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Hit the Road: a foodie foray to Lawrence, KS

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We hope you’ve packed your appetite. This month, we’re finishing our Hit the Road series with a foodie foray into Lawrence, KS. Whether you’re interested in taking a tour of Mass Street or trying the deconstructed lasagne at The Basil Leaf Cafe, this driving-distance destination is every foodie’s dream.

Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.

  • Drive time: ~40 minutes from downtown
  • Est. population: 97,348
  • Avg. high in August: 90°

Memorable restaurants

The Basil Leaf Café


  • The self-described European-style neighborhood restaurant comes highly recommended — we definitely suggest trying a Lavender Cream Soda alongside your meal.

Merchants Pub & Plate

  • With a menu full of delicious, beautiful, and locally sourced food, there’s no better way to enjoy the “come as you are” atmosphere.

Sylas and Maddy’s Homemade Ice Cream

  • Known for its creative flavors (yes, there’s a KU ice cream), this family-owned and operated business has been a staple in Lawrence since 1997.
Picture of Tuxedo cake

Heading into a food coma, be back later. | Photo by @715restaurant

Eat, sleep, repeat

The Oread

  • Who wouldn’t want to wine, dine, and doze in what’s essentially a castle in downtown Lawrence? The Oread comes outfitted with an upscale restaurant, a bar, and a rooftop lounge.

Historic Eldridge Hotel

  • Come for the steak, seafood, and pasta at the Eldridge House Grill — stay for the ghost stories + history (including a run-in with Bonnie and Clyde).

Spacious, Artsy, Historic Downtown Home

  • Walking off the calories won’t be a factor with this rental, which is just off Mass Street. It’s a party at this spacious home, which sleeps six and starts at $202 per night.

Trendy 2BD

  • Feed your interior designer after you feed your belly. This stylish downtown rental sleeps up to five and starts at $128 per night.

Things to do

Clinton State Park

  • Twenty-five miles of hiking + biking trail, 378 campsites, disc golf, and water access make this lake park a must-visit getaway. Perfect for a picnic.

The University of Kansas Natural History Museum

  • Need a break from the food? Get wild with four floors of nature exhibits. Camps, school programs, and scavenger hunts make this destination a great way to spend the day with the whole family.


  • Experience Great Britain in the Midwest, including everything from tea + snacks to home goods.


  • Shop all things whimsical and support local artists, but also make sure to pet Dave the Cat on your way out.

Museum of Odd

  • This private residence is filled with bizarre collections, like 350+ sock monkeys and Elvis Presley artifacts. Visit by making an appointment on Facebook or by phone.

Hungry for more? Catch up on the last two months’ Hit the Road features: an outdoor adventure to Bentonville, AR and a quick getaway to Weston, MO.