30 Best Things to Do in Kansas City, Missouri
There is no sane human being who can dislike a City which has the most number of Barbeque restaurants than any other place in the United States. Kansas City will make you swoon with the symphonies of Jazz, it will surprise you at every corner but most importantly, it will leave you asking for more. One important tip before you visit this City, come here with an open heart and an empty stomach.
Here are 30 things you can do while you’re in Kansas City:
Go on a Shopping Spree at City Market
The city market has been a landmark in the area since 150 years and it is the ultimate place to enjoy a variety of experiences including fresh produce from the nearby farms, gift items, flowers, baked goods and exquisite cuts of meats. The market takes place in open-air settings hence, cultivating a comfortable and inviting space for visitors and is home to many authentic restaurants, eateries and shops selling local items. It is situated in the beautiful River market neighborhood and hosts the largest farmer’s market in Kansas City.
Treat Yourself at the Country Club Plaza
The country club plaza was built in 1923 and is an auto-centric neighborhood with an influence of Spanish architecture such as murals, statues and mosaics. Here, there is also a ‘season of lights’ during the thanksgiving week which brightens up the area with colorful lights. At the plaza, you can also shop at many high street brands such as Michael Kors, Kendra Scott and Kate Spade as well as eat at one of the many restaurants including Rye, the classic cup and Gram & Dun which serve mouth watering and comforting Midwestern food.
No Better Day Than the First Friday
If you happen to be at Kansas City on the first Friday of a month then, you must visit the peculiar and enjoyable Crossroads arts district which includes everything from live music to restaurants. Some of the most exciting art galleries are Jones gallery and Weinberger fine art as well as the green lady lounge which is perfect for live music. You can shop at some of the local establishments such as Hammerpress and Raygun and finally, to end your trip you should grab a bite at one of the many restaurants such as Christopher Elbow chocolates, Lulu’s Thai noodle shop and Grinder’s pizza.
Pay Your Respects at the National World War I Museum
The National World War I museum is America’s leading institution to honor the memories of those who fought and died during the Great War. The museum is the world’s second oldest public museum dedicated to the First World War and was given the official designation of a national memorial by former President Barrack Obama in the year 2014. The museum takes the visitor on a journey by showcasing some of the most personal and heart breaking stories of courage, heroism, patriotism and the fatalities of the war.
Vist the Kansas City Zoo
The Kansas City zoo is considered to be one of the best in the entire country and this is justified by their 200 acres of land which houses around 1,700 animals. The fun never stops at this Zoo where you can meet the Humboldt and Gentoo penguins at the Helzberg Penguin plaza as well as cruise on the African sky safari while seeing Zebras, Rhinos and Giraffes. Their Orangutan canopy will introduce you to the adorable orange Apes and at Stingray Bay you can fearlessly touch a sting ray and a Bamboo Shark.
Travel Around the Globe at Worlds of Fun
If an amusement park is inspired by the book ‘Around the world in eighty days’ then, you know for sure, it will be mind blowing. The world of fun Park contains more than a hundred rides and also, includes a water park called the Oceans of fun. The park is divided into five thrilling areas which are Scandinavia, Africa, Europe, the Orient and the Americana, all inspired by Jules Verne’s classic. Some of the most famous rides one should experience here are Patriot which is a rollercoaster, a children’s themed park called Planet Snoopy and a swing ride called the wind seeker.
Take a Hike at Ernie Miller Nature Center
The Ernie Miller nature center is a piece of paradise in a rather fast moving city and if you want to experience a tranquil Kansas City environment then, you must visit this center. There are many hiking trails for visitors to not only get some exercise after days of eating barbequed meat but also, admire the vast variety and beauty of the local plants and wildlife of this area. There is also a nature center where the admission is free of cost and children and parents can enjoy interactive exhibits as well as attend educational programs.
Be Inspired at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
In order to witness some of the best art made by 20th century artists then, the Nelson-Atkins museum of art will not bore you. Here, you get to survey approximately 40,000 works of art which include African, America, Native America, European, Chinese, Contemporary, Decorative arts, Architecture, Japanese, photography and Modern. You might have to spend a couple of hours here considering the variety which is further extended by the Donald J. Hall sculpture garden where you will find 35 exquisite sculptures including giant shuttlecocks.
Educate Yourself at the Kansas City Public Library
The Kansas city public library is in itself marvelous but even better than the actual building is the library’s parking garage which has books lined up on a shelf except these books are 25 feet high and 9 feet wide and include ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and ‘the lord of the rings’. This legendary library was founded in the year 1873 and includes books, original and published materials, pamphlets, journals, photographs, post cards, news articles and a collection of the city’s local history.
