On the banks of the Missouri River lies Kansas City. It’s a strange situation in that it technically overlaps the border of two states. However, its downtown area, full of revitalized neighborhoods lies clearly on the Missouri side of the mighty river. So, besides eating that famous BBQ, what are the best things to do in Kansas City? Let’s dig in to our 9 favorite picks that make a perfect weekend getaway!
First thing’s first, you may be a bit confused on which airport to fly into: Kansas? Missouri? The answer is Kansas City Missouri and the airport code is MCI. I don’t who thought having two states involved in the naming process but he was simply wrong! Now that we’ve gotten you into the right airport, you’re probably going to take an Uber to wherever you choose to stay. There are plenty of nice choices downtown. And keep that Uber app at the ready. It will get you from place to place efficiently.
The downtown area is divided up into all kinds of great neighborhoods and it is easy to see all of the hard work that has gone into the revitalization of this mid west gem. At the top of the revitalization efforts are architecture from the industrial boom and outdoor art installations. This makes the entire town rather Insta ready.
The Library District
The Public Library Garage: You know us! We love a good library! I never thought, though, that I would fall in love with the parking garage next store! Kansas City changed my book loving mind! Jump into the world of books as you walk past a serious of larger than life stories that were once banned. The stone steps give you page upon page to perch on and enjoy the view.
The Fountain on Main and 10th
Right in the library district is this lovely throwback to the early 20th century. This lovely fountain sets the tone for the many fountains that you’ll discover throughout the city. They are both modern and classical in design and have become a point of pride for the downtown area. Use this beauty as a jumping off point to discover many of the hidden gems KC has to offer including lots of great art installations on buildings so get your camera ready for those insta perfect shots! Visit KC has all of the information about this beauty and more. Click here to get a free map to all of the fountains and create your own walking tour.
Just on the edge of the library district are 88 stairs that beg to be climbed. this laid back dive is a great break from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Head on up for drinks and a cool breeze that’s sure to put you in holiday mode. Big John’s has standard fare on the menu and full bar for plenty of rooftop vibes.
18th and Vine
The American Jazz Museum and The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum sit side by side in this area of town and both are well worth the visit. Learn how Kansas City revolutionized both jazz and baseball with such legends as Charlie Parker and Jackie Robinson. Baseball and jazz may not be your thing but let these facilities try to convince you otherwise. Fabulous installations and great times await you in both museums!
While we are on the topic of sports, check out the groundbreaking work that the Kansas City Current is doing as they establish and host women’s soccer, a sport that is growing by leaps and bounds! This female backed team, is right in the middle of it and the timing is just right to grab some tickets and cheer on these incredible athletes!
The Kansas City Power and Light District
Has plenty of restaurants and Insta ready shots to enjoy. Look to find great food in this area as you stroll around. This is also a great area to rent a few electric powered bikes to really enjoy the architecture and sites along the hilly streets. Check out Pedego’s Electric Bikes for more. As for that world famous BBQ? you know we couldn’t leave you without a seriously great option! Check out KC Barbecue for a great sampling of all the city has to offer.
Hotel Kansas City
Mid west architecture meets modern interior design at this landmark hotel that used to be a private social club. The lobby features a moody whiskey bar that’s perfect for a late night nightcap. Four floors up you’ll find the fully restored, two story event space with lovely stained glass and polished wood that gives anyone a trip back in time. Great food, great atmosphere and well worth the stay.
The Main Street Streetcar
As KC evolves and opens more and more to travelers and tourists, they’ve taken the time to invest in a little infrastructure. Enter the modern version of a Kansas City streetcar. Free to everyone, look for this light rail model to usher passengers up and down Main Street from Union Station to the main library intersection.
This iconic centerpiece of the city sits front and center as any grand dame should. Built in 1914, this great American transit hub has seen its share of events which means that its full of stories! The most infamous must be the bullet holes in the wall left from the assassination of mobster Frank Nash as he was being escorted by federal agents.
By far, our favorite stop in the whole city was this incredibly well thought out museum to “the great war”. While the memorial itself was built in 1926 but has since become our nation’s official museum to WWI. Enjoy the memorial and its views then take in the multimedia exhibits that explain the start of the was and how Americans wound up being involved in this world wide conflict. Find a cafe and a very interesting uniform exhibit to round out your visit. Located super close to Crown Plaza shopping, Union Station and the city park, it’s a can’t miss destination!
Enjoy Kansas City!
There you have it! Kansas City has plenty to offer for the perfect getaway! This great city has done so very much to truly highlight its history while giving a nod to everything that’s new and progressive about it. It’s certainly nice to see so much thought and foresight put into great city revival.