Moving to Independence

Welcome to your comprehensive guide to relocating to Independence, MO! As the fifth-largest city in Missouri, offering a blend of vibrant urban life with small-town friendliness, a move to Independence is a brilliant choice. Famed as the hometown of President Harry S. Truman and as the starting point for the historic Oregon Trail, Independence promises a rich historical playground alongside a thriving contemporary scene. Let us take you through all you need to know for your exciting upcoming move to this unique gem in the heartland of America.

Moving to Independence, MO landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Independence

1. History Buff's Paradise

Get ready to take a step back in time! Independence, MO, is a treasure trove of American history. Known as the 'Queen City of the Trails', it was the launching pad for pioneers on the Oregon, Santa Fe, and California Trails. Visit historic sites like the Truman Library and Museum, dedicated to America's 33rd President and local hero, Harry S. Truman, or take a mule-drawn wagon ride through the heart of the city.

2. Affordable Living

Here's some good news for your wallet; Independence ranks below the national average for cost of living. Housing, groceries, health, utilities, and transportation costs are all wallet-friendly. You get all the advantages of city living without the hefty price tag associated with other metropolitan areas.

3. Yummy Bites Waiting Everywhere

Adjust those taste buds! Independence is a haven for food lovers. Get your fill of authentic Missouri barbecue; visit A Little BBQ Joint and try their Mudpie - a decadent dessert that's a local favorite. For some unique and unforgettable Italian dishes, there's V's Italiano Ristorante, a city landmark for over 60 years!

4. Secret Treat: Sanders' Chocolate & Ice Cream

Here's one of those unique tidbits that many might not know. Tucked away on the historic Independence Square is a little piece of choco-paradise: Clinton's Soda Fountain. This is where President Truman held his first job. Today, it serves up mouthwatering ice cream and chocolates. Enjoy a sundae sitting at the original marble counter; it's an experience and a history lesson in one!

5. Sports Galore

Fancy yourself a sports enthusiast? Independence, MO doesn't disappoint. It's just a short drive away from Kansas City - home to the NFL's Chiefs and MLB's Royals. Plus, Independence itself hosts the Kansas City Mavericks, an ice hockey team that's sure to have you on the edge of your seat during the winter months.

6. A Friendly Bunch

Independence takes southern hospitality to a whole new level. Friendly faces greet you everywhere. The sense of community in this city is pretty darn strong, with various town events running throughout the year. From the Santa-Cali-Gon Days festival that celebrates the city's pioneer heritage, to the community-driven Halloween and Christmas events, you're bound to feel welcomed, in no time!

7. The Hidden Wonder: The Vaile Mansion

Did you know Among the city's more unusual attractions is Vaile Mansion? This hidden gem is a beautifully restored 19th-century mansion built by a local entrepreneur. It boasts 31 rooms and 9 marble fireplaces, and it comes dressed in bright holiday attire during the annual Victorian Christmas tour. This isn't something Google usually tells you!

Independence, MO is a city that beautifully blends old-world charm with modern amenities. Its timeless character, rich history, affordable living, delicious food, sports, welcoming community, hidden secrets and more make it a great place to settle down. If you've got your moving boxes ready, Independence, MO is waiting to welcome you with open arms!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Independence

Pros of Living in Independence

Rich History and Cultural Heritage

As the starting point of the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon trails, Independence is steeped in history and offers a variety of historical attractions. The city plays host to the National Frontier Trails Museum, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and his home, offering residents and visitors insight into the pioneer and presidential history.

Suburban Lifestyle with City Convenience

Independence provides a balance between a peaceful suburban lifestyle and the facilities of the big city life. It is a part of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which means residents enjoy all the distinct advantages of suburban living, like safety and community, while also having access to Kansas City's amenities and infrastructure.

Affordable Cost of Living

Compared to other areas in the country, Independence offers a lower cost of living. This makes it a desirable place for people who seek to maintain a reasonable standard of living, without breaking the bank. Expenses like groceries, healthcare, and utilities are generally less expensive than the national average.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

Independence boasts several parks and recreational areas like George Owens Nature Park, Little Blue Trace Trail and Blue Springs lake offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. This can be an ideal place for nature lovers who enjoy hiking, walking, fishing, or picnicking amidst picturesque settings.

