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Things to Do in Lawrence

The Arts

Lawrence has an active arts scene.  In Villani’s book, The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America, Lawrence ranked 15th.  We are also 12th among US cities with the largest percentage of artists living and working in the community.  It is safe to say that art is alive and well here!  In downtown Lawrence you can see outdoor sculptures up and down the streets.  Works by many local artists are displayed in several downtown businesses.  In addition, there are year-round art exhibits, openings, and art related events.

  • Final Fridays: The last Friday of each month downtown Lawrence hosts an art walk. The art galleries are all open, featuring the work of local, national, and international artists.
  • Lawrence Arts Center: Located on New Hampshire St. between 9th St. and 10th St., the Lawrence Arts Center puts on exhibits for local artists year round.
  • Lied Center: Located just to the west of the main campus, the Lied Center is a KU center for performing arts. It puts on productions ranging from Broadway shows to Avant garde performances and features local, university, and both national and international talent.
  • Spencer Museum of Art: Located on campus, this KU museum houses thousands of works of art.   

Music and Nightspots

Lawrence is a true college town with a lot of activity both day and night.  Many, but not all, nighttime activities center on music. You can find many styles of music downtown, including Jazz, Afrobeat, Rock, Indie, Blues, Punk, Metal, Hip Hop, Soul, and a variety of cross genre styles.  Check out http://www.lawrence.com for a current listing of bands. For some music and nightspots, you have to be 21 years old to enter, for others you don’t.  In the United Statesyou must be at least 21 years of age to buy or drink alcohol. If you are YOUNGER than 21, it is ILLEGAL to drink alcohol, and you can get in serious trouble.

Here are some popular nightspots:

Live Music Bars 

Sports Bars (may offer food as well)

Dance Bars

Movie Theaters

  • Southwind Theaters (3433 Iowa, near 23rd)  Monday-Thursday evening movies are discounted with your KU ID. See http://www.fandango.com/lawrence_+ks_movietimes for ticket prices for specific movies and times.
  • Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts, at 7th)  They show artistic and independent films.  Liberty Hall also rents a large variety of international videos.
  • Student Union Activities (SUA) may show popular movies for free throughout the semester. Check out their events calendar for more information: http://suaevents.com.

Sports and Recreation

You’ll find that sports and recreation are important parts of Lawrence life.  Here are some ways to relax during your free time:

Walking Tour of Old West Lawrence:

  • For a taste of a stereotypical small-town residential neighborhood, take a walking tour of Old West Lawrence.  Located around Louisiana Street between 6th and 9th Streets, Old West Lawrence is an eclectic neighborhood about five minutes from downtown Lawrence. The homes were built between the late 1800s and the 1930s for Lawrence’s elite and represent several well-known varieties of architecture.  Many are listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Lawrence Parks

City of Lawrence Recreation Centers