North America > United States of America > Midwest > Missouri > Kansas City Area > Kansas City
Kansas City is a large, major Midwestern metropolitan area that spreads across the border of Missouri and Kansas and has a population of around 2 million. The central city of the metro area is Kansas City, Missouri, the largest city in Missouri, with a population of around 500,000. Across the state border is Kansas City, Kansas, often called "KCK" by locals, which has a population of 150,000. There are also suburbs on both sides of the border.
Kansas City, Missouri is a city that tends to hide itself from tourists. Reputed to have more boulevards than Paris and more fountains than any other city in the world except for Rome, it can be a beautiful city, too. It is also unique, in that it is split down the middle by the state line of Kansas and Missouri.
There are suburbs all around the city. In the "Northland" are North Kansas City, Parkville, Gladstone, Liberty, and several others. To the east is Independence, Blue Springs, and Lee's Summit (SE). In the south are Overland Park, Blue Springs, Olathe, Grandview, and several others. Numbering of east/west streets begins at the Missouri River with the east/west division occurring at Main Street. Westport is around 40th St., the Plaza at 47th St., Brookside at 55th, and Waldo beginning around Gregory (71st St.).
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Due to the lack of any large body of water nearby, KC experiences a continental climate with large swings and extremes of temperature. Winters vary from mild to very cold, with significant snow at times, and temperatures occasionally dipping to single digits and below 0°F (-18°C). Snow accumulation occurs 3-5 times per year, on average, sometimes exceeding a foot (31 cm). KC enjoys very pleasant spring and autumn weather, but suffers hot, humid summers. It is not uncommon for the temperature to stay above 90°F (32°C) for weeks at a time, during July and August. Because of the heat, almost all buildings in KC are equipped with air conditioning. While KC has relatively high humidity, the most common weather is clear with almost completely blue skies. The majority of the rain falls in Apr-Jun, but even in these wettest months, rain is light, compared to other cities in the region.
Downtown Kansas City is generally defined as the areas including the River Market, the central business district (the "Loop"), the Crossroads Arts District, Crown Center and Union Station, and the Power and Light District.
After years of neglect and decay in the 1980s and 1990s, downtown is making a comeback. Many once-abandoned buildings in downtown have been (or are being) rebuilt into high-dollar condominiums and loft apartments. The demand for residences downtown is quite high. In October of 2007, the Sprint Center sports arena was completed, bringing a modern sports and entertainment venue to the downtown core. The Power and Light District was constructed and opened in 2008. The "P&L" District comprises 5 highrise residential and office towers, with many clubs, bars, restaurants, and shops on the lower floors. A performing arts center south of the convention center area opened in 2011.
The Downtown Council operates security and cleaning/maintenance crews, who keep downtown's streets clean and serve as a security presence. Downtown is one of the safest areas of the city, both day and night.
Traveling north to south, the River Market is the first neighborhood one encounters, south of the banks of the Missouri River. A burgeoning urban neighborhood, it houses many shops, restaurants, bars, and a very active farmers' market that convenes every Saturday, even in winter.
The expressways form a loop around the central business district (CBD). Crossing the north segment of the loop takes you from the River Market to the CBD. This is where Kansas City's famed skyline reaches its greatest heights, further accentuated by its position on top of a sizable hill. The CBD has the principal concentration of white-collar employment in the metro area. The world headquarters for H&R Block are here, within the P and L District.
From here, crossing the south segment of the loop will bring a visitor into the Crossroads Arts District, which is a regional center for art, culture, and nightlife.
When crossing Pershing, Union Station and Crown Center are seen. Crown Center houses shops, restaurants and offices, including the world headquarters of Hallmark. The nearby Liberty Memorial is the world's first World War I memorial and has spectacular views from the top. Just south of Crown Center is Union Hill, another revitalized area offering some of the best skyline views in the city.
South of Downtown
A visitor enters Midtown when they cross 31st Street. A largely residential area, it is the largest single named neighborhood in the city, and actually includes a number of smaller neighborhoods, like Union Hill, Hyde Park, Squire Park, Sheraton Estates, Ivanhoe, Coleman Highlands, Roanoke, Volker, Westport, Southmoreland, Valentine, North Plaza, and many others.
Just south of Midtown is the Country Club Plaza, known locally as "the Plaza", an outdoor shopping center, modeled after Seville, Spain. Farther south is the Waldo/Brookside area marked by more bars and a wonderful pre-war neighborhood. Further south, the city gives way to suburban development, which continues for about 10-15 mi (16-24 km), before giving way to rural farmland and pastures. The vibrant downtown area of Lee's Summit, revitalized in the mid-2010s, is worth a visit.
- 1 Kansas City International Airport (MCI IATA). Serves the Kansas City area and is in the Northland. The IATA code MCI comes from its original name, Mid-continent International, but it is now more commonly called KCI, Kansas City International.
