A large Missouri City which straddles the border with Kansas, it’s an underrated city that has a lot of soul and is mostly known for its love of BBQs, jazz, art, and sport. It’s home to a great number of museums, large collections of art, easy-on-the-eye parks and gardens, plenty of fountains, some excellent restaurants and breweries, and a few quirky neighborhoods and creative types. It’s also a very affordable and accessible city to visit filled with down-to-earth locals. Here are the most awesome things to do in Kansas City, Missouri as well as an essential guide to all the best spots in town…
The Top 15 attractions in Kansas City
1. City Market – one of the best things to do in Kansas City
A fantastic destination in Kansas City, this is a historic farmer’s market which dates from 1857 and is the largest in the region. It offers over 140 stalls from local produce to items imported from all over the world including specialty foods, flowers, fruit and vegetables, and baked goods.
City Market is also home to gift shops, authentic restaurants, and the Arabia Steamboat Museum, casual global eateries, gourmet grocery stores, and indie boutiques surround pavilions Free food samples are often on offer so head there with your stomach empty!
- Address: 20 West 5th Street #201, Kansas City, Missouri 64106
- The City Market is open seven days a week. The Farmer’s Market is open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun.
2. Union Station – a much loved historic building and attractions to explore
This is a stunning historic building located in the center of Kansas City which dates from 1914, and today it stands as a landmark attraction and community hub where both locals and visitors are free to roam the elegant interiors.
It hosts events and is also home to some popular permanent attractions too, these include the internationally-awarded Science City – Powered by Burns & McDonnell, the new Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium, City Stage featuring live theater, the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre; the popular Model Railroad Experience, and a selection of great independent shops and restaurants.
- Address: 30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
- Open from 6 a.m.-midnight.
3. 39th Street – one of the most colorful neighborhoods in the city
This is a cool and vibrant area of town that you should add to your itinerary if you’re visiting Kansa City. The area is home to an eclectic range of shops including vintage stores, antiques, and a great range of vegan, gluten-free eateries.
Some of the highlights include the Boomerang book stores, Noir Arts and Oddities Mud Pie eatery Jazz A Louisiana Kitchen and Thomas Hart Benton House and the Studio State Historic Site.
4. Arrowhead Stadium Tour – an awesome thing to do in Kansas City for sports fans
An absolute must for any sports fans this much-loved stadium is the home to the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League.
It also welcomes visitors and they offer both public and private tours as well as tours on the actual day of games too when the atmosphere is even more special. Here you can see usually restricted areas including the Press Box, the Locker Room, Field Sideline, Chiefs Hall of Honor, Scout Investment Club Level as well as learning all about the history of the league.
- Address 1 Arrowhead Dr, Kansas City, MO 64129
5. 18th and Vine District – the famous and historic music and entertainment district
This is a nationally famous cultural hub, which looks like a street corner but it’s a vibrant and historic entertainment district where exceptional music, art, sports, and cuisine collide with some truly great venues.
It’s also a historical point of origin of jazz music and a historic hub of African-American businesses too. This area is famous for great jazz and baseball legends including Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Count Basie, George, and Julie Lee, Satchel Paige, James “Cool Papa” Bell, and Josh Gibson.
6. National World War I Museum and Memorial – a great museum to add to your Kansas City itinerary
This is a stand-out attraction because it actually holds the most impressive and comprehensive collection of World War One objects in the world. Here you’ll see original objects, documents, video, and even recreated war trenches.
- Address: 2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108
7. Country Club Plaza – a charming and elegant place to shop in Kansas City
This is a hugely popular and much-loved privately-owned shopping area. Here you’ll find 15 well-presented blocks dedicated to shopping and dining from high-end shopping to well-known brands.
It was opened in 1923 and catered towards shoppers arriving by car. The architecture is pretty special here too!
- Address: 4706 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64112, United States
- Open from 10am to 8pm
8. Boulevard Brewing Company – a much-loved beer-focused attraction
The largest specialty brewer in the Midwest, this is a sprawling must-see attraction in Kansas City. The Boulevard Brewing Company is a real working brewery which offers tours, free beer samples in trendy surroundings, and a gift shop too.
- Address: 2501 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108, United States
- Opening times; 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
9. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – a highly regarded performing arts center
A must-see attraction for culture fans, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Art is popular a performing arts center housed in a modern and stunning building designed by architect Moshe Safdie. It offers a great calendar for music, opera, theater and dance events.
