The sleepy summer town is waking up, you guys! I know, I know-some of you really like your quiet Lawrence time. I don’t blame you. But I for one love experiencing the ebb and flow of energy this town has to offer all throughout the year. The students are back, yes, but with them comes an influx of dizzying excitement and happy activity. Take a minute to suspend your disbelief, if you will, and imagine what it’s like to arrive in Lawrence as a newbie, college student or not. Think of how quaint and interesting Massachusetts Street feels, how glorious the sunsets are, and how utterly delicious the food is. My challenge for you is this: take this last weekend of August and experience Lawrence like it’s the first time. Tap into that innocence and that wonder of a traveler in a new place, ready to experience art and food and culture and people, all of which has the potential to enrich and change your life. And if this Labor Day weekend is your first time in Lawrence, then the task is all the easier for you! Maybe the kids have been back to school for a bit, maybe you’ve got those end-of-summertime blues. Whatever the case may be, leave everything behind and come knocking on Lawrence’s door with a fresh perspective. We won’t disappoint you.
Final Friday’s offers an array of options for your entertainment delight-from handmade pottery to an art gallery named after a coffee maker. If you normally walk Mass St., try heading to East Lawrence instead. The up-and-coming Arts District has warehouses of art for you to peruse, a super cool coffee shop that stays open late for drinks (Decade), and a restaurant that has a food truck on the patio and a garden across the street (Bon Bon!). Yeah. And you thought you had seen it all.
On the flip side, if you frequent the east side, give the more public Mass St. a chance. The bustling sidewalks are one of my most favorite things about Lawrence. Sometimes you’ll catch a busker that didn’t leave after the Fest, a local crooner, or the hot dog cart. Fulfill all your stationery needs at Wonder Fair with a side of art gallery and publication stand or check out what’s new and handmade at the Phoenix Gallery.
Now when it comes to food, there is plenty to enjoy. If you usually go to Genovese, try Basil Leaf. If you like Leeway Frank’s, give Burger Stand a try. If you normally choose Merchants, head to 715. Then go back to Merchants Saturday night and try the crab cakes and brussel sprout salad instead of the mac and cheese. Or go to the Roost for lunch instead of breakfast. But definitely still go for breakfast, too. The possibilities are endless, people, and think of this-you have an entire Sunday more than usual to enjoy! Branch out! Try something new (you can always convince someone else at the table to get your usual so you still get a bite…). If you just absolutely have to have the gumbo when you visit Terrebonne, then savor it like you’ve never savored it before.
Okay, entertainment: it abounds! What better way to feel like an open-minded traveler-a student of the world, if you will? Here’s another question: have you ever been to the planetarium? Maybe as a kid, for a school field trip? Do you remember the lights dimming, your chair leaning back, and your eyes opening to the fantastic night sky? If you are usually intimidated by interactive exhibits, now is your chance to face that fear on your weekend adventure. The Lawrence Arts Center will be opening the Pleiades Project Friday, August 31, a collaboration between seven artists and many stars. It’s informative, it’s interactive, and it will give you the chance to experience the night sky anew.
One last thing: every Lawrence newcomer needs to go to the top of the Oread for a spectacular sunset. The view is, dare I say, the very best in Lawrence. You have the beautiful KU campus to your right and the bustling downtown to your left. And the expansive, lush green planes of Kansas? All around you. Take advantage of this long weekend and love Lawrence like you’re experiencing it for the first time all over again.
Places to Stay
Kate is a recent KU graduate and perpetual lover of words, details, and Jayhawk basketball. She is using her English degree to write both creatively and strategically. You can find more of her work on her blog, A Story By Me.