You’ll spend the last two days of your introduction to Missouri on the opposite side of the state, in hip, happening Kansas City.
First established in the 1830s as a port near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, Kansas City has a long history, reflected in its monuments, museums, parks, and leafy boulevards—many of which date back to the peak of the City Beautiful Movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In recent years, Kansas City has emerged as one of the most exciting cultural destinations in the Midwest, with thriving arts and culinary communities.
Your base in Kansas City will be the 131-room Crossroads Hotel
, which embodies the city’s appealing combination of historic riches and contemporary flair. The hotel opened in 2018 in the pre-Prohibition Pabst Brewing Depot. Along with guest rooms, you’ll find a rooftop beer garden, café, and an Italian restaurant, Lazia, serving fresh interpretations of classic dishes. An artist-in-residence program provides a connection to Kansas City’s current creative scene.
The next morning, head to Kansas City’s leading cultural institution and one of America’s outstanding art museums. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
boasts 40,000 works from every corner of the world and spans millennia—from ancient wonders to contemporary masterpieces. The iconic Shuttlecocks by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, set on the museum lawn, reflects the museum’s attitude: It’s a venerable institution with a decidedly playful side.
After your cultural outing, stop in at Boulevard Brewing Company
, which has grown from its founding in 1989 to become one of the largest specialty brewers in the Midwest. A 45-minute tour (followed by a tasting) covers how Boulevard has brought Belgian brewing traditions to the banks of the Missouri River.
For lunch, you’ll have a wealth of choices at Country Club Plaza
, a 15-block stretch of restaurants and stores. First opened in 1922, this suburban-style shopping district has a decidedly old-world feel, with monumental fountains and buildings inspired by the architecture of Seville, Spain.
Before dinner tonight, drop into some of the studios and galleries that have made the Crossroads Arts District the vibrant center of Kansas City’s art scene. Crossroads is also where you’ll find many of the city’s best restaurants. Popular favorites include The Rockhill Grille
for updated classic American dishes; Grünauer
, with its Austrian menu; and Novel
, for its innovative (but never intimidating) dishes. Before or after dinner, stop by the 60,000-square-foot distillery J. Rieger & Co.
; its Monogram Lounge serves small plates and drinks made with the company’s own gin, vodka, and whiskey. To dive deeper into Kansas City’s nightlife, continue on to the Power and Light District
where more than 50 bars, lounges, restaurants, and other businesses fill an eight-block area between the Convention Center and the Sprint Center.