- Address 1601 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108
10. Loose Park – the most scenic and popular park in Kansas City
This is the most loved and scenic park to explore in Kansas City. It covers over 75 acres and was actually the major site for the Battle of Westport. Highlights include the Rose Garden, the Garden Center, and the lake complete with gorgeous fountains.
- Address: 5200 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64112, USA
11. American Jazz Museum – one of the best things to do in Kansas City
This great attraction is located in the Jazz District where Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Big Joe Turner once performed.
Here you’ll find loads of interactive exhibits and educational programs where you’ll learn about the history of jazz, features on famous jazz musicians, a 500 seat performing arts center, a Blue Room, and a working jazz club.
- Address: 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA
12. Amigoni Urban Winery – a must-see attraction for wine lovers
This is a stylish and well-presented family-owned attraction located in the historic 1909 Daily Drover Telegram Newspaper building in the Stockyards District of the West Bottoms.
At the Amigoni Urban Winery, you’ll find beautiful wines (as well as snacks) with equally beautiful tasting rooms and tours and classes are also on offer here.
- Address: 1505 Genessee St #100, Kansas City, MO 64102
- Opening times 11am to 6pm
13. Brookside – a charming historic district to explore in Kansas City
This is a truly charming part of the city and a great place to hang out as well. The historic district was built in the 1920s and has some great independent stories, stylish eateries, large houses, some interesting historic attractions, and some cool cafes and coffee shops. Well worth a trip!
14. Kauffman Stadium – a popular baseball park which offers tours
Another special place for sport’s fans, this baseball park is home to the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball and boasts the largest high-definition video board in the major leagues.
They offer public Tours from Tuesday-Saturday and where you can visit the dugout, press box, interview room, Crown Club, the visitor’s locker room, and other interesting behind-the-scenes locations. There is also a Royals Hall of Fame; an interactive Kids Area; and the Rivals Sports Bar.
- Address: 1 Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129,
15. KC Streetcar – both a great way to get around and a popular attraction
Both a popular attraction and a good way to get around! First constructed in 2014 this is one of the straightest and simplest street cars in the USA. It runs along a 2.2 mile route starting downtown between the River Market and Union Station and making a stop every two blocks.
Best things to do in Kansas City for Kids
- World of Fun – a very popular place to visit for kids and families in Kansas city and is considered a top attraction in Kansas City! It’s a huge 235-acre amusement park including world-class roller coasters, shows, waterslides, and family rides.
- PowerPlay Metro-North Entertainment Center – a fun indoor venue filled with arcade games, family-friendly rides, a laser tag, an indoor roller coaster, bumper cars, bowling, and even outdoor go-karts.
- The Bay Waterpark – for watery family fun here you’ll find a surf simulator, lazy river, and an aquatic playground with plenty of awesome slides.
- Kaleidoscope – great for creative kids, this is a free art studio where children can express themselves and make use of the bows, cardboard, and melted crayons.
- Great Wolf Lodge – an Indoor Water Park Resort built for families, this offers a family vacation and plenty of fun all rolled into one. There’s something for all ages from toddler areas to white-knuckle rides as well as a MagiQuest, a Kid’s Spa, and an indoor waterpark experience too.
- Science City – a great educational attraction, this is located at Union Station is an interactive science center that features hands-on displays, a Planetarium, and a City Extreme Screen theatre.
Best Free Things to do in Kansas City
- Hang out J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain – this is a beautiful illuminated fountain located in central Kas and a popular photo opportunity, it’s also surrounded by benches so a perfect place for relaxing!
- Pay a visit to Union Station – this is a fabulous historic building and free to explore. There are many onsite attractions here too.
- Visit Hallmark Visitors Center – everyone would have heard of the family-owned Hallmark Cards brand and now you can learn all about the history of the much-loved company. You can also get involved in a scavenger hunt and make your own souvenir.
- Check out Kansas City Public Library – a great option for book worms this place was founded in 1873 and is the oldest public library system in the area. As well as plenty of books, it has special collections including a collection of Kansas City local history all housed in an incredible and unique building – take your camera!
- Ride the KC Streetcar – a top attraction in Kansas City and a totally free thing to do as well. The line stretches over a 2-mile route and stops every two blocks. You can also listen to a selection of free audio tours.
- Wander the Crown Center – this is a great area for entertainment home to some great dining options, attractions, and fountains as well as free outdoor events.
