Kansas City, MO

Destination Location

  • 39.099727, -94.578567:primary
  • 39.293808, -94.719925:secondary

Overview

Kansas City is a vibrant and innovative city that boasts an eclectic and emerging arts scene, world-class attractions and an extensive mix of local shops. The "City of Fountains" is home to a thriving art and design scene, and it attracts a diverse array of independent businesses and restaurants alike.

Experiencing the city's dynamic arts and cultural offerings should be at the top of any visitor's list when in Kansas City. Be sure to check the performance schedule at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, an exquisite venue for music, opera, theater and dance throughout the year. Another must-see for visitors is the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, boasting an expansive collection of over 33,000 works of art.

Spend the day strolling around the historic City Market, where visitors will find an unbeatable combination of dining, shopping, entertainment and attractions in a unique open-air setting. The City Market offers visitors a variety of fresh produce, meat, specialty groceries, flowers and gift items from nearby farms and around the world. Find the perfect souvenir at River Market Antiques. This 30,000 square foot indoor antique mall is home to more than 100 vendors. You could spend days exploring all of the nooks and crannies in the many storeys of this building, and there would still be plenty to see.

No trip to Kanas City is complete without a healthy dose of local fare. And this city's famous specialty is barbeque, which makes it easily one of the most delectable activities in Kansas City. Barbeque means business here (just ask the members of the Kansas City Barbecue Society), and there are nearly 100 barbecue restaurants. Slow-smoking is the traditional Kansas City barbecue calling card, but you'll find a variety of cooking styles so you can choose your own new favourite. But it's not just barbeque that the folks from Kansas City can boast about. The Rieger, located in a beautiful historic building that was once a hotel, describes itself as "a Kansas City Classic brought forward in time." The original tile floor and fixtures give it an old-world charm and they claim that their food celebrates the bounty of the region.

From touring famous factories like Harley-Davidson and Hallmark Cards to experiencing the city's arts, there is no shortage of activities in Kansas City, all sure to entertain everyone in the family.

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Destination basics

Winters vary from mild to very cold, with significant snow at times, and temperatures occasionally dipping well below freezing (-18 C / 0 F). Snow accumulation occurs three to five times per year, on average, sometimes exceeding 30 cm (a foot). KC enjoys very pleasant spring and autumn weather, but suffers hot, humid summers. It is not uncommon for the temperature to stay above 32 C (90 F) for weeks at a time during July and August. Because of the heat, almost all buildings in KC are equipped with air conditioning.

Kansas City is a diner's paradise. Known for its outstanding steak and barbecue, Kansas City also includes noteworthy establishments offering everything from juicy burgers and spicy Mexican fare to fresh seafood and vegetarian cuisine. So dig in and see what tasty treats Kansas City has cooked up for you.

Northland
Since the Northland is home to a slew of businesses, residential neighborhoods and shopping areas, it is no surprise that the area boasts some excellent restaurants as well. If an intimate dining experience is what you are looking for, an evening at Cascone's Italian Restaurant is a good bet. This establishment offers the perfect spot at which to woo a client over lunch or a sweetheart over dinner. For a much more casual experience, try Chappell's Restaurant & Lounge, a veritable sports museum masquerading as a restaurant. The burgers are deluxe, but the real draw is the awe-inspiring collection of sports memorabilia, including a size-20 sneaker that once graced the foot of basketball great, Shaquille O'Neal. If some great Kansas City barbecue is in order, stop by the Smokehouse Barbecue North, where burnt ends are just the beginning of a finger-licking meal you will never forget.

Downtown
If you find yourself downtown when hunger strikes, there are plenty of terrific restaurants to fill the void in your stomach. The Hereford House Restaurant, a Kansas City landmark since 1957, is a traditional, yet intimate steak house offering tender cuts of beef prepared to order over a hickory-fired grill. The wine list here is tops: the restaurant was presented with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 1996. Lidia's Kansas City serves excellent Northern Italian cuisine in one of the most stunning dining rooms in the city. The 30-foot fireplace and the monstrous chandeliers (constructed from blown-glass Grappa bottles) help make Lidia's a restaurant to remember. Meanwhile, romantic upscale dining can be found downtown at the Savoy Grill. If you are in the mood for a fiesta, try Manny's Restaurante Mexicano, where authentic Mexican cuisine is served in a festive atmosphere.