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, branded as RideKC, offers hourly service to and from the airport on Route 129 Boardwalk/KCI, 6AM-11PM daily, $1.50 each way. KCI Shuttle offers a shuttle service between the airport and downtown hotels.
Amtrak serves KC via the cavernous 3 Kansas City Union Station, at 30 West Pershing Road. KC serves as a major stop on the daily Southwest Chief line which provides service between Chicago and Los Angeles. Barring delays, eastbound trains arrive at 7:24AM and westbound trains arrive at 10:11PM. Kansas City is also the western terminus of Amtrak's Missouri River Runner which provides twice-daily service to and from St. Louis with connecting service to Chicago.
Interstate 435 forms a ring around the city. Notably I-70 goes east to St. Louis and west to Denver. I-35 is a major corridor running northeast and southwest. US Highway 71 runs north and south and forms a midtown expressway, running from the I-435/I-470 interchange, in a northwesterly course toward downtown, where it joins I-29. North of the River, US 71 follows the same route as I-29. For more information about navigation in the metro area see W:Kansas City Metropolitan Area.
- 4 Greyhound bus terminal, 1101 Troost Avenue, ☏ (Main office), (customer service).
- KC is also serviced by other commercial coach service companies, which arrive and depart from the depot at 10th and Troost.
The national map companies produce book style maps that can be purchased at many grocery and book stores. Local real estate agents and delivery drivers use a book map produced by a local company in the crossroads district but it is hard to find. The one inside the Feist directory is good and can often be obtained locally for free but the directory may be too bulky to carry.
Addresses on east-west streets are numbered from Main Street in Kansas City, MO, and on north-south streets from St. John Ave. (or the Missouri River, in the River Market area). The direction 'South' in street and address numbers is generally implied if 'N' is not specified, except for numbered 'avenues' in North Kansas City. In most of Wyandotte County, Kansas the north-south streets are numbered and the address numbers are measured from Riverview Ave.
- The KCTV pyramid-shaped tower can be seen from many parts of the city. It is no longer lit. It is next to KCPT studios at the corner of 31st and Main. It is orange.
- West and north of that is the Liberty Memorial cylinder-shaped tower, which overlooks Union Station.
- The twin red brick towers of American Century Investments are oriented north and south along Main at 45th St. They are just north of the Country Club Plaza. The Kemper Museum is slightly east. The Nelson Atkins Museum is east and slightly south.
- Kansas City Community Christian Church at 4601 Main, has a group of lights that shoot a beam straight up at night. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the church. It is slightly south of and across the street from the American Century Investment Towers. The Nelson Atkins is to the east and the Kemper Museum is to the north and slightly east.
- Bartle Hall has a section that looks somewhat like a north-south suspension bridge crossing over I-670 at the southwest corner of the downtown loop. It has four towers with metal sculptures on top of each tower.
- One Kansas City Place is the tallest building in KC (as well as the state). The building walls are entirely black glass and the top has a red/white/blue light ring that can be seen at night. On 12th and Main in downtown.
Places and notes
- Brookside refers to the Brookside residential neighborhood as well as the collection of shops between 63d and Meyer off Brookside Blvd.
- Waldo refers to the Waldo Residential District in Kansas City, Missouri near 75th St. and Wornall Rd.
- The Country Club Plaza ("the Plaza") is an upscale shopping district built by the J.C. Nichols Co. in the 1920s.
- 39th St. usually refers to the small section of West 39th St. between State Line Road and Southwest Trafficway. Often referred to as the "39th St. Corridor, " it has many restaurants, bars and shops, and is just across the state line from the University of Kansas Medical Center.
- University of Kansas Hospital (KUMED) is the corporate name of the hospital on the KU Medical Center campus.
- Benton Curve, a site of many accidents, is a curve on I-70 where it crosses Benton Ave.
- Three Trails Crossing is the new name for the former Grandview Triangle and is the intersection of three major highways: I-435, I-470, and US Highway 71 (Bruce R. Watkins Drive). In the past it was notorious for fatal accidents but improvements and upgrades on the Triangle have mostly been completed.
- "'Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd"'., named for former mayor and current Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, comprises renamed portions of 47th St. and Brush Creek Blvd.
- 18th and Vine Historic District contains the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum.
- Library District is a district around the new Central Library at 14 West 10th St.
- Strawberry Hill is a historical area in Kansas City, KS.
- Hospital Hill is the area near 23rd and Holmes. It is home to Truman Medical Centers and Children's Mercy.
- Argentine is a part of Kansas City, KS near 30th and Argentine.
- The Crossroads Arts District is a downtown neighborhood between the CBD and Union Station, centered around the intersection of 19th St. and Baltimore. It contains dozens of art galleries and is considered by many to be the center of the arts culture in the metropolitan area. Local artists sponsor exhibits there on the first Friday of each month.
