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The state’s second-largest metro has way more to offer than just its famed jazz and barbecue. See our guide for recommendations on what to do, where to eat and where to stay.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com
Updated March 01, 2021
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Pandemic-related closures and restrictions may be in place. Please check destinations' websites before making travel plans.

Do

American Jazz Museum Learn about jazz greats, such as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, through exhibits and recordings. americanjazzmuseum.org

Arabia Steamboat Museum Cargo recovered from a steamboat that sank in 1856 gives insight into life in that era. 1856.com

Arrowhead Stadium And Kauffman Stadium Come to watch the National Football League’s Chiefs at Arrowhead or baseball’s Royals at neighboring Kauffman. chiefs.com mlb.com

Boulevard Brewing Company Enjoy tastings of one of the Midwest's largest lines of specialty beers. boulevard.com

Country Club Plaza High-end stores, restaurants and some of Kansas City’s signature fountains (one modeled after a 14th-century fountain in Seville) fill this 97-year-old Spanish-style shopping district. countryclubplaza.com

Country Club Plaza
Country Club Plaza

Crossroads Arts District Outdoor murals reflect the creative spirit of this area, which has more than 250 galleries, restaurants and shops. Find letterpress cards at Hammerpress and stylish KC apparel at Charlie Hustle. kccrossroads.org

Crown Center Visit the Sea Life Aquarium. with a turtle rescue cdenter and harbor exhibit, as well as Legoland Discovery Center. crowncenter.com

The Iron District Repurposed shipping containers house shops, bars, restaurants and other vendors in buzzy North Kansas City. irondistrictnorthkc.com

Kansas City Zoo See more than 1,700 animals, including 60-plus penguins, a sea lion show and a lively gang of orangutans who show off painting skills. kansascityzoo.org

Kansas City Zoo
Kansas City Zoo

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Two venues offer world-class acoustics for productions from the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. kauffmancenter.org

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art This free museum packs a lot into a relatively small space. The artistry continues at the museum’s Cafe Sebastienne. kemperart.org

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures Peer at tiny masterpieces and vintage toys among the collection of 72,000 objects. toyandminiaturemuseum.org 

National World War I Museum and Memorial Exhibits at the nation’s leading World War I museum reveal the high cost of a war often overshadowed by World War II. theworldwar.org

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Learn about racial segregation’s effect on America’s pastime and see tributes to players. nlbm.com

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art A 22-acre sculpture park acts as prelude to the museum’s global collection. nelson-atkins.org

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Power and Light District The downtown entertainment area pulses with energy from bars, clubs, restaurants, shops and theaters. 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. kcrivermarket.com

The Roasterie Take a factory tour or sign up for a class to learn about the cupping, roasting and blending process for their coffees. theroasterie.com

Union Station A 1914 depot houses shops, Science City, a planetarium, traveling exhibits, a stage and movie theater. Pierpont's at Union Station serves steaks and seafood in an upscale turn-of-the-century ambience. unionstation.org

Kansas City Trip Guide
Union Station

Westport Since 1850, Westport has been known as a resupply spot; these days, visitors hit the neighborhood’s cafes, galleries and boutiques. westportkcmo.com

Worlds of Fun One ticket grants entry to both the theme park and Oceans of Fun water park. worldsoffun.com

Eat

The Antler Room The husband-and-wife team of Nicholas and Leslie Goellner create memorable small plates with local and global influences in their intimate West Bottoms spot. theantlerroomkc.com

BBQ The town has too many barbecue joints to list, but here are a few to whet your appetite: Arthur Bryant's, BB's Lawnside BBQ, Char Bar, Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue, Gates Bar-B-Q, Scott's Kitchen and Q39.

Blue Bird Bistro This cheerful cafe just west of Crossroads puts locally sourced organic ingredients to tasty use. bluebirdbistro.com

Blue Bird BistroCafe Gratitude The all-organic, plant-based menu features starters, salads, burgers and dishes like I Am Flourishing tacos (rice, mushrooms, coconut bacon, onions) and I Am Zesty veggies (spicy baked cauliflower in sauce). cafegratitudekc.com

Corvino Supper Club and Tasting Room Live music every night amps up the energy. Try shareable plates at the Supper Club or a chef’s menu with wine pairings. corvino.com

Eggtc Start the day with a veggie-filled Garden of Eden Frittata or crepes with salmon and goat cheese. eggtckc.com

Farina New in 2019 from James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Smith, the modern Italian restaurant delivers dishes like potato gnocchi with braised rabbit. farinakc.com

The Farmhouse Simple farm-to-table brunches and dinners star in the River Market neighborhood. eatatthefarmhouse.com

Fox and Pearl Both the space and the menu aim for a mix of comfort and contemporary. Creations might include quail with stewed field peas or grilled Missouri trout. foxandpearlkc.com

Gram and Dun Specialty beers pair well with starters of hand-cut potato chips served with three ketchups and meals of mac 'n' cheese with burnt ends. gramanddun.com

Grunauer Schnitzels, gulash, sausages and other Austrian dishes star at the fine-dining spot. grunauerkc.com

La Bodega The best place in town for Spanish tapas and cuisine is always packed. Diners especially love the three paella dishes. labodegakc.com

Lidia's Kansas City North of Union Station, PBS TV chef Lidia Bastianich lends her name (and her recipes) to a menu of authentic Italian fare. lidias-kc.com

Oddly Correct Don’t even think about asking for sugar at this coffee-purist mecca near Westport. But you can nibble on house-made biscuits while sipping your excellent cup of black coffee. oddlycorrect.com

PotPie It’s hard to choose from among traditional potpies and entrees like pan-seared scallops at this cozy Westport restaurant. kcpotpie.com

Rye Midwest classics such as pork chops, fried chicken and pie star at the Plaza spot, the newest of three restaurants run by James Beard Award-winner Colby Garrelts and his wife, Megan, a James Beard semifinalist. ryekc.com

Westport Cafe and Bar The black-and-white checkered floor and brick walls create a casual space for impressive French-inspired food. westportcafeandbar.com

Stay

21c Museum Hotel History and art blend at the 120-room boutique lodging that was once home to the Savoy Hotel and Grill. A $50 million renovation preserved features like a stained-glass dome and added an art museum. 21cmuseumhotels.com

The Fontaine A rooftop pool and hallway tiles signed by celebrity guests hint at the 132-room hotel’s modern, stylish accommodations. thefontainehotel.com

The Fontaine
The Fontaine. Photo courtesy of The Fontaine

Hotel Kansas City This newcomer on the KC lodging scene opened in fall 2020 in the 1922 building that used to house the Kansas City Club. Original stained glass and walnut woodwork look grand in the Tudor Ballroom, while the 144 guest rooms are bright and modern. hotelkc.com

Hotel Phillips Original Art Deco details and helpful staff make the 20-story downtown hotel sparkle. hotelphillips.com

Raphael Hotel Opened in 1928, this boutique hotel in Country Club Plaza mimics an English manor. The lounge features nightly live music. raphaelkc.com

Southmoreland on the Plaza The 1913 Colonial Revival’s 12 rooms and a suite bear names of famous locals. Lodging comes with breakfast and an afternoon reception with wine. southmoreland.com

For information visitkc.com