Honestly, I had little desire to visit Kansas City until my friend Abby moved there and I got the chance to visit her. After a long weekend with Abby to show me around, I can see why this Midwestern city is easy to love. It's a city meant for families, sports fans, foodies, and shopaholics - and you won't have any time to be bored! Below you'll find a list of mine (and Abby's) favorite places to explore in Kansas City on your next visit, curated with Abby's expert help.
I had to update this post after my most recent trip to Kansas City for a Bachelorette weekend (and to see Abby again). Our group found this adorbale Airbnb - which was within 10 minutes of everywhere we wanted to explore. On Friday, we popped a bottle for our bride-to-be at Ca Va in Westport, then returned to our Airbnb to play games and chat over a few too many bottles of wine. On Saturday, we grabbed brunch at Char Bar and then spent the afternoon at Amigoni Urban Winery. After refreshing for dinner, we enjoyed an amazing meal at The Jacobson and danced the night away at the Power & Light District. I spent Sunday with Abby, shopping at Country Club Plaza and trying a few new restaurants, which I've added to my recommendations below!
When: I'd recommend visiting between April and October, but know it can be VERY hot and humid in July and August.
Tips for Travel and Fun Facts:
While Uber and Lyft are available in Kansas City, but I found it helpful to have a rental car for my visit.
Nicknames: KC, Heart of America, City of Fountains
Population: 2.1 million
Eat | Restaurants
Joe's KC Bar-B-Que | A Kansas City institution. If you can only make it to one BBQ place, this should be it. Closed Sundays.
1889 Pizza Napoletana | Pizza speaks to me and the pizza here speaks volumes. Order one of their signature pies, or create your own. Enjoy their beautiful dining area or the fresh air on their patio. I loved their Quattro Formaggi with Honey Bee drizzle. One of my favorite pizzas... ever. They also host pizza classes if you're looking for a more personal dining experience!
Parlor| Grab a drink from one of the two bars, grab something to eat from one of the seven restaurant concepts, and find a seat on one of the three floors to sit back and relax.
The Sundry | Beautiful cafe space with great sandwiches and a craft soda fountain.
Char Bar| If you're wanting BBQ on a Sunday, Char Bar has you covered. They also have a great outdoor beer garden with bag toss, ping pong, bocce ball, and croquet. Great spot for large group dining - we ate brunch here for a Bachelorette party!
Blue Bird Bistro | A quaint and rustic spot for local, farm-to-table fare. They serve the most amazing Ciabatta French Toast for breakfast - but they also serve lunch and dinner.
Heirloom Bakery & Hearth | Breads, muffins, scones, pies, cookies, bars... if baked goods are your thing, then this is your spot. I love the charm and warmth of their interior and can't wait to check this spot on my next visit.
The Mixx | A local salad chain that's perfect for when you need something light after all that BBQ.
Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room | Two concepts under one roof: supper club with shareable plates and live music nightly, or tasting room experience with a prix fixe menu and optional beverage pairings.
Westside Local | Another farm-to-table space with a gorgeous beer garden and a fabulous Sunday "Blunch".
The Corner | A locally owned, home-style eatery offering brunch seven days a week. Not ideal for parties of 4 or more.
The Jacobson | A good selection of "share-ables" as well as Midwest-inspired dishes... the mac & cheese here is fabulous, loved the wedge salad, and the hot German potato salad reminded me of my grandma's.
Mildred's | Stop in for their ultimate breakfast sandwich or one of their daily sandwich specials for lunch.
Celebrate | Bars & Breweries
Boulevard Brewing Company | Come for a brewery tour or just to sample a few of their 24+ beers (including test beers only available here) on tap at their 10,000 square foot beer hall. The first floor features exhibits about beer and a shop with Boulevard goodies, upstairs you'll find an expansive deck with great city views, delicious food, and an adorable photo booth!
Tom's Town Distillery | As their website states, "Come for the booze. Stay for the party"! At Tom's Town you'll find plenty to eat and drink and daily tours for those who want a look around their distilling process.
Power & Light District | A popular spot for live entertainment, eclectic shopping, and multiple dining options.
When I was in town for the bachelorette weekend, we loved dancing to the Dueling Pianos at Howl at the Moon and convinced our bride-to-be to ride the bull at the PBR Bar. Shark Bar is also great for dancing and No Other Pub is perfect if you're looking for something more chill. Abby says "Pizza Bar's pizza is actually good, so remember that at 1AM"
Monarch Cocktail Bar and Lounge | Innovative craft cocktails with premier spirits and wines in three distinctive spaces; the bar, the parlour, and the terrace.
