11 Things You Can’t Miss in Kansas City

11 Things You Can’t Miss in Kansas City

On our way across the country on our #EndlessCaravan, we made a stop in Kansas City. It’s hard to believe it, but I actually lived here for a couple of years as a kid and have very little recollection of it (other than playing lots of four square and tetherball). Luckily, we have a few friends who are from KC that gave us plenty of recommendations for our trip.

11 Awesome Things to Do in Kansas City Missouri + Kansas // localadventurer.com

11 THINGS TO DO IN KANSAS CITY

1. Enjoy the sunset views from the Liberty Memorial

The liberty memorial stands on top of the National World War I Museum and gives you a great view of the city. It is also the only US museum devoted solely to World War I.

City views from the National World War 1 Museum Kansas City Missouri // localadventurer.com

2. Eat Kansas City BBQ

When it comes to Kansas City BBQ, you’ll hear a lot of opinions on what’s the best, but Joe’s Kansas City BBQ (formerly Oklahoma Joes) always makes the list somewhere. It’s located inside a gas station, and you could be waiting hours just to order, but it’s worth the wait! If you’re looking for a fancier spot, Jack Stack BBQ is also a popular spot amongst locals. We tried both on the trip, and if we had to pick only one meal to eat in KC, we’d choose Joe’s.

Oklahoma Joes Kansas City BBQ - Arguably the Best BBQ in the US and is on Anthony Bourdain's 13 Places to Eat Before You Die // localadventurer.com

3. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

This is a popular spot amongst tourists and locals. It is home to an amazing collection of rare European, American, and Asian art, but it also has a huge outdoor area with sculptures and plenty of grass to enjoy a beautiful afternoon. It’s also the home to the World’s Largest Shuttlecock.

Glass Labyrinth - Outdoor Maze of Glass - Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Kansas City // localadventurer.comGlass Labyrinth - Outdoor Maze of Glass - Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Kansas City // localadventurer.comWorld's Largest Shuttlecock on the lawn of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Kansas City Missouri // localadventurer.com

4. Get Nostalgic at the National Toy Museum

If you loved toys at any point in your life, then you need to stop by the National Toy Museum. It originally started as a private collection that grew to become what it is today. After a recent $8 million renovation, the museum has great interactive exhibits and the pieces are displayed beautifully. Our favorite part of the museum were the toys through the decades, where we reminisced seeing toys from the 80s and 90s.

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, Kansas City Missouri // localadventurer.comNational Museum of Toys and Miniatures, Kansas City Missouri // localadventurer.com

5. See the Animals at the Kansas City Zoo

There are over 1500 animals at this over-200 acre complex, including polar bears, apes, elephants, big cats (our favorites!), and more. In the 1990s, they did a massive rehab adding $71 million of improvements for both, the animals and guests.

NICE KITTY by Lisa Plymell on 500px.com

 

6. Browse Giant Books at the Kansas City Public Library

The city’s library has created the perfect photo op for any bibliophile. Besides having a beautiful library, they have created a row of giant books along the outside of the parking structure.

Giant Books Line the Kansas City Public Library // localadventurer.comGiant Books Line the Kansas City Public Library // localadventurer.com

7. Leila’s Hair Museum

We had no idea what to expect when walking into the Leila’s Hair Museum. It’s a massive collection of hair art. On our cross country adventure, we were on the hunt for the weirdest and most offbeat attractions we could find and it was perfect! What we thought would be a good laugh, however, ended up being a quite fascinating learning experience. They have hair from historic figures, presidents, celebrities and hair art in various forms. But what was most interesting was learning about the tradition of hair wreaths used in the past for documenting genealogy from the owner Leila herself. If you want to learn more about the lost art of hair wreaths, Leila even teaches classes where you learn her techniques.

