“One of the most important but least recognized essentials to an attractive and healthy urban environment is a well-designed and well-maintained network of city parks — an essential component of any city’s infrastructure.” — City Parks Alliance
We are fortunate in Kansas City to have a variety of downtown greenspaces, each with its own personality. We hope with this beautiful spring weather you will do some exploring and find one that suits your mood!
Case Park/West Terrace Park
Located in the northwest corner of the downtown loop, this large park overlooks the West Bottoms to the west and the Wheeler Downtown Airport to the north. Sprawling lawns make it perfect for soccer, Frisbee or lawn darts. It’s also a great spot for a blanket and a good book on a sunny day. It boasts a small playground is available for children and a shaded area with grills and picnic tables, a frequent spot for our annual DNA picnic. This is also the prettiest place to watch the sun set over the West Bottoms. The furthest point north has a sloping hill toward the airport and is THE place to be in August for the 2015 Air Show (featuring the Blue Angels!). Living here you will also be treated to having the fighter jets buzz your buildings the week before the show as they practice. If you’ve not yet seen or heard that, you’re in for an experience! Plans are also currently underway for the northern portion of the park to be an off-leash dog park for all our furry friends, and a Kansas City native is organizing a clean-up effort for the north stairs.
Berkley Riverfront Park
Berkley Riverfront Park is just northeast of the River Market neighborhood, accessible either by crossing the Grand St. Bridge at 2nd St. or from the Town of Kansas Bridge at 1st and Main. The Heritage Trail starts below the Town of Kansas Bridge and follows the river through the park. It is great for walking, jogging, and bicycling. Picnic tables are located along the river as well. If you are in town for the 4th of July, there is no better fireworks display than during KC Riverfest. An all-day celebration with food, drinks and music, culminates with a fantastic display reflected in the water. Buses run throughout downtown to the park on the day of the festival, making it easy to carry lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics.
Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park
Located at 12th and Walnut, this European-flavored park provides shade trees and dappled sunlight for downtown workers. Bistro-style tables and chairs provide a great spot for an alfresco lunch purchased at one of the nearby restaurants or food trucks. The Downtown Council is sponsoring “Art in the Loop” this summer, including artistic performances from 11:30-1:30 on Thursdays. Also performing this summer will be the KC Guitar Society with Guitars in the Park on Sunday evenings from 7-8 pm. Bring a lawn chair and come enjoy these classical and flamenco musicians. These events are always free and no matter how hot and humid the weather gets, there is always a breeze blowing through the towers surrounding Oppenstein Park!
Rooftop Park above Cosentino’s parking garage
Another option for an alfresco meal is the Rooftop Park accessible from 8 am to dusk from now through Fall. Pick up some tasty treats from Cosentino’s, take the elevator to the top and spend some time in the sun watching the OneLight residential tower rise to its 25 stories. Great urban views in all directions! It is also the only park we know of that sends its own tweets, so if you visit, be sure to let the world know you’re there!
Ilus Davis Civic Mall
Located between the Federal Courthouse and City Hall, this 5.2 acre park contains sweeping lawns, trees, flowerbeds, and a fountain that runs down to a large reflecting pool. This is great space for meeting friends for a pick-up game or playing ball or frisbee with your dogs. After a day of running, you and your pup will enjoy cooling your feet in the fountain.
Garment District Pocket Park
This sweet little parklet located at 8th and Broadway is dedicated to the many manufacturing workers who populated this area until most clothing manufacturing moved overseas. Notice the sewing needle and button sculpture in honor of this industry which was so important to Kansas City. Today this shaded spot with a fountain and picnic tables provides another lunchtime option. Even if you don’t work nearby, this park has a B-Cycle bikeshare kiosk for your convenience. Music will be provided from 12:15-1 pm on May 14, 21 and 28, and June 4, 11, and 18, with rain dates June 25 and July 17. Bring your lunch!
River Market Park
Just west of the City Market is a greenspace that is an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of the City Market itself. Residents enjoy exercising their dogs, buskers entertain, and people-watching on Saturday mornings can be great. Shade trees and benches provide a great place to eat or drink whatever treat you’ve picked up from the farmers and vendors. Movies are also shown throughout the summer on select Friday nights. Follow The City Market for details and announcements.