Things To Do in Kansas City River Market this Spring

February 15, 2020 LeasingKC

Things To Do in Kansas City River Market this Spring


We have a math problem for you: modern downtown life + historical Kansas City = ??

Did you get the answer?

Hint: Look at the title. 

At LeasingKC, we love, love, love Kansas City River Market 😍(well, we love all of Kansas City… but you get the point). River Market is a downtown neighborhood filled with exposed-brick lofts, local fruits and veggies, and tons of places to eat, shop, and play. 

Come a little closer, because here’s where things get really cool…

River Market includes the area that is the first and oldest incorporated district in Kansas City. Literally the city was founded there. Mind. Blown.

If you want to learn more, keep reading for the inside scoop on things to do in Kansas City River Market this Spring. 

Kansas City’s past meets the present 

Take out your notebooks—history class is in session. There’s absolutely no way to talk about things to do in River Market without including what makes it so famous. 

Sometimes old is just, well, bleh. Other times it’s exciting and charming, which is exactly what you get at River Market. 

Before River Market actually became a thing, it was a small spot called Westport Landing, where goods were transported back and forth from the Missouri River to the community of Westport (only about three miles away). This was way back when people drove in covered wagons and rode on steamboats.

Eat, Shop, & Play: A Guide To Westport KC →

By 1853, this booming area became the birthing place of the “City of Kansas,” which later turned into the Kansas City we know and love.

Throughout the years, Kansas City River Market hasn’t lost its historical charm, and it’s still a place to reminisce about the past, while relishing in the sweet, sweet present. 

The market of all trades

One of the biggest perks about Kansas City River Market is the equally historic City Market. Starting back in 1857, City Market was a place for commerce, horse trading, political rallies, circuses, and more. 

Fast forward to 2020, and it now holds the largest farmer’s market in the region, providing fresh food and delectable delights every weekend!

History of City Market

For a time, City Market thrived, but as early as 1900, people started noticing its decline (don’t worry, things didn’t stay down!). At first, people lived in the heart of the city and River Market, but  “White flight” caused many people to move to the suburbs. As a result, City Market lost a lot of business, and with refrigerators and large grocery stores, people didn’t need to make the trip to the city anymore. 

Decades passed with brief revivals, but nothing really stuck until the 1980s when a local business man had the dream of pulling Kansas Citians back to the heart of the city. By offering tax incentives to developers and builders and an outpouring of federal grants, City Market burst back to life, and to be honest, we’re so glad it did. 

As true Kansas City lovers, we couldn’t imagine life without City Market. 

Things to do in City Market

If you’re visiting River Market or thinking about living in the area, any local would tell you that City Market is the place to be for all things food and fun. It would take us literally forever to write it all out, but as a starting point, here’s some of our favorite things to do in City Market. 

Where to shop: Farmers’ Market

The “farm-to-table” farmer’s market is arguably the biggest attraction at City Market. Take your pick of seasonal vegetables and fruits that are free of yucky preservatives and locally grown 🙌 There are a variety of vendors and merchants, making a trip to City Market much better than the local grocery store. 

Plus, as the weather begins warming up, the farmers’ market gets you outdoors to soak up the spring sun. 

Where to play: The Arabia Steamboat Museum

Grab your kiddos, your partner, and your friends—all are welcomed at the Arabia Steamboat Museum. The museum showcases over 200 tons of cargo from Steamboat Arabia, which sank in the Missouri River on September 5, 1856.  

During your visit, you can roam through the collection of clothing, fine china, tools, guns, dishes, and even the “world’s oldest pickles” (can’t tell if that’s cool or kind of gross). 

Where to eat: Beignet

No, we’re not going to pull out a BBQ joint (at least not this time). Instead, we’re taking you to a place where The Big Easy meets the Midwest. Beignet is a cajun-lovers delight, offering dishes such as po’boys, gumbo, crepes, and the oh-so-famous beignets. 

Where to relax: Silver Lightning Massage 

When you need a break away from the chaos of life, discover your inner peace at Silver Lightning Massage.This wellness studio aims to connect your mind, body, and spirit through relaxing massages and spiritual healing, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated.

What’s it like to live in Kansas City River Market?

We have three words to describe Kansas City River Market: historic, urban, and eclectic.

When looking for things to do in Kansas City River Market, you truly get the perfect mix of old and new. Unlike the rest of downtown, the riverfront neighborhood is full of brick buildings that maintain its 19th century flair with the downtown skyscrapers just beyond. 

Paintings and murals decorate building walls, and it’s not uncommon to see musicians jamming out on the corners. 

Aromas from different restaurants waft through the large windows of your loft each day, making it the perfect place for all you self-dubbed foodies. 

Because of their unique, historic vibe, apartments in River Market pull all walks of life, from artists to young professionals and anyone in between. Plus with the Riverfront Heritage Trail just steps away, River Market is a great place to jog, walk your dog, or simply admire the great outdoors. 

Whenever you want to enjoy true city life, you’re only a streetcar away from places like Kansas City’s Power & Light District and the Sprint Center. 

5 Reasons to Live in Kansas City’s River Market →

Find an apartment near Kansas City River Market 

With so many activities inside and around River Market, an apartment in the area is sure to keep you at the heart of the action. There are a variety of neighborhoods and complexes that could fit anyone’s needs. 

If you’re looking for the best housing near Westport KC, we’ve got you covered. LeasingKC is a rental listing site run by local experts to help you find Kansas City apartments, rental homes, condos, and lofts.

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