dog-friendly kansas city with a dog at the park
Loose Park

As Kansas City midtown locals, we love getting our lab-mix pup out to our local parks! While some may think that there aren’t many options around the downtown and midtown neighborhoods, we have found there to be several dog-friendly walking parks that we love to frequent.

What makes for a great park that your pup will love? It’s not just about open spaces – it’s about the overall environment. We visit parks with well-maintained paths and ample space. It’s even better when the park has access to water and waste stations (and several do!). And in general, we frequent parks that have natural beauty and are a joy to spend time at. 

Whether you’re visiting Kansas City, Missouri with your pup or are a local who has recently become a dog-parent (sending good vibes for those early puppy weeks), we’re sharing our local recommendations for Kansas City’s best dog-friendly parks!

Kansas City’s Best Dog-Friendly Parks

1. Loose Park

Neighborhood: South Country Club Plaza
Walking Path Length: 1.2 mile loop

We love Loose Park – as does much of the rest of midtown. Fortunately, this historic park is expansive. There are several walking paths throughout the park with the main one located around the perimeter. 

Inside the park boundaries is a pond, playground, and ample green space – 75 acres, in fact. This is our choice for when we are wanting to bring a blanket to lounge on in between frisbee throws. There are several dog-owners with the same intent, so just be mindful that there may be temporarily off-leash dogs chasing a ball. Fortunately, there is so much space that you can easily find yourself an area away from any other pups. 

jacob loose park kansas city, mo
Loose Park

2. Gillham Park

Neighborhood: Midtown
Walking Path Length: 1 mile loop

Gillham Park feels like a hidden gem. It’s long and narrow, bordered on one side by some rocky outcroppings, which actually have a short dirt path that is accessible from the midpoint of the stairs. 

The path is mostly flat with a small hill on the north end.

The large trees make it a great option for lounging on a blanket after a walk around the loop. There is a water fountain with a lower bowl for dogs. You can lengthen your walk by heading north along Gillham Rd. to Hyde Park. There is a dog waste station nearby at “The Slabs” – an old neighborhood pool that has been turned into a skate park. 

Gillham Park is located in Hyde Park, which has several streets of beautiful historic homes to stroll by. The land was turned into a park in 1902. Just north of the walking park is The Park Department building at 39th Street and Gillham Road, which was built in 1905-1906, with an addition made in 1914. The building housed horses used for work in the parks and boulevards, wagons, tools, storage sheds and an office. 

Gillham Park
Gillham Park

3. Berkley Riverfront Trail

Neighborhood: Rivermarket
Walking Path Length: 1.3 miles, one way

The Berkley Riverfront Trail stretches along the Missouri River. The route is scenic with views of architectural bridges and several historical signposts along the way. The path is well-paved and flat. 

We typically start at the Town of Kansas Bridge, which is a neat overlook at the Missouri River. It does require you to walk down several flights of stairs. Alternatively, you can start down at the river to avoid stairs.

If your pup needs additional activity, Bar K is located just off the trail – it’s an expansive dog park with an outdoor bar. There is a small entry fee for those who do not have a membership.

In addition to wide-open grounds secured by fences for large dogs, Bar K has a small dog park (25 lbs. and under) equipped with play equipment.

After a long walk, we like to go to the River Bluff Brewing Co. – just one of the many breweries in Kansas City with a dog-friendly patio.

town of kansas bridge
Town of Kansas Bridge

4. Mill Creek Park

Neighborhood: Country Club Plaza
Walking Path Length: 1 mile loop

Mill Creek Park is adjacent to the lovely Country Club Plaza. It’s surrounded by greenery and is home to one of Kansas City’s most iconic fountains. 

The path is well-paved and frequented by both walkers and runners. 

5. Kauffman Legacy Park

Neighborhood: Midtown
Walking Path Length: 1 mile loop

Amongst the urban midtown is a conservation center with an adjoining park. The Kauffman Legacy Park features a well-paved trail that loops a pond and meanders into a lovely garden. 

Included on the property is the 10-acre discovery center that features a beautifully manicured display of native habitats including woods, wetland and prairie. Throughout the paths are signposts explaining the various habitats along the route. 

Due to the nature of the native gardens, you’ll definitely want to keep your dog on a leash. 

Don’t confuse this area with the nearby Kauffman Memorial Garden, which does not allow dogs.

Anita B Gorman Discovery Center
Anita B Gorman Discovery Center

Honorable Mentions

These technically aren’t walking parks, but we also love bringing our pup to the expansive lawn beneath the Liberty Memorial – it’s ideal for lounging on a blanket and playing frisbee. The same goes for the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum.

Staying for a weekend? You’ll want to read our list of Kansas City’s best hotels that allow dogs.