Lawrence, Kansas: an eclectic group of college students, townies and families all confined in this northeastern Kansas city. Home to The University of Kansas and debatably the best college basketball team in the country, Lawrence is a hub for culture, education, food and the arts. This list includes all of my favorite places in Lawrence including some hidden gems of Lawrence that the average student might not know about.
The Wishing Bench
This picture-worthy spot in Lawrence is complete with loads of character and charm. The unique bench is located on 9th and Delaware and is a spot where people from all over the Lawrence area leave their mark in the form of fabric, relics, or anything else that is important to them. While sitting at this bench, you can make a wish and add to the bench or you can just go to take an artsy Instagram photo.
E 9th St & Delaware St, Lawrence, KS 66044
The Baker Wetlands
A hidden peaceful outdoor area, The Baker Wetlands is located in southeast Lawrence. This wetland has tons of walking paths, ponds and places to sit and look out on the land. A great place for students to get away from the stress of school, the Baker Wetlands is a 927-acre natural habitat for over 350 species of animals.
Discovery Center 1365 N. 1250 Rd. Lawrence, KS 66046|website
Located only 4 miles west of Lawrence, Clinton Lake is a popular location for Lawrence residents as well as other lake-goers around the Kansas area. With endless lake activities and over 50 miles of walking, hiking and biking trails, Clinton Lake is a must visit location for anyone living in Lawrence, especially in the summer.
872 N 1402 Road Lawrence, KS 66049-9048|website
The Burger Stand at The Casbah
One of my favorite restaurants in the whole of Lawrence, The Burger Stand is a gourmet burger joint located in downtown Lawrence. The restaurant sells high quality burgers, gourmet hot dogs, vegetarian options and an assortment of fries. In addition, you can also grab a drink at The Burger Stand as they sell everything from beer to wine to alcoholic milkshakes. Established in 2009, the restaurant has an urban yet historic feel and paired with delicious food, it can’t be beat.
803 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
Henry’s is an eclectic coffee shop located in downtown Lawrence. Above the coffee shop is a cool yet cozy lounge called Henry’s Upstairs in which the atmosphere is welcoming and the drinks are delicious. Unlike many college-like bars in Lawrence, Henry’s is clean and occasionally has live music.
11 East 8th St., Lawrence, KS 66044|website
The Wagon Wheel
A classic college bar that’s been around forever, The Wheel is a bar that’s best known for their good drink deals as well as writing from past visitors on the walls. The bar is also an indoor/outdoor bar so during the summer it is great for a mid-day drink. Whether you want to catch a KU Basketball Game or grab a quick late night slice of pizza, The Wheel is a must visit bar for KU students before they graduate.
507 W 14th St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
The Jayhawker is a bar inside of the historic Eldridge Hotel. Unlike many other bars in Lawrence, The Jayhawker has a classy and sophisticated feel but with an affordable price. My favorite part about this bar is Martini night on Thursday’s where all of the martini’s are half price.
701 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
Basil Leaf Cafe
Located in the heart of Lawrence, Basil Leaf is an Italian restaurant with fantastic food and an ever-changing wine list. The quaint, unpretentious and cozy vibe of the restaurant is what makes the atmosphere so inviting in addition to the yummy food.
616 W 9th St, Lawrence, KS 66049|website
Sully & Hanks
Sully and Hanks is a fairly new restaurant located near Basil Leaf in the heart of Lawrence. Started by the same owner of Basil Leaf, Sully & Hanks offers comfort-style food with a unique beer and appetizer selection. Known for its indoor/outdoor feel, the restaurant was formerly home to the Presto Gas Station which gives the restaurant its famous large patio in the front constructed from the former gas station awning.
602 W 9th St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
First located in downtown Lawrence and now in another location in West Lawrence, Jefferson’s is a staple in the Lawrence community. Famous for food similar to that of Buffalo Wild Wings, Jefferson’s is known for their wings, burgers and oysters. One of the coolest aspects of Jefferson’s is that the walls of the restaurant are covered in dollar bills decorated from guests who have eaten there in the past.
743 Massachusetts St Lawrence, KS 66044|website
While almost every Jayhawk basketball fan in the country has probably already been to Allen Fieldhouse, this is a must-see world famous place in Lawrence. Labeled by many as one of the best places in America to watch a college basketball game, Allen Fieldhouse has been home to Jayhawk basketball for 64 years.
1651 Naismith Dr, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
What is a top 20 list without a brunch restaurant? The Roost is a contemporary breakfast/lunch cafe offering American food and pastries, plus a full bar. Located in the heart of downtown Lawrence, the roost is a warm, open and inviting place where locals can gather on the weekends to get their day started.
920 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
One of the many coffee shops in Lawrence, Java Break stands out with its funky vibe and prime downtown location. In addition to coffee and tea, Java Break offers a variety of paninis, baked goods, DIY cupcakes and its famous cereal bar. My personal favorite is the biscuits and gravy.
17 E 7th St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
Probably my favorite place in all of Lawrence is this pet shop located on 23rd street. Pet World is not just a pet store, but an experience. Established in the 1970s, Pet World is a locally owned, full line pet store, rescue and exotic animal shelter. You never know what you’re going to find here whether it’s tiny kittens, giant tortoises or slimy snakes.
711 W 23rd St #26, Lawrence, KS 66046|website
715 is an upscale European-style neighborhood restaurant and bar located in Downtown Lawrence. Known for its fresh Tuscan cuisine made with ingredients sourced from Kansas farms, this restaurant is perfect for a fancy date night.
715 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
For 36 years, Jazzhaus has been the go-to place in Lawrence for live music and karaoke. From jazz to rock, Jazzhaus is a perfect location to listen to local bands as well as try the over 40 different types of beer that they offer. What could be better than a candle-lit music-filled Saturday night?
926 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
Originally built in the 1930′s as a silent movie theater, The Granada has been hosting live music since 1993. This historic venue is famous for hosting many famous bands and artists and is located in the hustling and bustling downtown area. If you see a line of people on the sidewalks of downtown, it’s probably for a concert at the Granada.
1020 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044|website
Free State Brewing Company
Started in 1989, Free State was the first legal brewing company in Kansas in 100 years. With a 14-barrel brewing house as well as a full lunch and dinner menu, this brewpub is more than just beer. It is an easygoing atmosphere with exposed-stone walls and hearty food choices.
636 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66044|website
Mass Street Shopping
Lastly, the shopping in downtown Lawrence on Massachusetts Street can’t be beat with a mix of eclectic and classic shops. A couple of my favorite shops include: Brits (a British teas, foods and gifts store), Fortuity (a young affordable boutique clothing store), The Lawrence Antique Mall, Lucky Dog Outfitters (dog and cat boutique supplies), and Urban Outfitters.
Rock Chalk anyone? You won’t regret planning your trip to Lawrence. If you’re looking to visit other college towns as well, check out the 20 Must Visit Places in Columbia, MO.