26 Top Fun Things to Do in Lawrence (KS)

Looking for the top fun things to do in Lawrence, KS?

Lawrence, Kansas, is full of exciting things to see and do which cut across its numerous art galleries, restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, wedding venues, museums and wineries.

The city has a vibrant culture and is known as a thriving music scene, as the Wakarusa Music, Camping Festival, and many live music venues turn on the heat. The luxuriant green community parks like the Clinton State Park, Prairie Park Nature Center, and more than 50 extra public parks make Lawrence activity-oriented.

During your visit, check out the Spencer Museum of Art, Natural History Museum of the University of Kansas, the Dole Institute, and engage in the top Lawrence KS activities listed here. Let’s explore the best things to do in Lawrence, Kansas.

Things to Do in Lawrence

1. Visit the University of Kansas Natural History Museum

University of Kansas Natural History Museum
Credits: jpellgen (@1179_jp) / Flickr
University of Kansas Natural History Museum

The University of Kansas Natural History Museum is situated on Jayhawk Boulevard on the university’s campus. It makes up the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute that is dedicated to studying life diversity on Earth.

The historic Dyche Hall is a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has all its galleries housed in it.

The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago motivated the construction of this museum – it was constructed in the Romanesque architectural style between 1901 and 1903.

There are more than ten million artefacts and species here. A visit is simply one of the best things to do in Lawrence, KS, to consider for your bucket list.

Address: 1345 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, Kansas.

2. Take a Walk along Massachusetts Street

Massachusetts Street
Credits: Jasperdo / Flickr
Massachusetts Street

Massachusetts Street, also known as Mass Street, is located in downtown Lawrence, specifically the central business district. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lawrence, hence, one of the top things to do in Lawrence, Kansas

Starting from the south of the Kansas River at Sixth Street, this historic district runs south to Haskell Indian Nations University. It takes its name after the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company; this company founded the city by introducing anti-slavery settlers.

There are many interesting instances of Neoclassical architecture and Victorian architecture in this district, with a majority of them built between 1856 and 1953.

There are many restaurants, shops, and a brewery. There are also some sections listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places which are worth an exploration.

Address: 833-1/2 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas.

3. Learn About Unique Tribal cultures at Haskell Cultural Center and Museum

Haskell Cultural Center and Museum
Credits: Haskell Cultural Center and Museum / Facebook
Haskell Cultural Center and Museum

The Haskell Cultural Center and Museum at Haskell Indian Nations University presents you with an opportunity to experience cultural diversity at its best.

Haskell Cultural Center and Museum was established to celebrate its students’ resiliency and strength and their input to why it is today called the Haskell Indian Nations University.

It focuses on the re-emergence of Indigenous expression and strives to blend self-determination and the elements of Tribal pride into its academics spirit.

Don’t miss out on a tour of this museum! Makes one of the unique things to do in Lawrence, KS.

Address: 155 Indian Ave. Box #5013, Lawrence, KS

4. Check out Free State Brewing Company

Free State Brewing Company
Credits: brent flanders / Flickr
Free State Brewing Company

Having started production in 1989, Free State Brewing Company was the pioneer post-prohibition legal brewery in all of Kansas. Currently, it is a 14-barrel brewhouse that uses only top small brewers’ equipment available to make superb authentic and original beers.

They are not constrained to the rules of beer styles alone, so allow your Taste to guide you. You can begin with their flagship brews like Wheat State Golden or Oatmeal Stout.

You can get their beer samples at their fun and cozy brewpub. There is always some new fluid on the tap. On request, you can be served great black bean quesadillas, a daily special, the ever-present fish and chips, and a beer recommendation for each dish.

Address: 636 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas.

5. Explore Circle S Ranch & Country Inn

Circle S Ranch & Country Inn
Credits: Circle S Ranch & Country Inn / Facebook
Circle S Ranch & Country Inn

Do you seek a beautiful wedding and event space, an outdoor oasis, or a discrete weekend getaway? You have it all at the Circle S Ranch & Country Inn.

Established in 1860, the Circle S Ranch has been in active use for six generations. The driveway to the Inn is half-mile and ends as you come over the hill and the valley.

The Inn is nestled at a slight angle of the path guide you to the prairie garden (a popular venue for weddings).

