Fun and Fabulous Things to Do in Independence, MO

When a city is named Independence, you’d guess it would be steeped in history.

You’d be right. This Missouri town just 20 minutes outside Kansas City is perhaps best known as being a landmark on the Oregon Trail and the birthplace of President Harry Truman.

7 Things To Do And See In Independence, MO On Vacation

Here’s a look at all the fun and interesting things to do in Independence on your next weekend trip or long vacation.

1. The National Frontier Trails Museum

With the addition of three routes in the late 19th century — the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon trails — America came of age through a great western expansion. The National Frontier Trails Museum celebrates all three routes and the pioneers who used them.

The museum is packed with artifacts, including real covered wagons, diaries, and letters from pioneers documenting their arduous trips.

2. The Harvey M. Vaile Mansion and the Bingham Waggoner Estate

This 1881 estate, built for businessman Harvey Merrick Vaile, is a landmark in Second Empire architecture that’s now a 5.6-acre living history museum open for tours. Visitors can marvel at its design flourishes — there are nine marble fireplaces, because why not? — as well as its wine cellar that holds 48,000 gallons.

Another great historical home to add to your list of things to do in Independence, MO is the 19-acre 1827 Bingham Waggoner Estate that was originally part of the Santa Fe Trail. It’s remarkably preserved, with 90% of its original décor intact.

 harry truman house

3. The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Explore the life and work of the 33rd president at this museum established in Truman’s hometown. Artifacts, films, and photographs over two floors document Truman’s influential time as president.

A must-see is Truman’s own working office as he helped oversee the creation of the library and museum. It is also the site of Truman’s funeral in 1972 and where the president, his wife, Bess, and daughter Margaret are buried.

The Truman Walking Trail provides more history, as the nearly 3-mile trail passes by over 40 buildings and other sites relevant to Truman’s life.

4. Historic Independence Square

There are so many things to experience just in the downtown Independence area. Here, you’ll find a range of fine dining and bar options, as well as breweries and a winery. The shopping is fantastic here as well, whether you’re looking for antiques at Serendipity or gentlemen's goods at Wild About Harry.

5. Waterfall Park

The Independence area is home to around 40 parks, and Waterfall Park is a favorite of both locals and visitors looking for things to do in Independence, MO. It’s home to an 18-acre lake, numerous playgrounds, and a gorgeous walking trail that runs right past its namesake waterfall nearby.

There’s also a fishing pier, picnic tables, and access to the town’s greenway system.

6. The Midwest Genealogy Center

Unlock the mysteries of your family tree at the Midwest Genealogy Center, the largest public family history site in the United States and the origin site of the many descendants of millions of pioneers who headed out West.

With over 750,000 resources — all free — as well as ancestor charts and librarian assistance, you’ll likely be able to fill in some of the blanks of your family story. The center even offers an oral history kit, Tell Me A Story, so you can continue growing your tree at home.

7. Puppetry Arts Institute

If your kids enjoy puppets, they’ll love the Puppetry Arts Institute in the Englewood Arts District. It stores marionettes crafted by legendary manufacturer Hazelle Rollins, offers puppet shows each month, and features daily workshops where visitors make their own puppets.

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Travel With Financial Confidence

Ready to experience all the great things to do in Independence, MO? When you’re coping with a financial emergency, it is difficult to fully enjoy your vacation time. Before you leave, consider the option of an auto title loan.

Using your vehicle’s title as collateral, a title loan is designed just to assist with financial emergencies such as a visit to the emergency room, a vital car or home repair, or last-minute but necessary travel.

At Missouri Title Loans, Inc., you may qualify for an auto title loan of up to $15,000 in as little as 30 minutes. When you qualify and are approved, you get the cash you need either the same day or the very next business day.

We offer the time-saving option of starting online. Just fill out the title loan inquiry form on our homepage. After you submit the form, one of our loan representatives will give you a quick call to guide you through the rest of the easy loan process.

Get Started Today

Take the relaxing vacation you deserve without the stress of a lingering financial emergency. Start online, give us a call, or visit us today so you can enjoy all the things to do in Independence, MO on your list.

Note: The content provided in this article is only for informational purposes, and you should contact your financial advisor about your specific financial situation.

Mason Roberts

Mason Roberts is a seasoned economics writer and blogger with a knack for breaking down and simply communicating the ever-changing world of finance. He is philosophically committed to the premise that financial knowledge equals financial freedom.