- Quality Hill is an upscale residential and commercial neighborhood on top of a hill downtown, across the river from the Kansas City Downtown Airport|Charles B. Wheeler Airport.
- Washington-Wheatley is a historically African-American/black neighborhood southeast of the 18th and Vine District.
The Metro bus is feasible within the urban core, where most of the tourist destinations are found. The MAX (Metro Area eXpress) and #57 buses connect downtown, Crown Center, Westport, the Plaza, Brookside, and Waldo. There are other lines that can drop you fairly close to your door in KCMO as well as limited stops in outlying suburbs such as Kansas City, KS, Independence, Blue Springs, Lee's Summit, the Northland, etc. There is service to the casinos.
Standard fare is $1.50/trip with transfers available from the bus driver that expire two hours after issue. Some lengthy and express routes may cost more. You may purchase a One Day Pass on the bus. The Day Pass is good for local service only. It is issued at the farebox and expires at midnight. Upon boarding, request a Day Pass before depositing the $3 exact change into the farebox. Most major routes use buses that are equipped with bike racks.
If you need bus service in Johnson Co., KS (Overland Park, Mission, Fairway (Kansas), Leawood (Kansas), Olathe, Lenexa, Westwood, Merriam, Shawnee) you can access "The JO" bus service. It also has lines that run from downtown KCMO to Johnson County and vice versa. The stops are limited and far apart.
Service on "The JO" is limited mostly to morning rush hour, mid-day, and evening rush hour. Fares are $1.25 for trips that begin and end in Johnson Co., $1.75 for trips that go start or end in Downtown KCMO. Transfers are available. Most buses are equipped with bike racks.
A north-south streetcar service links Union Station with the popular River Market district. Free to ride, the streetcar is a convenient although quite slow way to cross the city centre. Streetcars run every 10-15 minutes from early morning to evening, with extended services on weekends. Route maps and more information available at KC Streetcar website.
- . Bike sharing program offering 24 hour, 7-day, 30-day and annual memberships, with stations downtown. $7/24 hours; $15/7 days.
Most general issues surrounding driving are the same as in any large US city. However, there is one local law that can affect movement in certain congested areas such as downtown. As in the rest of the US (except New York City), right turns on a red light (after coming to a complete stop) are allowed unless prohibited by signage. Most of the country also allows traffic turning left between one-way streets to make the turn on a red light. However, this second movement is banned throughout the state of Missouri. By contrast, the same left turn on red is legal on the Kansas side of the border (unless prohibited by signage).
- Central Business District. Downtown Kansas City houses many beautiful art deco buildings as well as examples of mid-century design and modern glass towers.
- Power and Light District. New development showcasing restaurants and rowdy bars/clubs. Also see the historic Main Street Theater (now Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) which used to be the Flagship theater for AMC who has its HQ in Kansas City. The theater is said to be one of the most advanced theaters in the country complete with vibrating seats.
- 1 Historic City Market. Offers shopping, dining, concerts, events and a farmers' market.
- 2 The College Basketball Experience and College Basketball Hall of Fame, 1401 Grand Boulevard, ☏ . W-Sa 10AM to 6PM, Su 11AM to 6PM. A 41,500-square-foot facility that is connected to the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City in the Power and Light district. The facility features lots of interactive basketball exhibits and about 1/3 of the College Basketball Experience is occupied by the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. $14 adults, $11 kids (4-17), $10 seniors (65+).
18th and Vine Historic District
- 3 American Jazz Museum, 1616 E 18th St. Tu-Sa 9AM–6PM, Su noon–6PM. Adult $6; combined with Negro Leagues Museum $8
- 4 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 1616 E 18th St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 9AM–6PM, Su noon–6PM, closed M. A museum devoted to the history of the Negro Leagues, an African-American baseball league that was very popular prior to the racial integration of Major League Baseball. Lots of memorabilia from teams, stadiums, and noted players. $10 adults, $9 seniors, $6 children; combined with Jazz Museum $8.
Union Station area
- 5 Union Station, 30 W Pershing Rd. Has a visitor center, theatres, restaurants, shops, the Amtrak station and the following attractions. Also, the nation's second largest train station with ceiling over 100 ft (30 m) tall.
- 6 U.S. National WWI Museum and Memorial, Museum: 2 Memorial Drive; memorial: 100 W 26th St, toll-free: . Museum: Sep-May: Tu-Su 10AM-5PM; May-Aug: Su-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-5PM; memorial: Tu–Su 10AM–5PM (4:15PM for the tower). America's leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. Adults US$16, seniors (ages 65+) and college students $14, youth (ages 6-17) $10, children (under 6) free, active duty US military $8, active duty military family and veterans $2 off; Wednesdays $8 all tickets.
