Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in 18th & Vine, Kansas City

  • Published 2022/10/24


There are many things to do in Kansas City’s 18th & Vine neighborhood.

Some of the city’s best art, cuisine, and culture can be found in this thriving area.

Checking out one of the many jazz clubs in the neighborhood is also a must-do for music fans.

There are live music performances and museums where you can learn more about jazz music.

The neighborhood also has a lot to offer foodies, as 18th & Vine is home to some of Kansas City’s best barbeque.

It’s guaranteed to have something for you whether you’re looking for music, food, or history.

Come and enjoy doing the best things to do in 18th & Vine, Kansas City!

Visit the American Jazz Museum’s Working Jazz Club at The Blue Room

Signage of The Blue Room

James Kirkikis /

The Blue Room honors both the past and present legendary jazz artists.

It’s labeled after the renowned Street Hotel club in the 1930s.

The Blue Room is a multidimensional exhibit that celebrates the numerous musicians who contributed to the sound popularly known as “Kansas City jazz.”

Interior of The Blue Room

Matt Fowler KC /

It is also a special venue for the most spectacular jazz performances from local artists.

Bring your instrument down and join the Blue Monday Jam every week, or just enjoy the music at one of Kansas City’s top jam sessions.

Chairs and tables in The Blue Room

Jordano53, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is an excellent place to go if you want to learn more about African American history and culture.

It’s the only museum in the world devoted to conserving and honoring the rich history of African American baseball and its contribution to the social progress of America.

The museum was founded in 1990 and imitates the appearance, sound, and sensation of the game’s illustrious past.

The centerpiece of the Coors Field of Legends is made up of 10 life-size bronze sculptures of legendary Negro League players who are placed on a replica baseball diamond as though they were in the middle of a game.

Through the use of old film material, a documentary with James Earl Jones as the narrator relates the tale of the leagues.

Players who have been selected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame are honored in the Hall of Fame Lockers section.

Products from the Negro Leagues are available at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s gift shop.

Get Your Groove on and Check Out the American Jazz Museum

While you’re around 18th & Vine, you should stop by the American Jazz Museum, especially if you’re a jazz music enthusiast.

The museum is devoted to conserving the history and heritage of jazz music.

It showcases well-known jazz musicians like Charlie Bird Parker, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong through their exhibits inside the museum.

The American Jazz Museum also has interactive displays to help you immerse yourself further in jazz music.

You can also witness a live jazz performance at the museum.

While seeing displays there, keep an eye out for Charlie Parker’s saxophone, which former president Bill Clinton donated to the museum.

Chill at The Velvet Freeze Daiquiris

Tourists that visit The Velvet Freeze Daiquiris for dinner after arduous excursions find the 18th and Vine District to be a terrific attraction.

You can sample well-cooked chicken, fine wine, and delectable daiquiris at this restaurant.

This place is well known for its excellent customer service and helpful personnel.

The Velvet Freeze Daiquiris is the perfect spot to visit while out on the town or for lunch, happy hour, supper, or dinner.

The store frequently hosts live music.

Sample Kansas City’s Signature Sound at the Gem Theater

Signage of the Gem Theater


The historic Gem Theater has a 500-seat contemporary performing arts complex with cutting-edge technology hidden under its rebuilt 1912 façade.

The Shriner and Powellson Amusement Company constructed The Gem Theater, formerly known as the Star Theater, in 1912 as a silent movie theater for the Kansas City African American community.

Exterior of the Gem Theater

Richard from kansas city, united states, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It continues to be the diamond in the crown of the 18th & Vine District, hosting everything from live music to neighborhood gatherings.

If you want to attend a live concert or music, the Gem Theater will surely provide a spectacular place to enjoy your music.

Try the Blues Brunch at Kansas City Blues Juke House

Kansas City Blues Juke House is a funky eatery that provides a relaxed atmosphere with cozy seating.

You will enjoy live jazz and blues performances from artists and a bar for drinks and sumptuous food.

The eatery creates American comfort food using fresh and high-quality ingredients.

This restaurant is the best option if you’re searching for a dynamic setting for late-night evening dining in the area.

Kansas City Blues Juke House offers a variety of excellent amenities, including vegetarian choices, live music, cocktails, beers, and wines.

Some of its most well-liked dishes include the juke house burger, the catfish sandwich, the scorching hot wings, the masa-breaded pickle fries, and the chicken tenders.

Kansas City Blues Juke House uses the best ingredients and provides the perfect atmosphere for your dine-in experience.

Enjoy a Fine Dining Experience at Soirée Steak & Oyster House

Wanting to try something more luxurious at 18th and Vine?

Soirée Steak & Oyster House has got your tastebuds covered!

This restaurant serves world-class live jazz, handcrafted cocktails, and steakhouse fare with Southern influences.

They provide many dishes on their menu, including appetizers, soups, and salads.

You can also try their oysters, plates, omelets, plates of pasta, signature sides, and desserts.

If you are with your children, you can try Soirée Steak & Oyster House’s delectable kids’ menu, which your children will surely love and enjoy.

Shop for Some Local Merch at IMKC Clothing Company

An intense sense of pride and love for the city of Kansas City inspired the creation of IMKC Clothing Company.

The line’s designs are based on Kansas’ local landmarks, sports teams, and cultural experiences.

This gives devoted and kind Kansas citizens a platform to show off their city.

It’s poised to become “Kansas City’s Hometown Uniform,” thanks to designs that sell themselves and famous customers who don’t hesitate to show their support of IMKC using various social media outlets.