Plaza/Westport
The Country Club Plaza and Westport neighborhoods offer dining at its finest. In fact, the Plaza's many outstanding restaurants make choosing just one nearly impossible. When in doubt, try Plaza III - The Steakhouse, which offers traditional steakhouse dining in a very upscale atmosphere.

Californos Westport offers contemporary dining in a elegant atmosphere. In warm weather months, the restaurant offers one of the finest outdoor "dining rooms" in the city, so order a cocktail, sit back and soak in the charm of Westport.

Johnson County
This booming area of town offers a delightful blend of dining experiences.

East Metro/South KC
The East Metro dining scene is alive and well with a variety of restaurants to please every palate. For upscale fine dining, the EBT Restaurant is a sure bet. Located in what used to be a large department store, EBT offers an atmosphere that is ideal for special occasions as well as romantic or business dining. For some of Kansas City's most popular barbecue, try LC's Barbecue, where the chefs smoke the meats outside, distributing the succulent scent throughout the neighborhood.

Kansas City is nothing like the cow town many imagine it to be. From its sprawling suburbs to its big-city skyline, this charming, hospitable place offers visitors plenty to see and do.

Northland
The booming Northland provides many visitors with their first glimpse of Kansas City. The city's largest airport, Kansas City International, is situated in this area, while rolling hills and farmland are just minutes away. Several hotels, including the Kansas City Airport Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotel KCI Airport, are within walking distance of the airport and offer easy access to I-435.

A booming economy has made the Northland an area of widespread growth, with new houses and businesses popping up regularly. Visitors staying close to the airport do not have to venture far in search of fun. The area is packed with shopping centers, strip malls and restaurants, including Chappell's Restaurant & Sports Museum and Smokehouse Barbecue North.

Downtown
Kansas City's impressive downtown skyline can be seen from most surrounding suburbs. Its tall buildings cast reflections on the nearby Missouri River and draw travelers to this central location. The recent renovation of Union Station and the River Market, along with the addition of Science City and the ongoing popularity of Crown Center, has energized the area. Fine dining establishments include Hereford House Restaurant and Lidia's Kansas City.

A number of historic hotels, including the Westin Crown Center Hotel have made downtown a magnet for travelers. Sightseers wishing to step back in time can do so at the 18th & Vine District, the American Jazz Museum, the Black Archives of Mid-America or the Toy & Miniature Museum.

Plaza/Westport
Charming and classy yet avant-garde is a good description for the popular Country Club Plaza and Westport areas, two contemporary districts that play host to entertainment seekers. The Plaza, America's first shopping mall, draws thousands of visitors annually thanks to its high-class shopping district, breathtaking Spanish colonial architecture and varied dining options such as Californos, Gates Barbecue and Grand St. Cafe. Luxurious hotels and historic bed-and-breakfasts are within walking distance, with many offering magnificent views. During the holiday season, the Plaza is aglow with thousands of lights, bathing the sea of festive shoppers who flock there in twinkling white. Nearby Westport, a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, is best known for its contemporary clubs and restaurants. Both districts attract Gen-Xers as well as Baby Boomers, so no one should feel out of place.

Kansas City, Kansas
Like its Missouri neighbor, Kansas City, Kansas (known as KCK) is a place on the move. The city's various shopping and dining establishments, attract visitors from the metro and surrounding areas. Fun, family events, like the Kansas City Renaissance Festival make KCK a popular year-round destination for all ages.

Johnson County Johnson County, KCK's southern neighbor, is also growing, with new businesses and residential neighborhoods sprouting up everywhere. The area has a reputation as a classy place both to live in and to visit. Public venues, such as Town Center Plaza and Oak Park Mall, are always bustling with action. Like downtown, Johnson County is a hub for business, with several new office complexes, which have bolstered the area's economy. The plentiful accommodations here include the Overland Park Marriott, in addition to a variety of charming smaller hotels. East Metro
The stadiums that house the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals can be found in the East Metro District. If there is one thing that riles Kansas Citians most, it is their beloved Chiefs. Most NFL stadiums pale in comparison to Arrowhead, where excitement and explosive fan support bring the venue to life when the Chiefs are in town. For baseball fans, there's Kauffman Stadium, home of the Royals.

For those wishing to forego sports and opt instead for a slice of history, Independence is worth a stop. This historic town is the birthplace of former President Harry S. Truman and is home to the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum and a host of other historic points of interest, including the Vaile Victorian Mansion and the Bingham-Waggoner Estate.