- 7 Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd, ☏ . Home of Hallmark Cards and the Hallmark Visitors Center and Museum.
- 8 Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium, 2475 Grand Blvd, ☏ . Su-Th 10AM-7PM, F Sa 10AM-9PM. Come nose-to-nose with sharks and prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays. In Crown Center.
- 9 The Money Museum, 1 Memorial Dr (west side of Main St and south of the Liberty Memorial). M–F 8:30AM–4:30PM. A museum about the Federal Reserve System and the U.S. financial system, run by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Photo ID must be shown. Free.
Near the Plaza
- 10 Visitor Center, 4709 Central, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM–6PM, Su noon-5PM.
- 11 Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. Also has the Kansas City Sculpture Park. W 10AM–5PM, Th F 10AM–9PM, Sa Su 10AM–5PM, closed M-Tu. Art collection housed in a beautiful 1930s building and a new, critically acclaimed modern wing by Steven Holl. Free.
- 12 Toy and Miniature Museum. W-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1-4PM.. Just off the UMKC campus, 3-min drive from the plaza. $7 adults, $5 children (5-12).
- 13 Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick Blvd. Tu–Th 10AM–4PM, F Sa 10AM–9PM, Su 11AM–5PM. Free.
- 14 Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and visible from the Plaza.
- Ward Parkway. A tree-lined boulevard just south of the Country Club Plaza that takes you past stately homes. The houses are home of some of Kansas City's elite including the family that owns Russel Stover's Candies and the Applebee's family among others. The historic houses were built in many different styles, inspired by European architecture.
- 15 Kansas City Zoo (Swope Park Zoo).
- 16 Ward Parkway. A tree-lined Boulevard, just south of the Country Club Plaza, that takes you past stately homes. The houses are home of some of Kansas City's elite including the family that owns Russel Stover's Candies and the Applebee's family among others. The historic houses were built in many different styles, inspired by European architecture.
- 17 Harley-Davidson Final Assembly Plant, 11401 N Congress Ave (near the airport). Free tours (1 hr) M-F 8AM-1PM. No cameras allowed.
- 1 Worlds of Fun. Roller coasters and water slides north of the river. Open during the summer and weekends in the fall.
- 2 Great Wolf Lodge Kansas City’s Water Park. Hotel with indoor water park.
- 3 CoCo Key Water Resort. Open during the summer and weekends in the fall.
- 4 Legoland Discovery Center Kansas City. Small Lego-themed space in Crown Center. Targeted at small children, adults are not allowed without a child.
Major league sports
- 5 Kansas City Chiefs, 1 Arrowhead Dr (I-70 to exit Blue Ridge/I-435 to exit #63B), ☏ , fax: . National Football League (NFL). A founding member of the upstart American Football League (AFL) in 1960, they moved from Dallas to Kansas City when the Cowboys were put there by the NFL. They lost the first ever Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers and won the last AFL championship and ensuing Super Bowl in the 1969 season. They failed to return to the big game again until the 2019 season when they won their second Super Bowl Championship 50 years after their last on February 2, 2020.
- 6 Kansas City Royals, Kauffman Stadium, 1 Royal Way (I-70 to exit Blue Ridge/I-435 to exit #63B), toll-free: . Kansas City's Major League Baseball (MLB) team plays in Kauffman Stadium, one of the few remaining examples of 1960s-era modernist stadiums in baseball and still one of the best examples of modernist stadium design, with a fountain beyond the right field wall that sends jets of water high into the air. The team has had a notable turnaround; after going nearly 30 years without a playoff appearance, the Royals staged a stunning World Series run in 2014 and returned to win the championship in 2015, much to the joy of their fans.
- 7 Sporting Kansas City, Children's Mercy Park, 1800 Village W Pkwy, Kansas City, KS (I-435 to exit #13B/#14B, continue W to 110th St. and turn left), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Major League Soccer (MLS).
Other sports and gaming
- 8 Ameristar Casino, 3200 N Ameristar Dr, ☏ . 3,000 slot and video poker machines and 60 table games. Live poker room is among the largest in the area. Also has its own microbrewery in Amerisports. You can purchase their beer throughout the casino floor as well.
- 9 [dead link] Isle of Capri Casino, 1800 East Front Street, ☏ , toll-free: .
- 10 Kansas City T-Bones, 1800 Village W Pkwy (I-435 to exit #13B/#14B, continue W to 110th St. and turn left). Northern League baseball.
- 11 [dead link] Kansas City Roller Warriors, ☏ . Women's flat-track roller derby. Four local teams compete March through August.
- Sporting Kansas City II, Children's Mercy Park (see Sporting Kansas City entry), toll-free: , fax: . Reserve team of Sporting Kansas City, playing in the second-tier USL Championship. Renamed from Swope Park Rangers after the 2019 season.
