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12 Reasons To Visit Historic Independence Missouri

We knew we were in for an action packed time, when we scheduled our day trip to historic Independence, Missouri. There are so many great things to see, do, and taste that are all within just a few blocks of the main square. To be able to see all of our stops, we had to start awful early. Obviously, we needed fuel for our bodies to complete our agenda, and we found lots of great options on the Independence Square.

Restaurants on the Independence square.
Left to Right: Dave’s Bakery & Deli, UpDog, The Court House Exchange

 

Eat It Up

On the historic Independence Square there is a variety of dining options available. We wish we could have sampled them all, but time and our waistlines prevented that. We did try out a few, and found the service at all to be quite good. Our first stop was an early morning break at Dave’s Bakery & Deli, which opens at 7:00 everyday except Sunday. They serve a few hot cooked items to compliment their pastries. We found their breakfast sandwiches to be a good start to the day, and packed with hunger squashing protein.

A packed schedule meant that we needed a quick lunch. UpDog offered fast service, ballpark type dining in a retro setting, and lots of topping options. (read more about UpDog here>) Open from 11:00 to 8:00, it’s a good place to take the kids for some 1950’s style fun.

By the time dinner rolled around, our day of exploring was wrapping up. This meant that we had time for a more relaxed dining experience. When we were researching dining options, we asked our readers for suggestions. After tallying up all of the places mentioned, The Courthouse Exchange came out on top. (read more about Courthouse Exchange here>) This building has a long history on the square, and there are tons of interesting stories about it’s past. Of course, we were there for the food, but ambiance never hurts.

Three museum choices in Independence, Missouri.
Left to Right: National Frontier Trails Museum, Historic Truman Courthouse, Harry S Truman Library & Museum

Independence Missouri is Packed With Historical Sites

Like many of our readers, we enjoy visiting historic sites. We find the stories of those who lived in the past to be quite interesting, and often educational. Independence, Missouri is filled with places to wile away the hours, all while gaining a better understanding of the people who helped mold the city’s future. Our first place to visit was the National Frontier Trails Museum. (read more about the Trails Museum here>) This hidden gem showcases the struggles of the journey to expand the nation in the 1800’s. Filled with many first-hand accounts, visitors get to experience the hardships that those pioneers faced.

A visit to the Historic Truman Courthouse is a must for anyone wanting to understand more about Independence’s most famous personality. The original building, erected in 1836, has undergone five renovations and additions. The last renovation was in 1933, during the period when Harry Truman was the presiding Judge of Jackson County.

Now that we had a taste of Truman history, we knew it was time to immerse ourselves in his presidential period. We traveled a mile north of the square to the Harry S Truman Library and Museum. (read more about the Truman Library here>) The 33rd president faced some of the most tumultuous times that our nation has seen. This museum takes visitors on a walk through his service to the country, and offers up some thought provoking subjects.

The jail and adventure tours showcase the history of Independence.
Left to Right: 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Museum, Pioneer Trails Adventures

Square Specific History

Independence has placed host to many famous and infamous guests. The 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Museum was a chance to see the place where Frank James spent some time. (read more about the Jail here>) The jail played an integral part in the local scene from it’s start in 1859, until the day it was shuttered in 1933. Be sure to visit the museum in the back of the site.

Not all of the history has to be written down. A ride on Pioneer Trails Adventures will allow your minds to wander back to the days of yesteryear. (read more about the Trails ride here>) Visitors can choose between three different tours, each complete with the tales of the wagon master. We truly enjoyed our trip around the square area, as Ralph unfolded some of the notorious history of the local legends.

Some of the unique shops found on the Independence Square.
Clockwise from Top Left: Main Street Coffee House, Clinton’s Soda Fountain, Wild About Harry, Top Hat Winery

Extras Galore

As you can see, our day was packed plumb full, but we still had a few other additions to our schedule. Whenever we visit a location, we always look for some local favorites that may go under the radar for travelers. We root these out, so that our readers can have a wide range of choices when making their itinerary. Now after our breakfast, we still wanted a little extra caffeine boost. A quick stop at Main Street Coffee House provided just what we needed. Staff here are super friendly, and it’s a nice alternative to the big chains.

After our lunch we were looking for a sweet treat, and a stop at Clinton’s Soda Fountain delivered plenty of options. (read more about Clinton’s here>) This old school soda shop has tons of choices to satisfy even the pickiest sweet tooth. Let’s just say we left there more than satisfied.

Now after all of those lunchtime calories, we definitely needed to take a walk. Strolling around the Independence Square offers some much needed exercise, as well as an opportunity to check out the local shopping scene. Stepping into Wild About Harry, we found a modern day haberdashery that offers unique decor items, as well. It seemed very popular with the local crowd.

We were surprised to find out that a local winery was located on the square, so we couldn’t pass up stopping in Top Hat Winery. (read more about Top Hat here>) This small batch wine maker offers a wide range of varieties, and it made our tasting session quite interesting.

Harry Truman walks the Independence Square.

The End of a Busy Day

As you can see, we packed our day with stops. If you were following our Instagram feed, then you knew we were having a blast. (You can follow us here>) While we were able to catch a lot of the top spots, and a few off the grid, there were still more to be seen. Fortunately, we live in the Kansas City metro, so we know that we will be making another visit in the future. We hope that our list of stops gives you all a few ideas for your next trip to historic downtown Independence, Missouri.

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*We want to thank the sites that sponsored our visit. Rest assured that the opinions are all our own.

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