15 Best Places and Things To Do in Independence, Missouri

Independence, Missouri is a historically significant city known for its rich heritage and association with American history. Located just outside of Kansas City, Independence offers visitors a plethora of attractions and activities that showcase its unique past. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking to explore a charming Midwest city, Independence has plenty to offer. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Independence, Missouri:

1. Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman_Presidential_Library_and_Museum

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a significant historical destination located in Independence, Missouri. Dedicated to preserving and showcasing the life and legacy of the 33rd President of the United States, the museum offers visitors a comprehensive understanding of Truman’s presidency and the era in which he served.

2. Bingham Waggoner Mansion & Estate


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The Bingham-Waggoner Mansion & Estate is an architectural gem and historical landmark located in Independence, Missouri. This grand mansion, built in the Italianate style, has become one of the city’s most beloved attractions, drawing visitors with its elegance, rich history, and beautifully preserved interiors.

3. Harry S Truman National Historic Site


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A must-visit for history buffs, this site encompasses the Truman Home, the Truman Farm, and the Truman Library and Museum. Explore the home where President Harry S. Truman lived with his family, stroll through the farm where he spent his formative years, and delve into his legacy at the comprehensive museum.

4. National Frontier Trails Museum


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Immerse yourself in the pioneering spirit of the 19th century at this captivating museum. Learn about the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails that originated from Independence, and discover the stories of the brave pioneers who embarked on these arduous journeys.

5. Vaile Mansion

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaile_Mansion

Step back in time with a visit to the Vaile Mansion, a stunning Victorian mansion that showcases the opulence and elegance of the Gilded Age. Take a guided tour of the lavishly furnished rooms and admire the intricate woodwork, stained glass, and other architectural details.

6. Alton Railroad Depot Museum

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Step inside the depot to explore the museum and exhibits that highlight the history of the Chicago & Alton Railroad and its impact on Independence. Learn about the growth of the railroad industry, the importance of rail travel in the region, and the individuals who worked tirelessly to keep the trains running.

7. Leila’s Hair Museum

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The museum boasts a remarkable collection of hair art and jewelry, dating back several centuries. Marvel at intricate pieces created from human hair, such as intricate braided designs, woven jewelry, and even hair wreaths and floral arrangements. The collection showcases the artistry and craftsmanship involved in this unusual form of artistic expression.

8. Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum

1859 Independence, Missouri Jail.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_County_Jail_and_Marshal%27s_House

The 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum is a historic site located on the Independence Square in Independence, Missouri. This unique attraction offers visitors the opportunity to explore a former jail and the Marshal’s Home, providing insights into the history of law enforcement and incarceration in the area. The 1859 Jail served as the Jackson County Jail from 1859 to 1933, housing both common criminals and famous outlaws, including Frank James, brother of Jesse James. The museum showcases the history of the jail and the role it played in maintaining law and order during the turbulent times of the Old West.

9. Community Of Christ


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_Christ

The Community of Christ is a Christian denomination with its international headquarters located in Independence, Missouri. Formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church), it emerged from the Restoration Movement led by Joseph Smith Jr. The Community of Christ is distinct from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and follows a separate branch of the Latter Day Saint movement.

10. Little Blue Trace Trail


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The Little Blue Trace Trail is a popular recreational trail located in Independence, Missouri. This scenic trail follows the path of the Little Blue River, offering visitors an opportunity to explore nature, engage in outdoor activities, and enjoy a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

11. Waterfall Park

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Waterfall Park features a beautiful waterfall as its main attraction. Visitors appreciate the picturesque setting and the soothing sound of flowing water. It provides a tranquil environment for relaxation and enjoyment.

12. Church of Christ – Temple Lot


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The name “Temple Lot” is derived from the church’s belief that a temple should be built on a specific piece of land in Independence, Missouri, known as the Temple Lot. The church considers this spot to be the rightful location for the building of a temple, as revealed by Joseph Smith. The temple has not been constructed to date, but the church maintains ownership of the land and continues to pursue its construction in the future.

13. Truman Courthouse

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The Truman Courthouse, located in Independence, Missouri, is a historic landmark and attraction that holds great significance in American history. The Truman Courthouse is closely associated with the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. It served as his workplace when he was a judge in the Jackson County Court, and later, it became a pivotal location for his presidential campaign. The courthouse is a place where important decisions were made and where Truman’s political career took shape.

14. Stone Church


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The Stone Church is one of the oldest church buildings in Independence, with its construction dating back to the mid-19th century. It has witnessed significant events in the history of the Community of Christ and the broader Latter Day Saint movement. The Stone Church is renowned for its architectural style and design. It is characterized by its stone construction, beautiful stained glass windows, and classic church aesthetics. The building’s historic charm and architectural details make it an attractive landmark in the area.

15. St. Mary’s Catholic Church

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The church is known for its beautiful architecture and distinctive design. It may feature elements of traditional Catholic church architecture, such as stained glass windows, ornate altars, and intricate artwork. The building itself is often a blend of historical and contemporary architectural styles.

Independence hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival, which celebrates the city’s role as the starting point of the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon Trails. With its blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Independence, Missouri offers a memorable experience for visitors of all interests.