- 12 Kansas City Roos. Sports teams of the University of Missouri–Kansas City, playing in 16 sports (with no football) in the Western Athletic Conference. Moving to the Summit League, home to several natural regional rivals, in July 2020.
- First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District (gallery crawl between Downtown and Crown Center). 7PM-9PM on the first Friday of each month. This area has been called the SoHo of the Midwest by the New York Times. Many art galleries are open late on these Fridays, attracting a growing crowd of art enthusiasts. You can walk between galleries, or hop the free trolley. Summer months are typically the most busy and entertaining. Entry to most galleries is free. Some charge for refreshments.
- Plaza Art Fair, Country Club Plaza.
- 13 Kansas City Renaissance Festival, 633 North 130th St, Bonner Springs, KS 66012, ☏ .
- American Royal BBQ Contest. Largest such event in the world.
- KC Restaurant Week
Kansas City has a large jazz scene, a lot of restaurants have nightly jazz players.
- The Blue Room. The Blue Room has nightly musicians.
- The Majestic, 931 Broadway, ☏ . The Majestic has nightly musicians
- 14 Providence Medical Amphitheater. An open-air amphitheater (concert venue) located in Bonner Springs, Kansas. It has undergone numerous name changes, opening in 1984 as Sandstone Amphitheater. Many of the locals still refer to it as "Sandstone".
- 15 Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd, ☏ . Concerts and events.
- Starlight Theatre. Concerts.
Kansas City hosts the national touring companies for some of Broadway's premier shows. Some of the highlights include Wicked, Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia!
- The Midland by AMC (The Midland by AMC), 1228 Main St, ☏ . Broadway theatre.
- Music Hall (Music Hall), 301 W 13th St, ☏ . Broadway theatre.
- Starlight Theatre (Starlight Theatre), 4600 Starlight Rd, ☏ . Broadway Theatre.
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. W 10AM-4PM, Th F 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Free.
- 16 Steamboat Arabia Museum, 400 Grand Blvd, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-5:30PM, Su noon-5PM.
- 17 Downtown Library.
- Country Club Plaza. The nation's first shopping center, designed for the automobile. It offers high-end shops and restaurants in a quaint European atmosphere. The architecture is modeled after Seville, Spain and includes a replica of the Giralda Tower.
- 1 Oak Park Mall (suburban). Largest indoor mall in the region.
- Brookside Shops. Local non-chain shops and non-chain restaurants. Grocery stores, bar, sandwiches.
- 2 39th Street West. Roughly between State Line Rd. and Southwest Trafficway.
- Crown Center
- Great Mall of the Great Plains (in Olathe, KS)
- Zona Rosa
- 3 119th Street (Suburban Kansas). The area east of the Sprint HQ is home to a number of shopping complexes like Town Center Plaza, Leawood Park Place and One Nineteen. Park Place is a highly dense, mixed use suburban town center catering to local retailers.
- Antiques: KC has many unique things you will not find on the coasts. The best places to poke around are estate sales and whatnot in the outlying farm areas -- they throw nothing away. Check out the River Market Antique Mall for 4 stories of vendors selling something between trash and treasure. The West Bottoms warehouses host antique and estate sale auctions on the weekends, look to the KC Star for details.
- 4 Crossroads Arts District. Highly inspiring mix of shops ranging from apparel to home design. Shops are scattered throughout this gritty district of former warehouses and industrial spaces. The district is also one of the largest collections of art galleries and studios in the Midwest.
- Legends. Legends Outlets Kansas City is a super-regional shopping mall located in the Village West development near Kansas City, Kansas.
- City Market Area: once called the River Market (and before that the River Quay back when mobsters used to end up in trunks with bullet holes). Like Times Square, they chased out the venerable old peep shows and dive bars. Now the neighborhood hosts a farmer's market, live music during the summer from major acts, and the Steamboat Arabia Museum which hosts the largest collection of prewar silver in the world -- recovered from a large paddlewheeler that went down in the 1830s.
"Who has the best barbecue in Kansas City?" is a question that causes much debate in Kansas City. Although the debate is usually in good humor, be ready for a passionate explanation which may take some time (or a light-hearted argument if asked in front of more than one person). Although the different restaurants each have their own unique flavors, they will usually have a sauce which is thicker and sweeter than offered in most other parts of the U.S.
Kansas City is also home to a barbecue dish that is rarely found outside the area, called "Burnt Ends." These are the overcooked ends and edges of a brisket, which although dry and chewy, are amazingly smoky and full of flavor (much more flavorful than any other cut). If you are feeling open-minded about your KC barbecue experience, they are definitely worth a try.
