Downtown KC: another American concrete jungle, right? Not so! Downtown has several beautiful green spaces tucked between the busy streets and tall buildings. The next time you're looking for a picnic spot, scenic view or downtown oasis, look no further than these parks, found on the BikeShare B-Outside parks tour.
I started at one of the most popular bikeshare stations, 3rd & Grand in the River Market. Since this is a choose-your-own-adventure tour, I'll give you some options to get to the first stop, Berkley Riverfront Park. Option 1: bike across the Grand St. Viaduct (5 minutes) — be prepared to share the road! Option 2: bike a couple blocks up 2nd Street to the Town of Kansas pedestrian bridge (10 minutes), walk the bike down the bridge and stairs to the path. (Pro tip: there is an elevator but it isn't always on.) The park is decked out with paths, picnic tables and excellent views of the Missouri River and its bridges, including the Hannibal train bridge and the Broadway, Heart of America and Kit Bond bridges.
After frolicking — and frolicking is a must — head back the way you came and point your trusty steed westward to Case Park. Again, you have a couple options: Option 1: ride to the 8th & Broadway bike share station then walk up the stairs at 8th & Washington, or Option 2: go straight to the park by conquering the hill on 7th Street. Case Park views stretch to the horizons: to the north, the downtown airport (sit for a moment during the week and you'll catch a few take-offs), and to the west, the river,
West Bottoms and Kansas City, Kansas. The park also has a playground for the kiddos and tables and grills for weekend cook-outs.
Next, pick up a bike from 10th and Washington and turn into the downtown business district for two more parks. Oppenstein Brothers Park at 12th & Walnut (5 minutes) offers a shaded break from the weekday grind. Be sure to investigate the Star Disk, which displays seasonal constellations when you line up the month and day.
Four blocks away is one of my favorite parks in KC, Ilus W. Davis Park (3 minutes). It stretches two city blocks between the courthouse and City Hall, with a beautiful water feature and reflecting pool in the southern block. It's great for people watching in during the week, too. Plop down on the grass and consider all the fun you’re having and all the hard work people are doing in the high rises around you.
For your final leg, head due south to one of the most famous views of the KC skyline from Penn Valley Park, home of the Liberty Memorial. Drop off the bike at the Union Station kiosk (15 minutes) and then spend an afternoon exploring the park grounds -- it’s huge! If you brought Fido, keep walking south to the off-leash dog park. If you're a history buff, the WWI National Museum is not to be missed.