The Essential Guide to Kansas City
Collected by Anne Roderique-Jones , AFAR Local Expert
Kansas City is an affordable mecca of stunning architecture, charming neighborhoods, and Midwestern friendliness. In recent years, it’s also developed a thriving culinary scene, with restaurants to rival any coastal city and cocktail bars with serious cred. You’ll be tempted to pack your visit here with world-class museums and high-end shopping, but don’t miss the standbys: blues, barbecue, and baseball.
1600 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Named after the 1930s Street Hotel club in Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, the Blue Room—housed within the American Jazz Museum—functions as part exhibit, part jazz club. The venue hosts a multifaceted...
2501 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Among the dozens of breweries in Kansas City, Boulevard Brewing Company stands out for being one of the first and the finest. Founded in 1989, the once-tiny operation is now the largest specialty brewery in the Midwest, offering everything from a...
2450 Grand Blvd Level 3, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Founded in 1916 by Hallmark creator Joyce C. Hall, this high-end department store is a Kansas City icon. Originally located on Petticoat Lane, it’s changed locations and grown over the years, with its current outpost sitting on the third...
47th J C Nichols Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA
Nicknamed the “City of Fountains,” Kansas City claims to have more working fountains than anywhere else in the world. Among its 200 registered wellheads, the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain stands out for its four horsemen statues, said...
1601 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Designed by esteemed architect Moshe Safdie, the stunning Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is marked by its shell-shaped exterior and all-glass walls. Inside the 285,00-square-foot space are two acoustically perfect theaters, designed to...
4420 Warwick Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA
Missouri’s largest contemporary art museum, the Kemper offers exhibitions, installations, workshops, lectures, and more—all for free. The Gunnar Birkerts–designed museum—with its two main wings flanking a large atrium and...
1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Founded in a one-room office in 1990, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has come a long way in the intervening years. Today, it occupies a 10,000-square-foot space in Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District and serves as the...
1407 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106, USA
When the Sprint Center opened in 2007, it was considered a massive reinvestment in the revitalization of downtown Kansas City. Since then, the 22,000-seat arena has seen 11 million guests and generated more than $1 billion, hosting everything from...
2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Opened in 2006, the National WWI Museum and Memorial is the only American museum exclusively dedicated to remembering, interpreting, and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by the Liberty...
4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA
It's not hard to spot the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Just look for the giant shuttlecock sculptures displayed on the 20-plus-acre lawn in front of the building. When Claes Oldenburg and his late wife, Coosje van Bruggen, first installed the...
1727 Brooklyn Ave, Kansas City, MO 64127, USA
Kansas City residents fight over the city’s best barbecue the way New Yorkers debate pizza, but everyone can agree that Arthur Bryant’s ranks toward the top. Located at 18th and Brooklyn, the popular joint is decidedly no-frills,...
900 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA
A semifinalist for the 2015, 2016, and 2017 James Beard “Outstanding Restaurant” award, Bluestem is where you’ll find well-heeled locals celebrating a special occasion. Helmed by husband-and-wife team Colby and Megan Garrelts,...
1927 McGee St, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
The brainchild of pastry chef Jessica Armstrong and chef Ryan Brazeal (late of Nobu 57 and New York’s Momofuku empire), Novel was a sensation the moment it opened. Housed in a brand-new space in Kansas City’s Crossroads Art District,...
1924 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
Founded by restaurateur Ryan Maybee and chef Howard Hanna, this downtown hot spot occupies the former Rieger Hotel, which dates all the way back to 1915. Many of the building’s original architectural details have been left intact, including...
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