- Arthur Bryant's, 1727 Brooklyn Ave. It has pictures on the wall of presidents and other famous people who have visited. The sandwich consists of a large pile of brisket and two pieces of butternut bread. One sandwich could feed three people. Ask for sauce for take-outs. Bryant's signature sauce is a vinegar based sauce with slight lower neutral overtones. There are alternative, sweeter versions of the sauce available. There is a security guard in the parking lot at night.
- B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ, 1205 E 85th St, ☏ . B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ is in an old roadhouse in south Kansas City, and serves Kansas City-style barbecue. All the ribs, sausage and meats are slow-smoked in a 60 year old pit with apple wood. This often includes Cajun/Creole staples such as Boudin Balls & Jambalaya. However, BB's is best known for live Blues, Zydeco, and other various types of live music six nights a week.
- Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue, 4 locations. Jack Stack is considered to be the Kansas City area's "High Class" BBQ restaurant (although jeans & T-shirts are perfectly acceptable) Jack stack offers one of the largest varieties of meats in the metro area. Choices can vary from lamb ribs, to prime rib. Jack Stack's sauce is extremely similar to Gates sauce in that it is sweet, but slightly less tangy than Gate's version. Notable sides include their hickory pit beans and cheesy corn bake.
- Gates. When you walk in, you will immediately hear: "Hi, may I help you?" So, if you're eating in, and you have absolutely no idea what to order, shout back "Beef and a half on bun", "Mixed Plate" (Mixed plate includes ribs, sliced ham & sliced turkey) or "Burnt End on Bun". Guy Fieri of the Food Network once declared the Burnt End On Bun to be his single most favorite meal in the country. Gates Sauce is sweet & tangy with very slight vinegar undertones.
- LC's, 5800 Blue Pkwy (head E on Ward Pkwy from the Plaza). Though not much to look at, don't let the barred door and admittedly intimidating surroundings scare you off; specialties here include sandwiches that feed two and thick cut fries.
- Joe's Kansas City, 3002 West 47th Ave, ☏ . M-Th 11:00 AM- 9:00 PM; Fr- Sa 11:00 AM- 10:00 PM; closed on Sundays. In a gas station/liquor store in Kansas City, KS, Joe's Kansas City, formerly Oklahoma Joe's, has quickly established itself as the "Pulled Pork King" of the area. Pulled pork is the self proclaimed specialty, but just about all things swine are amazing. Walk around to the serving line and have some of the best ribs in KC. The Z-Man sandwich (Beef brisket and melted provolone topped with two onion rings) and the "Carolina Style" (served open-faced with cole slaw) are also favorites. Anthony Bourdain included Joe's Kansas City in his "13 Places To Eat Before You Die" list published in GQ magazine. Lines are punishingly long during lunch, but very well worth the wait. Call in and go to the front register for a take out order. They have 2 suburban locations in Johnson County, KS.
- Rosedale (One block W of Rainbow on Southwest Blvd). best of the best
- Town Topic, 2021 Broadway original location. 24 hr. Small diner with low prices.
- YJ's Snack Bar, 1746 Washington St. Mon - Wed: 7:30a - 10:00p; Thu - Sun: 24 hours. Attracts a diverse crowd from the surrounding arts district.
- V's Restaurante.
- 1 801 Chophouse (801 Steak & Chop House), 71 E 14th St (Power and Light District/Downtown Kansas City), ☏ . 4-11. A late 1920s New York City steak house interior with leather booths, cherry wood furnishings, wooden floors, granite counter tops and high ceilings. The chef creates a fresh sheet that highlights seasonal fresh soups and salads, oysters on the half shell, five species of fresh fish, live Maine lobsters and king crab legs. The bar opens daily at 4PM with happy hour from 4-6PM on M-F. $55.
- American Restaurant.
- Capital Grille (The Plaza).
- [dead link] Em Chamas Brazilian Steakhouse, 6101 NW 63rd Ter, ☏ .
- The Golden Ox (West Bottoms near Royal Kemper Arena). Classic steakhouse.
- The Hereford House, Zona Rosa Town Center, ☏ .
- Savoy Grill (downtown across from Quality Hill).
- Little Chef. First export from the UK roadside Kwality Koozine Specialists.
- Grunauer, 101 W 22nd St, ☏ . Austrian cuisine in the historic Crossroads district.
- Jess & Jim's Steakhouse, 517 E 135th St, ☏ . The quintessential Midwestern steakhouse. Known for the 25 oz. Playboy Strip that put this little place on the national map. USA Today declared Jess & Jim's one of the nation's top steakhouses and former US president Bill Clinton is known to stop in when he visits Kansas City.
- Stroud's. Fried chicken.
There is a popular brewery in KC by the name of Boulevard whose beers are available on tap at many different bars and restaurants throughout town.