Best things to do at the weekend in Kansas City
- Grab a beer at Stockyards Brewing Company – grab craft beers and cocktails in a unique historic building.
- Go to Open Mic at the Art Garden KC – this outdoor art fair takes place every Sunday and hosts over 30 vendors as well as singers, poets, lyricists, and musicians of all kinds!
- Catch a Drive-in Movie – go old school and catch a drive-in movie in Kansas City. The Boulevard Drive-In Theatre was opened in 1950 and is the oldest in the state.
- The College Basketball Experience – this is a fun and popular interactive experience (where you can spend the day shooting hoops) and a Basketball Hall of Fame too.
- Catch a comedy show – the city is home to a number of great comedy clubs, try the Comedy Club of Kansas City and the Improv Comedy Club.
Best things to do in Kansas City for Couples
- Starlight Theatre – is a 7,958-seat outdoor theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, United States that presents Broadway shows and concerts. It is one of the two major remaining self-producing outdoor theatres in the U.S. and Starlight’s Cohen stagehouse also permits it to present many national Broadway touring shows
- Green Lady Lounge
- Stay at the Raphael Hotel
- Take a walk through Overland Park Arboretum.
- Picnic in Loose Park
- locking your love” at the Old Red Bridge
The Best Museums in Kansas City
- Nelson Atkins Museum of Art – this is known for its encyclopedic collection of art from nearly every continent and culture and has a large collection of Asian art.
- National World War I Museum and Memorial – one of the top attractions in Kansas City this holds the largest collection of WW1 objects in the USA
- John Wornall House – a historic house that has been furnished to show what life was like in the pre-civil war era.
- Arabia Steamboat Museum – this is a unqiue place that is focused on a side-wheeler steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in 1856.
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – a must-see attraction for sports fans this place is dedicated to preserving the history of Negro league baseball in America.
- The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures – this houses the world’s largest collection of miniatures, dollhouses, and toys.
- The Money Museum – a small museum that houses historic coins and bills and a huge cash vault.
The Best Historic Sites in Kansas City
- Union Station – also mentioned above this is home to attractions and a beautiful and much loved historic building which dates from 1904.
- Epperson House – now part of the University of Missouri–Kansas City this historic residence is located at 5200 Cherry Street in Kansas City and has been featured on Unsolved Mysteries.
- Thomas Hart Benton Home – this is the well-preserved home and studio of Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton. located at 3616 Belleview, Kansas City. It dates from 1977 and is state-owned.
- Shoal Creek Living History Museum – this is an interesting attraction perfect for history lovers, it stretches across an 80-acre park and is home to authentic buildings. Here you can learn all about Missouri history, as well as watch reenactments and follow trails.
- John Wornall House Museum – a great example of what it felt like to be rich in a pre-Civil War Family, this historic house and museum is located at 6115 Wornall Road in the Brookside area of Kansas City.
- The Alexander Majors House – built in 1856 this historic attraction is one of only four surviving antebellum houses in Kansas City.
Best Places to Shop in Kansas City
- Country Club Plaza – mentioned above as one of the top attractions in Kansas City, this is a charming place to shop filled with 13 blocks of great architecture with over 100 stores and 30 restaurants.
- City Market – this is a great casual shopping hub home to a weekend Farmer’s Market as well global cuisine eateries, gourmet grocery stores, and independent boutiques.
- Crown Center – a fantastic place for both shopping and entertainment. Here you’ll find a large mall as well as an ice rink, theatre, and Hallmark Visitors Center.
- 18th and Vine District – this historic cultural hub is home to small businesses and indie stores.
- Rivermarket Antiques – perfect if you want something a little different, this is a huge warehouse filled with vintage furniture, lamps, and house decor.
Best Outdoor things to do in Kansas City
- Line Creek Trail – Frequently used by hikers and bicyclists, this trail winds through the peaceful countryside of Platte County.
- Bush Creek Waterway – also popular with hikers, joggers and bicyclists this is a paved path which runs east-west from Roanoke Parkway (west end) to Blue Banks Park (east end).
- Old Trolley Trail – this is a running path that follows an old railroad track for 4 miles.
- Hidden Valley Park Trail – this is 4-mile trail that skirts the rim and dives into the Hidden Valley. Great for a remote trail with awesome views.
- Segway Bike and Stroll – this is a popular sightseeing tour in Kansas City where you can learn all about the city’s history and have some fun at the same time.
