Disclosure: City of Bonner Springs hosted my visit. However, all opinions and photos are mine.
Bonner Springs is home to endless adventures, from acres of parks and outdoor activities to downtown shopping. A town nestled in the rolling hills a short drive from Kansas City may be one of the oldest towns in the state, but its modern attractions keep visitors coming back.
During a return visit to Bonner Springs, I explored must-experience places and got to know its residents. My stay only confirmed why I love the town so much, which is why I know you will too.
Bonner Springs is located on the edge of the Kansas River and adjacent to the railway line. It is home to 7,800 residents who appreciate its hometown vibes and proximity to metro Kansas City. The charming town offers visitors so much to do you’ll want to plan for an overnight or weekend visit.
WHERE TO STAY
Comfort Inn Bonner Springs Kansas City
Comfort Inn Bonner Springs Kansas City (13041 Ridge Drive) is the place to rest your head after a day of exploring. The hotel provides travelers with the essentials of home, including a complimentary warm breakfast to start the day.
The three-story hotel is made for every kind of traveler. Families will appreciate it for its spacious rooms and indoor swimming pool. Business travelers will find in-room desks the ideal places to plug in a laptop and get some work in between adventures in town.
Do you like to maintain a fitness routine while on the road? The hotel’s gym is designed to include exercise machines you’d expect to see, plus free weights. The room is large enough that several hotel guests can get in a workout and not get in one another’s way.
PRO TIP: Access a filtered water station in the fitness facility to refill your reusable bottle before departing for the day.
SIP & SAVOR
Oak Street Café
Starting the morning at Oak Street Café (133 Oak St.) is the power-up you need before heading out to explore the downtown area. When I walked in, a friendly voice from behind the counter exclaimed, “Welcome to Oak Street Café. Have a seat wherever you like!” After placing my breakfast order, I sat back and relaxed while listening to jazz piano music play on the TV nearby.
The locally-owned eatery’s menu includes full breakfast options plus a full page of appetizers and entreés you might expect to find in a Southern-style restaurant. Catfish bites, fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and hot wings appeal to diners who crave them. Don’t miss Southern Sundays!
PRO TIP: Ask William to package up a hard-to-resist Mariah Carey cookie to go. The restaurant partners with Mariah’s Cookies, Foodgod Fries, and Mr. Beast Burgers to provide pick-up orders, a popular service with residents.
Ten and Two Coffee Bar
What is a coffee bar? Ten and Two Coffee Barr (611 W. 2nd St.), located inside Olde Mill Properties, is one of my favorite places to hang out in Bonner Springs to enjoy a caffeinated drink and signature cocktail.
No matter the time of day, I always find something I love on their menu. If it’s the early morning, I opt for breakfast burritos and a drip coffee. In the evening, I order a creative cocktail from the seasonal menu. When unsure what to order, I leave it up to the staff to make something inventive, like a bourbon margarita.
Quentin’s BBQ and Sides
I’ve eaten at more Kansas City area barbecue restaurants than I can count, and Quentin’s BBQ and Sides (611 W. 2nd St.) ranks in the top five. It’s rare to find a bbq joint that kicks out quality, scratch-made side dishes plus excellent smoked meats.
Also located at Olde Mill Properties, Quentin’s BBQ and Sides’ menu will have you drooling before your food is delivered to the table.
I ordered mouth-watering burnt ends and mac-n-cheese, which tasted 100% delicious. You can’t go wrong with anything you order, from rings and smoked turkey to bbq nachos and Legend Mac Bowls.
Sometimes the owner likes to make off-menu creative dishes, so ask about entrees like ramen bowls.
PRO TIP: Menu items are a la carte. Take note of portion sizes. For example, BBQ Nachos are a sizable portion compared to 1/4 pound of sliced meat.
The Glass Cat
Bonner Springs was lucky when a well-revered Kansas City chef opened a breakfast and lunch eatery in town.
The Glass Cat (11657 Kaw Dr.) is the restaurant you want the world to know about once you’ve dined there. The latest addition to the town’s dining scene, it’s quickly becoming a local favorite.
With an extensive lunch menu of thoughtfully prepared appetizers, salads, and soups, my friend and I ordered Fried Goat Cheese Balls for starters. My only wish is that we had more of them.
Sandwiched between homemade bread, the chicken salad was scrumptious, and the salads served on the side or as a meal are unmistakably good.
The chef brought warm apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream adding to the delightful dining experience.
PRO TIP: Check the restaurant’s Facebook page to learn about the day’s specials, like fresh crab cakes, which sold out quickly the day we visited.
Kobi’s Bar & Grill
Locals love Kobi’s Bar & Grill (113 Oak St.) for its laid-back vibe and elevated bar and grill menu specials.
The establishment is under new ownership, and since taking over, he has added multiple TVs indoors while continuing to book live music groups to play on the outdoor deck. Locals have flocked to the bar and grill for 37 years.
Since it was Friday night, I took advantage of the steak special and ordered a ribeye and all the fixings – the comfort meal I craved while away from home. When pressed for his menu favorites, the owner suggested the Pastrami Burnt Ends Sandwich and the Surf-N-Turf dinner.
