My hometown, my life, my love. I was born here. I grew up here. I love it here. I actively object to people calling the midwest “flyover territory.” I commiserate with those who can’t understand the difference between Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO. Half my shirts are Charlie Hustle. I listen to 9.65 the Buzz like it’s my job.
This is getting excessive. Look, I love Kansas City, and I hope you will too. BBQ and all.
Table of Contents
Official Language(s): none at federal level, English is considered the national language
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Emergency phone number: 911
When to Go to Kansas City
March – May or September – November
March – May or September – November, because midwest weather can get especially tricky. I know every local in every city on earth will say “Don’t like the weather? Wait 20 minutes,” but really. One time a snowstorm in May cancelled a Royals game. In May.
It’s no guarantee, but stick to spring and fall. Gambling otherwise ensures weather from hell.
Plan to Stay
2 days… or forever.
Where to Stay in Kansas City
21c Museum Hotel
21c Museum Hotel is located right in the heart of the Power and Light district. You’ll be able to walk to the Symphony, and maybe that weird painted wall everyone takes an Instagram pic with. It’s close to a bunch of cool shops and restaurants, with a luxury feel to match.
How to Get Around in Kansas City
KC just got our own streetcar (known as RideKC) and it’s free! The route will take you just about anywhere, but when all else fails, Uber is your friend.
Where to Eat in Kansas City
Lidia’s is something of a legend here in KC. She’s well known back in Italy, and has her own public access show where she’ll teach you how to make every delicious dish under the sun.
The entire menu is worth a taste, but the real treasure is her pasta trio. Made fresh daily and with unlimited servings, if you don’t walk away full, you didn’t do it right.
101 W 22nd St, Kansas City
No joke, Andre’s was the first public place I was brought to as a newborn. I was six weeks old. It was definitely a sign. I practically live there now. It’s a Swiss cuisine cafe with two locations and different daily specials for each. If nothing else, get a dessert to go and take it to the Liberty Memorial park.
5018 Main Street, Kansas City
There are multiple great local spots for a burger in the city; unforked, Chubby’s, Burg and Barrel, Town Topic, but if you want real local charm, Winstead’s is the way to go.
The steakburgers have been a staple since the 1940’s, and in terms of the vibe, little has changed. It’s got an old school diner feel with the kind of friendly service you’d expect. Order the skyscraper shake at the Plaza location. There’s a song that goes with it.
101 Cleaver II Blvd, Kansas City
BBQ of any kind
Kansas City BBQ is the best in the world and I will absolutely fight anyone who says otherwise. I don’t wanna hear any “But have you tried Memphis?” bullshit. Memphis would BBQ a shoe if they could. Knock it off.
Anyways, they are sooo many great places to get your fix here. Kansas City Joe’s, an actual gas station. Arthur Bryant, where old school reigns supreme Gate’s, where people scream “HOW CAN I HELP YOU?” but sincerely. Q39, which has new locations to confuse everyone who thought their name + location was gospel.
But if you want a fun time, head on down to the Ice House. They’re supplied with Joe’s Kansas City BBQ. Get the burnt ends. Thank me later.
2919, 100 E 14th St, Kansas City
Day 1 of 2 Days in Kansas City
The WWI Museum packs a lot into one space. Budget at least half a day. It’s nationally recognized for a reason.
In the 1920’s, the Kansas City Star (our dearly beloved local paper) put forth the call to create a museum commemorating the war, and so it began. You’ll learn so much.
Save time and pay extra to ride up the tower as well. You’ll get the best views of the city.
2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City
Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday, closed Monday
Union Station is right across the street. It’s a grand historic train station that opened in 1914 and still operates today. My brother took an Amtrak from there to Chicago. Trains run from there daily.
Inside, it’s got an old world, European charm to it. There’s also a Science Center that always has something going on. Past awesomeness includes; Pompeii exhibit and most recently, dinosaurs.
30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City
Open 6 a.m. – 12 a.m.
A fantastic way to spend the evening is at the Kansas City Symphony, located inside the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Look at that building! Don’t you get Sydney Opera House vibes? I sure do. The director, Michael Stern, commands talent and we’ve had pretty legit performers return again and again. Odds are, Joshua Bell is in town. I think he loves us.
1601 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City
Day 2 of 2 Days in Kansas City
Baseball & Jazz Museum
The Baseball & Jazz Museum is the colloquial name for the building down at 18th and Vine. They’re really two separate museums, but no one ever goes to see just one.
Both tell the story of two important movements that began in Kansas City; jazz and the Negro Leagues.
The museums are much smaller than others you’ll see in the city, and could use some funding. Please donate if you feel compelled to do so. It’s a story that needs to be spread far and wide.
1616 E 18th St, Kansas City
Open 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday
Country Club Plaza
KC is known as the city of fountains, and Country Club Plaza has most if not all. We have 200 registered fountains in the city.
Why? Dunno. Why did we create a Spanish design for our commercial shopping district? Hell if I know, but the Plaza is weird, wonderful and where it’s at.
4706 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City
Before I dive in, notice the red light flooding the museum? That’s a KC Chiefs fandom thing. We’ll get to it in a bit.
Anyways, the Nelson-Atkins Museum is what every Kansas City resident brags about. Henry Bloch (of H & R Block fame) donated an artistic treasure trove to a museum that’s free to enter.
Particularly impressive is the Impressionists collection (with names like Monet and van Gogh), but there’s also an amazing array of artifacts from eastern Asia and ancient Egypt.
So… you see why we brag about it, right?
4525 Oak St, Kansas City
Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, closed Monday and Tuesday
See a game
It couldn’t be more convenient. Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadium are right next to each other. So, if you like football, baseball, or both… well, lucky you. Like many cities, we’re deeply in love with our teams, even when they suck. So while you’re in KC, you basically have to become a Chiefs and Royals fan. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
KC Royals: 1 Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129
KC Chiefs: 1 Arrowhead Dr, Kansas City, MO 64129
One Last Thing
Don’t ever say “X city has better BBQ than here,” unless you have a death wish. Not only because you’re wrong, but mostly because you’re wrong.
Also, we’ll kill you with midwestern kindness until you concede. It’s a terrible way to go.
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