Greetings from Shawnee, KS
Step into Shawnee, Kansas, and experience one of Johnson County’s bigger cities with a small-town feel. It’s the kind of place where everyone attends the town fair in the summer, but you can feel that strong sense of community all year long. Find out what else makes Shawnee so special.
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There are two excellent public school districts located in Shawnee. In Eastern Shawnee, residents flock to the Shawnee Mission School District. Whereas in Western Shawnee, students head to the De Soto School District. There are also a dozen private schools in the area to serve you and your family, including Maranatha Academy (grades K-12) and Bishop Miege High School.
In Shawnee, there are many opportunities to dine—and shop—local.
For starters, you can head to Old Shawnee Pizza for some melted cheese deliciousness and don’t forget to dip your crust in the famous green dressing. If you’re feeling like something a little lighter, head across the street and indulge in delicacies from the sea at Sushi Mido or eat under the treetops at Renée Kelly’s Harvest. (Check out the restaurant’s gorgeous patio here.)
When you’re in the mood for a Kansas City classic dish, Bates City BBQ is a must. Think: Burnt ends, slabs and rib tips all covered in homemade sauce and crispy fries.
And don’t forget the cherry on top! Curb your sweet tooth cravings at Aunt Jean’s Gelato Shop near Nieman and Johnson Drive. This cute little café rotates through 250 original flavors and is home to some pretty crazy choices, such as dill pickle, maple bacon, and peanut butter and jelly flavored gelato.
Members of the slightly older crowd can grab a beer and play some pool at Johnny’s Tavern off Shawnee Mission Parkway—or break in the new double-decker patio. Maybe microbreweries are more your thing? Head over to Barley’s Brewhaus on Midland Drive where there are always 99 beers on tap.
After you’re done refueling, stop, shop and roll over to one of Shawnee’s many specialty shops. You can start at Encore—although, as the name implies, you’ll want to come back for more because you never know what kind of charming jewelry, cute décor or flirty dresses you’ll find at this unique boutique. Or if you’re feeling a little more country, mosey on over to Nigro’s Western Store. From your head to your boots, they’ve got you covered, cowboy.
Need a super center? Don’t panic, there’s a Target in the area! It’s located at Shawnee Station alongside other stores you can’t live without, including Kohl’s, Pier 1, Bed Bath & Beyond and many more.
It’s not everyday that a carnival comes to town, which is why the whole city gets excited about “Old Shawnee Days”. This four-day festival has been popping up near Town Hall every summer for the past four decades and this year is no exception. The Shawnee tradition comes equipped with crafts, parades and of course, a Ferris wheel and other rockin’ rides.
When the carnival music fades, you can still pay a visit to Shawnee Town for carriage rides in the winter and costume contests in October. The town is currently transforming into a 1920s farm community, so you can go back in time and relive a bit of history whenever you please.
If you’re looking for some good old-fashioned indoor fun, the smallest members of your family can learn, laugh and play the day away at Wonderscope Children’s Museum. Launch golf balls, record a news broadcast, paint their face and go wild for art, science and literature in the 10 interactive exhibits.
Afterward, the whole gang can bond at PowerPlay Family Entertainment Center, which is 80,000 square feet of bumper cars, bowling, laser tag, rock walls and games.
Parks and Recreation
Detox from city life when you bike, run, fish and swim at the beautiful Shawnee Mission Park (79th and Renner). The luscious 1,250-acre park is the perfect spot to unpack your picnic or rekindle your love by the bonfire. Put your kayaking skills to the test—or just float in the middle of the 120-acre lake.
There’s also a 53-acre off-leash area and beach so your canine buddy can enjoy the park, too. When the sun goes down head next door to Theatre in the Park—the largest outdoor community theatre in the country. Each summer you can tap your toes and sing along to your favorite Broadway-style musicals (Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the—ok, ok, we’ll stop.)
Swim over to Splash Cove when the kiddos are ready to cool off. This water park features a 350-gallon conch shell, mini wave pool and 125-foot slide. Keep in mind, down the street there’s a pool for the big kids (and adults) too, complete with tube slides, diving boards and more. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, don’t move—there’s also a river with your name on it.