I am the type of parent who is always looking for an excuse to get my kids out of the house. It is just as much for their sanity as it is for mine. So I’m always in search of short, fun and inexpensive trips that we can do in one day. My favorite spot is Lawrence. It’s a quick 30-minute drive from our home and I know it like the back of my hand. Even if you are not a diehard Jayhawk, and don’t bleed crimson and blue, you can still have a blast in Lawrence. Here are some of our favorite spots for both parents and kids.
- The Toy Store – Stopping here is a must when you take kids to Lawrence. Packed with old AND new school toys galore, costumes, stuffed animals, and an entire floor dedicated to books, this store at 936 Massachusetts has something for every kid. We have found everything here from metal Slinkys to my daughter’s stuffed bear best friend named Bob to unicorn ball shooters. It’s awesome.
- Breweries – There are plenty of amazing, family-friendly breweries in Lawrence. My top two favorites are Free State Brewery and Lawrence Beer Company. Get the fish and chips or black bean quesadillas at Free State, along with a Copperhead Pale Ale. They also have onion rings as big as your kid’s head, an artichoke dip that I daydream about, and an addictive queso dip. There is a goldfish pond in the back room or a great front porch that is perfect for people watching right on Mass. Head over to the east side to check out Lawrence Beer Company at 826 Pennsylvania. It has some of the best beer I’ve ever had. Get a flight and try anything that sounds good because it’s all going to be good. This is located in an old seed warehouse that also has a great patio and open grassy area where the kids can run around and play. I haven’t made my way through the menu because I usually end up getting the special. The burgers are delicious, as are the waffle fries, fried avocado tacos, and truffled white bean dip.
- Sylas and Maddy’s – Every good outing usually has an ice cream stop. So when in Lawrence, go here. I am a boring mint chocolate chip or pistachio almond kind of gal, but they have a WIDE variety of fun flavors to choose from including Krazy Kat and Monkey Mash.
- The Dusty Bookshelf – If you like books and cats, this is your stop. I love looking through the floor to ceiling bookshelves and we all love finding the cats. It’s also a great place to stop for unique baby shower gifts for the literary friend in your life. They have adorable onesies that are a nod to classic children’s books like “Goodnight, Moon”.
- Buford M. Watson Park – If you have a kid who is a fan of trains, go here. They can explore a 1902 locomotive. It’s also a great place to pack a picnic lunch.
- Lawrence Public Library – I love libraries and so do my kids. This is a cool one and worth a stop before or after Buford M. Watson Park for sure. In the winter, stop by the Library Lawn Skate Rink!
- KU football games – Let’s face it. The Jayhawks are not great at football… yet. But we just got Coach Les Miles, and there is a new excitement at the stadium! This is an easy, inexpensive place to take your kids for a game. We paid $20 to park in a lawn, $15 for tickets and $13 TOTAL for a large popcorn, pretzel with cheese and large drink. And that was for a family of four. My daughters got to high-five the players as they walked through the tunnel, snapped pictures with cheerleaders, and hit up a bounce house, obstacle course, and more in the free Family Fun Zone. Again, I know not everyone is a KU fan, but this is an easy sports outing if you are into that type of fun!
- Go see a play – I’ve taken my kids and my Mom to a couple shows at both Theatre Lawrence and the Lawrence Arts Center. Both feature frequent plays and art installations geared towards kids. My daughters call these “fancy” outings for whatever reason. Both of these venues are very family-friendly and fun for a day out that is something different!
I really only touched on a few of my very favorite things about Lawrence. There are tons more! Please feel free to share your favorites too so we can all explore new things during our next day trip. Happy travels!