PRO TIP: Kobi’s brings the fun. Don’t miss the Joke of the Day posted on the wall, and be sure to add your dollar bill to the ceiling with the others.
Twister’s Grill & Bar
Twister’s Grill & Bar (13100 Kansas Ave.) is where you dine when you’re in the mood to watch the game and devour a delicious burger or plate of tacos with a cold beer.
During my visit, hard rock music played in the background while the College World Series aired on TV. I sat amongst families and co-workers meeting for lunch.
My al-a carte taco with chips and salsa made for a perfect lunch. Known for South of the Border favorites, El Pollo Loco, enchiladas, and burritos add to expected sports bar menu offerings.
PRO TIP: Ask for the seasonal drink menu if you desire a cocktail. Interested in the day’s food special? Check the chalkboard on the wall.
Outfield Beer Company
In search of a craft beer when in Bonner Springs? Outfield Beer Company (611 W. 2nd St.) not only serves their brews but shares the menu board with brewery favorites from across the United States. Also located in Olde Mill Properties, the neighborhood microbrewery is known for its Easy Roller Brown Ale.
I ordered a lager from KC Bier Company Dunkel to keep with the theme of supporting area breweries.
PRO TIP: Flights are unavailable; however, you can order short pours of any beers on tap to create your flight.
Cedar Ridge Disc Golf Course at North Park
Did you know that I’m learning disc golf? I’m a novice at the sport, so meeting Cedar Ridge Disc Golf Course‘s co-designer, Jared, for a quick lesson was a plus.
The 18-hole course (1200 South 134th St.) is highly rated on UDisc for its meticulous design featuring cart-friendly paths and tree-covered baskets. Flags atop each basket make them easy to spot, and the maps perfectly match each hole’s design. Cedar Ridge is easy to navigate.
Each hole can be played two ways from concrete pads. Only a couple of water hazards make it challenging. The course hosts five to seven tournaments a year.
PRO TIP: Swim at the Aquatic Park across from the disc golf course. Open season is from late May to mid-August.
Zip KC & KC Timber Challenger
If you are looking for real-deal adventure, look no further than Zip KC (12829 Loring Rd.). The zip line park is home to the KC Timber Challenge, which I witnessed first-hand while touring the grounds with the owner. The outdoor event attracts hundreds of female teams who test their strength and endurance while traversing an obstacle course.
It’s not a race but a chance to push yourself and support your besties. Obstacles like the Vertigo Bus gave me pause, so I left it to the ladies to show me how it was done. They ran the hamster wheel, crawled through muddy ball pits, and swung from ropes, cheering one another on.
Men want to be a part of the action, so much so that they dress up like ladies in tutus and dresses. If you’re interested in other events at Zip KC, the owners convert the landscape into a walkable haunted path at Halloween, complete with fright-inducing rein actors. At other times of the year, events like Ultimate Field Day and Family Timber Challenge draw a crowd.
In the air, attendees can sign up for aerial activities like the Tower Tour or Hike & Zip to fly above the tree tops from zip lines.
PRO TIP: You can also watch the KC Timber Challenge as a spectator – a great way to get in your steps as you walk the course.
The outdoor fun continues at Lions Park (300 W. Morse Ave.), where kids and adults can enjoy the high-tech playground equipment equally.
The NEOS® electronic playground equipment is designed for park visitors of all ages and abilities to promote exercise with gaming. I enjoyed selecting kid-friendly game options that played sounds from interconnected towers.
The park is also home to sports fields, a basketball court, paved walking trails, three playgrounds, and a dog park. You may catch a baseball game or practice in progress if you’re lucky.
Grip’N’Rip KC Indoor Golf & Hobby Shop
Adults and kids gravitate to Grip’N’Rip KC (611 W. 2nd) for its indoor golf simulator. Each player can play a virtual round of golf at a course of their choice. As a one-time high school golfer, I appreciate the interactive set-up, which looks and feels pretty realistic.
The shop doubles as a place where sports and Pokémon card enthusiasts can buy and trade. In an adjacent room, retro arcades beg to be played.
Antiques and boutiques dot the downtown Bonner Springs area.
A great place to shop year-round, Evenings On Oak takes place the 2nd Thursday of each month, June through October, from 5 pm-8 pm along Oak Street. Vendors, food trucks, and live music complete the farmer’s market and sip-n-shop scene.
I’m passionate about supporting local business owners, and Bonner Springs Farmers’ Market (Centennial Park) is the place to shop for farm-raised meat, honey, handmade gifts, bread, and wine. Since 2017, the market has attracted residents and visitors looking for quality products.Did you know there are over 45K acres of farmland, which accounts for 87.5 percent of all Kansas land? You support families and communities by shopping locally from a farmer or area business.
PRO TIP: Be the first to arrive at the market when it opens for the best product selection. View hours and vendor details here.
The Porch Swing Collective
Home decorators will love The Porch Swing Collective (101 S. Nettleton Ave, Suite C) for its upscale farmhouse collectibles and furniture. The store, located in the basement of a one-time office building, is the latest addition to downtown Bonner Springs.
