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Lenexa Public Market: There’s Always Something New!

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It possesses a cool, chic urban environment, even though just a few years ago it was an empty field, and it’s packed with a lot of promise. It’s the Lenexa Public Market, owned and operated by the City of Lenexa, offering delicious eateries, quaint retail shops and learning spaces, boasting an atmosphere to please the entire family. The Lenexa Public Market is part of the civic campus at Lenexa City Center, which includes City Hall, Lenexa Rec Center, a 500-car parking garage, the seasonal Lenexa Farmers Market and Lenexa City Center Library.

“Lenexa City Center is the entire development on the west side of Interstate 435 off 87th Street. This ‘new downtown’ came out of a community visioning process in 1997, and about seven years ago, the city began creating the concept for Lenexa Public Market in this spot,” remarked Carmen Chopp, Public Market manager. “At that time, this was a farm field, but they banked the land for when the final plans were ready. They wanted City Center to have a real urban feel with all of the buildings functioning as mixed-use: retail, restaurant, residential and offices.”

The Public Market, 87th Street Parkway and Penrose Lane, packs its 11,000 square feet with local food and non-food merchants, a common area and outdoor seating, an events space with demonstration kitchen and year-round programming. It occupies the lower level of the building also housing the Lenexa City Hall. An off-shoot of Park University is on the second floor. “Park University has four classrooms on the second floor along with student breakout space, and administrative offices,” explained Carmen.

Along with its urban vibe, the merchants at Lenexa Public Market offer foods to please the pickiest of eaters and those with a more refined palate. Carmen explains the pop-ups, eateries that aren’t set to a traditional schedule but “pop up” on weekends or other special days at specific hours, feature different cuisines to explore. Many times, these owners will teach classes on how to prepare their ethnic dishes at the second-level kitchen of the Public Market. “We specifically decided the food offerings would be the majority of what we would feature at Lenexa Public Market with the goal of 85 percent of the space,” shared Carmen.

Eateries are augmented at the Lenexa Public Market with day-cart merchants selling nonfood wares such as handmade jewelry or other local merchandise. Often, these merchants come on the weekends and sell products for six hours and close for the day. These offerings complement the business owners selling flowers, gifts, clothing and other smaller items. “These are local, small businesses, family-owned and family-operated, working in these spaces and serving people. Their hours vary by the business,” shared Carmen. “Frequently, they’re just getting started so they need to watch their costs and the Lenexa Public Market with its open concept can help them do that. We support them in this environment to help them grow.”

Lenexa Public Market also features learning opportunities with classes in the second-floor kitchen area. Carmen points to a wide selection of courses, usually hosted by one of the eateries, from learning to make macarons, floral arrangements, Japanese dumplings, butter chicken and more. Upcoming classes are posted on the website, and registration is required. Carmen adds this same space can also be rented for private and corporate events.

“Depending on the style of event, this space can hold about 75 people. You can rent our kitchen for bridal showers, private dinners, graduation parties, weddings and more,” shared Carmen. “When it’s not being rented, we have a lot of people who work remotely from here or host meetings, study or play cards.”

In addition to private happenings, the Lenexa Public Market hosts themed events, some on a regular basis. Family Night is Wednesday with balloons, cotton candy and games. Friday Night Sound Bites features live music from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Paired well with the year-round rotating City Hall Art Gallery offerings, the civic campus hosts an annual Art Fair in May, and Halloween is packed with people attending the No Trick, Our Treat Halloween House Party. In the spring, the Lenexa Public Market also celebrates Utepils, a Norwegian word meaning “outdoors lager,” which ceremonially marks the first day of the year when the weather is pleasant enough to enjoy a beer outside. Some of the larger events bring in thousands of people, such as Food Truck Frenzy, when dozens of food trucks encircle the Lenexa civic campus. The event showcases the outdoor stage with live music, seating, fire pits and more. The campus also features a common consumption area, the first in Kansas, which allows patrons to enjoy their alcoholic beverages around the open grounds.

“It’s really a raw and dynamic environment at Lenexa Public Market, and it’s always changing. Any time you come, you might find a different merchant. It’s exciting,” remarked Carmen. “You can always find something new at the Public Market and that’s by design.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hours and special events may be impacted. Visit for the latest information.