The East Metro area offers great places to stay, including the Holiday Inn Sports Complex and the Woodstock Inn Bed and Breakfast. and LC's Barbecue provide a taste of Kansas City cooking for those seeking a down-home dining experience.

South Kansas City
Like its northern counterpart, South Kansas City is experiencing growth in both the business and residential sectors. Locals and travelers alike enjoy dining at the many area restaurants, including the locally renowned EBT Restaurant.

Travelers in search of entertainment can make a stop at Swope Park, which provides fun for all ages. The Kansas City Zoological Park makes for an enjoyable day trip. Finally, the open-air Starlight Theatre offers an array of theatrical productions during warm weather months.

There is never a dull moment in Kansas City. Whether you're a theater lover or a sports enthusiast, a history buff or a roller coaster fan, you will find plenty to keep you busy in this vibrant Midwest metropolis.

Amusement Parks
If there is one attraction that brings more visitors to Kansas City than any other, it has to be Worlds of Fun. This 175-acre theme park features more than 140 rides and attractions. Be sure to take a spin on the Mamba, one of the longest, tallest and fastest steel roller coasters in the world. Worlds of Fun's sister park, Oceans of Fun, offers more than 60 acres of wet and wild entertainment. Bring your swimsuit, nose plug and lots of sunscreen.

Shopping
The concrete playground known as downtown Kansas City mixes the town's rich heritage with its exciting modern attractions. One of the most popular stops is Union Station, which was recently restored to its former grandeur and now houses Science City, a tiny town built inside the station featuring 50 "neighborhoods," each with a different science-based focus. Another downtown mainstay is Crown Center. This massive complex not only houses the international headquarters of Hallmark Cards, but it also includes excellent restaurants, lots of shopping, live theater performances and two hotels. Meanwhile, a trip to Kansas City would not be complete without a visit to the 18th & Vine District, known the world over as the site where Kansas City-style jazz music was born.

If you are the "shop until you drop" type, you will love the Country Club Plaza and Westport districts. Designed in 1922, the Plaza is the country's first shopping area especially designed to accommodate automobiles. The Spanish architecture, one-of-a-kind shops, national retailers and outstanding restaurants make this a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Whereas the Plaza is more upscale, Westport is down to earth.

Museums and Galleries
To satisfy your more cultural tastes, try a few of the city's outstanding fine art museums. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is considered one of the finest in the nation, thanks to its collections of European, American and Oriental art, Chinese Temple Room, outdoor sculpture garden and more. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art offers permanent and traveling exhibits featuring some of the most respected artists of our time. And if you think art is only for serious adult viewing, think again. The Toy & Miniature Museum offers a delightful display of antique dolls, doll houses, trains, miniatures and Victorian toys that will charm the young and the young at heart.

The Shawnee Indian Mission Historical Site, which began as a mission school serving Native American children in the 1820s and 30s, later became a popular resting area for settlers traveling the Santa Fe Trail. If you are looking for something fun for younger visitors, try the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, a five-acre farm complete with a petting barnyard, picnic areas and nature trails. For a taste of history, try a trip to Independence for a stop at the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum and the Truman Farm Home.

Sports
It is all about sports in East Metro. Here you will find Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium. Whether you are a Kansas City Chiefs fan, a Kansas City Royals fan or both, you will feel the excitement from the moment you take your seat in either of these venues.

Cinema and Theater
On the grounds of the Zoo is the Sprint IMAX Theatre, where you will experience movies such as Everest and Dolphins on a screen more than six-stories tall. South Kansas City is also home to the Starlight Theatre, one of only two professional open-air theater companies in the nation.

Kansas City

State: Missouri

Country: United States

Kansas City by the Numbers 
Population: 475,000 (city); 2,428,000 (metropolitan) 
Elevation: 910 feet / 277 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 39 inches / 99 centimeters
Average Annual Snowfall: 15 inches / 38 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 27°F / -2.8°C
Average July Temperature: 79°F / 26.1°C

Quick Facts 

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT-6; Central Standard Time (CST)

Country Dialing Code: 1

Area Code: 816

Did You Know?

Kansas City is known for its barbeque. Dating back to the 19th Century, the legacy began when Henry Perry, the "Father of Kansas City BBQ," started selling his tasty barbeque out of an old railroad car near the famous corner of 18th & Vine. Cooked low and slow, the city continues to be known for this delicious cuisine. 

