North Lawrence, on the north side of the Kaw, has a distinctive character all its own.
Lawrence, Kansas lies on both banks of the Kansas River, locally known as “the Kaw.” Each part has its own character. North Lawrence played a part in Lawrence’s pre-Civil War political struggles and is still a distinctive and dynamic community within the city of Lawrence today.
Before the 1903 flood, North Lawrence included four blocks west of what is now North Second Street. Now only a little more than one block is left. The river channel was about half its present width. The flood carried away all of the east-west bound streets south of Locust Street and west of North Second Street, leaving them part of the river basin. The flood also widened the channel east of the present bridge, so that nearly one-third of North Lawrence was added to the channel of the Kaw River by the disastrous flood of 1903. Flooding is no longer the threat it once was, thanks to the Bowersock Dam.
If you are driving and approaching Lawrence from I-70 East exit on US 59, or coming from the Lawrence Municipal Airport, you will go through North Lawrence.
Our Visitors Information Center is located in the historic Union Pacific Train Depot at 402 N. 2nd. Our helpful volunteers will give you tips on what to see and do during your visit. There’s also a free video on Lawrence’s fiery history, “Lawrence: Free State Fortress.”
Motorcycle enthusiasts, check out Slowride Roadhouse Bar and Grill. Kansas City Ride Guide magazine gave it a nod in an article about the scenic rides around Lawrence and Douglas County.
North Lawrence can also claim “the most iconic bar in Kansas” according to Thrillist. Since 1953, Johnny’s Tavern has been the place to go for hamburgers and “the longest running tap in Lawrence.”
Shoppers will find a cluster of vintage, antique and home furnishing stores near the intersection of 7th and Locusts Streets. Stroll between Totter and Tillaye’s Home Goods, Amy’s Attic Interiors & Antiques, French Accent and My Father’s Daughter.
Take a coffee break at the Brewhaus or find fresh, natural dairy products and ice cream at the Iwig Dairy Local Foods Market on North Second.
Looking for a little exercise? North Lawrence has a great jogging, mountain bike, walking and dog-walk trail that was recognized in Outside Magazine as one of the top best in Kansas. The Lawrence River Trail is located along the north bank of the Kansas River and runs along the top of the flood-control levee on the outskirts of Lawrence. This crush stone 9 mile trail offers views of nearby farmland and the river as well as the downtown area of Lawrence, on the opposite bank.
In the north, the trail provides access to Riverfront Park, which features a disc golf course, off-leash dog park and a wildlife and native grass preserve. At the southeastern end of the trail, various hiking and mountain biking spur trails provide a diverse range of experiences closer to the Kansas River.
Parking is located on the southeast corner of the intersection of N. 2nd & Locust Streets. This location places you in the middle of the levee trail—4 miles in either direction before you reach a turnaround point.