- Parkville Nature Sanctuary – this is a 115-acre natural site area in Parkville which is home to three miles of hiking trails and wildlife such as birds, whitetail deer, and turkeys.
The Best Gardens and Parks in Kansas City
- Loose Park – mentioned above as a top attraction this is one of the most popular and beautiful parks in Kansas City
- Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens – this is quite a new 300-acre attraction located on 79th Street, Overland Park, Kansas. Expect trails, bridges, mature trees, and limestone bluffs.
- The Ewing Kauffman memorial garden – this is a wonderful 2-acre green space filled with seasonal pretty flowers surrounded by benches, a pool, and limestone walls. The location is 4800 Rockhill Rd.
- Mill Creek Park – a popular place located at W 43rd St &, Broadway Blvd with a tennis center, a jogging track, Eco Pond, and the J.C. Nichols Fountain.
- Richard L Berkley Riverfront Park – this is a 17-acre riverfront site located at 1298 River Front Dr named after a popular mayor. Highlights include biking and walking paths as well as wide open green spaces.
- Laura Conyers Rose Garden – Located in Loose Park this is a wonderful and well-kept rose garden.
- Swope Park – Head down to 3999 Swope Pkwy &, 3999 E Meyer Blvd and find the city’s largest green space home to woodlands, meadows, a treetop adventure park, and an outdoor theatre.
Best things do in Kansas City when it rains
- Head to the Arvin Planetarium – located in Union Station this is a great family-friendly indoor attraction where you’ll get to learn a lot about the universe too!
- Catch a movie at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – this popular cinema has a cool old-school cinema kind of vibe.
- Try Escape Room KC – a new and popular attraction full of puzzles and secrets.
- Go to one of many of the museums – Kansas City is full of great and interesting museums see above for the full list of the best ones.
- Have some fun at Blade & Timber Axe Throwing – yep that’s right the only place where you can chuck an axe safely in the city. Also has party games, eat and drinks too.
Best things do in Kansas City for hipsters
- Head down to The Crossroads Arts District – a creative enclave that is filled with hipster delights such as art galleries in restored warehouses, hip coffee bars, brewpubs, independent shops, and cool retro-styled bars.
- Hang out in Westport – this is another hipster-friendly place in the city, Midtown-Westport is a trendy eclectic area, with festive brewpubs, hip DJ bars, and retro-chic diners.
- Shop at Super Flea – located at 6200 St John Ave in an old 1914 Montgomery Ward building this is a cool maze of many thrift stores under one roof.
- Eat at Port Fonda – a great hipster-friendly diner that serves up authentic Mexican cuisine and drinks served from a custom Airstream trailer.
- Shop at Hammerpress – located at 1413 W 11th St, this is a very cool letterpress print shop, design studio, and retail store all in one.
- 21c Museum Hotel – stay, eat or just grab a drink at this trendy hotel which is part museum, part restaurant and part hotel.
- Hang out at the rooftop pool at The Fontaine – this cool hotel is home to trendy artistic decor and one of the best rooftop pools in the city.
- Try craft beer at one of the many breweries in town – see below for the full list.
Best breweries in Kansas City
- Boulevard Brewing Company – mentioned above as one of the top attractions in Kansas City this is a huge attraction, brewery and free tasting samples all rolled into one.
- Kansas City Bier Company – communal indoor and outdoor tables with German-style lagers, ales, and snacks.
- Stockyards Brewing Company – housed in a cool historic building with craft brews, cocktails, and American eats.
- Alma Mader Brewing – a bright and modern place with a great choice of independently brewed beers.
- Strange Days Brewing – a cool and funky craft beer brewery with seating.
- Torn Label Brewing – a microbrewery at 1708 Campbell St, Kansas City which combines trendy decor and great craft beer.
Best things to do in Kansas City for Culture Lovers
- Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – mentioned above as one of the top attractions in the city, this is two performance halls joined together under a glass dome, hosting music, theater, opera, and dance events.
- Kansas City Symphony – this is a must-see cultural performance at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
- Heart of America Shakespeare Festival – is an annual non-profit professional theatre performance usually held in Southmoreland Park dedicated to Shakespeare.
- Kansas City Repertory Theatre – the region’s premier nonprofit theatre and usually holds has eight shows per year on two stages.
- Belger Art Centre – a collection of exhibits from John and Maxine Belger Family Foundation collection as well as others from local, national, and international artists.
