No Travel, No Problem: Being a Tourist in Your Own City

By: Natalie Fieleke

As much as I love lounging on a sandy beach or scaling rugged mountain paths, I’m also believer in making the very best of every situation. And sometimes that means creating memories close-to-home and finding the adventures that await just outside my front door.

Thankfully, there’s so much to do in Lee’s Summit that I don’t have to go far to feel invigorated by outdoor adventure, reconnect with my husband over a delicious meal, or have a fun time with my kids. Approaching our own city from a tourist’s perspective brings new energy and excitement to everyday outings.

These ideas for exploring Lee’s Summit will help you arrive at your desired fun destination without even packing your suitcase.

Outdoor Adventure + Water = Fun

With a multitude of Lee’s Summit trails ranging from ¼ of a mile to over 10 miles, there’s a path for everyone regardless of age or fitness level. Our family members find every hike or bike ride is more fun with a water feature.

Stroll around the Legacy Park loop, and there’s a little more rugged adventure to experience with off-road biking trails crisscrossing the north (Colbern Road) side of the park. Hop on an off-road path and let it take you to a small waterfall nestled in the middle of the park, just east of the frisbee golf field.

James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area features 12 small fishing ponds interlaced by wooded trails. Adventure off the main beaten path to find rock bluffs and a creek perfect for splashing.

Hop on your bike on the Rock Island Trail Spur of Missouri’s Katy Trail and end up at Charles D. Hartman Park. Take the paved trail that winds behind the ball field to a wooded trail, and yes, you guessed it, you’ll end up at a shallow stream with several small ponds. The Hartman water hole is a summertime favorite with my kids, and as I watch them squeal and splash I’m reminded that the best things in life can be free and close to home.

Family-Friendly Fun

Bring out the kid in everyone with an afternoon at retro arcade bar, Arcade Alley in Downtown Lee’s Summit’s Strother District. The under-21 crowd is welcome from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. A $10 wristband offers unlimited play of all your old favorites. My husband’s eyes lit up when he was re-introduced to his after-school favorite, Burger Time.

Just blocks away at The Exit Room, solve puzzles, clues and riddles as a family to escape the room. This experience offers an hour of bonding time for families with teens 15-and-up!

Knock down some pins at Summit Lanes. While there are leagues for all ages, you don’t have to be a pro to take part in a wide variety of open play options. Enjoy special evenings like Dollar Tuesdays, Mom/Dad & Me Mondays and Wednesdays and Glow Bowling Fridays!

Nothing combats cabin fever like a trip to Sky Zone indoor trampoline park! Up the ante with a game of parents vs. kids dodge ball. Our kids love the ninja warrior course, and repeatedly scaling the warp wall is sure to wear them out!

Really put your ninja skills to the test and get a great workout climbing, swinging and scaling a competition-scale course during Friday and Saturday open gyms at Motus Ninja Warrior. Maybe you’ll even run into American Ninja Warrior contestant Donovan Metroyer, who leads the ninja program here.

Date Night

When it’s time for a date, there’s no shortage of opportunities to dine and imbibe in Lee’s Summit.

For a taste of Latin America in the Strother District, try the Mi Casa dining experience at Sabor Latino. Reserve a table for two to eight people for this Chef’s Choice menu including appetizers, entrees and desserts served family-style on signature handmade plates.

For great food, drinks and happy hour, Third Street Social is often our go-to. Give me their spicy Creole BBQ Shrimp and a Three Philosophers ale from Brewery Ommegang, and I’m a happy woman. For dinner, I repeat my predictable seafood pattern with their creamy, delicious shrimp and grits.

A block away at Libations & Co., expert mixologists prepare craft cocktails using the best in locally-sourced ingredients and liquors. Our home bar experience is elevated thanks to Libations owner, Seth, who not only prepares a mean Mezcal Margarita but then also instructs how to duplicate it at home with the ingredients purchased in-store.

Worth the slight jaunt out of the Downtown Lee’s Summit area, Diametric Brewing Company keeps it casual, welcoming you to bring your own food in or sample from one of the rotating food trucks there on a Friday night. My husband favors their TD Tossin’ Patrick Mahazey while I appreciate their unique, rotating selection of imperial, barrel-aged and stout brews.

Seeing Lee’s Summit through a tourist’s perspective reminds me to find joy in the small things in life, from a walk on a wooded path to a craft beer and a gourmet grilled cheese on a Friday night.