Have a Drink or Two at the Boulevard Brewing Company
The Boulevard brewing company was started in the year 1989 when its owner while on a trip to Europe tried the very smooth Belgian beers and had an epiphany. The company only uses the finest ingredients to make their beers and employs sustainable business practices to avoid harming the environment. The kinds of beers you get here include the unfiltered wheat beer, the American Kolsch golden ale, the beer with tangerine peel and sea salt as well as the jam band beer ale, among a few others.
Enjoy a Sensory Experience at the Loose Park
The Jacob Loose Park has a rich historical value attached to it dating back to the 19th century when it is supposed to have been a site for the Battle of Westport which included 29,000 soldiers. The Park includes a garden center with small meeting rooms and kitchens as well as a Japanese tea Garden for people to spend peaceful hours with their loved ones in nature. There is also a rose garden which has more than 1,200 roses of 168 varieties planted in it which makes for a one-of-a-kind sensory experience and a picturesque location.
Shop and Eat at the Westport Flea Market
The Westport flea market does include a few vendors selling unique, quirky and nostalgic items of accessories and other products but that is not the limit of this market, instead it also includes a bar and grill restaurant along with the flea market. The bar and grill is famous for a number of dishes which include the famous Zwillenberg’s grilled chicken Panini with a side of curly fries. You can also quench your thirst with a pint of beer from their variety of draft beers they have on tap. The Westport flea market is the place to go after a day of being an enthusiastic tourist.
Turn Back the Clock at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain
The J.C Nichols Memorial fountain was sculpted in the year 1910 in New York but was heavily vandalized over the years. Finally, in 1960 it was restored and installed at Kansas City by donations from the J.C. Nichols family and since then, it has become a highly photographed and loved fountain of this city. The fountain has sculptures of four heroic horsemen who represent the rivers Volga, Seine, Rhine and the Mississippi as well as sculptures of little children playing atop of Dolphins.
Relive Your Childhood at National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
The miniature obsession has hit the streets of the impressionable 21st century citizens and this is best exemplified by the National museum of toys and miniatures which was opened in the year 1982 and initially, only contained the collections of two women- Mary Harris Francis and Barbara Marshall. The collection has been added to and increased vastly since then such as vintage doll houses, tin toys and simple wooden boats as well as other lifelike miniatures which include everything from animals to framed portraits.
Dress Fancy at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
The Kauffman centre for the performing arts was opened in the year 2011 and is an architectural marvel as well as technologically advanced to cater to a number of artistic performances such as Opera, music, dance and theatre. There have been many famous Broadway plays showcased here as well as the lyric opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City ballet. If you get the chance of watching a live performance at this stunning centre then, you must wear your fanciest clothes and get ready to be mesmerized.
Throw Your First Pitch at the Kauffman Stadium
The Kauffman stadium was opened in 1973 and is a baseball park which is home to the Kansas City royals of the Major League Baseball. Even though, this large stadium with a seating capacity of almost 48,000 is meant for Baseball games but there have also been iconic concerts here such as Fleetwood Mac and Billy Joel. If you’re lucky enough to catch a game or a concert, buy a ticket and have one of the most enthralling days of your life. There is also a hall of fame which has photos and memorabilia of Baseball legends as well as restaurants which serve authentic Kansas food such as Barbeque meat and pints of refreshing beer.
Fly Away at the National Airline History Museum
The national airline history museum was founded in the year 1986 by two Aviation enthusiasts and is located at the Charles B. Wheeler downtown airport. The museum displays many aircrafts which are historic and important to the world of aviation such as the Lockheed super ‘g’ constellation also known as the ‘star of America’, a Martin 404 and the original TWA Moonliner II which was previously owned by Billionaire Howard Hughes.
Visit the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
The Kemper museum of contemporary art was opened in the year 1994 and has been one of the best museums for 21st century artists in the entire country. The museum is a place for interactive educational programs as well as special events and temporary exhibitions of local and national mid-career emerging artists who present a new voice in the artistic world. If you get hungry then, you should visit the museum’s well-known Café Sebastienne which is open throughout the day and has won numerous accolades.
Board a Train at the Union Station
The union station was built in the year 1914 for the purpose of rail travelling and had a waiting room inside the station which could hold up to 10,000 people all at one time. The station was closed down in the 1980s and was renovated as well as reopened in 1999 for a completely new purpose. Now, it had an array of restaurants and shops for visitors to spend their time in and only provided for a shorter railway service. The new station houses many other places such as the Science city, the Regnier extreme screen theatre, the planetarium and the city stage theatre.
Live Your Biker Dream at the Harley-Davidson Factory Tour
The factory for Harley-Davidson vehicle and power train operations was opened in the year 1998 and has been manufacturing the world famous bikes from Kansas City ever since. Here, a visitor will be provided with all the necessary safety uniform and equipment as well as be taken through a guided tour of the entire process beginning from welding and framing to bending and polishing. At the end, you will see the assembly process and a finished Harley-Davidson bike and survey various other models.