The Best Bars in Kansas City
- Tom’s Town Distilling Company – a popular Art deco lounge with trendy and cocktails made with the distillery’s very own craft spirits.
- Julep Cocktail Club – a chic but relaxed place that serves whiskey-based cocktails and eats with a Southern twist.
- Manifesto – a small and intimate cocktail lounge.
- Voltaire – Rustic-modern decor combined with wines and bistro-style New American food.
- Up – Down KC – a funky bar with retro arcade games, cocktails and draft beer.
- Howl at the Moon – a popular party bar featuring dueling piano shows and novelty bucket drinks.
Best Nightclubs in Kansas City
- Aura Kansas City – a premier club with a high-energy dance floor & DJs.
- The Spott – a private nightclub with stripper poles, booths, and pool.
- Mosaic Ultra Lounge – an upscale nightclub with plush interiors and a DJ-provided soundtrack.
- The Blue Room – a performance venue within the American Jazz Museum, which offers weekly open jam sessions.
- BLVD Night – a fun and popular place located at2805 Southwest Blvd.
Best Breakfasts in Kansas City
- Banksia – a cozy Australian Bakehouse and Cafe.
- Seven Swans Creperie – a crêperie offering fresh, local, organic crêpes from around the world.
- Mattie’s Foods – offers great vegan eats from tacos to cookies.
- Brick House – an all-day hangout with a summer patio specializing in canned beers and American meals.
- Denver Biscuit Co.’s – a popular breakfast spot known for its creative biscuit sandwich combos and platters.
The Best Cafes and Coffee Shops in Kansas City
- Gigi’s Wellness Cafe – a vegan eatery offering 100% Organic, healthy, and sustainable food.
- Monarch Coffee – a modern coffee shop with house-roasted brews and local pastries.
- Oddly Correct Coffee – a rustic-chic coffeehouse with its own line of beans.
- Black Dog Coffee House – a cozy cafe offering basic and specialty coffee drinks and light eats.
- Cafe Gratitude – a solar-powered vegan restaurant serving international plates and smoothies.
The Best Restaurants in Kansas City
- Corvino Supper Club – a sleek well-respected offering fine New American cuisine and tasting menus, as well as nightly live music.
- Clay and Fire – a new Turkish and Near Eastern-inspired restaurant with a local twist.
- Pirate’s Bone Burgers – a popular Vegan burger diner and coffee shop.
- Gram & Dun – a chic place that serves up innovative American cuisine.
- Lidia’s – located in a former railroad house this glitzy place with blown-glass chandeliers serves up Northern Italian dining.
Where to stay
There’s a variety of places to stay in the city from increasingly trendy boutique hotels to guest houses.
Best Districts and Neighbourhoods in Kansas City
- DownTown – the center of all the action with a vibrant waterfront shopping area. This is the business and culture hub of Kansas City.
- Westport – a trendy historic neighborhood known for being an entertainment area complete with brewpubs, DJ bars, and retro-chic diners.
- Crossroads Arts District – a cool hipster district where once-vacant warehouses now house a variety of locally-owned boutiques.
- Power & Light District – an eight-block entertainment hub home to more than fifty bars, restaurants, and shops.
- Brookside – a collection of neighborhoods with lovely historic homes, unique shops, trendy restaurants, and cultural attractions.
- Overland Park – the second-most populous city in the Kansas City metropolitan area filled with shops and attractions.
How to get around Kansas City
Kansas City is a large city and you can travel around by car, bicycle, by bus or taxi rides but by far the best way to travel around is the much-loved Kansas City Streetcar which is completely free to ride no matter how long you stay on for. The route stretches for two miles running from Crown Center in Midtown Kansas City to the River Market District on the bank of the Missouri River.
The Best Times to Visit Kansas City
The summer has the hottest temperatures which hover around the mid-80’s and the coldest month is January where it can fall to around 30 degrees. A much more comfortable time to visit is around spring or fall when temperatures range from the 50s to the 70s.
There’s a large number of events happening throughout the year which gives the city an extra buzz, so sometimes it’s also worth timing your visit around these events. Events to look out for include the annual kick-off of Kansas City Chiefs football season (in the fall), Celebration at the Station (May), Kansas City Plaza Lights (Christmas), a Bavarian-style Oktoberfest and plenty of summer music festivals and outdoor theater performances. Enjoy!