Live Music Venues: Uptown Theatre (Midtown, on Broadway and Valentine) hosts lots of up and coming acts and many timeless performers play here because it is so famous. Beaumont Club is a soulless Westport C&W club that hosts live music but has acoustics' issues and a mechanical bull. The Grand Emporium used to be one of the best blues clubs but after being bought by the owners of the Beaumont they changed it considerably, including the name to Tao.
- John's Upper Deck, 928 Wyandotte St (Neighborhoods: Central Business District, Greater Downtown), ☏ . $.
- 12 Baltimore, 12th St and Baltimore (attached to the upscale Hotel Phillips).
- Angel's Rock.
- Bice Italian Bistro.
- Crosstown Station (S of the Sprint Center Arena next to KC Star Bldg on McGee St). Indoor live music venue and bar. Voted Best Lights, Sound and Stage.
- The Drum Room. Historic jazz and blues location.
- Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, 101 East 13th St. Beer bar with 80 taps and many bottles. Trivia Tuesdays 7:30, Rare Beer Nights Wednesdays.
- Howl at the Moon Dueling Piano Bar.
- John's Deck.
- Kansas City Live!. Open-air live music and entertainment venue, open-container allowed. Surrounded by the Power & Light District's various bars and eateries.
- Knucklehead's, 2715 Rochester St, ☏ . W-Su. Also known for the wide variety of music they bring to KC like country, blues, rockabilly. Roots, singer/songwriters and Zydeco. Free shuttle available.
- McFadden's Sports Saloon.
- The Peanut.
- The Phoenix. Live jazz
- The Quaff, 1010 Broadway. Large, very popular bar with scantily-clad waitresses and tough guy bartenders. Frequented mostly by the post-college crowd.
- Tengo Sed Cantina.
- Willie's. Small sports bar with a largely post-college crowd. A franchise out of Columbia, MO; a great place to go to see University of MO games.
- Zebra Room (in Hotel Aladdin). Newly remodeled; has a swanky zebra-skin theme. Great food and a martini lounge on the mezzanine level.
- The Brooksider.
- Carmen's Cafe, 6307 Brookside Plaza, ☏ . Carmen's serves up tapas, pasta, and Latin- and Italian-style entrees, wine and cocktails in an intimate and friendly setting. Come in through the downstairs bar. $15-30.
- Charlie Hooper's.
Country Club Plaza
- The Granfalloon.
- JJ's. JJ's is a laid back, wine and martini type bar that generally caters to older patrons, but the drink selection is good and the bartenders friendly. The outdoor patio is heated so it can be enjoyed during most of the year.
- O'Dowd's. O'Dowd's is a standard Irish Pub but features live music often and is one of the more upbeat places on the Plaza. Features an open air rooftop bar.
- Tomfooleries. Tom's (as it is frequently referred to) is a restaurant by day and bar by night. The downstairs is generally quieter and calmer than upstairs in the evening. There is also a patio area outside. The cheapest place to drink on the Plaza, as domestic beer is $2 after 9PM. A good place to start the night.
- The Brick.
- The Cashew, 20th and Grand. Open air cafe feel to this two-story bar. In the summer months, the windows are raised up (think: "garage door") and both stories gain a relaxing breeze and a nice view of the city. Occasionally has live music, popular stop during First Fridays.
- Danny's Big Easy, 16th and Main Sts.
- Grinders, 18th and Locust (3 blocks E of Grand St.). Eclectic beer selection and authentic Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches.
- Pawn & Pint 613 Walnut St, Kansas City, MO Board games with food and drink, bar area
- Davey's Uptown Rambler's Club.
- Mint Ultralounge (Formerly The Empire Room).
- [dead link] The Grothaus+Pearl Gallery.
- The Hangout.
- The Levee.
- The Newsroom.
- The Velvet Dog.
- Sidekicks Saloon
Northeast Industrial District
- Knucklehead's, 2715 Rochester St.
- The Cup and Saucer.
- Harry's Country Club.
- Bobby Baker's Lounge.
- Fin's Waldo Bar.
- The Gaf.
- Tanner's Waldo.
- America's Pub.
- Buzzard Beach.
- The Saloon
- Dave's Stagecoach Inn.
- Harry's Bar and Tables.
- McCoy's Public House, 4057 Pennsylvania Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-3AM, Su 11AM-midnight. House-brewed beer and full menu, including vegetarian options. 6 regular beer offerings plus a rotating selection of seasonal beers. Cocktails and a selection of scotches and bourbons also available. $15-25.
- Westport Flea Market, 817 Westport Rd, ☏ . 11AM-1AM daily, kitchen closes at 11PM. Regularly voted Kansas City's best burger, the Flea has a full food menu, but is really more about drinks and hanging out. Live music on Sundays, karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays, chess on Tuesdays, trivia on Wednesdays. Relaxed crowd, pool tables and pinball. 23 beers on tap.