This place is great for training, breakout sessions, and corporate retreats, with the Ranch providing the perfect atmosphere for team bonding.

Address: 3325 Circle S Lane, Lawrence, KS

6. Get Inspired at Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics
Credits: brent flanders / Flickr
Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

Situated on Petefish Drive on the University of Kansas campus, the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics is one of the top things to do in Lawrence, KS.

It is a political institution founded by Bob Dole, a one-time U.S. Senator from Kansas and the 1996 Republican presidential candidate.

This institute was opened in 2003, it is a 28,000 sq ft facility that houses Dole’s papers but its stand as a non-partisan institute makes it a key venue for political events.

Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics has hosted speakers like Bill Clinton, Bob Woodward, Tom Brokaw, and Bob and his wife, Elizabeth Dole. Various programs, tours are offered by the institute. It is also up for rent.

Address: 2350 Petefish Drive, Lawrence, Kansas.

7. DeBruce Center is One of The Best Free Things to Do in Lawrence

DeBruce Center
Credits: DeBruce Center / Facebook
DeBruce Center

DeBruce Center is a unique facility where fans of all ages can come together to explore the rich history of basketball, a sport near and dear to KU’s heart.

You can see exhibits at DeBruce Center or even the Booth Family Hall of Athletics for free, hence one of the free places to visit in Lawrence, KS. The Original Rules of “Basket Ball” and some other basketball exhibits are open to the public throughout the year.

Except for holidays, visitation from Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, but they are closed on Sundays.

Address: 1647 Naismith Drive, Lawrence, KS 66045

8. Learn History at Watkins Museum of History

Watkins Museum of History
Credits: Ali Eminov / Flickr
Watkins Museum of History

Established in 1933, the Watkins Museum of History is devoted to the preservation and exhibition of the history of Douglas County, Kansas. The Douglas County Historical Society has operated the museum since 1975.

Watkins Museum of History is housed in the historic 1888 Watkins Land Mortgage and National Bank Building and displays temporary and permanent exhibits.

You will learn of the role played by Douglas County during important events like the civil rights movement, the Civil War, the Vietnam War through the permanent exhibits here.

Temporary exhibits include “Watkins: The Couple, the Building, the Legacy,” “More than a Game: Basketball and Community Spirit,” and “The Early Settlement of Douglas County.”

This makes one of the top fun things to do in Lawrence, Kansas, consider an addition to your checklist of places to visit in Lawrence, KS.

Address: 1047 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas

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9. Ruff House Art

Ruff House
Credits: Ruff House Print Shop / Facebook
Ruff House Arts

One of the best Lawrence, KS, activities is visiting Ruff House Art. It is a stationery boutique known for its stationery and personalized cards, often used as gift packs.

This stylish letterpress shop has been in the business of selling journals, planners, notebooks, personalized greeting cards, miniature gift cards, and gift wraps for over nine years now.

You can get wholesale items for birthdays, weddings, and parties. You would like the hand-crafted stationery and customizable cards that are so useful and at the same time cute.

To enhances special occasions, go for a perfect gift shop – Ruff House Art. They are open Mon-Sat: 10am – 6pm; Sun: 11am – 4pm.

Address: 729 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044

10. Enjoy Live Performances at Lied Center of Kansas

Lied Center of Kansas
Credits: Randy von Liski / Flickr
Lied Center of Kansas

Located on the campus of the University of Kansas is the Lied Center of Kansas – a performing arts center launched in 1993. It was built by the community of Lawrence in collaboration with the Lied Foundation.

The center has its name after Ernst M. and Ida K. Lied, the parents of Ernst F. Lied. Lied were alumnus of the University of Kansas.

The center is divided into two performance spaces, the 2000-seat capacity main auditorium and the Pavilion, which seats close to 200 people.

The center also has many educational outreach programs, including study guides, school programs, and “School Ambassadors” for information required by local schools.

Lied Center of Kansas is one of Lawrence’s romantic date ideas because you can watch a nice performance.

Address: 1600 Stewart Drive, Lawrence, Kansas.

11. Quantrill’s Raid of Lawrence

The American Civil War was full of various historical scenes and acts, but one significant event is Quantrill’s Raid of Lawrence.

Ever since this event occurred, there have been songs, movies, and TV series created to depict the Lawrence massacre’s horrific aftermath.