Good Dining Scene

Independence features a diverse dining scene with a mix of local eateries and popular chains. The city is particularly known for its barbecue, but also offers a broad range of cuisines from around the world accommodating different taste palettes.

Cons of Living in Independence

Weather Extremes

The city of Independence experiences quite a bit of weather extremes, with hot, humid summers and pretty cold winters. If you're not a fan of these weather conditions, you might find it challenging to adapt to the Independence climate.

Higher Crime Rates

Although it's working on improvement, Independence historically has had a higher crime rate compared to the national average. This includes both property crime and violent crime, and can be a factor to consider when deciding whether to move to the area.

Limited Public Transportation

Independence is somewhat lacking in terms of public transportation. While there are bus services available, the routes and schedules may not be as extensive or convenient as in larger cities. Therefore, having a personal vehicle can be crucial for getting around.


Although the overall cost of living is quite reasonable in Independence, healthcare costs can be higher than the national average. If you require regular medical care, this is something to consider when thinking about moving to the area.

Employment Opportunities

The job market in Independence may not be as diverse or robust as larger metropolitan areas. People working in certain industries may find it more difficult to find job opportunities within the city, and may have to commute to neighboring cities like Kansas City.

Modern day picture of Independence, MO highlighting pros and cons of living in Independence, MO

Is Independence a Good Place to Live?

Independence, MO is a great place to live because of its rich historical heritage, friendly neighborhoods, and bustling economy. The city's parks, festivals, and museums offer a diverse array of recreational activities, while its low cost of living, and quality school system make it an attractive place to call home. Furthermore, its close proximity to Kansas City provides easy access to more extensive amenities and entertainment options.

What Is Independence Famous For?

The Start of the Oregon Trail

Independence, MO is famous for being the primary "jumping-off" point for the Oregon Trail, a major migration route that settlers used in the mid-1800s to move west. Explorers, traders, and settlers gathered with their wagons in Independence before embarking on the grueling journey.

Truman's Hometown

Independence is probably best known as the hometown of President Harry S. Truman. Truman spent most of his life in Independence, and visitors can explore his legacy by touring his home, presidential library and museum, and his well-loved walking route in the city.

Pioneer Trails Adventures

Another piece of Independence's wild west history is preserved in the form of Pioneer Trails Adventures. These covered wagon tours offer a fun way to explore the city, complete with guides dressed in period attire who share stories of the city's past, from the Oregon Trail to the days of outlaws and lawmen.

Vale Mansion and Historic Site

This exquisite 19th-century Italianate mansion and its beautiful estate offers a glimpse into the affluent lifestyle of the era. The 31-room mansion belonging to local businessman Harvey Vaile is filled with antique furnishings and features, including stunning hand-painted ceilings, marble fireplaces, and a nine-foot tall solid mahogany staircase. Check out the official website of Vaile Mansion and Historic site for more details.

Capital building of Independence, MO in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, the property tax rate in Independence, MO is around 1.69%. This is considerably lower than the national average of approximately 1.07%, making Independence an attractive option for real estate investments.

Sales Tax

In 2023, the sales tax rate in Independence is 8.6%, which is higher than the US median of about 7.12%. Residents may find everyday items a little more expensive due to the high sales tax rate.

Income Tax

Independence, MO residents are subjected to a flat income tax rate of 5.4% in 2023. This is quite close to the national average which is around 4.6%, so residents will find the income tax rate to be competitive with most other states in the US.

Housing Market

The housing market in Independence, MO, offers significant affordability compared to the national average. As of 2020, the median home value was around $123,000, considerably lower than the US median above $200,000. Rent is equally affordable with a median monthly rent of almost $900, compared to the national figure of approx $1,100. Despite lower costs, the market is somewhat competitive and homes sell quickly. Whether you are considering buying or renting, Independence provides an economical alternative without compromising on quality, making it an attractive choice for many.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Independence, MO is relatively low compared to other American cities. It scores a 84.6 on the cost of living index, compared to the national average of 100. Particularly, housing costs are notably cheaper, contributing substantially to the lower overall cost. This offers a compelling advantage for those seeking affordable living conditions. Nonetheless, additional factors such as income levels, taxes, and personal lifestyle should also be considered when evaluating overall affordability.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Independence, MO experiences a typically midwestern climate with distinct seasons. Summers are typically hot and humid with average high temperatures around 90degF, often coupled with thunderstorms. Winters can be quite cold with averages around 30degF, sometimes experiencing snowfall. Autumn and spring provide comfortably moderate temperatures, often seen as the most pleasant times of year. More extreme weather events can occur, including tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, particularly in the favorable conditions of the spring and early summer months. As part of the "Tornado Alley", Independence has a higher-than-average risk of tornadoes. The city also stands a risk from other natural disasters such as floods, particularly around the Missouri River, and occasional ice storms in winter. Despite these occasional extreme events, the climate in Independence largely contributes to the city's charm and attraction.

