Home / Travel Guides - Independence

AAA/iStockphoto.com

More About
Independence, MO

About IndependenceUpon his return following the end of his presidency, Harry S. Truman called Independence “the greatest town in the United States” and “the center of things for me.” Truman thought the world of his hometown, and a day spent in the town’s center, Independence Square, will help newcomers understand why.

Independence Square is where you’ll find Clinton’s Soda Fountain, 100 W. Maple Ave., where young Harry had his first job as a store clerk, doing everything from sweeping the floors to dispensing flavored phosphates. Sit at the fountain’s 100-year-old marble counter and slurp a cherry phosphate or feast on an ice cream sundae in Harry’s honor.

Take a leisurely stroll through Independence Square, much like Harry did every day during his retirement, and you’ll happen upon delightful one-of-a-kind clothing boutiques, family-owned restaurants and specialty shops selling home interiors, gifts and antiques. In the Englewood Station Arts District, galleries stay open late and offer demonstrations, children's activities and meet-the-artist events on the third Friday of every month. A covered wagon historical tour, offered April through October by Pioneer Trails Adventures, panders to aching feet and pioneer spirits, with fun 45-minute ghost tours, led by paranormal experts, on October Friday evenings; phone (816) 254-2466 for reservations. With the past in mind, a large number of visitors come to check out their ancestry at the Midwest Genealogy Center, reputedly the nation's largest; phone (816) 252-7228 for information.

During the holiday season, Independence Square turns into a winter wonderland. On the third Saturday in November, townspeople gather for the annual tree lighting ceremony. Festivities include live music and dancing, children's activities, visits with Santa and sleigh rides. Other major events include Truman Days in May, the Vaile Mansion Strawberry Festival in June and the 4-day Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival in late August and early September.

While Independence is well-known for its Truman-related historic sites, it was a major “jumping off” point for the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails, earning the city the nickname “Queen City of the Trails.” The moniker still holds true today. The Little Blue Trace Trail runs north for 11 scenic miles along the Blue River and is accessible from the Hartman Heritage Center, I-70 and Little Blue River Road.

Visitor Centers Independence Department of Tourism 112 W. Lexington Ave. Independence, MO 64050. Phone:(816)325-7890 or (800)748-7323

Self-guiding ToursThe Missouri Mormon Walking Trail, which begins at Walnut and River streets across from the Community of Christ Auditorium, is a 1-mile trail with 14 plaques commemorating early Mormon sites. The Truman Walking Trail, beginning at the Harry S Truman National Historic Site ticket office at Main Street and Truman Road, meanders 2.7 miles through the Truman neighborhood, with 44 plaques embedded in sidewalks along the way.

Things to Do 1859 Jail, Marshal's Home & Museum

Bingham-Waggoner Estate

Community of Christ International Headquarters

Children's Peace Pavilion

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Harry S Truman National Historic Site

Mormon Visitors' Center

National Frontier Trails Museum

Puppetry Arts Institute

Vaile Mansion

Read More

Independence, MO

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.

Members save 5% or more and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hilton Garden Inn Independence

19677 E Jackson Dr. Independence, MO 64057

Book Now
AAA Members
Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center

18011 Bass Pro Dr. Independence, MO 64055

Book Now
AAA Members
Super 8 Independence

4032 S Lynn Court Dr. Independence, MO 64055

Book Now
AAA Members
Drury Inn & Suites Kansas City-Independence

20300 E 42nd St S. Independence, MO 64015

Book Now
AAA Members

call or visit a AAA Travel Agent Today!

Find a AAA Office

As a AAA member, you'll save even more. Your AAA Travel Agent will check to see if AAA Vacations is combinable with other AAA member benefits, plus cruise and tour past passenger discounts and benefits.

Not a Member?

Join Now