Travel Back to the 19th Century at the Wornall House Museum
The John Wornall house was built in the year 1858 by a prosperous and prominent businessman on a 500 acre yard and in the 1864 Battle of Westport, both the Union and Confederate soldiers used the house as a hospital to treat injured soldiers. This house was later converted into a museum where you can learn about the troubled past of the Wornall family, the slavery which took place here and the history of the Battle of Westport through many special exhibits, children’s programming and lectures.
You Can’t Miss the Fun at Missy B’s
Missy B’s is meant for people above the age of 21 as it is the premier gay bar of this City and has drag performances which are meant for a mature and adult audience. This live performance arena was set up in the year 1994 and has a DJ/Dance floor at least 5 days a week. You can also spend your time at the bar which serves the most affordably priced drinks in the entire Kansas City area. Some of their live shows include ‘The dirty Dorothy show’ and ‘the Dick and Dyke show.’
Stop Worrying About Calories at the Town Topic Hamburgers
The town topic hamburgers was started in the year 1937 and initially only sold hamburgers at 5 cents but as time progressed, this diner came to be known as the authentic place to eat some of the tastiest classic American dishes. The restaurant has a welcoming environment and is opened 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some of the mouth-watering dishes you can try here include cinnamon roll, hot cakes and most importantly, their famous hamburgers.
Sway Away at the American Jazz Museum
The American jazz museum is a historic landmark in Kansas City which showcases the rich cultural and musical past of the city. The blue room is a working jazz club situated inside the museum where you can hear some of the best music the locals have to offer as well as the Gem theatre which is a performing arts center. The museum has displayed memorabilia, personal items and album covers of Jazz legends such as Charlie Parker, Big Joe Turner, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
Eat Your Heart Out at Joe’s Kansas City BBQ
Joe’s Kansas City barbeque is an unpretentious and quintessential place for visitors and locals to enjoy some of the best smoked meat they will ever have in their lives. The late celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain listed Joe’s among the 13 places to eat before you die. It is tucked inside a well-lit gas station and you’re more likely to encounter a line but the wait is going to be worth it. Some of the most popular dishes here are the full slab of ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, a Z-man sandwich and the lavish cowboy dinner.
All Faiths Are Welcome at the Independence Temple
Even if you’re a stern atheist or of non-Christian faith you can still visit the Independence temple just to admire its unusual yet stunning architecture. The Temple has a long spire at the top which rises up to the sky and it is made of stainless steel which gives the impression that it could be Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Instead, it is the headquarters of the community of Christ church and is rampant with biblical symbolism. Along with the temple, there is also a striking meditation chapel and a vibrant children’s peace pavilion. The best part of the temple is that it welcomes people of all faiths inside.
Support Local Artists at the Knuckleheads Saloon
The knuckleheads saloon is primarily a music avenue situated in Kansas City and is housed in a former railroad boarding house built in the year 1887. There are four main stages in the saloon which include a large outdoor stage and a large indoor stage as well as a stage known as ‘gospel lounge’ for a blues-inspired church service. The venue is synonymous with the booming musical scene of the city and many well-known artists have played here such as John Doe, David Lindley, Samantha Fish, Ian Moore, Edgar Winter, Nick Lowe, Leon Russell and Sam Bush, among many others.
Smoked Meat Never Tasted Better, the Woodyard Bar-b-que
The woodyard Barbeque is so famous that you need to reach as early as possible in order to avoid standing in a long line but even if you do, the wait is definitely worth it. They are one of the few places in the city that cook their meat on outdoor brick smokers which lends a white oak flavor with burnt edges and a hint of hickory. The sumptuous dishes include juicy ribs, mouth-watering hot wings, the local smothered sausage and the delicious burnt end buster. Remember to try their famous three bean chili topped with burnt ends and the cheesy corn as a side dish.
Uncover the Treasures of the Steamboat Arabia
If you’re a fan of adventure and the excitement of unearthing hidden treasures then, the Arabia steamboat museum will awaken the Christopher Columbus hidden inside of you. The mighty Arabia steamboat sank in the Missouri River in the year 1856 and after 132 years, it was finally recovered by a mammoth effort which helped discover more than 200 tons of historical cargo. These materials are now displayed in the museum such as clothing, fine china and the world’s oldest pickles. A visitor can also watch a short movie about the history of the steamboat and learn all about the excavation process.
This City has given the world some of the best musicians such as Big Joe Turner and Charlie Parker as well as the pioneering baseball player, Buck O’Neil. A city which has preserved the darkest parts of its history with the same dignity as its brightest, tells a lot about the optimistic and resilient nature of the locals. Also, the next time you give someone a Hallmark greeting card you are actually giving them a piece of Kansas history as the company had originated here.