the kids with you. Pro tip: happy hour at Harry’s goes from 11–7 on Saturday.
Tribe Street Kitchen: Tribe is one of the Delaware Street newcomers that is elevating the profile of the whole neighborhood. Each menu item is inspired by a culinary tradition from a different region of the world. You can find almost anything at Tribe, plus the bar and patio make for great happy hour hangouts. Plus, its location next to the KC Streetcar stop makes it perfect for River Market KC events.
KC Taco Company: This little taco shop on Walnut Street has some of the best Mexican food anywhere in KC, and that’s saying a lot. It’s the perfect place to fill up after River Market events, with a menu and happy hour options that’ll please everyone. Plus, it’s just up the street from the entrance to the City Market, which makes it an easy walk from anywhere in the neighborhood.
There are so many more options for a restaurant in the River Market, but these three are a good place to start. If you haven’t already, we highly advise visiting the River Market soon. It is beautiful, friendly neighborhood that shows some of the best of what Kansas City has to offer.