Two-day Getaway in Kansas City | Midwest Living

Two-day Getaway in Kansas City

Barbecue, shopping, great museums and dueling pianos make for a lively weekend in Kansas City.
Country Club Plaza.
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Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
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Power and Light District.
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Worlds of Fun. Photo courtesy of Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Kansas City Zoo. Photo courtesy of Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Fiorella's Jack Stack BBQ
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Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
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World War I Museum
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Day 1

Shopaholics love the beautiful Spanish-inspired Country Club Plaza that has 150 places to shop and dine.

Simple farm-to-table lunches star at The Farmhouse in the River Market neighborhood.

Buy dual-entry tickets for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the adjacent American Jazz Museum (with live music at night).

North of Union Station, authentic Italian pastas star at Lidia’s—trust the daily specials.

Celebrities including Tina Turner have stayed at Hotel Phillips (from $179). Its glamorous Art Deco lobby features a symphony of gold, wood and decorative details.

The Power and Light District pulses at night with 50 bars, clubs and restaurants, plus free concerts.    

Day 2

Pick up an MP3 player from the information desk to explore the gorgeous, free-admission Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Specialty beers at American gastropub Gram and Dun pair well with starters of hand-cut potato chips served with three ketchups (vanilla bean, blood orange and habanero, and guacamole) and meals of mac 'n cheese topped with burnt ends.

The cupcakes at Cupcake A La Mode could easily feed two; share the Gold Digger, which has a caramel center, or the Stuffed French Toast’s vanilla cake topped with maple cinnamon frosting.

Since 1850, Westport has been known as a resupply spot; although these days visitors hit cafes, galleries, boutiques and Ernie Biggs dueling piano bar.

For sports fans, renovated Kauffman Stadium is a family-friendly place to watch Major League Baseball’s Royals, who came within one run of winning the 2014 World Series. The National Football League’s Chiefs play in the remodeled Arrowhead Stadium next door.

More information: Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 767-7700;

Add a day

Plan to wait for a table at Eggtc, where cooks prepare eight kinds of omelets, sweet and savory crepes, and homemade fruit smoothies. The Crossroads Arts District showcases more than 150 galleries and artists' studios as well as 60 restaurants and 40 shops. Tastings at casual and upscale eateries on a Crossroads Historical Food Tour weave in Kansas City history lessons. You may not want to return home after spending a night in the gracious, art-filled Oak Street Mansion (rom $175).

5 Great Places to Take the Family

1 Worlds of Fun One ticket grants entry to both the theme park and Oceans of Fun water park. Planet Snoopy has rides for the youngest kids; thrill-seekers look forward to SteelHawk, a 301-foot tower that swings riders around eight times every minute. (816) 454-4545;

2 Kansas City Zoo See 1,100 animals, including a sea lion show and a lively gang of orangutans that show off their painting skills. Want to get your hands dirty? The Keeper for a Day program puts visitors to work alongside staff. (816) 513-5800; 

3 Kaleidoscope Creative juices flow as kids craft masterpieces using leftover card supplies, crayons and markers from the Hallmark creations at the KC headquarters. (816) 274-8300;

4 Legoland Discovery Center Interactive exhibits include the Kingdom Quest laser shooting ride, 4-D theater and Lego models of Kansas City landmarks. Professor Brick-a-Brack leads a pseudo factory tour to show how the bricks get their shape and color. (816) 471-4386;

5 Science City Inside Union Station, kids can dig in sand for dinosaur bones, play a huge floor piano or challenge the family to a game of tug-of-war using a giant lever. Parents appreciate the building’s ornate architecture. (816) 460-2020;

5 Great Places to Dig Into Barbecue

1 American Royal World Series of Barbecue More than 550 teams vie for glory in the world’s largest BBQ contest (October 2–4, 2015). Pick up a few tips from competitors, and buy a meal from vendors. (816) 569-4000;

2 Q39 This new arrival adds a fresh angle to local ’cue culture with chef-driven dishes in an industrial-cool location near Westport. Check out the apple-infused slaw and the Angus burger topped with burnt ends. (816) 255-3753;

3 Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue Legend says this KC original was the first to serve burnt ends. A wait in line is worth it to dig into them or pork ribs and french fries cooked in lard. Buy the sauces to take home. (816) 231-1123;

4 LC’s Bar-B-Q  It’s nothing fancy: disposable plates, plastic forks, counter service and no website. And it’s not as famous as the others on this list. But the towering, sauce-slathered sandwich of burnt ends draws barbecue aficionados from far and wide. (816) 923-4484

5 Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ A wine list and white tablecloths set the multiple locations of this landmark eatery apart. Try all the meat staples, plus the cheesy corn bake: a casserole with creamy corn and smoked ham. (816) 472-7427;

Night Out

Adventurous diners sample duck gizzards or crispy pig ear salad at Extra Virgin, one of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Smith’s restaurants. More traditional options include meatballs and wood-fired ribeye. (816) 842-2205; Afterward, take in a show at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Its stunning arch design breaks through the city’s skyline. The Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City perform here. (816) 994-7222;

Inside Scoop

Boulevard Brewing Company Missourians are proud that the Midwest brewer with the largest line of specialty beers hails from KC. The company runs free 45-minute tours with tastings at the end. Tickets are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis from the office, which opens daily at 10 a.m. (816) 474-7095;

Wow Moment

Poignant exhibits at the nation’s only World War I museum reveal the high cost of a war often overshadowed by World War II. Located at the base of downtown’s Liberty Memorial, the museum’s exhibits open with a field of red poppies representing the war’s 9 million military casualties. A film details the events that sparked the war; displays show uniforms, weaponry and memorable characters. Climb to the observation deck at the top of the memorial for a moment of quiet reflection. (816) 888-8100;


Harry S. Truman Library and Museum Exhibits in Independence (10 miles east of Kansas City) shed light on the humble farm boy who became the 33rd president—and the only one to use the atomic bomb. (800) 833-1225;


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