I found the items for sale reasonably priced for a Midwest market. They have several restored cabinets with drawers to choose from if adding furniture to a home’s entryway or living space. Additionally, you’ll discover many neutral-tone lamps, sit-abouts, faux plants, and framed artwork for sale.
PRO TIP: Take your photo in front of the store’s super cool neon sign.
The Porch Swing (Boutique)
A sister store to the furniture collective, The Porch Swing (300 Oaks St.) is a clothing boutique specializing in modern fashion apparel for women. The boutique is stocked with seasonal attire, jewelry, hats, and handbags.
The curated pieces resemble high-fashion styles you see in big-city boutiques. I found it hard to resist the latest KC gear, and I still regret not buying the beaded earrings calling my name.
PRO TIP: Ask the staff about recent mark-downs.
Yowza Antiques & Sweet Shoppe
My return visit to Yowza Antiques & Sweet Shoppe (205 Oak St.) confirmed it. I need to back up a truck to this store because I want to bring home so much of the inventory.
Keeping with their #stayvintage theme, shoppers can expect to find antiques for their homes and closet. Need a retro dress? They have it. Want a set of dishes? They have it. Hoping to find a cool chair for your office? They have it.
PRO TIP: The register area also serves as a sweet shoppe where you can select from bins of old-time candy to go with a bottled soda.
Woodland & Willow
Women will appreciate shopping at Woodland & Willow for the ever-changing inventory of new arrivals. Carrying dresses, jeans, tops, and graphic t-shirts is a go-to place to try current styles.
But that’s not all! Home decor finds are tucked amongst racks of clothing and jewelry. The store’s owner is great about helping you find what you want.
Good Vibe Society
Walking into Good Vibe Society (221 Oak St.) is a delightful experience. Visually, it’s a colorful space, and the newest accent wall featuring pink tigers says, “Let’s party!”
It’s one-stop shopping for women’s clothing catering to people who prefer a bit of color in their closets. Attending an upcoming concert or going out on the town for date night? This is where you shop.PRO TIP: Look for new store features. The owner plans to add a mini bar to the back of the store.
The Small Hinge Boutique and Creative Studio
Instead of purchasing home decor, why not make it yourself? At The Small Hinge Boutique and Creative Studio (224 Oak St.), you can book a private party to paint a DIY wood project or attend a workshop class. Some workshops focus on upcoming holiday themes.
PRO TIP: If you lack time to attend a workshop, consider shopping the boutique space for a decorative sign to take home. From personalized door hangers to wall decor, you’ll find it there.
Imagine walking into a store and wanting to bring home everything you see. Owl-R-Junk Boutique (127 Oak St.) is the place. Well-stocked with fashionable clothes and home decor items, I witnessed women and men perusing the aisles.
From signage with hilarious sayings and doggy dishes to flower pots to wooden lanterns, you will find the ideal gift for yourself or someone else.
PRO TIP: Check the store’s Facebook page to catch live videos featuring the latest inventory.
Karen’s Country Kitchen
I know what I want every time I visit Karen’s Country Kitchen (300 Oak St.). Soup and dip mixes. The country store sells Amish-made food products. Since the store’s expansion, they’ve added more refrigerated coolers to house homemade pies and fresh cheese packaged to go.
Jars of jellies, pickled vegetables, and sauces are stacked tall on aisle shelves. You can’t go wrong with anything you buy at Karen’s Country Kitchen.
PRO TIP: Check the refrigerated cases for cheese samples.
ADD TO THE ITINERARY
National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame
Located at 630 N. 126th St., the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame is a museum and living history display designed to teach attendees of all ages about agricultural farm life. Take a self-guided or group tour Thursday-Saturday. The Barnyard Babies Family Festival in April draws a crowd. Don’t miss the Hall of Fame featuring the stories of inductees who contributed to agriculture in a significant way.
Why not listen to your favorite band under the stars? Azura Amphitheater (633 N. 130th St.) is an open-air venue that hosts concerts and events. Located near the Kansas Speedway and Legends Outlets, it’s a must-stop experience for music lovers.
Kansas City Renaissance Festival
Bonner Springs is the go-to spot for Kansas City Renaissance Festival-goers in October. Voted one of the best festivals and fairs in Kansas by TravelMag, it features costumed participants who perform for crowds. Visitors enjoy 16th-century culinary delights while watching jousting knights and live music.
When people ask me what Kansas town continues to evolve and improve itself, I think of Bonner Springs.
Not only are the residents some of the most welcoming ones that I’ve met, but they are genuine. Store owners joined me for dinner. Business owners took their time to tell me their entrepreneurship stories.
The town is one that I’ll repeatedly visit for a plethora of things to do and people to meet.
Endless adventures await you in Bonner Springs, Kansas.
My first visit to Bonner Springs in 2021 was just as much fun. Read The Best of Bonner Springs for details from that overnight trip, including Moon Marble Company, Wyandotte County Historical Museum, and Third Space Coffee.