Shopaholics love the beautiful Spanish-inspired Country Club Plaza that mixes 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 neighboring Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum (which also offers live music at night).
North of Union Station, authentic Italian pastas star at Lidia’s—trust the daily specials.
Celebrities, including John Barrymore and Tina Turner, have stayed at Hotel Phillips (from $159). Its glamorous lobby features a symphony of gold, wood and decorative details.
Pick up an MP3 player from the info desk to explore the gorgeous, free-admission Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
American gastropub Gram and Dun pairs specialty beers with hand-cut potato chips served with three ketchups (vanilla bean, blood orange and habanero, and guacamole), and a fried chicken and waffle plate.
The cupcakes with buttercream frosting 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.
Just north of the Plaza, the historical Westport district pulls crowds in to its cafes, galleries, boutiques and Ernie Biggs dueling piano bar.
For sports fans, beautifully renovated Kauffman Stadium offers a family-friendly place to watch Major League Baseball’s Royals (complete with games and mini golf in the outfield play zone), and the National Football League’s Chiefs play in the recently remodeled Arrowhead Stadium.
More information: Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 767-7700; visitkc.com
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 400 local artists and 100 independent studios. Tastings from local casual and upscale eateries on Crossroads Historical Food Tour weave in Kansas City history lessons. The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial presents a gripping tribute to the victims of this war, complete with a field of red poppies representing the war’s 9 million casualties. Downtown, the Power and Light District pulses at night with 50 bars, clubs and restaurants—plus free concerts.
5 Great Places to Take the Kids
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; worldsoffun.com
2 Kansas City Zoo See 1,300 animals, including a lively gang of chimpanzees that show off their painting skills and a sea lion show. Want to get your hands dirty? The Keeper for a Day program puts visitors to work alongside staff. (816) 513-5800; kansascityzoo.org
3 Kaleidoscope Creative juices flow as kids design one-of-a-kind puzzles and craft masterpieces using leftover card supplies, crayons and markers from the creations at the KC headquarters of Hallmark company. (816) 274-8300; hallmarkkaleidoscope.com
4 Legoland Discovery Center Highly interactive exhibits feature 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; legolanddiscoverycenter.com
5 Science City Inside Union Station, kids can dig in sand for dinosaur bones, play a giant floor piano or challenge the family to a game of tug-of-war with a giant lever. Parents appreciate the building’s ornate architecture. (816) 460-2020; unionstation.org