You can join the league of many from different parts of the world by going on a self-guided tour through the vital historically important sites that provide a unique experience and an extensive understanding of the history of Lawrence.

Address: Miller Farm to Oak Hill Cemetery.

12. Meet Nature at Prairie Park Nature Center

Prairie Park Nature Center
Credits: Jasperdo / Flickr
Prairie Park Nature Center

Situated on Harper Street, just on the east side of the city, the Prairie Park Nature Center is one of the top attractions in Lawrence. It was opened in 1999 and comprises 100 acres of different kinds of habitats, including wetlands, woodlands, and prairie.

In this nature center is a five-acre lake called Mary’s Lake. It is a well-known fishing spot, stocked by the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, with varieties of fish all through the spring and summer.

For bird watchers and nature lovers, there are walking trails to enjoy. You’ll still find birds of prey, deer, bobcats, and beavers amongst the wildlife dwelling here.

Address’ 2730 Harper Street, Lawrence, Kansas.

13. One of the Best Fun Things to Do in Lawrence, KS: Baker Wetlands Discovery Center

Baker Wetlands
Credits: Patrick Emerson / Flickr
Baker Wetlands

Located on the south side of Lawrence, Kansas, is the Baker Wetlands. It is a 927-acre nature area that features more than 10 miles of trails and even a nice boardwalk.

Opened in 2015, Baker Wetlands Discovery Center is an attractive new 11,000 sq ft building. It has a massive display area, a research lab, a classroom space, and more.

Originally, the Baker Wetlands were farming sites used to teach students of Haskell Institute (currently Haskell Indian Nations University). Much of this land is now owned by Baker University.

Since the land was acquired by Baker, its previous use has gradually diminished, and this process still continues. In 2017, there was a record of 487 plant species, 278 species of birds, and 98 other vertebrate species in the center.

Address: 1365 N 1250 Rd, Lawrence, KS 66046.

14. Washington Creek Lavender is One of the Best Things to See in Lawrence, KS

Washington Creek Lavender
Credits: Washington Creek Lavender / Facebook
Washington Creek Lavender

You will locate the Washington Creek Lavender just outside Lawrence, a little part of Provence. This is an undulating purple hill covered with over 6000 fragrant lavender plants of several varieties.

Washington Creek Lavender is an organization lavender farm owned, operated, and managed by Kathy and Jack Wilson.

Every lavender here is organic and are tended and taken care of without the use of chemicals. This entails more strenuous and direct care and results in a high-quality plant that relaxes and heals.

This farm which is registered as a Kansas official agri-tour site, is open to visitors. Before harvest time, take a walk through the fragrant rows of these lavender bushes. It’s such a relaxing view. There is also a store where various lavender-related products are sold.

Address: 858 E 800 Rd., Lawrence, Kansas.

15. Sweat it out at Sports Pavilion Lawrence

Sports Pavilion Lawrence
Credits: Sports Pavilion Lawrence / Facebook
Sports Pavilion Lawrence

Sports Pavilion Lawrence is a public recreation center in the city. This center is situated at Rock Chalk Park in northwest Lawrence, it is one of the top places to visit in the Lawrence. KS.

Features of this facility include 16 full-size volleyball courts, 8 full-size basketball courts, 1/8 mile walking/running track, aerobic/fitness rooms, and gymnastics areas.

There are also 8 outdoor tennis courts, indoor turf/soccer area, cardio/weight areas, meeting rooms, and more than 5 miles of walking trails.

For sports lovers, this is one of Lawrence Kansas attractions to visit.

Address: 100 Rock Chalk Ln, Lawrence, KS 66049.

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16. Get into the World of Athletics: Booth Family Hall of Athletics

Booth Family Hall of Athletics
Credits: brent flanders / Flickr
Booth Family Hall of Athletics

The Booth Family Hall of Athletics is a museum opened in January 2006 in honor of Kansas University athletic programs, student-athletes, and past and present coaches.

Located close to the Allen Fieldhouse, the 19,335 square foot facility underwent tangible expansions in 2009. It is open throughout the year, allowing Jayhawk fans to learn about the history and tradition of Kansas Athletics.

This hall was originally donated by the family of the late Gilbert and Betty Booth. Hence the hall bears its name in honor of these life-long Jayhawk fans.

