There are few cities that have a more eclectic metro area than Kansas City. In one day, you can do anything from taking in an opera to visiting an alpaca farm. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to spend part of that day in Parkville, the sweetest small town dotting the outskirts of the big KC.
My family recently spent one fun day exploring all that Parkville has to offer (hint: it’s a lot!). And after visiting, we learned one thing for sure: there are hidden gems scattered across this riverside city for the whole family to discover.
Eat a donut on a train and snap a pic!
We started our day at Incahoots, a coffee and donut shop that’s nestled between vintage train cars. We grabbed a few donuts (including an amazing Nutella-stuffed bear claw), ordered some specialty lattes, threw in a homemade Pop-Tart for good measure, and then we took the boys to sit in a booth on one of the old trains. While we were there, a real train passed by on the neighboring track, which delighted our 3-year-old and only added to our railroad adventure.
Mom Tip: Get to Incahoots early if you want the best donut selection! You’ll be devastated if you miss out on that bear claw. Not far from Incahoots is “Photo Op Alley,” an alley with several Parkville-themed murals for you to snap a picture in front of. Do it for the ‘gram!
Buy Local in Parkville
After we had our donuts, the tiny shops dotting the streets of Downtown Parkville started calling our name. From home décor to meats, there was a little something for everyone. We bought sustainable goods at the Top Off Refillery, grabbed some weathered hats from Cool Vintage Watches, and listened to guitars at Bentley Guitar Studios. We peeked at the products at Farm House Collection Z—which has everything you need to live your Johanna Gaines-inspired dreams — and we snuck a peek at The Farmacy opening next door, a pour-your-own candle and fragrance shop coming early May. We didn’t make it to all the stores we wanted to check out, so there’s plenty more to explore.
Mom Tip: If you’re apprehensive about walking into a small shop full of tiny treasures with a kid, rest assured. All the shopkeepers are friendly, and stores like Cool Vintage Watches even had a “kid-friendly” typewriter for our toddler to tap on while we snagged some great candles.
Play Outside in Parkville
Since our preschooler patiently followed us through Parkville’s shops, we rewarded his patience with a walk down the street to English Landing Park, one of the prettiest spots to play in the metro. With two different playgrounds, our three-year-old was in heaven. While my husband and my mom kept an eye on Finn, my dad and I took my six-month-old on a walk across the historic Waddell “A” Truss Bridge to look at the Missouri River. English Landing Park’s trails line the side of the river, making it an ideal place to take a stroll and take in the scenery. If one park isn’t enough for you, Parkville is also home to Parkville Nature Sanctuary, a sprawling conservation effort with hiking trails and a waterfall.
Order up something delicious
After the morning donuts wore off, we left the park to eat lunch at Stone Canyon Pizza. Maybe it was partially the charm of the city, but we all agreed the pizza was one of the best we had ever eaten. Besides pizza, we also spent some time at Popculture sampling their many different flavors of gourmet popcorn. A blueberry lemonade from The Baker’s Table across the hall made the trip extra-sweet. I sought out some much-needed caffeine from the cozy Parkville Coffee.
Mom Tip: The globes full of popcorn for samples at Popculture can get crowded with other shoppers coming back and forth for new flavors to try. Grab a few samples of the flavors you know your family will want to try and bring it back to the table to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes.
Find some nostalgic fun
We capped off our day with 18 holes at Parkville Mini-Golf. This place has everything you could want from a putt-putt experience: classic trick holes, clubs of every color, and ice cream at the end of the game. It’s a charming way to spend an hour with your family away from a screen.
Mom Tip: The golf course is built right into the hillside, so you get amazing views of the river, but it also means you’ll want to leave your stroller in your car. There are a lot of stairs!
Parkville is a little town with big personality!
There’s plenty to keep you coming back for more in Parkville, including the town’s annual celebrations like Christmas on the River and Parkville Days. We spent a full day in Parkville and still didn’t take in all the sights, stores, and snacks we wanted to, so if you’re looking on your map for a great spot to explore just minutes from the city limits, make sure you put a pin in Parkville!