Westport Ale House | A great spot for game-day with more than 50 big screens and a patio with yard games.
SoT Social | A signature cocktail list that changes seasonally but never disappoints. A private patio with string lights cascading above the tables. Stylish, unique, and special.
Green Lady Lounge | A Kansas City venue that's rich in tradition and features live jazz 365 days a year. As a bonus, there's never a cover charge and always open seating.
TikiCat | An underground "secret oasis" with authentic tiki cocktails and decor.
Ça Va | A hidden gem in Westport with a wonderful Champagne and sparkling wine list and an adorable patio!
Double Shift Brewing | Spot for unique beers in an old bicycle shop. They had an awesome sour on tap when I was in.
Monarch Coffee | Seven hand-roasted coffees and beautiful white tile floors - an Instagrammer's dream.
Messenger Cafe | In the running for the perfect coffee shop: a coffee roasting facility, grain mill, bakery, retail, quiet reading rooms, a rooftop, and event space - oh, and plenty of seating in this renovated auto showroom. When can I move in?
Play | Things to Do Entertainment and Live Music Abby says, "We've got the Sprint Center so we get the "huge" names, but we also have tons of small venues (Record Bar, Uptown Theater, The Truman, Starlight Theater, Riot Room) so you can catch rising stars too! Also, at Power & Light there are frequently free or cheap (under $20) concerts." Also, the Kaufman Center for Performing Arts is home to the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera, and Kansas City Symphony.
Museums - Union Station - Nelson Atkins Museum of Art - Harry S. Truman Library & Museum - National World War 1 Museum and Memorial - Museum at Prairiefire
Sports - Kansas City Royals Game (MLB) - Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) - Sporting Kansas City (MLS) - Kansas Speedway (NASCAR) - College Basketball, the unofficial home of College Basketball during March Madness - Kansas City Mavericks (Minor League Hockey, affiliated with the Calgary Flames and Stockton Heat) - Swope Park Rangers (Sporting KC's secondary team) - Kansas City T-Bones (Independent Baseball)
Get Outside / Explore the City - River Market Farmers Market - Roam the Crossroads Art District - Cider Hill Family Orchard (Seasonal Berry Picking and Apple Orchard) - Topgolf - Ride the Streetcar, it's free! Abby suggests you "do a Brewery/Distillery Tour in the Crossroads - there are at least a dozen breweries or distilleries in this neighborhood within walking distance from each other".
Stay | Hotels Hotel Philips, Curio Collection by Hilton | 106 W. 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105 "Once the tallest building in town and an art lover's paradise, you'll find historic charm in the heart of downtown "
National Register of Historic Places
Artistic elements from some of Kansas City's favorites throughout
Suites with bars, billiards, and gathering spots
Crossroads Hotel | 2101 Central Street, Kansas City, MO 64108 "Where historic and modern meet; where people from all over and around the corner come together"
Three on-site dining options
Artistic elements from some of Kansas City's favorites throughout the building
Suites with bars, billiards, and gathering spots
Hotel Indigo Kansas City Downtown | 101 W. 11th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105 "Occupying the renovated 1930's-era Brookfield Building and nestled among the Kansas City's downtown eateries and attractions"
Travel-themed touches throughout the hotel as a nod to the building's past
Spa-inspired bathrooms with glass-enclosed walk-in showers
Shop | Local Goods West Side Storey | Hip boutique for clothing, accessories, home decor, & gifts with a KC theme. Made In KC Marketplace | Collective of local brands/companies plus a coffee shop and a tap room and ice cream! Hammerpress | Letterpress & design studio specializing in printed cards, prints, and show posters. Do Good Co. | High end, extraordinarily curated consignment shop that has all of their merchandise donated, so all of their proceeds go right to charity. Coco Brookside | Women's boutique with a well curated selection of clothing, accessories, home goods, and gifts. Lady Bye | Women's clothing boutique (Coco Brookside's sister store) featuring effortless, classic, feminine style. Normal Human | Screenprinting shop with fun designs on shirts, cards, and more. Sandlot Goods | High quality, handcrafted leather goods and canvas backpacks. Country Club Plaza | Upscale shopping and dining center for your favorite brands and a few local shops.