Leila's Hair Museum - Offbeat Attractions in Kansas City Missouri // localadventurer.comLeila's Hair Museum - Offbeat Attractions in Kansas City Missouri // localadventurer.com

8. Union Station

This building was originally put up in 1914 and the terminal for 12 main lines and 30 subsidiary lines. Since then, it has been converted into a #188 million entertainment center. Now it’s home to an exhibit on Kansas City’s railroad history, shops, restaurants, a children’s science center, move theater, and Amtrak!

Heaven Waits by Dale Martin on 500px.com

 

9. Grab a Pint at the Boulevard Brewing Company

This brewery has become the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest. Take the tour and be sure to try the Midwest’s best-selling craft beer, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer.

10. Walk Through History at the Harry S. Truman Home

Take a walk through the 33rd president’s “Summer White House”. This National Park unit gives you a glimpse into Harry S. Truman’s life and career. You do need to get tickets as they limit the tours to 8 people at a time, so be sure to stop by the visitor’s center.

Harry S Truman National Historic Site - Preserves the History and Home of the 33rd President // localadventurer.com

11. Glace Artisan Ice Cream

Enjoy a smooth, creamy pint (or cone or cup) or ice cream at Glace. Try one of the favorites, like Dark Chocolate or Salted Pretzel, or one of their unique flavors like Earl Grey Tea or Fig Sorbet.

Glace Artisan Ice Cream - Best Ice Cream in Kansas City Missouri // localadventurer.comJ2_glace-artisan-ice-cream

We still have a hard time grasping how Kansas City works. It is not one city divided into two states but in fact two separate cities with the same name in two different states. They just happen to be neighbors. When you talk to people who live in either city, though, they give you recommendations from both and pretty much treat it like it is one city. The funny thing is neither were originally named Kansas City. Maybe we’re making it more complicated than it needs to be, but we still find it confusing. Anyone from the area want to chime in?

Have you been to Kansas City? Anything you’d add to the list?

xoxo estherJacob
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11 Awesome Things to Do in Kansas City Missouri + Kansas // localadventurer.com

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Great list!

    I moved to Kansas City for college and immediately fell in love. After living here for 10 years, I agree with Eric in that locals view Kansas City as one city. In addition to the Plaza, Zona Rosa is another fun outdoor shopping area. While in KC, I would definitely recommend checking out some of the sports, whether it’s Royals baseball, Chiefs football, or Sporting KC soccer. Near the Royals stadium is an old-fashioned drive-in called Hi Boy, and they serve the most amazing burgers and hot fudge sundaes! Another fun area worth visiting is Westport. It’s an area that has a great nightlife and some unique and delicious restaurants. Kansas City is also proud of its coffee that is produced locally, called the Roasterie. They have factory tours available. Kansas City is also the home of Hallmark greeting cards, and near its hub downtown is an area called Crown Center. This area has great restaurants and shops, and during the winter a beautifully decorated ice rink.

    I would totally recommend Kansas City for your next get away :)

  2. Great tips and pics about the city I admire the most.

  3. I didn’t know there was a hair museum! Lol Now I’m going to have to check it out. Thanks for the list!

    1. Yup! haha we like to dig up some pretty bizarre stuff too. :) Let me know what you think if you visit.

  4. Hi,

    I figured I’d chime in regarding your question about how the city works. You’ve got it right, but as a local, we basically look at it as one city (Kansas City) with suburbs throughout the greater metropolitan area (Kansas City, Kansas included).

    You have a pretty decent start on your list, but you for sure should of dropped the hair museum and Glacé and replaced them with City Market (including Steamboat Arabia) and the Plaza. Also I’d highly recommend the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum over the Harry S. Truman house.

    KC also has a lot of great Jazz clubs: The Green Lady and The Blue Room being two of the best.

    Anyhow, thanks for the article and nice work!

    Cheers,
    Eric

    1. Thanks, Eric. Thanks so much for the suggestions. We would love to go back and spend more time there. I grew up there and don’t think I had much of a clue how the city worked. It’s good to get more insight from a local. :)

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