Happy National Plan For Vacation Day! If you're unfamiliar with this holiday, the U.S. Travel Association states that "it's a day to encourage Americans to plan out their vacation days for the whole year." It's also a day to encourage people to travel to unique locations around the U.S. We may be biased, but Lawrence, Kansas, has uniqueness in spades.

Here are 26 reasons to visit Lawrence in 2023, organized by month.



Blue Man Group Lied Center

Blue Man Group

February 13 & 14 | Lied Center of Kansas

Normally we're all about the pink and red color theme for Valentine's Day, but this year, we're thinking blue. Blue Man Group comes to Lawrence on tour this February. They're an internationally recognized and universally loved group for a reason, so don't miss your chance to see them live! You can buy tickets on the Lied Center website.

Final Friday

Final Fridays

The Last Friday of Every Month | Throughout Lawrence

On the last Friday of February (and every month for the rest of the year), galleries, art studios, restaurants, coffee shops, and more open their doors for an evening of art, music, and mingling. It makes for a unique evening out and is a great way to discover new talent and meet new people.



St Patrick's Day Parade

36th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade

March 17 | Downtown Lawrence

1988 may not seem that long ago compared to when the actual Saint Patrick was roaming around, but it's still a pretty decent run for an annual parade that gets bigger every year! Add a little luck to your year by coming to the 36th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade this year. It starts at 1 PM on a Friday, so it's sure to be a boisterously good time.

Anastasia at the Lied Center


March 15 | Lied Center of Kansas

The new broadway musical Anastasia, inspired by the movies, is coming to the Lied Center on March 15! The creators are Tony Award-winners, so this performance will be magical. Tickets are available on the Lied Center website.



Powwow at the Lied Center

KU Powwow and Indigenous Cultures Festival

April 8 | Lied Center of Kansas

A wide range of partners, including the KU First Nations Student Association, host presentations, dances, and more to celebrate the culture and contemporary community of Native students and residents.

Kansas Relays

Kansas Relays

April 13-15 | Rock Chalk Park

The University of Kansas hosts one of the nation's premier collegiate track & field competitions. This year is the 100th Anniversary of the start of the relays, and includes both a college and high school competition. There will be some very special Olympic track star guests at the event!

Mother Earth News Fair

Mother Earth News Fair

April 29-30 | Douglas County Fairgrounds

Discover new skills or expand your existing ones at the 2023 Mother Earth News Fair! This is a unique opportunity to interact with some of the most sought-after experts in the world of sustainability. Come ready with your questions and look forward to learning something new – directly from the source!



Busker Fest

Lawrence Busker Festival

May 26-29 | Downtown Lawrence

The Busker Festival is on! It’s our once-a-year-get-weird-weekend where you will find unusual entertainment all over historic downtown Lawrence. Join us as we celebrate the comeback with a roster of street performers from all around the world. Magicians, jugglers, musicians, acrobats, and more will perform. It’s a full-on festival with food, libations, and fun around every corner. 



St. John's Mexican Fiesta

St John's Mexican Fiesta

The Fourth Saturday in June | St. John's School

A celebration of Lawrence's Mexican American community and culture with live music, dance performances, and food vendors. This event is a Lawrence classic and will be celebrating its 41st year this June!

PRIDE in Downtown Lawrence

Lawrence PRIDE Parade & Celebration

Downtown Lawrence

Trombones, drums, costumes, rainbow flags, and all the love that we can pack on the streets - Lawrence's PRIDE Parade in honor and celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month returns this June. Affirming, inclusive, and definitely fun.


Juneteenth Celebration

June 17 at 12 PM

All are invited to attend this joyful celebration of African American heritage and the contributions of Black Americans throughout the community and the nation. Activities include live music and entertainment, vendors, food, and more.

Free STate Festival Ann Dean Photo

Photo by Ann Dean

Free State Festival

June 27 - July 3 | Lawrence Arts Center & Liberty Hall

Your chance to see and celebrate the art of film. From their site:

"The Free State Festival celebrates the free spirit of the state Kansas with films that challenge, inspire, and entertain. This signature annual event brings independent films, live music, comedy and art installations to venues across the vibrant college town of Lawrence. The festival is made possible through programming support from community partners and its sponsoring organization, the Lawrence Arts Center."



Douglas County Fair

Douglas County Fair

July 24-29 | Douglas County Fairgrounds

The height of summer means only one thing- the return of the fair to the fairgrounds. The Douglas County Fair experience includes live music, carnival attractions, tractor-pulling and demolition derbies, and 4-H award ceremonies. This event has got a real, old-fashioned, heart of America feel to it.



Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championship in Downtown Lawrence Kansas

Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships

The Fourth Sunday in August | South Park

Every August, the state's best roots and Americana performers gather at South Park, providing guests with free competition concerts and jam sessions. Bring your blankets or lawn chairs, and keep an eye out for artists and food vendors!

Civil War on the Border logo Watkins Museum of History

Civil War on the Border

August | Watkins Museum of History

Immerse yourself in the Bleeding Kansas era and discover the significance of the region's role in the American Civil War. A series of lectures, tours, and other events explore the area's history during Bleeding Kansas and the Border War.

Kaw River Roots Festial

Kaw River Roots Festival

August | Abe & Jake's Landing

2 days of roots, bluegrass, and Americana music along the bank of the Kansas River at the historic Abe & Jake’s Landing. The festival features multiple stages (indoors and outside), incredible local food and beverages, and convenient hotel accommodations adjacent to the venue.



