The home of the University of Kansas balances the energy of city attractions with quiet retreats to lakes and prairie.

By The editors of
Updated August 19, 2020

Due to possible coronavirus-related travel restrictions, please check destinations' websites for the current status of attractions, events, restaurants and lodgings.


Clinton Lake Five miles west of the University of Kansas, you can bet the sand volleyball courts and beach attract students. But the 25 miles of hiking and biking trails, nature trail, and fishing ponds promise a peaceful escape too.

Crescent Moon Winery Taste wines like the Seyval Blanc made from Kansas grapes in a pastoral setting 10 miles northeast of town. Adirondack chairs alongside a pond invite lingering.

DeBruce Center KU basketball fans flock to this Allen Fieldhouse addition to learn about the sport’s history and see former coach James Naismith’s original rules of the game.

Haskell Cultural Center and Museum Student and Native American art is displayed in the cultural center at Haskell Indian Nations University.

KU Natural History Museum This university museum’s four floors introduce visitors to life on our planet.

Massachusetts Street Buildings from the 1800s house independent shops along this downtown street. Look for trendy accessories and art at shops like Striped Cow, Wonder Fair and Ruff House Art.

Quantrill's Raid of Lawrence One of the Civil War's greatest atrocities, the 1863 raid ended with 200 dead, 185 homes destroyed and the town's commercial district in ruins. Follow the path of destruction on a self-guided tour; maps available at the Lawrence CVB.

Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics A 29-foot stained-glass window graces the institute on the KU campus. Exhibits cover the senator’s life and career; sights include a World War II Memory Wall.

Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

Ruff House Art Shop for illustrated tote bags, Christmas ornaments, and cute cards and art prints created by Jill Shephard. Want a custom design? Turnaround is just four days.

Spencer Museum of Art An $8 million renovation allows for natural light to showcase some of the 45,000-plus European, North American and East Asian artworks at this free campus museum.


23rd Street Brewery The scent of fresh hops mingles with hot pizza as fans cheer on the Jayhawks on 26 TVs in this brewpub. 

715 Mass Restaurant Handmade pastas, pork processed in-house and dozens of wines fill the farm-to-table menu.

715 Mass Restaurant

Free State Brewing Company The pub’s name acknowledges the aspirations of the town’s abolitionist settlers. It opened in 1989 to become the first legal brewery in Kansas since 1880. Try ordering the flagship brew, Wheat State Golden. 

Limestone Pizza Kitchen Bar Neapolitan-style pies made with Kansas flour are baked at 900 degrees in a wood-fired oven. Try with a craft beer or a cocktail like the Kansas Bee Keeper.

Mass Street Fish House and Raw Bar Bicoastal seafood pairs with local produce and meats. You’ll find boutique oysters, fresh fish entrees, shareable small plates and hip cocktails.

Merchants Pub and Plate With a something-for-everyone menu, this gastropub satisfies the bar crowd as well as foodies, including those who eat gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan or vegetarian.

Papa Keno's Giant slices of New York-style thin-crust pizza piled with fresh toppings-the Barnyard has cream cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, green onions and almonds-make this joint a favorite.

Rudy's Pizzeria Spicy-sweet red wine-spiked sauce slathering a whole-wheat crust makes this laid-back joint stand out from the pizza crowd.

WheatFields Bakery Cafe Order one of more than a dozen sandwich options served on fresh, hearty bread before taking home a loaf of sourdough loaded with ripe Kalamata olives.


Circle S Ranch and Country Inn It looks like a barn, but waffle-weave robes and double-sided fireplaces prove anything but rustic. Sit on porch rockers or head out for horseback riding, hiking or a hayride.

Circle S Ranch and Country Inn. Photo: Doug Stremel.

The Eldridge Hotel Stay in one of 48 suites in this 1800s building, located in the heart of Massachusetts Street. The renovated Jayhawker bar is a local favorite.

The Oread Enjoy prime access to campus at this boutique hotel with a fortress-like exterior. The Bird Dog Bar off the lobby looks toward the north gate of KU while 10 TVs let you keep an eye on the action.

The Oread

For information visit