Places To Go In Kansas City Mo – Top 8 Things to Do in Kansas City From historic buildings and major museums to exciting shopping, street art and spirits, Kansas City has a lot more to offer than its signature sauce.
The National Museum of World War I is the only museum in the United States dedicated to World War I and its impact.
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When thinking of Kansas City, one might think barbecue and the blues, but there’s more to this cowtown artsy spot than smoked meats and music.
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With world-class museums and galleries and an impressive theatre, dance and opera, the cultural offering here rivals that of a big city. For those who prefer sports to symphony, there’s the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs. Win or lose, both teams brought excitement and hometown pride to the city.
Whether you’re here to shop at the famous Country Club Plaza, admire the imposing murals, or experience the city’s vibrant brewery scene, you’ll be amazed by the City of Fountains. Read on for eight of the best things to do in Kansas City (and if you’re looking for the best Kansas City hotels, we’ve got them too).
The Fountain City Foundation wasn’t established until 1973, but Kansas City’s love of fountains began much earlier. A vision by city leaders in the late 1800s to create “more boulevards than Paris and more fountains than Rome” resulted in the first few, which served primarily as watering holes for residents and animals. Over time, however, fountains were installed more as a memorial or as a beautification of the city, and today Kansas City is home to more than 200 fountains, 48 of which are open to the public.
The city’s oldest working fountain is the Women’s Leadership Fountain in the Paseo West neighborhood, dating back to 1899. More notable examples are found in green spaces like Country Club Plaza Mall and Kessler Park. For a fun day among fountains, start at the city’s most famous — and most photographed — Mill Creek Fountain. Built in Paris in 1910, it was brought to Kansas City in 1951 and installed in its namesake park.
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Afterwards, head to Union Station to see the soaring spout of the 232-spout Henry Wollmach Bloch Fountain, then continue to the Crown Center Plaza Fountain, where kids dance to a recorded performance by the Kansas City Symphony. Finish your exploration at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (free admission) and visit the Fountain Basin; the oldest fountain with a marble bowl, dating to 220 AD, was purchased in Italy.
Learn all about World War I and how it changed America forever at the National WWI Museum.
For a mid-sized city, Kansas City is home to several remarkable museums. Visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (admission is free) for its giant shuttlecock sculpture on the front lawn and its rich collection of Asian art, ceramics, photography and centuries-old furniture, or at the National Museum of World War I Spend the day at the Museum and Memorial, ($18 for adult non-members) The only museum in the United States dedicated solely to commemorating, explaining, and understanding World War I and its lasting impact. Other popular institutions include the American Jazz Museum ($10 for adults) in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District and the Vital Negro League Baseball Museum ($10 for adults), which is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history and Its impact on the social progress of the United States.
Tickets or reservations for all four of the above museums are available in advance. With a few exceptions, all four are open daily from 10am to 5pm. Nelson-Atkins is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but is open until 9 p.m. on Fridays; the World War II Museum and the American Jazz Museum are closed on Mondays. NLBM closes at 2pm on Mondays.
Historic City Market, Kansas City, Missouri, Usa Stock Photo
Kansas City’s premier shopping center, the Country Club Plaza, is a must-see, whether it’s for the Plaza Lighting Ceremony during the holidays, a gondola ride along Brush Creek in the summer, or the Plaza Art Fair in the fall (admission is free). The 15-block destination is filled with Spanish-inspired architecture and offers great shopping any time of year. Here, you’ll find high-end stores like Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co. and Charlie Hustle, as well as unique boutiques and attractions like Made in Kansas City, where you can shop for locally made items like hats, candles and drinks Tool.
Most shops are open from 10am to 7pm (5pm on Sundays), but many restaurants and bars are open later (opening hours vary). There is free parking here.
Kansas City may be home to some of the Midwest’s top museums and galleries, but many of the city’s most exciting artworks are found on the streets. Start your tour at the 18th and Vine districts to see a mural celebrating Kansas City’s jazz history, then head to the corner of West 43rd Street and Westport Road to see a new painting by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At the end of East 17th and Main Streets, on the side of Tom’s Town Distilling, you’ll find the Chiefs Kingdom mural honoring the city’s championship football team.
