Known for its barbeque, jazz and beautiful fountains, Kansas City surprises many visitors with its depth of cultural and culinary offerings in addition to great sports and low-cost entertainment.
Must See in Kansas City
- The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is recognized by Congress as our nation's official memorial to the Great War and earns that honor with detailed exhibits and activities that explain the complex nature of that war.
- The Arabia Steamboat Museum is a remarkable story of finding buried treasure in the Missouri River and how 150 years later, treasures are still being brought to life.
- The College Basketball Experience is part museum/part hands-on event center to learn about the game that fills every high school gymnasium and many a neighborhood driveway in North America. Great for families and groups - no skill required.
Where to Stay in Kansas City
The Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City is home to the Sprint Center, Kansas City's primary concert and sporting events venue. With lots of restaurants, bars and energetic happenings, this is where most of the city's celebrations take place.
The J.C. Nichols Country Club Plaza is one of the most photographed areas of Kansas City and home to many great hotels, restaurants, shops and public art. Come here during the holidays for those beautiful lights.
Crown Center is the world headquarters of Hallmark and an 85-acre complex of family-friendly activities, including children's theatre, the SeaLife Aquarium and LEGOland. In addition to the Hallmark Visitors Center, there are plenty of shops, comfortable restaurants and free entertainment within walking distance.
Best and Worst Time to Go to Kansas City
It can get blistering hot in the Midwest in the summer, but Kansas City has plenty of waterparks and public fountains in which to cool off. Outdoor theatre and the Kansas City Royals also reign in the summer. However, September and October are the best guarantees for sunny days, low humidity and plenty of festivals. Bring your heavy coat and snow boots if you visit in January or February.
Where to Get Lost in Kansas City
Just south of the Country Club Plaza is the cozy Brookside neighborhood. If Norman Rockwell were to paint of picture of KC, this would be where he would set up his easel. All of the shops and restaurants are locally-owned, the homes are uniquely designed and well-cared for, and the residents fiercely proud of the neighborhood.
The Best Deal in Kansas City
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is always free and open to the public. Kids will enjoy a run through the sculpture garden and goofy photos of the over-sized shuttlecocks. Adults will appreciate the impressive collection of Chinese and European art. It's within walking distance of the Country Club Plaza.
Transportation in Kansas City
Public transportation in Kansas City takes a huge leap forward in 2016 when the first streetcars begin operation in the city in more than 50 years. Otherwise, the Metro Bus system and taxis are needed to get most places. Parking is usually plentiful and frequently free if you choose to drive your own vehicle.
Getting in from Kansas City International Airport
KCI is located about 15 minutes north of downtown, where most hotels offer shuttles. The Super Shuttle is also an option. The airport is on the northern ring of Interstate-435 that loops the city, easily taking you to the sports complex on the east side or all things Kansas on the west side of the metro.
Local tip for visitors to Kansas City
Don't get so hung up on the city being divided by the state line. It's just a street. It drives locals nuts when they have to explain it to visitors. And get out to explore other bbq joints than the big names. Kansas City has about 100 bbq joints and they all offer a great experience.
Author's bio: Diana Lambdin Meyer has lived and worked in Kansas City for more than 30 years. Follow her travels at www.mojotraveler.com.