Perfect Parks for Every Occasion


There’s an intoxicating aroma around town when the sun is shining and the weather fine. People bustle from place to place, taking in the greenery that can be found in so many pockets throughout the metro area. Whether spending a full day on the water or a short jog in the park, KC has ideal outdoor spots for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Here are some great parks for every occasion:


Day-Trip Nearby

Sometimes, it’s good to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and clear your mind. Thankfully, Shawnee Mission Park has exactly what you need.

Less than 30 minutes outside Downtown KC and lush with greenspace and plenty of hiking trails, you’re sure to tap into your inner-Thoreau, if even for just an afternoon. 

Pack a Picnic

Beautiful and historic, Loose Park has the greenery, fresh air and views essential for an ideal picnic.

Situated just south of Country Club Plaza, the 75-acre park offers an eclectic mix of environments to lay a blanket down and break out the basket. While you’re there, stroll over to the Loose Park Rose Garden for some of the most beautiful scenery in town. 

Take a virtual tour!

Catch a Shakespearean Drama

The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival whisks locals and visitors alike away each summer with classic Shakespeare productions in beautiful Southmoreland Park.

Just across the street from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, viewers are invited to bring chairs, blankets and picnic supplies for a free evening with the Bard of Avon.

Hit the Bike Trail

A huge hit among mountain bikers, Swope Park is the perfect playground for riders of all skill levels to hit the trail and work up a sweat.

The urban park features an 4.6-mile bike route (among others) as well as group camping grounds, nature trails and even cross-country skiing space in the winter. 

Carve Up the Concrete

Built entirely by local skaters, the Harrison Street skate park in Columbus Park offers boarders a unique space to ride.

Only a few blocks away from River Market, both novices and experts can skate in bowls, ramps and platforms crafted and designed by other local skaters, making for a wholly unique Kansas City experience. 

Entertain the Kids

Always a winner with little ones, Penguin Park in The Northland is a delightful play area decorated with friendly animal figures, including a 26-foot kangaroo slide and 23-foot penguin kids can play inside.

The historic park, which has been a popular destination for children since the mid-1960s, is the perfect venue to host a youngster’s birthday party. 

Lace Up the Running Shoes

No matter the weather or time of day, you’re likely to see someone on the jogging trail at Mill Creek Park, which offers one of the most scenic running routes in all of Kansas City.

Adjacent to Country Club Plaza, the urban park is home to the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain and hosts anything from pickup volleyball games to wedding ceremonies.  

Play in a Pooch Paradise

Among the many wonderful public parks in North Kansas City, dog owners will find Waggin’ Trail Off-Leash Dog Park to be a blast for their canine companions.

Complete with a walking trail, agility course, benches, three tunnel runs and two ADA water fountains, the space is one of the best places in town to let your dog run wild.

Break Out the Swimsuit

Spend an entire day out on the water at Longview Park and Lake, an outdoor getaway less than a half hour southeast of Downtown Kansas City.

With more than 930 acres of water entertainment available, visitors can relax with a morning of fishing or turn up the excitement by cruising the lake on a power boat. 

Toss the Disc Around

A Northland staple located near Briarcliff Village, Waterworks Park is home to one of the most popular disc golf courses in the city.

Golfers play here year round thanks to the course’s challenging, downhill 18-hole structure and beautiful views of both the Downtown Kansas City skyline and the Missouri River. 

Parks in KC

Ad Astra Park

Ad Astra Park is a 10-acre park located next to Christa McAuliffe Elementary School. It includes a natural area, .7-mile jogging/walking trail, which connects to Ad Astra Trail to the north and a large open play area. The Ad Astra Shelter is 20’x40’ with a capacity of 95/80 seated. It has 10 8-foot tables, electricity, a grill, a drinking fountain and restrooms available at Ad Astra Pool.

Berkley Riverfront

Scenic and fast growing urban community and gathering space for entertainment, recreational activity and events along the Missouri River in Kansas City.

Antioch Park

A 44-acre park featuring two fishing lakes, walking paths, four picnic shelters, a playground, and the recently updated historic Dodge Town play area. Fishing permits are required.

Blue and Gray Park

Nestled in the oak/hickory hardwood timbers of eastern Jackson County, Blue and Gray Park is popular with horseback riders, hikers and cross-country skiers for its beautiful terrain. Because of the great interest in horseback riding at Blue and Gray Park, a parking lot with pull-through capability for large trailers, two shelter houses (Bergen Shelter and Hammond Rd. Shelter), six picnic tables, and (pit) toilets. The natural setting of the area offers a great opportunity to study wildlife and enjoy the wilderness. There are also facilities for primitive, organized group camping.

Blue River Parkway

Bordering Big Blue River from Swope Park south to the southern end of the county, this multi-faceted 2,400 acres parkland has many amenities including several miles of multi-use trails popular for mountain biking. Radio-controlled model airplane fields, balloon ports, softball fields, fishing ponds, hiking trails, horse riding area, picnic area, polo fields, soccer fields and shelter houses. Blue River Parkway Trail 4.5 miles one way Kenneth Road to Red Bridge Road Blue River Glades Trail 3.0 mile loop 80th Street and Blue River Road

Bar K Dog Bar

Unique destination combining a fully-staffed dog park with a bar, restaurant and coffee house. Bar K brings engaged, community-minded people and their dogs together to share connections with their pups and each other in a joyful and creative space.

Black Hawk 1 Park

The Blackhawk 1 Park is located behind the Blackhawk Plaza area. Access is by way of a paved walking path that can be entered off of Victory Road and east on Franklin Street. It is a four acre park with a children's slide and a small pond.

Black Hoof Park

Black Hoof Park is a 160-acre park featuring 35-acre, deep-water Lake Lenexa. The park offers a unique dam and spillway, several miles of trails through open grass and wooded areas and fun natural play areas for children. The park has two shelters, Oak and Stone Wall. Oak shelter holds 192 seated and Stone Wall holds 48 seated.

Buffalo Meadows Park

Buffalo Meadows Park is 20 acres and includes a jogging/walking trail, open space to play, one shelter that holds 64 seated and ample parking for a variety of events and gatherings.