Sightseeing in Independence


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  • Vaile Mansion
    Known for its history as a pioneer town and home to former president Harry S. Truman, Independence welcomes visitors to its storied sites, making them more accessible with free trolley rides. Tour the 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home and Museum to glimpse a dwelling for law breakers next to a dwelling for a law keeper, and the clandestine tryst between the abodes that resulted in a museum. The Bingham-Waggoner Estate preserves many of the original art and furnishings of the famed Bingham and Waggoner families, while the National Frontier Trails Museum hails the starting point of the westbound pioneers with bronzed pieces of nuts, raisins, and chocolate bits tracing a path westward.
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    1500 North Liberty Street
    Independence, MO US
  • Leila's Hair Museum
    There, Leila Cohoon preserves and furthers the art form of hair-based crafts, which stretches back to the 1700s and beyond. In pre-photography days, Victorian artisans would create jewelry and decorative pieces with human hair as a means of remembering loved ones. In addition to these personal mementoes, Leila's collection includes 600 hair-based wreaths dating before 1900, and numerous reliquaries said to contain the hair of Mary, mother of Jesus, St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus, and pieces of the cross, all with their appropriate wax seals. Hair pieces belonging to Michael Jackson, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Lincoln, and other presidents also reside here. Although not hair-related, the museum also features a brooch that is said to contain threads from the coat of Joseph, father of Jesus. The quirky museum has attracted the attention of raconteurs from CNN as well as noted gadabout Anthony Bourdain, who also paid a visit during an episode of his show No Reservations.
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    1333 S Noland Rd
    Independence, MO US
  • Alexander Majors Historical House
    This duo of history-rich houses showcase antebellum architectural styles, while providing insight into the mores of the era. With four tour tickets total, the historically inclined can visit each house twice or bring a friend along for each visit, while family memberships net unlimited entries for the nuclear unit, along with advance invites to special society-only events. A Greek revival-style home from 1858, the John Wornall House beckons history lovers in to watch costumed reenactors living in the past, where they play period-specific video games while drinking period-specific Mountain Dew. Regular special events at the house include paranormal investigations by local ghost hunters and recreations of the house?s past as a Civil War hospital. Dogs can sprint across the lush grounds while their two-legged companions waft in luscious scents from the herb garden, which contains a variety of delicate plants used in medicines and recipes.
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    8201 State Line Rd
    Kansas City, MO US
  • American Jazz Museum
    Charlie Parker's Grafton saxophone, Louis Armstrong's trumpet, a sequined gown worn by Ella Fitzgerald?at the American Jazz Museum, each of these artifacts represents a mark on a musical timeline. Established in 1997 at 18th and Vine, the museum immerses guests in jazz via several mediums: films, sheet music, album covers, and concert posters, to name a few. Listening stations emit interviews and samples of classic tunes, but to hear entire songs, you can visit Jazz Central, the in-house musical library of more than 100 recordings. Preserving the jazz stylings of the past is not the museum's only mission, however. At mixing boards, visitors can create their own melodies without bringing their stand-up bass from home. As for live jazz, there are more than 200 yearly performances and events at the museum, such as the annual Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz & Blues Festival. There's also the Blue Room?a smoke-free jazz club inside the building itself, where musicians play at least four nights a week.
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    1616 E 18th St.
    Kansas City, MO US
  • Arabia Steamboat Museum
    Looking for something to do? Why not visit the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. The Arabia was a steamboat that plied the waters of the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers before it struck a fallen tree and sank near Parkville, Missouri in September of 1856. No lives were lost, but the mud and fast-moving current eventually hid all traces of the large steamboat. In the years that followed the Arabia’s sinking, the Missouri river shifted its course a half-mile east, leaving the steamboat buried under 45 feet of earth. Almost one hundred and fifty years later, the steamboat was discovered on what had become a farm in Kansas City, Kansas. Once the steamboat was unearthed, its cargo and pieces of the boat were moved to the museum that bares its name. Learn the entire amazing story and see what was pulled from the mud of that Kansas City farm by visiting the Arabia Steamboat Museum.
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    400 Grand Blvd
    Kansas City, MO US
  • Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
    Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art offers a growing permanent collection, special exhibitions, and community outreach programs. The museum is an unquestionable asset to the city and offers admission and parking free of charge. In addition to displaying artwork by a wide range of artists, the museum hosts video and film series, concerts, lectures, children’s workshops, and other creative programs which are designed to both challenge and entertain. An example of a past exhibition was Jarrett Mellenbruch: Float. Mellenbruch is a Kansas City-based artist who is known for his interest in community interaction and engagement. He set up a series of eight hammocks at the Kemper Museum, inviting visitors to relax amongst and on contemporary art.
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    4420 Warwick Blvd
    Kansas City, MO US

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