Top 5 Reasons to come to Lawrence, KS for MCN 2024

By Jennifer Talbott and Ryan Waggoner, Spencer Museum of Art

We are thrilled to be hosting the 2024 MCN Conference in Lawrence, Kansas! Situated in the heart of the Midwest and easily accessible from Kansas City International airport, Lawrence is a culturally rich, bustling college town full of exciting chef-owned restaurants, a vibrant live music scene, a walkable downtown full of local boutiques and galleries—a welcoming, inclusive, and friendly place to visit. You might not have had “travel to Lawrence, KS” on your 2024 bingo card, but we think you’ll be wowed at what Lawrence and the surrounding metro area has to offer!

So why should you come to Lawrence for MCN 2024? 

Beyond the always-excellent conference program and networking opportunities, we’ve listed five reasons your visit to the region will be memorable, engaging, and a whole lot of fun!

1. University of Kansas museums

Explore the Spencer Museum of Art, your hosts for the conference, and engage with a global collection of art in their newly renovated galleries. See the world’s largest stained-glass American flag at the Dole Institute of Politics, or experience a panorama of taxidermy animals from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair at the Natural History Museum. Fans of basketball and sports in general can view the original rules of basketball, as well as exhibits on the history and tradition of Kansas Athletics at the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, located inside historic Allen Fieldhouse.

2. Downtown Lawrence

Enjoy strolling down historic Massachusetts Street and dining at locally owned, farm-to-table restaurants, such as 715, Merchants Pub and Plate, and arguably the best burger in town at The Burger Stand. Catch a live show at famed musical venues, like Liberty Hall, which recently hosted Keanu Reeves’s band, or The Bottleneck, which has featured bands such as Radiohead and the Smashing Pumpkins. And pick up a souvenir at locally owned shops like Wonder Fair and the Raven Bookstore. Downtown Lawrence is also populated with multiple art galleries and artist spaces where you can find your new favorite necklace at Goldmakers or a fresh new work to hang in your home office at the Phoenix Gallery.

3. Outdoor adventures

Spend some time outdoors experiencing the vivid fall colors of the turning leaves of sugar maples, red oaks, and cottonwood trees. Visit here-ing, a walking labyrinth in the shape of the anatomy of the human ear created by artist Janine Antoni in collaboration with researchers at the University of Kansas. This participatory art experience is an invitation for the public to return to their bodies through intimately relating to the land. Take a walk on 22 miles of continuously urban greenway on the Lawrence Loop, or explore more than 11 miles of hiking trails through one of the most diverse habitats in all of Kansas at the Baker Wetlands. You’re likely to experience a spectacular Kansas sunset, whether you are hiking or exploring Clinton Lake, or just strolling down Massachusetts Street.

4. Kansas City Cultural Connections

Pop over to Kansas City to visit a diverse set of nationally recognized museums! Stand next to a copy of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, step up to bat at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum or catch some Jazz at the adjoining American Jazz Museum, explore the tiny world of the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures with the largest collection of miniature rooms in the world, and immerse yourself in children’s story books come to life at The Rabbit Hole. Kansas City’s downtown Crown Center also offers a number of must-see spots: Kansas City Union Station and Science City, and the National World War I Museum and Memorial, which boast the best view of downtown Kansas City by night.

5. Hometown Celebrity Encounters!

Who knows who you might spot during your travels! Home of the KC Current with its first ever sports venue built exclusively for a women’s sport, the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, and the Kansas City Royals who have had their best start in years! If sports aren’t your thing, then perhaps the potential sighting of pop-culture icons like Taylor Swift, Jason Sudeikis, and Paul Rudd will entice you! 

See you in Kansas!