When one heads west out of the lake area, a jonesing for Kansas City BBQ, or cheering on the Chiefs is all the reason needed to take the day trip. For some of us, Gates BBQ calls our name about every other month.

When one heads west out of the lake area, a jonesing for Kansas City BBQ, or cheering on the Chiefs is all the reason needed to take the day trip. For some of us, Gates BBQ calls our name about every other month. Buying the bottled sauce in our local grocery stores helps curve the craving, but there is nothing like their ribs and brisket. Local football fans feel the call to Arrowhead a couple of times a month. But is there anything else to do while visiting the eastern side of Kansas City? One can comfortably park it in Independence, without having to navigate inner city traffic.

There are three destinations that are a must stop everytime I visit the area: Gates BBQ for the previously mentioned ribs and brisket, Sheridan’s Frozen Custard for the seasonal cobbler sundae, and Krispy Kreme for any kind of donut. We usually do carryout as well as eat in on the Gates and Krispy Kreme. So with eating before or after the ballgame established, let's look to activities that do not involve food.

Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

223 N Main Street


The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site Visitors Center is a good place to start. Located in the historic Independence Fire Station Number One, the center features audio/visual presentations, exhibits from the president’s home, and a bookstore.

The 33rd president popularly known as “the people’s president” brought America out of national isolation, into conversations with other countries. These tours give visitors a glimpse of the man beyond the politician, and even details his childhood growing up in the area. The center allows for visitors to go have a look at Truman’s home with the purchase of a ticket. The visitor’s center admission is free, and open year round 8:30am to 5pm. Closed on Mondays throughout winter.

When you are finished here, take a drive out to Truman’s farm in Grandview, just 10 minutes from Independence. It’s located at 12301 Blue Ridge Blvd. Grounds are open year-round for self-guided tours. There is an audio tour available onsite. The Truman Farm Home in Grandview is not open to the public, but the farm is free and open from Sunrise to Sunset, daily. Twenty-two-year-old Harry Truman gave up his $100 a month bank salary to go work on the family farm in 1906. The farmhouse, with no plumbing or electricity, stood in stark contrast to the bright lights of Kansas City. On the farm, Harry had little privacy, sharing the seven-room house with his grandmother, parents, sister and brother. It was known that the young man on the farm,who would be president, could stir up a mean batch of biscuits, as good as any woman. He worked this farm from 1906-1917.

The Children’s Peace Pavillion

1001 W. Walnut


The Children's Peace Pavilion is a hands-on museum designed for preschool through elementary students. All ages are welcome with adult supervision. Interactive exhibits encourage children to explore four concepts of peace: Peace for Me; Peace for Us; Peace for Everyone; and Peace for the Planet.

As children interact with the exhibits, they explore traits and characteristics that encourage peaceful choices in all areas of life.

Higher Ground Hotel

200 North Delaware


Being only 3.9 miles from Arrowhead Stadium, check into this unique establishment, located across the street from the Truman Historic Site, if the game gets too long. Harry used to take brisk walks up and down this street daily in front of this historic boutique hotel.

The homey rooms are welcoming, and amenities like karaoke, in room massage, and a library lounge are interesting offerings. For the kids, there is a family game room with board games. There is an outside garden seating area with a goldfish pond. The hotel offers a 10% discount when showing a Chiefs football ticket.

Dixon’s Famous Chili Parlor

9105 E US Highway 40


One of Truman’s favorite haunts, Dixon’s rounds out our day trip to Independence with more food. Dixon’s is more historic destination than eating stop. Established in 1919, it is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the Kansas City area. Chili, burgers, chili dogs, frito pies, and taco salads are favorites.

They also offer an all you can eat tacos every day. Harry S. Truman frequented Dixon’s before, during and after his Presidency. In 1952, President Truman visited Dixon’s along with several Secret Service agents. Dixon received much publicity from this event and Life Magazine published the occasion. As a result, the name was changed to Dixon's “Famous” Chili. Harry Truman continued his patronage for the rest of his life. Open Monday-Saturday 10am-10pm Sources: Missouri Visitors Bureau, Dixon’s Famous Chili Parlor