The history of Kansas Athletics from 1879 is showcased in the Story of Sport gallery and features one case honoring Wilt Chamberlain and two Olympians cases.

The Game and Gear gallery highlights the current 18 KU athletic teams, while the KANSAS Experience Wall gallery contains crimson and blue, the marching, cheerleading band, and other team traditions.

Address: 1651 Naismith Dr, Lawrence, Kansas.

17. Watkins Community Museum of History

Watkins Community Museum of History
Credits: Bhall87 (talk) [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Watkins Community Museum of History
The Watkins Community Museum of History is located in downtown Lawrence,. It makes one of Lawrence, kansas attractions to visit.

Created by the Douglas County Historical Society, the museum explains local history and puts up its exhibits in context. Two of the most engaging exhibits relay information about former Lawrence residents: Dr. John Naismith and Langston Hughes.

The museum is housed in the building of Land Mortgage Company & Watkins National Bank. The building was constructed between 1885 & 1888 and was commissioned by Jabez Bunting (J.B.) Watkins, a Lawrence financier.

The building itself is interesting and plays host to lectures and other special events.

Address: 1047 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044

18. See Amazing Arts at Spencer Museum of Art

Spencer Museum of Art
Credits: Ken Lund / Flickr
Spencer Museum of Art

The Spencer Museum of Art was opened in 1928 with a base collection of 7,500 art objects donated by Kansas City art collector Sallie Casey Thayer to the University of Kansas. Her gifts were in the light that they would promote the study and value of fine arts.

The collection is wide-ranged and contains glass, prints, drawings, paintings, rugs, textiles, sculpture, metalwork, ceramics, and many other beautiful art pieces.

This collection has grown and was moved to its current larger location in 1978 – a stunning neo-classical building built from Indiana limestone. The museum has witnessed recent additions like the transfer of 9,500 ethnographic objects in 2007.

Enjoy the educational and informative events hosted by this museum, including lectures, film showings, and gallery talks.

Address: 1301 Mississippi Street, Lawrence, Kansas.

19. Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum

Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum
Credits: Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum / Facebook
Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum

The Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum stands as an important attraction in Lawrence, with its exhibits explaining the history of the formation of Clinton Lake and how it rubbed on the people who dwelled in the area.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers’ plan to dam the Wakarusa River and create Clinton Lake meant the displacement of residents who had worked with their families on the land for decades.

They resorted to forming the Clinton Lake Landowners Association to preserve some of the historic old houses that were mapped out for demolition. This led to the establishment of the museum.

A visit here makes what to do in Lawrence for some museum time, consider an addition to your bucket list of things to do in Lawrence, KS.

Address: County Road 6, Lawrence, Kansas.

20. Eat Breakfast at The Roost

The Roost
Credits: The Roost / Facebook
The Roost

In Massachusetts Street, you can the Roost restaurant, a large, realistic eatery that serves coffee, breakfast, lunch, and pastries.

The bar is one of the most recognized parts of the Roost, probably because of their imaginative Bloody Maries and unique coffee drinks.

At the Roost, you get food at utmost simplicity. There are dishes with lots of eggs, sandwiches, soup and salads, and the unavoidable mac and cheese. Every dish is prepared fresh and cooked to perfection.

Their bakery also makes exceptional cookies, pies, cakes, and brownies, one good reason you should visit this unique for the treat your belly deserves.

Address: No. 920 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas.

21. A Meal at 715

715 Restaurant
Credits: 715 Restaurant / Facebook
715 Restaurant

Situated in the heart of Lawrence is 715, a Tuscan restaurant in a beautifully restored historic building featuring reclaimed wood and stone walls.

The center stage is its open kitchen which allows guests to watch this Italian magic to the fullest. Meals are prepared using fresh meats and local produce from nearby farms. They have an extensive menu and especially delicious pasta dishes.

Try the rabbit ravioli with a rare hare, rabbit confit, pureed goat cheese, olive oil, and parsnip. There is also a great wine list to complement the dishes.

This makes what to do in Lawrence, Kansas, for some mealtime, a visit is definitely worth your time.

Address: 715 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas.

22. Explore Clinton State Park

Clinton State Park
Credits: Sarah Renee Peltzman / Shutterstock
Clinton State Park

6.4 kilometers west of Lawrence is Clinton State Park which occupies 1,500 acres of landmass and lies on the north shore of Clinton Lake. The lake here is famous for its abundance of fish and its clear water.