The clothes here are not only products, they also serve as the pride and joy of the locals in Kansas City.

IMKC Clothing Company’s products are perfect for gifts and souvenirs for you and your loved ones!

Pay Homage to a Jazz Legend at the Charlie Parker Memorial

Daytime view of the Charlie Parker Memorial

aacjr /

One of the jazz music pioneers is honored at the Charlie Parker Memorial.

This park is dedicated to jazz musician and saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker.

He co-invented the musical style known as bop and bebop, won a Grammy, and had a huge impact on Kansas City music.

An 18-foot tall brass statue of Parker’s head was dedicated in March 1999 and is hard to miss.

The Charlie Parker Memorial was made by Richard Graham and aims to capture the artist in his most natural setting: playing music.

Parker’s pursed lips and closed eyes are depicted in the downward slanted head of the figure mid-blow as a tribute to his unwavering dedication to the saxophone throughout his life as a jazz performer.

The words “Bird Lives” are inscribed into the statue’s base, evoking both his well-known stage name and the classic tunes that will ensure his legacy lingers for a while.

Take a Stroll around the Historic Lincoln Building

Explore the largest building, the Historic Lincoln Building, located in the center of Kansas City’s Jazz District.

An energetic jazz culture still lingers at the Lincoln Building.

The Historic Lincoln Building is viewed as a metaphor for African American resilience and achievement in Kansas City.

It is a reminder of all the development and change that has been accomplished despite hardships and segregation.

The community continues to thrive today thanks to their strength and perseverance.

To abolish racial discrimination, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, based in the Historic Lincoln Building, strives to ensure political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights.

It still has a substantial presence in the city and supports everyone’s health and well-being.

Grab a Bite at Smaxx Gourmet Restaurant

Feeling peckish after all that walking around 18th & Vine?

Grab a bite at Smaxx Gourmet Restaurant.

In Downtown Kansas City, Smaxx Gourmet Restaurant is a go-to restaurant that features burgers, chicken sandwiches, wings, cheesesteaks, and more.

It is close to the Kansas City Workhouse and the Gregg/Klice Community Center, so you can visit these places when you drop by.

Smaxx Gourmet Restaurant is a great place to go for lunch or dinner and has some of the best comfort food in the area

Their menu includes savory chicken, hamburgers, salads, seafood, and wings.

Immerse Yourself in Local Arts at Ethnic Art Gallery

EthnicArt Gallery aims to support our customers’ education and personal development by providing art and other culturally enriching products.

Creating a forum for recognizing and enhancing the breadth and depth of artistic expression in the Midwest is the objective of EthnicArt Gallery.

The show focuses on the many intricate aesthetic elements of artistic expression that are occasionally overlooked or misunderstood.

They provide their services in an elegant, creative, timely, and cost-effective manner, all wrapped in the individualized care that envelops and educates our clients.

Check their gallery and see what they have to offer.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Try the Legendary Barbeque at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque

Exterior of Arthur Bryant's Barbeque

Logan Bush /

Craving for a barbeque?

Head to the legendary Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque on Brooklyn Avenue.

It was created by Arthur Bryant, the well-known “barbequer” in history and the fabled King of Ribs.

The famous clock inside Arthur Bryant's Barbeque

Logan Bush /

The barbeque that his restaurant serves will solve your cravings.

With his sauce recipe for his barbeque, Bryant’s restaurant has been visited by Former presidents Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama.

The delicious meat is slow-smoked using a blend of hickory and oak woods at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, where it is matured to the height of flavor before being bathed in their special Arthur Bryant’s Original or Rich & Spicy Sauce.

Pulled pork sandwich in Arthur Bryant's Barbeque

Marshall Astor, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Entertain Yourself with Puppets at StoneLion Puppet Theatre

Want to entertain your night with puppetry?

StoneLion Puppet Theatre is a must-see attraction.

The world’s best puppetry is produced by StoneLion.

StoneLion Puppet Theatre is a professional non-profit theater company committed to expanding the horizons of the young and young-at-heart through the art of puppetry.

A range of puppetry techniques, including marionettes, masks, shadow, mouth, and rod puppets, are used by StoneLion Puppet Theatre to bring the enchantment of excellent puppet shows right to your front door.

Innovative, artistic, and educational shows can be given to audiences of 30 or 20,000, and you can be one of these audiences.

The theater company also has a touring band that performs all over the Midwest, the country, and the world!

See the Mutual Musicians Foundation

Exterior of the Mutual Musicians Foundation

Mwkruse, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Highland Avenue, the Mutual Musicians Foundation was one of the key institutions that revolutionized American jazz music.

After Local 627 merged with Local 34 in 1970, the Mutual Artists Foundation, which had been established to oversee the building and Local 627’s assets, continued to run the facility as a community center for musicians and fans.

The Last of the Blue Devils, a 1979 movie directed by Bruce Ricker, heavily featured the Foundation.

The structure is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

The Mutual Musicians Foundation is also on the National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Kansas City Landmarks Commission.

Final Thoughts

The 18th & Vine, Kansas City is a perfect place to enjoy music.

Every corner of this place will remind you of the infectious rhythm of jazz music.

This historic district celebrates the city’s music and sports heritage.

The area is home to several museums and attractions, making it a great place to learn about the city’s culture.

These best things to do in 18th & Vine, Kansas City, will never disappoint you.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get ready to pack your things and groove your way here while vibing in jazz music!

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