J. Rieger and Co., one of Kansas City’s original breweries, offers tours, tastings and a stylish cocktail bar.
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Thanks in part to corrupt political boss Tom Pendergast, Kansas City maintained a thriving drinking scene during Prohibition. Bootlegging was rife, and the city was filled with speakeasies, gambling dens and even a red-light district, earning it the nickname “Paris of the Plains.”
This love of good wine continues today, as evidenced by several great wineries around town. Founded in 1887, J. Rieger & Co. produced more than 100 alcoholic products before being forced to close in 1919 with the advent of Prohibition. Ninety-five years later, it reopened at its original location in the Electric Park area of East Bottoms and now distills whiskey, dry gin, wheat vodka and other spirits products. Open to visitors Wednesday through Sunday, it also offers tours of the facility, spirits tastings ($20 for adults) and the Monogram Lounge, where you can sip a cocktail while overlooking the distillery’s production floors.
Other KC distilleries worth visiting include Mean Mule Distilling Co., which makes American tequila; Tom’s Town Distilling Company, named after Pendergast, home of award-winning gin, vodka and bourbon; and Lifted Spirits Distillery, which makes bold spirits like green vermouth.
While Kansas City’s River Market neighborhood is primarily known for its weekend farmers market, it’s not just a place to buy fruit and vegetables. After shopping for produce, plants, and locally-made trinkets at the city market, browse the surrounding shops (don’t miss Carollo’s Italian Grocery and Deli, which has homemade sausages, fresh cheeses, and olive oil from the barrel), before strolling to Berkeley Park with views of the Missouri River.
International Relocation Center
For a peek into the past, hang out at the vintage Planters Seed & Spice Co., then head to the Arabian Steamboat Museum ($14.50 for adults), where you’ll find an impressive collection of antebellum artifacts. Afterwards, grab a cappuccino at City Market Coffee or refuel with a sandwich at Pigwich inside the Local Pig slaughterhouse.
Filled with flowers, fountains and sculptures, the Kaufman Memorial Garden is a great place to spend an afternoon.
The two-acre garden, a gift to Kansas City from pharmaceutical entrepreneur Ewing Kauffman and his wife Muriel, is a great place to visit. The couple designed the gardens to mimic parks across Europe, pairing beds of colorful perennials and many unique trees with stone walls, brick walkways, fountains and bronze sculptures by Tom Corbin.
Parking and admission are free, though visitors can also book a pre-arranged tour to explore the grounds in greater depth.
North Kansas City, Missouri
Union Station is more than just a transit hub, with restaurants, theaters, a science center, and more.
Built in 1914, this architectural gem was a working railway station until the 1980s, when it closed after years of neglect. In 1999, however, it reopened after a historic renovation that removed more than 10 million pounds of debris and restored the building to its original glory—all 850,000 square feet. Today, Union Station still serves Amtrak trains, but it’s also home to classic restaurants like Pierpont’s and Harvey’s, live entertainment at the City Stage Theatre, a planetarium, a science center and more. When you visit, be sure to see the Great Hall’s massive chandelier, 95-foot ceiling, and 6-foot-wide clock.
Jill Dutton is a freelance travel writer focusing on local food, the great outdoors, train travel and wine trends. Kansas City is known as “The City of Fountains” because of its more than 200 water features.
It’s the ultimate place to enjoy a variety of experiences, including fresh produce from nearby farms, gifts, flowers, baked goods and fine meats.
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Built in 1923, Country Club Plaza is an auto-centric neighborhood with Spanish architectural influences such as murals, statues and mosaics.
In the square, you can also shop many high street brands such as Michael Kors, Kendra Scott and Kate Spade.
You can also dine at one of the many restaurants, including Rye, the Classic Cup and Gram & Dun, which serve mouth-watering Midwestern cuisine.
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