Lisa Peña

Founder, Urban Hikes Kansas City

Lisa Peña

KC's Hidden Gems
How KC native, Lisa Peña, is uncovering local history. By Laken Horton

In the heart of Kansas City is an experience that spotlights hidden treasures of the urban landscape.
Lisa Peña, the mind behind Urban Hikes KC, has a passion for sharing the narratives, history and
vibrant culture that often go unnoticed by visitors and even the most dedicated Kansas Citians.

Having always lived in Kansas City, Kansas, Lisa has a deep-rooted connection to her hometown,
its history and community. The inspiration for her venture came while listening to a podcast
highlighting California’s urban hikes — an experience that involves journeying through a city’s alleys,
under bridges and along sidewalks to gain deeper insight into its untold stories. Soon, Lisa began a
journey to bring this experience to KC’s urban communities, with a goal to reshape the way people
would view and experience the city.

Urban Hikes’ four to five-mile guided tours, led by Lisa and her team members, take hikers or bicyclists through a variety of neighborhood options. Every step becomes an opportunity to chip away at surface knowledge and dive into lesser-known aspects of KC, from the historical architecture and artwork to the stories of perseverance etched into the city streets and walls.
Lisa Pena in front of mural on urban hike

Drawing on her experiences in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, Lisa’s ambition for community connection and empowerment shines through Urban Hikes, as she guides each tour with a goal of unity and shared exploration. Each stop unravels a narrative waiting to be heard — from the vibrant Mexican heritage of the Westside neighborhood to the Quindaro Ruins, a key stop on the Underground Railroad and site of the first school for African Americans west of the Mississippi River.

For history lovers eager to uncover the layers of Kansas City’s past, Urban Hikes offer a new chance to discover a vibrant canvas of diverse stories, demonstrating that the true beauty of a city lies not only in its skyline but in the intricate tales woven into its streets and neighborhoods.

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