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If you haven’t visited Kansas City in the past 10 years, this Kansas City Vacation Guide will come in handy. The hospitality and entertainment sectors have exploded in KC this past decade so pack your bags and dive into the best bars, breweries, restaurants, jazz, blues, sports and art in Kansas City.
More than $6.5 billion has lifted downtown Kansas City to new heights in the past 10 years. Plan on staying at least a weekend to enjoy the new commercial, residential and hotel developments not to mention to taste the menus of 3,000+ bars and restaurants.
Thanks to the Kansas City Royals winning the world series in 2015, the streetcar addition to downtown in 2016, and the Kansas City Chiefs winning Super Bowl 54 in 2020 – Kansas City is on fire.
Whether this is your first time to Kansas City or you’ve lived here all your life, I hope the Kansas City Vacation Guide enhances your time in Kansas City. Please let me know if you feel something vital needs added.
Arts, Culture, Museums
American Jazz Museum (1616 E. 18th KCMO, 64108) — Learn where jazz got its start in the 18th & Vine District of Kansas CIty.
ArtsKCGo — An online calendar of everyperformance and arts-related event in the greater KC metro.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (4420 Warwick Blvd., KCMO 64111) –Missouri’s first and largest contemporary museum with 75,000 visitors annually.
National World War I Museum (2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108) — The National WWI Museum and Memorial is dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact. The Museum’s summer hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108) — Part of the Museums at the 18th & Vine complex, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum recreates the look, sounds and feel of the game’s storied past. Video presentations and memorabilia in the 10,000 square-foot multimedia exhibit chronicle the history and heroes of the leagues from their origin after the Civil War to their end in the 1960s.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64111) — Recognized internationally as one of the finest general art museums in the United States, the Nelson-Atkins currently maintains collections of over 40,000 works of art.
Nermon Museum of Contemporary Art (12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66210) — The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (NMOCA) has one of the top internationally acclaimed collections of emerging and established artists today. Public Art Review magazine named JCCC as one of the top 10 university/college campuses for public art in America.
Best of Class: KC is an Award-Winning City
Kansas City continues to be awarded for its best of class amenities, restaurants, bars, commerce, cost of living and quirks. Kansas City recently made the list of National Geographic Traveler’s “Best Small Cities” for 2018. Below is an abbreviated list of other awards and accolades Kansas City has earned.
#9 on 20 Quirkiest Cities in America by Travel and Leisure
#10 and #12 on Lonely Planet’s List of Best BBQ Restaurants in America
#1 on Buzz Feed’s 29 Cities All Twentysomethings Should Pick Up And Move To
#10 on Smart Asset’s Top 10 Cities for Creatives
Best Bars in America 2013 by Esquire Magazine (Harry’s Country Club and Manifesto)
#2 on the 9 Best US Cities for Jobs by CBS
Kansas City Hot Spots
The Country Club Plaza sits in the middle of Kansas City. The shopping district is KC’s heartbeat and quickly becomes most visitors’ heartthrob.
“The Plaza” has been the city’s swankiest outdoor shopping, dining, entertainment, and residential district for many generations. The neighborhood’s buildings are modeled after the colorful marketplaces of Seville, Spain — Kansas City’s sister city — with stuccoed buildings, ornate towers and courtyards decorated with tiled murals, mosaics, and fountains.
The West Bottoms is a playground for explorers and photographers. The buildings in the area were mostly abandoned in the 1950’s after a devastating flood caused most of the businesses to close their doors. Start your exploration at 750 Wyoming St Kansas City, MO 64101.
The East Bottoms are full of train tracks, dive bars and even trailer parks. Start your visit at 2618 Guinotte Ave, Kansas City, MO 64120
Kansas City Jazz Clubs
While there’s so many great nightclubs to hear live music in Kansas City, we highly recommend stopping in for a drink to hear some live jazz at this establishments. Click establishment link to see details and directions to each club.
The Blue Room — located in the 18th and Vine District
Green Lady Lounge (1809 Grand, KCMO 64108) — $5 cover and live music nightly. Open seating.
Kill Devil Club (31 East 14th St. KCMO 64105) — Located in the Power & Light District on second floor.
The Majestic (931 Broadway, KCMO 64105) — Located in the former Fitzpatrick Saloon, which is on the historic registry. Enjoy steaks upstairs and live jazz on the lower-level.
The Phoenix (302 West 8th Street, KCMO 64105) Live music nightly in the Garment District.
The Ship — a must see located in the West Bottoms
Kansas City Farmers Markets
Brookside Farmers Market (6425 Wornall Road KCMO 64114). Open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Blue Springs Downtown Farmers Market (11th & Main). Open May through October each Saturday from 7 a.m. to Noon.
Green Acres Farmers Market (4175 N. Mulberry Dr., KCMO 64116). Features fresh-picked produce, salsas & jams, natural meats, specialty products and food demos.
Lenexa Farmers Market (17201 W. 87th St., Lenexa, KS) — Fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, and baked goods all locally grown or raised from a 250 mile radius.
Getting Around Kansas City
Kansas City Streetcar – The streetcar is a free service that takes riders from the River Market to Union Station. It operates until 11pm on Friday and Saturdays. Check reduced hours here.
Click here for the full PDF version of the Ride & Dine KC Streetcar Map.
Click here for the Visit KC Interactive Map.
Click here for a full and printable KC Streetcar Route Map.
Kansas City Uber – Kansas City is Uber friendly. Use your Uber app on your phone or follow this link to book an Uber comfort, newer, or larger vehicle.
Kansas City Transportation Group. Limo rentals for your special occasion.
City Cab Kansas City— Call (816) 474-8294 or book a ride online with Ztrip.
RideKC is Kansas City’s bus service. Base fair if $1.50. Learn how to ride.
Kansas City Liquor Stores
Cellar Rat Wine (1701 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO 64108) has the cutest logo and a mighty long list of wines and monthly tasting events. Cellar Rat won the Feast 50 best wine selection in Kansas City award in 2017, 2018, 2019.
Plaza Liquors (4500 Belleview Avenue)
Brookside Wine & Spirits (600 E. 63rd St.)
Gomer’s South (9902 Holmes Road)
Lukas Wine & Spirits Superstore (8550 N. Flintlock Rd.)
Sober Curious in Kansas City
Sans Bar Kansas City – a booze free popup bar in Kansas City
Enjoy Pure Food + Drink – juices, smoothies, alcohol free cocktails
Kansas City Central Area AA – Local meetings and zoom calls to support your sobriety.
Hello Sunday Morning – a website, app and community to help you change your relationship with drinking.
Unity Temple Alcoholic Anonymous – Meetings held at Unity Temple on the Plaza.
“Everything is up to date in Kansas City.”
Rodgers and Hammerstein Lyrics from Oklahoma