Typical weather in Independence, MO

Economy & Job Market

* Health Care and Social Assistance

* Retail Trade

* Manufacturing

* Education Services

* Accommodation and Food Services

Independence, Missouri has a rich history rooted in frontier and pioneer activity, and today this city serves as the headquarters for multiple sectors. Key industries include healthcare, retail, manufacturing and education. The city's location right at the heart of the country has always given it an economic advantage, initially as a crucial starting point for westward expansion during the mid-19th century. Today, it continues to be a strategic position, facilitating extensive trade and business operations. The city has seen significant growth in the healthcare sector, making it a hotspot of employment in the health-related fields. The retail trade, backed by a number of stores and shopping centers, provides huge job opportunities. Similarly, manufacturing and education services have also blossomed, continually invigorating Independence's economy.

If you're contemplating relocating to Independence, MO, get ready to immerse yourself in a vibrant job market. Based on recent studies, the employment rate is steadily improving. The city flaunts a lower unemployment rate compared to the national average, which is quite promising. The healthcare sector leaps out as one of the ideal fields to seek employment, followed by retail and manufacturing. Education sector too is quite impressive with several opportunities in both public and private institutions. If you're someone who loves whipping up a delicious meal or providing accommodations, the city's booming tourism industry is always in need of services. Hospitality is indeed a key aspect of the local economy. Independence, with its diverse domains, provides not just an assortment of jobs but also a lively, friendly and exciting living atmosphere.

Traffic and Transportation

Hey you, adventurous soul looking to understand the ins and outs of traffic and transportation in Independence, MO. On average, most folks have a commute time of about 20 minutes. Not too shabby, eh? Now, let's talk public transport. The 'IndeBus' is the hero of the city - it's reliable, efficient and can take you wherever your heart desires. However, if flying is more your speed, the Kansas City International Airport, just a couple of jumps away, will tickle your travel fancy. So, whether you're up in the clouds or on the ground, Independence, MO has got your transportation needs sorted. Enjoy the ride, my friend!

What is the traffic like in Independence, MO?

Best Neighborhoods in Independence

1. Historic Independence Square

For those with an appreciation of history, Independence Square might be the ultimate spot. Known as the "Queen City of the Trails," this area greeted pioneers heading west during expansion. The neighborhood oozes charm with its historical preservations, commemorative statues, and a gold-dome courthouse that can make a history buff swoon. Independence Square isn't just for history lovers. It boasts a bevy of independent shops, restaurants, and art galleries, perfect for those who enjoy boutique shopping and delectable eats. Plus, it's in walking distance to a cozy local farmer's market, popping up as a cherry on top!

2. Blackburn

Blackburn, with its sought-after schools and well-kept parks, is best described as family-friendly. There's a strong sense of community here, with annual events like the Blackburn Park Summer Concert Series and Fall Festival. If you're into outdoor activities, you're lucky! The community contains a public swimming pool and several playing fields. You'll be hard-pressed to find a closer-knit neighborhood than Blackburn!

3. Bundschu Place

Bundschu Place is the 'cool kid' on the neighborhood block, offering a blend of modernity with an artsy twist! This neighborhood is perfect for those seeking a hip lifestyle. Here, you'll find trendy eateries and vibrant markets. The architecture is an eclectic mix of styles where art-deco lofts and traditional homes exist side by side. The Skateboard Park is a favorite hangout spot for the younger crowd, while innovative theatres draw a wide-ranging audience of arts lovers.

4. Country Club Gardens

Everyone is friendly in Country Club Gardens! It's a neighborhood with a distinctive suburban feel, decked with tree-lined streets and traditional homes. If quietude is your jam, you'll love it here. The Drumm Farm Golf Club is the neighborhood's hotspot, perfect for spending a relaxing Sunday with family and friends. Plus, with grocery stores, churches, schools, and recreational centers just a stone's throw away, convenience is a package deal!

