Gardens in Kansas City

Kansas City’s Not-So-Secret Gardens

By Katy Schamberger

Kansas City has long been celebrated for cheerfully bubbling fountains and lush, tree-lined boulevards. Now, the word’s getting out about the city’s gardens, beautiful destinations that are ideal for a leisurely stroll, a picnic or a day spent marveling at the wonders of nature.

To make the most of your garden sightseeing, we’ve compiled a list of some local favorites that offer everything from more than 160 varieties of roses to globally recognized sculptural art. Let’s go exploring!

The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden

It’s only fitting that two of Kansas City’s beloved civic leaders and philanthropists, Ewing and Muriel Kauffman, are honored in a lovely, tranquil two-acre garden that’s part of the larger Kauffman Legacy Park. Peking Tree Lilacs, Endless Summer Hydrangeas and other seasonal flowers greet you at the entrance, which leads into the Green Garden.

During the growing season, keep an eye out for Mrs. Kauffman’s favorite flower, the gardenia. Other highlights include the fragrant Orangery and the secluded Secret Garden with jumping fountains.

Powell Gardens

Located about 45 minutes away from downtown Kansas City, Powell Gardens is an ideal day trip, which will give you plenty of time to see as much of the expansive botanical garden as possible. Can’t-miss stops include the Heartland Harvest Garden, the nation’s largest edible landscape; Island Garden, home to more than 200 varieties of water plants; the Perennial Garden, 3.5 acres of perennials that provide inspiration for your own garden; and the Meadow & Pavilion, which includes a carefully planted artistic display of the native prairie grasses and flowers that once covered much of the area.

The Dogwood Walk, which leads from the Visitor Education Center to the Island Garden, is a delightful way to experience Missouri’s state tree. Powell Gardens hosts a number of special exhibits and events throughout the year, so consider checking the schedule to see what’s happening during your trip.

18Broadway Urban Rain Garden

The brainchild of Kansas City-based DST Systems and designed by 360 Architecture, the 18Broadway Urban Rain Garden is part of Kansas City’s 10,000 Rain Gardens initiative and harvests rainwater to support the food grown within the garden.

What’s more, the rain garden helps relieve some of Kansas City’s stormwater and wastewater treatment systems while also showcasing stormwater management techniques that can be applied by area homeowners. The garden includes five tiers and nearly 100 raised beds that produce a variety of produce for local food banks.

Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Several themed gardens comprise the Overland Park Botanical Gardens, giving visitors a chance to experience a wide variety of flora, fauna and fun.

Travel back in time in the Monet garden, filled with willow trees, perennials and annuals that create a colorful palette similar to what Monet used in his iconic paintings. Or escape the hustle and bustle of daily life in the peaceful Marder Woodland Gardens, a shady respite that includes a burbling brook and the Marder Pergola, a tree-covered arbor with picturesque views into the north and south gardens.

For the ultimate exploration, follow nearly five miles of paved and wood chip hiking trails that wind their way through the arboretum, gardens and along a stretch of breathtaking limestone bluffs.

Loose Park

The 75-acre Loose Park is a popular place to walk, jog or gather. Jacob L. Loose Park originally served as a major site in the Battle of Westport during the Civil War. Now, the park is home to a rippling pond, treed areas and the most beloved attraction: the Rose Garden.

Started in 1931 under the leadership of Laura Conyers Smith, the Rose Garden began with 120 rose plants. Now, nearly 4,000 roses of more than 160 varieties bloom in a 1.5-acre garden that’s a must-see while you’re in Kansas City. Don’t forget your camera—and a picnic lunch!

Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

When you think of gardens, you probably don’t think of sculptural art. And, if you want to get technical, the Sculpture Park is, in fact, a park, rather than a garden. Yet on the list of must-see outdoor spaces in Kansas City, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is at the top.

Plan for a mandatory photo opp at the infamous Shuttlecocks, created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Other highlights include Henry Spencer Moore’s Large Interior Form, Jacques Lipchitz’s Return of the Prodigal Son and Charles Heit and Kenny Mowatt’s Totem Pole. Also, don’t leave without taking a trip through the Glass Labyrinth.

Gardens in KC

Kelli O'Hara, Broadway star in concert

Kelli O’Hara is one of the biggest stars on Broadway, and her work in film, television, and opera have made her acclaim even greater. The Tony Award winner will bring her unique mix of classicism and show business to Kansas City for selections from Broadway and the Great American Songbook.

Hugh Jackman

Academy Award®-nominated, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning performer, Hugh Jackman will bring The Man. The Music. The Show to Sprint Center on Oct. 13. You will see Jackman performing hit songs from The Greatest Showman, Les Misérables and more from Broadway and film, accompanied by a live orchestra.

Paul Childres Concert in the Caves

Blending Pop, R&B, and Soul, Paul Childers is leading a new breed of Singer/Songwriters and Guitarists. Paul finds a way to blur the lines cast between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix styles of guitar playing, a Motown rhythm section, and Pop vocal melodies. He is returning to the caves for another epic show! 

B-Side mini 2019

We're celebrating our second annual music festival - in a teenier way!
Join us Oct. 4th First Friday for B-Side Mini!
Acts include our house band I Threw a Chair, Winny Wallet and the Workshop, and local musician Sean Groff.
Inside the gallery we will be showing many mini works, small doodles, sculptures and more.
Big thanks to Brewery Emperial for providing the event with beverages!

Merriam Drive Live!

Downtown Merriam will transform into a street and lawn party full of music on two stages, food trucks, adult beverages and a Cornhole Tournament. Performers include: Four Fried Chickens & a Coke; Red Guitar; Stolen Winnebagos; Fast Times and Noe Palma. Enjoy this annual music fest for FREE in downtown Merriam.

Brahms’ Fourth and Bach’s Fantasia

Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center
Jason Seber, David T. Beals III Associate Conductor
Paul Jacobs, organ
J.S. BACH/ELGAR Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor
MICHAEL DAUGHERTY Once Upon a Castle for Organ and Orchestra
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4

Finlandia and Schumann’s Piano Concerto

Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center
Michael Stern, conductor
Martin Helmchen, piano
SIBELIUS Finlandia
R. SCHUMANN Piano Concerto
DANIEL KELLOGG The Golden Spike (Kansas City Symphony commission, world premiere)
SMETANA “Blaník” from Má vlast

The Medical Arts Symphony of Kansas City Fall Concert

The Medical Arts Symphony of Kansas City includes physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, healthcare students, as well as other musicians from the Kansas City area.  This fall concert will include: The New World Symphony - Dvorak , Fanfare for the Common Man – Copeland, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cello, s Gion Overture - Jose Gonzalez Granero