It is well-known for extensive outdoor activities loved and enjoyed by birdwatchers, nature photographers, wildlife observers, and cross-country skiers. The park is connected to an adjacent 9,200-acre wildlife area through a biking and hiking trail.

Clinton State Park has many kinds of wildlife, including waterfowl, wild turkey, songbirds and bald eagles even the white-tailed deer.

This park is one of the top attractions in the area, consider an addition to your bucket list of places to visit.

Address: 798 North 1415 Road, Lawrence, Kansas.

23. Explore The University of Kansas

University of Kansas
Credits: brent flanders / Flickr
University of Kansas

The University of Kansas is situated on Jayhawk Boulevard, it is the biggest university in the state and has branch campuses in Salina, Overland Park, Kansas City. The main campus sits on the highest point in Lawrence – Mount Oread.

The University of Kansas was founded in 1865, it is a public research university known for its University Hospital and Medical Center, both in Kansas City.

On the main campus is the School of Architecture, Engineering, Business, Medicine, Journalism, and Law. You can be part of the several tours, including Admitted Jayhawk Days, Junior Days, Senior Days, and Senior Jayhawk Days.

Address: 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, Kansas.

24. Grinter’s Sunflower Farm

Grinter's Sunflower Farm
Credits: Anna-Nas / Shutterstock

Grinter’s Sunflower Farm is a beautiful site around Lawrence, KS. This destination is a lovely sight and should be a must-see for Lawrence.

This place attracts many people to enjoy great views of the farm and the many photo opportunities it offers. Ensure to come with your family as they will love this place.

Many people who come here want to take photos with these sunflowers, and photographers for their clients schedule even photo sessions. If you want the best experience, you should visit in the early morning hours during weekdays. 

There are few regulations to abide by while on the farm; visitors are requested not to take the sunflowers home as they wither very fast, but if you still choose to take them home, you are to donate $1 per bloom.

Address: 24154 Stillwell Rd, Lawrence, KS 66044, United States

25. Phoenix Gallery

Phoenix Gallery
Credits: Phoenix Gallery / Shutterstock

The Phoenix Gallery has a history that stretches back 20 years. It contains fascinating works of different artisans. If you are an art lover, this place should be a must-see destination for you during your vacation in Lawrence, Kansas.

The Gallery features a broad collection of artworks such as blown glass, sculpture, beautiful pottery, jewelry, textiles, and many more. There are plenty of gift items to browse through when you visit.

They have an excellent staff that will assist you greatly in searching for gift items that suit your needs. You can also buy gift items for your family members and other occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries.

Address: 825 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044, United States

26. Royal Crest Lanes

Royal Crest Lanes
Credits: Artbox / Shutterstock

If you are a bowling fan, one of the best things to do when you visit Lawrence, Kansas, is to check out the Royal Crest Lanes. There are lots of outstanding opportunities that this place offers for everyone.

The Royal Crest Lanes has large TV screens for you to watch your favorite games with other guests. It has Pool Tables, six 95-inch HD Projection Screens, twelve HD TVs, a Shuffle Board, and a great selection of drink and food options.

They have a great staff who are readily available to ensure you have a pleasant experience at the Royal Crest Lanes. This place is highly recommendable if you are searching for a place to have fun with your kids or loved ones.

You can also host your special events here, including weddings, graduation, birthdays, and many more. It accommodates parties of about 250 people.

Address: 933 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66044, United States

Map of Top Lawrence Attractions & Activities

To get around easily during your trip to Lawrence, here is a map of the top fun things to do in Lawrence, with markers of the top Lawrence attractions and activities to visit.

Explore other cities in Kansas, check out our list of things to do in Topeka for a fun time. Are you considering a trip to Ohio? , do not miss our checklist of things to do in Ohio for a memorable vacation.

Start Planning your Trip to Lawrence

Lawrence offers fun tourist attractions ranging from grand shopping centers to art galleries, and the list is endless. Food lovers would delight in the various restaurants in the city. The museums, gardens, booming theatres all add to the excitement.

Start making plans for a vacation in Lawrence, and for itinerary tips, this piece is always available for you, so pin it.