Kansas City Outdoors

Photo by Bruce N. Meyer

Four seasons and hundreds of places to enjoy them in Kansas City

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Kansas City is blessed to experience all seasons, sometimes all in one day, so you can get outdoors whenever you’re here. While we can enjoy extreme temperatures and conditions each season, overall Kansas Citians enjoy a temperate climate that allows them to enjoy the great outdoors all year long.

Kansas City Outdoors: Parks

Here’s some fun trivia for you – Swope Park, at more than 1800 acres, is the third largest city park in the United States and is bigger even than New York’s Central Park. You’ll find so many amenities here, including Starlight, the outdoor theatre, the Kansas City Zoo, the training facility for Sporting Kansas City, and numerous golf courses, athletic fields, playgrounds and fishing ponds. In the winter, if conditions are right, cross-country skiing is an option here.

Loose Park, just south of the Country Club Plaza, is also a gem in Kansas City’s park system. Recognized for its magnificent Rose Garden with more than 4,000 bushes, Loose Park is a favorite for anyone who simply wants to get some fresh air. Duck ponds, jogging trails, picnic shelters – it’s all here. Pick up a brochure at the Garden Center that lists all of the trees in the park and spend the afternoon walking around, getting more familiar with the wide variety of trees native to Kansas City.

Photo by Bruce N. Meyer

Biking/Jogging Trails

There are two nice places to get up close and personal with the Missouri River. The first is the Berkley Riverfront Park, accessible through the River Market area.  It’s 17-acres and has a paved trail adjacent to the river.

Just north of the river in the village of Parkville, the English Landing Park Trail is three miles of gravel trail that,
at times, is just inches from the churning waters of the Mighty Mo. Lined with cottonwood trees and several benches for rest and contemplation, this trail is busy every day of the year, no matter what the weather.

The Harry Wiggins Trolley Trail is a six-mile exercise path south of the Plaza that follows the path of the last trolley car that operated in KC. It’s an easy path for exercise – no hills or rough spots at all. And it’s well lit and well maintained.


Despite its location more than 800 miles from the nearest beach, beach volleyball is extremely popular in Kansas City. About a dozen public facilities with as many as 18 courts in each complex operate around the city. Shawnee Mission Beach Volleyball is the largest with about 700 teams. Kansas City Parks & Rec have two sand courts – one at Brookside and E. 56th St; the other at 31st and Roanoke.

Winter in Kansas City

It’s not Colorado, but it’s not bad for Missouri. Snow Creek, located in Weston about 30 miles north of downtown, has 30 acres of skiable terrain, a 300 foot vertical drop, 12 runs and 7 chairlifts. The longest run is about a fifth of a mile.

The metropolitan area has a number of indoor ice rinks, but only three outdoor rinks. The most popular and most beloved is the Crown Center Ice Terrace. It opens about Thanksgiving and if Mother Nature cooperates, skaters of all ages enjoy it until March. Come on Tuesdays after 5 and skate for half price.

The Kansas City Ice Center in Shawnee also opens about the same time. While much of the ice time is dedicated to hockey and synchronized dance teams, Tuesday mornings are the best time to enjoy the ice without competition.

The Rink at Burlington Creek is a sand volleyball court in the summer, but in the winter the 80 X 100 foot space is filled with water/ice.Fire pits, tables and benches provide a cozy place for spectators, and the adjacent restaurants provide plenty aprés refreshments.

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