As the blazing heat of summer gradually gives way to the crisp, colorful hues of fall, there's no better time to immerse yourself in the charming tapestry of Kansas City. Whether you're a local or a visitor, this vibrant Midwestern gem, that we are proud to call home, offers a delightful array of activities and attractions that capture the essence of both seasons.
From savoring sun-soaked adventures along the Missouri River to reveling in the breathtaking foliage of its scenic parks, Kansas City beckons with an enticing blend of outdoor escapades, cultural treasures and culinary delights.
Join us on a thrilling journey as our local HR team unveils the top things to do in Kansas City that will have you outdoors enjoying the beauty of the season before colder temperatures settle into the area.
Looking for things to do in Kansas City and want to get in touch with nature? Kansas City-area hiking trails are a great way to experience the beauty of the area while also staying physically active. Here are a few of our favorites:
Why it is one of our favorites: Not only does the park feature great trails for hiking and mountain biking, but its 44-acre dog off-leash area will likely be your furry friend’s favorite attraction. While you’re there, check out the 120-acre lake (complete with boat rentals) and 18-hole disc golf course.
Tip: Don’t forget your fishing pole, tackle, and Kansas fishing license. Shawnee Mission Lake is stocked with rainbow trout, channel catfish, large and small-mouth bass, wipers, and crappie.
Located within Kansas City’s largest park, which is also one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, Swope Trails are one Swope Park’s many attractions. The trail system provides 13.5 miles of wooded views and features rolling contours to the north and limestone bluffs to the south. The trails are open year-round and are mountain bike and dog-friendly. Click here to access a trail map and view pictures.
Why it is one of our favorites: Stunning forest views and a great nature escape, all within an urban environment.
Tip: The trails are made of dirt, rocks and tree roots, so you’ll want to wear appropriate shoes and understand it may be muddy after periods of rain. Trail changes aren’t clearly marked, so you’ll want to pay close attention.
Exploring Parks & Nature Reserves
Kansas City boasts a variety of beautiful parks and nature reserves, such as Loose Park, Swope Park and the Overland Park Arboretum, perfect for leisurely walks, picnics and birdwatching amidst lush greenery and blooming flowers during summer.
In the fall, these same parks transform into captivating landscapes with vibrant foliage, making them ideal spots for scenic hikes and serene strolls.
Kansas City Gardens
Located 15 minutes east of Lee’s Summit in Kingsville, Missouri, Powell Gardens boasts 970 acres of breathtaking scenic views with seven themed gardens, 100 botanical areas, three miles of hiking trails and seasonal displays.
Why it is one of our favorites: The Festival of Butterflies takes place through August 9 featuring over 1,000 free-flying butterflies and moths. It is a must-see!
Tip: Visitors are strongly encouraged to secure their tickets in advance for timed entry into the Gardens.
Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens provides a scenic, nature escape with every season. From gorgeous summer flowers to breathtaking fall foliage and a spectacular winter luminary walk, the opportunities for a variety of experiences are almost endless. The Gardens feature over 300 acres of scenic views, 45 acres of botanical gardens, 800 species of plants and a variety of landscapes including ponds, hiking trails and sculptures. Click here for more information.
Why it is one of our favorites: Approximately 85% of Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens’ property is solely dedicated to the preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems. While you’re there, you won’t want to miss Monet’s Garden!
Tip: The Arboretum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Upcoming free admission days are October 5, 2021, and October 9-10, 2021.
Many parks and outdoor venues in Kansas City host live concerts and movie screenings during the warmer months. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and relish in the community atmosphere as you enjoy music and films under the open sky.
Whether you're a theater enthusiast, a music lover or simply looking for a memorable night out in Kansas City, Starlight promises an enchanting and unforgettable experience and always has a spot on things to do in Kansas City lists! From Broadway blockbusters to captivating concerts, the allure of watching exceptional performances under the stars makes Starlight a must-visit destination for entertainment seekers in the region.
Why it is one of our favorites: Starlight is the oldest and largest continually operating performing arts organization in Kansas City. Starlight opened its doors in 1950 and has nearly 8,000 seats today.
Sample freshly harvested produce, artisanal foods and handcrafted goods while supporting local businesses and farmers.
Brookside Farmers' Market
The Brookside Farmers' Market is open year-round and boasts no middlemen. Those who grow, raise or make it, sell it. Everything at the market is sourced within 125 miles of Kansas City.
Why it is one of our favorites: Brookside Farmers' Market features organic, sustainably grown produce. You can also find a variety of freshly baked breads and pastries that are vegan and gluten free.
The historic City Market located in the heart of Kansas City is also open year-round and is the largest farmers' market in the Kansas City area. Not only can you find produce and baked goods, but the market also features import grocers, spices, shops and an abundance of arts and crafts.
Experience alfresco dining at its finest by patronizing restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating. Enjoy delicious meals while basking in the warmth of summer or savoring the crisp air of fall.
Perhaps the most iconic food associated with the city, Kansas City-style barbecue is known for its rich, smoky flavors and tender, slow-cooked meats. Beef, pork and chicken are all popular choices, but the city's specialty is burnt ends, which are flavorful, crispy and juicy pieces of meat cut from the ends of beef briskets.
Fall Festivals & Events
As autumn sets in, Kansas City comes alive with various fall festivals and events celebrating the season. From Oktoberfests to pumpkin patches and hayrides, there's no shortage of festive fun for families and friends.
Just 30 quick minutes from downtown Kansas City lies Weston, Missouri, featuring the historic Saint George Hotel, Green Dirt Farm, McCormick Country Store, wineries, one of the oldest operating distilleries in the U.S., breweries and Weston State Park.
Why it is one of our favorites: Weston, Missouri is frequently voted the number one day trip and overnight destination — and for a good reason. Historic Main Street is full of local, small shops, each one a delight. There’s no shortage of places to dine and if you’re planning on spending the night, there are plenty of Bed & Breakfast accommodations and don’t forget about the historic Saint George Hotel.
Why it is one of our favorites: While it is 300 steps down (and then 300 steps back up), the natural spring is well worth the exertion and provides an amazing experience.
Tip: Plan on spending a whole day hiking the park to the various sites. Bring plenty of water and pack a cooler.
Axcet HR Solutions, Your Kansas City PEO
At Axcet, we are lucky to call Kansas City our home and have been offering PEO services to small and mid-sized businesses in the area since 1988.
We are continually amazed by the breathtaking views of nature found right here in our backyard. If Kansas City is your home and you’d like to share your favorite outdoor spots for hiking and experiencing nature, leave us a comment.