Kansas City Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Kansas City Trip Guide

An arts district, an entertainment district and (arguably) the nation's best barbecue are just the start.


Country Club Plaza.
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Sculpture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
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For years, this jazzy, barbecue-loving, state-line-straddling town was somewhat of a secret. But a $7 billion investment over the past few years has put Kansas City and its rehabbed downtown in the national spotlight. Kansas City's newer attractions include the Power and Light district, where daytime crowds file in for lunch and shopping and nighttime jumps with movies, clubs and concerts. Meanwhile, the sleek Bloch Building has brought new attention to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. But the reliable old favorites aren't going anywhere: the magnificent fountains and parks, jazz and blues, and Kansas City's famous barbecue and strip steaks

What to do

American Jazz Museum Located in the historic 18th and Vine jazz district, the museum’s exhibits tap KC’s musical heritage. Visit in the evening for live sets at the Blue Room nightclub. See reviews and ratings. (816) 474-8463; americanjazzmuseum.com

American Royal World Series of Barbecue More than 500 teams vie for smoky glory on 20 acres (October 3–6, 2013). Vendors serve barbecue to hungry spectators. Admission charged. (816) 569-4000; americanroyal.com

Country Club Plaza High-end stores, friendly restaurants and several of Kansas City's signature fountains (including one modeled after a 13th-century fountain in Seville) fill this Spanish-style shopping district. (816) 753-0100; countryclubplaza.com

Kaleidoscope Kids dig creating crafts with Hallmark leftovers (and plenty of paint, markers and tape) at a colorful, run-like-clockwork free attraction in Crown Center, the company’s headquarters. (816) 274-8300; hallmarkkaleidoscope.com

Legoland Discovery Center Another great place for kids, the highly interactive center includes rides, a 4-D theater and incredible reconstructions of Kansas City landmarks. See reviews and ratings. (816) 471-4386; legolanddiscoverycenter.com/kansascity

National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial Films, memorabilia and quotes from world leaders reveal the Great War’s lasting impact. See reviews and ratings. (816) 784-1918; theworldwar.org

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art A 22-acre sculpture park is just one of the draws to this free museum. See reviews and ratings. (816) 751-1278; nelson-atkins.org

Power and Light District Bars, clubs, restaurants, shops and theaters fill this eight-block area. See reviews and ratings. (877) 697-5347; powerandlightdistrict.com

River Market Kansas City’s oldest neighborhood has ethnic grocers, shops and loads of restaurants, plus it hosts a farmers market on weekends. See reviews and ratings. kcrivermarket.com

Union Station A 1914 depot houses restaurants, shops and Science City, as well as traveling exhibits. See reviews and ratings. (877) 724-2489; unionstation.org

Westport North of Country Club Plaza, cafes, nightclubs, galleries and boutiques fill a reborn historic district. (816) 531-4370; westportkcmo.com

Click ahead for where to eat and where to stay.


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