Lawrence, KS may not be a bucket-list destination for most people, but that’s only because they’ve never heard of it.
Once you’ve visited this beautiful city and seen what it has to offer, you’ll want to visit again and again. Many of the area’s 90,000+ residents came as visitors but fell in love with the city and decided to stay.
If you’re new to Lawrence and looking for some fun activities for you and your family, we’ve got some suggestions!
You’ll find everything from dinosaurs to deer, educational avenues, and playtime. Make sure you explore these Lawrence hotspots during your trip!
1. Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum
Don’t let the big words deter you. The BI&NHM has something for the little ones and the older learners in your family.
Located in Dyche Hall at the University of Kansas, the museum features everything from fossils to live animals.
Whether you love looking at animals or learning about ancient history, you’ll want to spend all day here. There are over ten million plants and one million archaeological artifacts to check out.
There’s even a bug exhibit! (Don’t worry: The cockroaches are kept inside the exhibit area, so feel free to eat comfortably at the on-site diner.)
And the expert staff is great, too. So if your child has hundreds of “why” questions, they’ll get answers.
The Museum is closed on Mondays but open during the rest of the week. Admission is free, but there’s a suggested donation of $7 for adults and $4 for children.
2. Lawrence Aquatic Center
If you’re lucky enough to visit this city during the gorgeous summer season, be sure to stop by the Lawrence Aquatic Center. This is the place to take refuge from the summer heat.
The Center offers a variety of water slides and pools for people of all ages. Recreational swimming opens after 1 p.m. Before that time, you can book a morning lap swim or water walk if you’re a member.
Unlike many public pools, the Lawrence Aquatic Center has gorgeous amenities. Shaded lounges and café-style concessions let you relax while you keep an eye on your youngsters.
Admission is $5 for people ages 3–17 and $6 for those 18–59. As an important note, there is a limit of three children per paying adult.
If you plan to visit often, you can invest in a punch card ($30 per person) or annual pass ($250 each) instead of paying the daily admission.
3. Lawrence Arts Center
The city’s residents truly believe that art is for people of all ages, and they demonstrate this at the Lawrence Arts Center. Here, you can view art exhibitions and attend events ranging from art auctions to plays. They even have a monthly story slam.
Never heard of a story slam? You’re missing out!
These live, 18+ events happen on the second Friday of each month. Performers go on stage and tell a theme-based, uncensored story. You never know what you’re going to hear, but you know it will be interesting!
Family-friendly events happen regularly, too. There are free family art experiences weekly, with themes that change every time.
In the Play Lab, you’ll find art and theater opportunities for the kids. Your kids can dance, paint, and explore their imaginations for hours.
If you are interested in theater for the older family members, check out Theatre Lawrence, too.
4. Clinton State Park
Outdoor activities are popular in Lawrence, partly because of the beautiful climate in every season. The heat of the summer encourages water sports, and the snowy winters beckon everyone to ski and snowmobile.
Clinton State Park is the go-to place for all of your fresh air activities. RVers, campers, and day visitors love exploring this area.
In this incredible campground, you can hike and bike along 25 miles of trails, practice your skiing in the winter, and golf in the summer.
You never know what wildlife might pop up as you’re adventuring. The habitat is a diverse mix of grassland, cropland, and deciduous forest. It’s home to animals like deer and turkey.
Hunting and fishing are allowed during hunting season, as long as you have the right permits.
Fill your day with boating adventures, trail exploration, and lakeside picnics. Stay for the day or camp all night, but make sure you add this park to your itinerary!
5. Shopping Along Massachusetts Street
Ready to grab some souvenirs? Enjoy the ambiance of slow-paced living as you walk along Massachusetts Street.
Here you’ll find quaint, family-friendly restaurants and shops. The atmosphere is a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of big-city retail chains.
Events take place along Massachusetts Street all the time. This is where the city’s best parades, farmers’ markets, and pop-up shops occur.
If you’re interested in seeing what fun activities will be going on while you’re there, download the Downtown Lawrence Mobile App. It’s a comprehensive guide to local restaurants, hotels, and events. The app will even help you find a good parking spot!
If you aren’t sure what to expect, a visit to the diverse city of Lawrence will surprise and delight you.
Keep your schedule open and flexible so you can squeeze in the myriad of activities you didn’t know existed. Or, use the Downtown Lawrence app to create a full itinerary for your trip.
The only problem with Lawrence is that there’s too much to do. But that’s okay; you can always come back for the rest on your next vacation!
Proxi Lawrence offers luxury housing for Kansas State University students in Lawrence, Kansas.