5. Glendale

Imagine living in a place where neighbors are friendly, the corner store is two steps from your front door, and you can enjoy the charm of homes that are drenched in history. Welcome to Glendale! This neighborhood is a diverse blend of retired folks and young families. The local Glendale Elementary School is the core of the neighborhood's life. With its well-maintained libraries, parks, and community centers, this place naturally becomes a favorite.

So, whether you're a history buff, a family-focused parent, a contemporary bohemian, a peace-loving retiree, or a community-centred individual, Independence has a neighborhood for you. Each area in this friendly little city has its own charm and features, awaiting to be explored. So, take a deep breath, soak in the welcoming Midwestern spirit, and get ready to call one of these vibrant neighborhoods home!

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Things to Do

Get ready for a surprise, because Independence, MO, is about to blow your mind! Stashed away in the sweet heart of America, Independence is positively teeming with historic charm, unique places to visit and heaps of fun activities. Whether you're moving to the city or just visiting, you're in for a treat. Here are seven top things to do in Independence that will make you fall head over heels for this lovely city.

1. Take a Stroll Back in Time at the Independence Square

Start your Independence adventure off by taking in the historic Independence Square. Chock-full of unique shops, flavorful eateries, and charming brick-and-mortar storefronts, it's the perfect place to immerse yourself in the spirit of Independence. Don't forget to look for the historic markers scattered around the Square for a feel of the rich past that this city carries with pride.

2. Explore the Mystery of the 1859 Jail, Marshal's Home & Museum

If the walls of the 1859 Jail could talk, oh the stories they'd tell! This eerily captivating historic museum gives you a glimpse into the mid-19th century prison life. From the jail cells that housed notorious criminals to the marshal's living quarters, this visit will leave you with a feeling of both trepidation and fascination.

3. Get Refreshed at Leila's Hair Museum

For a little dose of the unusual, step into Leila's Hair Museum - the only museum of its kind in the world. Displaying an enormous collection of hair art made with human hair, Leila's single-handedly revives the 18th-century craft of hair decoration. You might find it a little quirky at first, but soon enough, you'll be thoroughly engrossed.

4. Lose Yourself in Little Blue Trace Nature Reserve

Independence takes its green spaces pretty seriously, and Little Blue Trace Nature Reserve is a validation of that fact. This reserve offers picture-perfect vistas and beautiful trails, perfect for biking, hiking or a tranquil day of bird watching.

5. Soak in the Atmosphere of the Vaile Mansion

This 30-room gingerbread mansion is a sight to behold. Built in 1881, it boasts intricate architecture, beautifully manicured gardens and an intricate history. The Vaile Mansion hosts a variety of events all year, including a must-visit Victorian Christmas showcase.

6. Discover the Magic of Puppetry at the Puppetry Arts Institute

Tucked away just off the beaten track, the Puppetry Arts Institute is a gem that sparkles with creativity. Attend one of their captivating puppet shows or try your hand at creating your puppet in one of their workshops. This unique spot is a must-visit, especially if you're in town with young'uns.

7. Savor Local Delights at Independence Farmers & Craft Market

Don't miss the opportunity to get a real taste of Independence at the local Farmers & Craft Market. From fresh produce to honey, baked treats, herbs, and incredible crafts, it's the perfect place to grab a souvenir or two and enjoy the local flavor.

In conclusion, Independence, MO, is truly a delight to explore. It may not be the size of a metropolis, but it has a heart that's full of wonder. As you explore these seven incredible sights and experiences, you'll soon realize that Independence is not just another city - it's a treasury of stories, historic charm, natural beauty, and quirky fun. Welcome home!

Things to do in Independence, MO?

Find Movers for Your Independence Relocation

Now that you're prepared to make Independence, MO your new home, it's time to ensure that your move is seamless and affordable. Turn your moving plan into action with Great Guys Moving's vast network of licensed, insured, and highly reputable movers. By simply providing a few details about your move, you'll get connected to the best options available for you. Benefit from quality service, competitive pricing, and a hassle-free move to Independence. Allow us to transform your move into a stress-free journey. Click here to request your free, no-obligation moving quote today!

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