Dancer at the Haskell Indian Art Market

Haskell Indian Art Market

First Weekend in September | Haskell Indian Nations University 

Shoppers swarm Haskell Indian Nations University to browse the jewelry, pottery, carving, paintings, and other artwork at the annual Haskell Indian Art Market. The University hosts Native artists from across the continent for one of the largest authentic-Native markets, showcasing original, handmade items. Food vendors, concerts, and dance performances are also part of the celebration! 

Tailgating at KU Football Game

KU Football Season

First Home Game - September 2 | David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium

There's nothing quite like gameday in autumn. Come for the game, stay for the weekend, and experience the crisp fall air and changing colors while experiencing the fun of a college football game and all the tailgating that comes with it.

September Sidewalk Sale

Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale

September | Downtown Lawrence

This Lawrence tradition is a crowd favorite! It used to happen the third weekend of July, but somewhere along the way we all kind of collectively agreed that July was more of a swimming pool and Clinton Lake kind of month, so now the big sale happens in September. Merchants throughout downtown Lawrence bring their best bargains onto the sidewalks for a sunup-to-sundown shopping spree.

Art in the Park

Art in the Park

September 16-17 | South Park

The Lawrence Art Guild's biggest event occurs every September in the shade-filled South Park, south of Downtown Lawrence. Hundreds of artists gather to showcase their work, and something can be found in every medium. Live music plays from the gazebo, the crown jewel at the center of the park, and food trucks park on the closed stretch of Massachusetts Street. 

Great Plains Art & Music Festival

Great Plains Art & Music Festival

September 30 | Sesquicentennial Point

Celebrate the artistic and musical talent of the Great Plains region. A diverse lineup of local and regional performers will entertain, and artist vendors will sell their handmade products at this outdoor festival. Food trucks will offer a variety of cuisines and flavors. Remember your blankets and chairs!



Kaw Valley Farm Tour Cat

Kaw Valley Farm Tour

First Weekend in October | Throughout the Kaw Valley

Spend a fall weekend exploring the farms and agriculture of the Kaw Valley region. Have breakfast on a farm, discover unique artisans, view nurseries, greenhouses, and pumpkin patches, and sample wines produced at local vineyards. Only one ticket is required per vehicle, so plan your tour and pack the family for a weekend of authentic farming fun.

belgian waffle ride

Belgian Waffle Ride

October 13-15 | Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop

Welkom to the most unique cycling event in the US! Cyclists travel from all over to participate in this 123 mile gravel/unroad race (though if that sounds intimidating, there are 76 and 39 mile race options). The weekend is complete with the BWR Expo featuring vendors, community partners, entertainment, and a beer garden. In the evening, the live music street parties happen. 2022's BWR had amazing street concerts performed by G. Love & Special Sauce and The Get Up Kids. What will 2023 bring?

Late night in the phog 2022 in Lawrence Kansas KU Basketball

Basketball Season

Kicks off with Late Night in the Phog | Mid-October | Allen Fieldhouse

If Lawrence, Kansas, is known for one thing, it's college basketball. Allen Fieldhouse repeatedly wins awards and online contests for best student section and best overall home-court environment. It's widely known to beware of the Phog - it even says as much on a banner above the court. The excitement and hype at a KU home basketball game are truly a wonder to behold. The season kicks off every year with Late Night in the Phog, a free celebration introducing both KU basketball teams and usually featuring a seriously big entertainer or two.

Rev it up car show

Rev it Up! Hot Rod Hullabaloo

September 30 | South Park

Rockabilly music, food trucks, and a competitive gathering of vintage cars, hot rods, and motorcycles- all open to the public and supporting the Ballard Community Center. Last year's Hullabaloo had a record number of vehicles participating, and this year's event is expected to be even bigger! The party goes from 8 AM to 3 PM, is free to attend, and has fun activities for the whole family.


Kansas Half Marathon 5K

Kansas Half Marathon & 5K

November 11 | South Park

For those willing to brave any potentially chilly November weather, sign up for the Kansas Half Marathon & 5K! It benefits the Heartland Community Health Center, so you'll be running for a good cause.

Santa Rescue

50th Annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony & Santa Rescue

November 24 | Downtown Lawrence

Don't miss one of Lawrence's most famous traditions! The Friday after Thanksgiving, folks swarm downtown to see the trees along the downtown length of Massachusetts St lit up with festive holiday string lights, an official start to the holiday season. Kids delight in the spectacle of Santa "crashing" into the roof of the 3 story Weaver's Department Store, before being rescued bravely by the local fire department and their very, very tall firetruck ladders.



Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade

30th Annual Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade

First Saturday of December | Downtown Lawrence

The Lawrence Christmas Parade is one of the most unique parades in the nation. Watching authentic horse-drawn carriages parading down Massachusetts Street is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Cozy up with hot cocoa and blankets. Feel the true holiday spirit while watching dozens of beautiful horses and wagons adorned in garland and bells. Join us to celebrate American heritage and keep our tradition alive this holiday season, for the 30th year in a row!


Events in Lawrence, KS


Plan your day of Unmistakably Lawrence, Kansas fun with our online events calendar and discover great events, fairs, festivals, activities and things to do!