Updated: Sep 9
This month we are traveling to middle America to a tiny base in Kansas' first city...Fort Leavenworth. Located just outside Kansas City and across the Missouri river, this small town and Army post host a perpetual revolving door of service members. Since so many service members pass through the main gate at Fort Leavenworth during their careers, we thought we would feature them as August's Bucket List Monday installation.
We decided to divide the Fort Leavenworth Duty Station Bucket List into 4 categories: Leavenworth, KS, Kansas City, Surrounding Areas, and On Post,
Leavenworth, KS Having just spent a year there it is so fun to share all the fantastic things there is to do in this quaint town. I am excited to showcase this small town of Leavenworth with some favorites from many of my friends (and mine too) from our time there.
You can't possibly go to Leavenworth and not go to our favorite local restaurants:
The Suburban is a Leavenworth staple! The all American cuisine is unmatched and the fun and lighthearted ambiance is even better. The Suburban is great for a date night, girl's night, or just to hang out. When you go you HAVE to try the suburban burger - its both mine and my husband's favorite dish! They also have a brunch option. Be sure to check their hours. At the time of this writing it is open Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 10 pm.
You can't spend any amount of time in Leavenworth and not hear someone talking about The Depot. This breakfast/lunch/brunch restaurant is located in an old train depot (hence the name) and truly makes you feel like family while you're there. On weekends they boast plate sized cinnamon rolls that you have to be early to get before they sell out! Whether you dine in or take out, be sure you grab a few of their donut muffins (which are even better than they sound). The Depot is open daily 7 am - 1:30 pm
Tampico Mexican Restaurant was one of our family's favorite (and most visited) restaurants in Leavenworth. If you like good mexican food for a great price, you MUST stop by and dine in or do as we did and take out for a casual but delicious dinner at home. Our family raves over the flautas, green rice, and tomatillo enchildas. I'm salivating just thinking about them! This restaurant is closed on Sundays so be sure to catch them one of the other days of the week.
Harbor Lights Coffee Shop is one I never made it to but so many friends recommended it to me that we obviously had to include it. This family owned cafe and coffee shop has been a part of the Leavenworth community since 1996! One thing that EVERYONE who recommended Harbor Lights to me said is "get their cheesecake". Since I never made it there, you have to go and get the cheesecake for me!
One thing I loved about living in a small town is that there is ALWAYS a festival, farmers market, concert, movie in the park, or some other event to go to!
Our favorite was Camp Leavenworth in downtown. There were bounce houses for days, artists, multiple bands, delicious food, and lots of local vendors to shop with. Highly recommend you check it out this fall!
And because the list just isn't complete without this, you HAVE to go to the Carousel Museum. Find yourself looking for something to do on a cold or rainy Saturday? Drop in and take a few rides! Our kids had the time of their lives and it's only a few mins from post.
There is absolutely no shortage of things to do in Kansas City. Below are some things from my family's own Duty Station Bucket List:
⭐Kansas City Zoo - a large and fantastic zoo! We went for the first time when I was 36 weeks pregnant with Ellie and it was 100* so I would not recommend that, but it is so fun. Plan for the whole day there to do it all, or go several times and break it up!
⭐Union Station - one we didn't get check off but a good friend of mine raves about the model train museum and the street car!
⭐National WWI Museum and Memorial - this memorial and museum are phenomenal. Our family visited Memorial Day Weekend and it was FREE for service members and half price for dependents. Even on a day that is full price, it is well worth the price of admission.
⭐Kansas City Sports (Chiefs, Royals, Monarchs, Sporting KC, Kansas City Speedway) - there is no shortage of sporting events in Kansas City. Sometimes you can get tickets through MWR or CGSC for different events! We weren't able to hit as many as we had hoped, but we were able to go to a Royals game and it did not disappoint!
⭐Joe's BBQ - this is an institution in Kansas City and you HAVE to go get some delicious KC BBQ if you're stationed at Leavenworth. My sweet husband missed our family's visit to Joe's, but my parents, kids, and I got to get a taste of delicious BBQ. You have to go to the original location in the old gas station with the green roof.
Next we are covering activities in the greater KC area!
🍎 Applefest in Weston, MO. Usually late September - early October, this festival is fun for the whole family. The streets of downtown Weston are lined with vendors, there are tons of fall themed activities, delicious apple treats and beverages, & a parade to top it off!
🌷 Fun Farm in Kearny, MO. This fam has SO much to do you could spend a whole day there and not hit it all. In the late summer/early fall they have peach/apple picking, in the fall they are set up for all things pumpkins, and in the spring they have the most beautiful tulip festival! Spend the day playing on the huge obstacle course, riding burlap sack slides, climbing on a treehouse village, petting farm animals, jumping on the blog, snacking from their fantastic food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and shopping in their store. It's a bit of a drive but you won't regret it!
🍁 There's no shortage of fall activities in KS! Kerby Farm located in Bonner Springs and Meuschke Farms in Lawrence both have lots to offer even if you don't buy pumpkins. Also, right in Lansing you should stop by Cider Hill Family Orchard for apple picking, apple cider doughnuts, cider, and other delicious treats!
🌻 Take Sunflower Photos. You can't live in Kansas and not get sunflower photos done. It's a tradition for residents of the Sunflower State. Lots of local photographers set up sessions when the golden flowers bloom in late Aug - mid Sept.
✉️🎅 Mail Letters to Santa - and other fun things at Legends! Just a short drive to KCK is Legends, where Target, Chick-fil-a, the Outlets, and more are located. But in addition to that you can visit Great Wolf Lodge, play arcade games at Dave & Busters, shop, eat, watch movies, and mail letters to Santa at Christmas!
On Post - Fort Leavenworth
There is something special about life in Leavenworth. There is a common feeling around post that is unlike anywhere else we’ve ever been.
And that’s not to say community doesn’t exist other places, it clearly does. But the community at Leavenworth is unmatched.
The post is more like a quaint college campus than an Army base with gorgeous mature trees and historic brick buildings that overlook the Missouri River. It is by far the prettiest post we have been to (although we haven’t been to Hawaii).
There are certain things that are a rite of passage at Leavenworth. Like getting your hair cut from the USDB barber shop or stopping by the USDB Sales Store to pick up items uniquely made by US Disciplinary Barracks inmates.
But nothing that happens in your years at Leavenworth compares to the bonds you form in your time there. Your street becomes your family.
In our year there, our neighborhood had weekly fire pits in the summer, fall, and spring while our kids ran the cul-de-sac playing for hours with the many built in friends that come from living in peer group housing. In the winter when temps dropped, we had regular game nights in someone’s home, shared dinners together, and of course took way too many sledding trips down the snow covered hills.
I think one of my favorite on post moments from our year in Leavenworth was Halloween. I have never experienced a more fun and inviting holiday than Halloween evening wandering the packed streets of Fort Leavenworth!
The year was far from perfect (no military assignment ever is) but it was the perfect year for community and it has created a special place in my heart for Fort Leavenworth.