Orientation

Kansas City sits on the border between Kansas and Missouri. It is about 155 miles (249 kilometers) from Jefferson City, MO.

The history of Kansas City is much like an old Western movie. It is a story of cowboys and Indians, of westward expansion and the rugged men and women who traveled to and through the area in search of a new beginning.

Before the first explorers came upon this beautiful land, it was inhabited by several Native American tribes, including the Omaha, Iowa, Kansa, Missouri and Osage. French explorers Louis Jolet and Father Jacques Marquette were the first to discover the mouth of the Missouri River while traveling down the Mississippi in 1673. This discovery led to further exploration by Europeans throughout the 1700s. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the legendary party lead by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark explored the Missouri River area and points west from 1804-1806. As exploration continued, trade relations were instituted with the Native American people, increasing familiarity with the land and its inhabitants.

In 1812, the U.S. Congress established the Missouri Territory and opened the land to settlement. Missouri was granted statehood eight years later, becoming the 24th state in the Union. As pioneers, trappers, settlers and others flocked to the areas along the Missouri River, Frenchman Francois Chouteau established the American Fur Company trading post on the waterfront at what is now the river's edge of downtown Kansas City. This move helped to establish trade relationships with the Native American tribes until President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Bill in 1830. This bill opened the entire state to white settlers, ultimately forcing the Native Americans to relocate to other areas of the Midwest.

While tremendous growth was occurring in Missouri, Santa Fe was also becoming a hot settlement spot. The Santa Fe Trail was established in Independence, bringing even more commercial activity to the area. With the rush to western territories under way, Kansas City found itself situated in an ideal location. In 1834, John Campbell purchased a tract of land located just four miles from the river on the Kansas/Missouri state line and divided it into settlement plots. Westport (as Campbell named it) was established as a thriving commercial trading post by John Calvin McCoy, one of its new inhabitants. McCoy promoted Westport to settlers bound for California, Oregon and Santa Fe by touting it as the last stop for supplies before heading west, and his sales pitch resulted in a boom for the economy of the little town.

Since Westport was located four miles inland, McCoy thought the best way to transport supplies was to establish a dock on the river. He found a rocky landing spot perfect for docking shipping boats, cut a road from the dock to Westport and the riverside town of Kansas City was born. Visitors can still visit the spot where the historic dock once stood. It is located where Main Street meets the river.

Being a slave state, Missouri experienced its share of battles during the Civil War. One significant event was the Battle of Westport, a bloody exchange that resulted in more than 1,000 deaths on each side. It was a brutal loss for the Confederates, and one that ended any possibility that slavery would remain in effect in the state. Following the war, the Missouri-Pacific Railroad was established in Kansas City, resulting in the construction of the Hannibal Bridge in 1869. This marked the beginning of a period of major economic growth: livestock trade boomed, packinghouses sprung up throughout the area, new businesses were established and residential construction was at an all-time high.

In 1903, tragedy stuck the city when torrential rains caused the Missouri River to flood, leaving 20,000 citizens homeless and many businesses crippled. The feisty Kansas City spirit came alive, though, with people from all areas of town and all walks of life pitching in to rebuild and reestablish the downtown district as a national business, cultural and residential leader.

1922 saw the opening of Country Club Plaza, an area that continues to be a major tourist attraction today. The early 1930s established Kansas City as a hub of music and nightlife when more than 50 all-night music and dance clubs were built along 12th Street. These clubs offered bootleg whiskey and a live music style that would come to be known as Kansas City Jazz.

Kansas City continued its growth as a major business and residential city throughout the 30s and 40s, but the eyes of the world focused more keenly on the area when local boy Harry S. Truman became the 33rd President of the United States in 1945. Meanwhile, the 50s saw both another major flood and the extinction of Kansas City's streetcars when construction of US Highway 50 was begun.

Sports fans see the 1960s as a major turnaround for the city. In 1963, the Dallas Texans professional football team moved to town and renamed themselves the Kansas City Chiefs, while in 1969, the Kansas City Royals baseball club was established as an expansion team. Both teams went on to receive top honors: the Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 1970, and the Royals won the World Series Championship in 1985.

Kansas City continues to be a hub of activity. With a vibrant downtown district, bustling shopping and business communities, and renewed residential growth, an exciting future looks to take Kansas City and its residents firmly into the 21st century and beyond.

Points of interest in Kansas City, MO

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