Independence (Missouri)

The Community of Christ World Headquarters

Independence, known as the Queen City of the Trails, is a city in western Missouri just east of Kansas City with a population of approximately 110,000. Independence's founding predates that of Kansas City, and it was home to U.S. President Harry S. Truman and the legendary actress Ginger Rogers, as well as the starting point of three of America's great Westward Trails: the Santa Fe Trail, the California Trail, and the Oregon Trail. The city also hosts numerous historical sites related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the "Mormons"), American Civil War and Western history.

While offering a full range of entertainment and lodging options for visitors, Independence generally tends to be more "quiet" than its larger neighbor to the west. One notable exception is Labor Day weekend, when it holds its annual Santa-Cali-Gon Days, one of the most important yearly festivals held in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Another exception is during the biennial April general conferences of the Community of Christ, the second-largest Latter-day Saint denomination, whose world headquarters is in the city.

Get in

By car

Interstate 70 is the main east-west highway, while Interstate 435 (running north-south) passes just to the city's west. U.S. highways 24 and 40 and Missouri state highway 291, which becomes Interstate 470, south of I-70, also provide access to the city. I-70 offers six exits to Independence (from west to east, in order: Blue Ridge Blvd., U.S. 40/Sterling Ave., Noland Rd., Lee's Summit Rd., MO-291/I-470, and Little Blue Parkway), while I-435 offers three (from north to south, in order: U.S. 24/Winner Road, Truman Rd., and 23rd St.). NOTE: At each of the three I-435 exits named above, you must turn east to head into Independence! Turning west will take you into Kansas City. Also, if you are taking I-435 south on the east side of Kansas City (as opposed to the west side; I-435 circles the Kansas City metropolitan area) and planning to exit onto I-70 east, be aware that this exit is a left exit, and it can be very slow-moving during "rush hour" times!

By bus

Nearest Greyhound station is in Kansas City, MO.

By train

Amtrak, +1-800-USA-RAIL. The unattended   Independence Amtrak is at 600 S Grand Ave, near the intersection with W Pacific Ave. This station, locally known as the Truman Depot, is on Amtrak's Kansas City to St. Louis route, the Missouri River Runner, and offers trains twice daily in both directions. Tickets cannot be purchased or baggage checked at this station, which currently houses the Jackson Co. Genealogical Society, so it is best to call Amtrak's toll-free reservation center or visit their website before departure. Tickets may also be purchased locally at Union Station in downtown Kansas City. A ticket is not required for boarding, though a reservation is. State and federal funding has recently been expanded and the route now boasts a 90% on time rating.

By plane

Access by air requires use of one of three airports:

Get around

By bus

The Metro, Kansas City's municipal bus service, has very limited service (time and route-wise) within Independence. The main Independence terminal is located next to the police station at the intersection of Truman and Noland roads. Fares cost $1.50 full price (including one transfer within two hours of the ticket's purchase), or $0.75 reduced fare (seniors, those under age 18, and disabled persons). A "Visitor's Pass" is available for out-of-towners; it allows unlimited riding of the entire Kansas City bus system for three days for $8. Information is available at .

On foot

Walking tours of the historic town square, Truman historical sites and Mormon historical sites are available. For most visitors, a car, bicycle or other means of wheeled transportation will prove necessary if one intends to venture very far beyond the central square area, which contains most of the attractions listed below.

By taxi

Local taxi service is available, but taxies are generally only obtainable by phone and sometimes require a lengthy waiting period between the time when you first call for the cab and the time that it arrives to pick you up. Calling well in advance of your appointment or desired arrival time is advised, as is checking with the taxi service as to the expected time of the cab's arrival.


Harry S. Truman Home



A farmers' market is held on the northeast side of the Independence Sq., along Truman Rd., on Wednesdays and Saturdays, mid-May through mid-Sep. (Vendors are usually at the market around 5AM and most leave by 11AM.) The adjacent Independence Sq. holds numerous shops for antiques, curios, book, and more.


Recently the Independence Square has seen restoration work which has involved the opening or refurbishing of various restaurants. Among these are:

Several other restaurants, including the Longhorn Steakhouse, Logans Roadhouse, Hereford House and other national or local chain eateries are located at or adjacent to the 39th Street corridor, between Lee's Summit Road and the Little Blue Parkway. Smoking is prohibited in all restaurants, bars and other public establishments in Independence.


There are numerous drinking establishments around Independence, and most if not all restaurants serve alcohol.

(Note: Smoking is prohibited in all nightclubs, bars and other public establishments in Independence.)


Several major motel chains serve Independence, and there are also a number of bed-and-breakfasts available. A listing of these, together with addresses and contact information, may be seen at .

Stay safe

Although violent crime is very uncommon in Independence, it is not unknown. Carjackings, vandalism to cars and auto thefts do occur, and while the chances of being a victim are slim (though still higher than the MO and national averages), visitors should not allow the "small town" atmosphere of this city trick them into letting down their guard with regard to locking autos and hotel doors, leaving cars running unattended, paying attention to surroundings, etc. The Square area is relatively safe during daylight and evening hours.

The west side, particularly the portion west of Sterling Ave., is not known to be particularly safe at night, especially along Blue Ridge Blvd. between 23rd St. and U.S. 24. Avoid anything west of Sterling Ave. at night if possible. Since there are no hotels, restaurants or tourist attractions in this part of town, this should not be hard for visitors to do.

Go next

Routes through Independence

END Kansas City  W  E  Lee's Summit Jefferson City
Topeka Kansas City  W  E  Boonville Columbia
END  N  S  Lee's Summit Kansas City

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, February 21, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.