3 Weekend Getaways Near Kansas City
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Flint Hills, Kansas: 90 miles southwest of Kansas City
Out in the Flint Hills, everything you ever heard or learned or read about the big prairie sky suddenly makes sense. It's immense and domed, ever-changing and never-changing, soothing and a little scary. You watch the sun (seemingly) travel each day from east to west, and the horizon surrounds you like a giant circus ring.
Europeans flock here to experience this landscape; you can just hop on Interstate-35 and drive southwest to Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, where free bus tours take you out into the 3-foot grasses that once covered much of the Midwest. The historic cowtowns of Council Grove and Cottonwood Falls are perfect bookends to the prairie. Stay at the restored Grand Central Hotel and groove to a jam session at the Emma Chase Cafe. But don't overbook your vacation. There's nothing wrong with coming here just for the tingly feeling of realizing how vast the world is.