- Firefly - 'A Modern Speakeasy'.
Rudy's Tenampa Taqueria (Authentic Mexican)
- 1 Honeycomb Hostel, 3314 The Paseo, ☏ . Kansas City's only hostel. Dorm beds come with locker and USB port. One private room available. Free wireless internet. Dorms $38.50, private room $88.
- 2 Microtel Inn and Suites Kansas City Airport, 11831 NW Plaza Cir, ☏ .
- Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City, 3200 N Ameristar Dr, ☏ . Refurbished lobby, 184 rooms all with king or 2 queen size beds.
- [dead link] AmeriSuites Kansas City/Airport, 7600 NW 97th Ter, ☏ . 2 mi S of MCI Airport and 12 mi N of downtown.
- Embassy Suites Kansas City International Airport. 4 mi from MCI Airport, 1 mi from Zona Rosa.
- Southmoreland on the Plaza, 116 E 48th St. B and B.
- Courtyard Kansas City Downtown/Convention Center, 1535 Baltimore Ave, ☏ .
- Residence Inn Kansas City Downtown / Convention Center, ☏ .
- 3 Courtyard Kansas City Country Club Plaza (Historic Courtyard Marriott Plaza), 4600 JC Nichols Pkwy. In the heart of the Plaza. The hotel has free Wi-Fi, complimentary parking, refrigerators and microwaves in every room and bar.
- 4 Hilton President Kansas City, 1329 Baltimore Ave (Sign reads 'President' in P and L District).
- 5 Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, 2345 McGee St. Connected to the Crown Center office and shopping complex.
- 6 InterContinental Kansas City at The Plaza, 401 Ward Pkwy, ☏ . 366 luxury-class rooms and suites.
- 7 Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 W 12th St (In Convention District, 12th and Wyandotte). 22-floor hotel that connects to the historic Muehlebach Hotel. Most recognizable at night, when the front of the hotel shows a light display from dusk-11PM.
- 8 Hotel Phillips, 106 W 12th St, ☏ . Renewed through a $20 million restoration project, a boutique hotel. First opened in 1931, the hotel is on the National Registry of Historic Places, cited as a classic example of Art Deco architecture. Walnut paneling and marble floors.
- 9 The Raphael Hotel, 325 Ward Pkwy. An historic landmark in the Plaza, upscale boutique hotel with amenities for business, leisure and heritage travelers.
- 10 The Westin Crown Center, 1 E Pershing Rd, ☏ . In Hallmark's Crown Center, an 85-acre complex of shops, restaurants and theaters.
Like most major cities, the tourist and business areas (downtown and the Plaza) are generally safe day and night, but it is always best to be aware of your surroundings. It's also best to be especially cautious during the evenings and night around the P and L District, where there has been an increase in crimes. Most violent crime happens during the late nighttime hours. Neighborhoods east and southeast of the downtown/midtown/Plaza areas are experiencing an increase in violent crime. These areas offer little for visitors and are best avoided. (One exception is the Kansas City Zoo, which is in Swope Park. The surrounding area is not the safest, but the zoo itself is fine.)
KC is in Tornado Alley, so make sure you check the local weather forecasts and make sure you understand what to do during a tornado. Tornado sirens are in place to warn of incoming twisters. The system is tested every month on the first Wednesday at around noon. If you hear the sirens any other time, they're serious!
Kansas City is one of those places where hidden in darker corners, you will find the gems, the places to visit and go. Rarely do things jump out at you and say: come visit this attraction, food, shopping, or historical establishment. Pick up a Pitch Weekly for nightlife information. If you want to relax and enjoy a walk, check out Loose Park just south of the Country Club Plaza. During the spring and fall, it's one of the most beautiful places to stroll. When you are done there are plenty of other beautiful and majestic cities in this region like Omaha, Chicago, Saint Louis, Independence, Lee's Summit, and Des Moines.
|Routes through Kansas City (by train)|
|END ←||W E||→ Independence → Jefferson City|
|Albuquerque ← Lawrence ←||W E||→ Fort Madison → Chicago|
|Routes through Kansas City (by car)|
|Council Bluffs ← St. Joseph ←||N S||→ END|
|Des Moines ← Kearney ←||N S||→ Kansas City, KS → Wichita|
|END ←||N S||→ Nevada → Joplin|
|Topeka ← Kansas City, KS ←||W E||→ Independence → Columbia|
|Hutchinson ← Overland Park ←||W E||→ Lee's Summit → Jefferson City|
|McPherson ← Overland Park ←||W E||→ END|
|Des Moines ← Cameron ←||N S||→ Kansas City, KS → Miami|
|Atlantic ← St. Joseph ←||N S||→ Nevada → Joplin|
|Fort Dodge ← St. Joseph ←||N S||→ Kansas City, KS → Tulsa|