CULTURE CROSSINGS: Main Street in the Crossroads district
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With a focus on art, entertainment, food and drink, Kansas City’s Crossroads neighborhood has come into its own as one of this Midwestern city’s CULTURAL MECCAS.


Almost 30 years ago, a few artists in search of affordable studio spaces settled in among the dilapidated warehouses that dotted an industrial area of downtown Kansas City, Mo. Now, this thriving neighborhood — known as Crossroads — boasts one of the most concentrated art-gallery districts in the country. This historical area currently serves as a hub of creativity, engagement and entertainment for both Kansas City residents and visitors.

A stroll through Crossroads provides the opportunity for passersby to experience all kinds of local diversions, from independent shops to experimental dance performances to world-class artwork. The neighborhood has evolved into a rich haven of art and culture, thanks to a strong collaboration among Kansas City’s artists, architects, chefs, retailers, designers, galleries and creative entrepreneurs.
On the first Friday of each month, businesses throughout Crossroads open their doors for a one-of-a-kind block party. Art galleries debut their newest exhibitions, and the local shops, restaurants, bands and street performers come together to showcase entertainment like quixotic dancing and food trucks. The best way to experience the neighborhood is to simply wander around and see what strikes your fancy. Here are some great places to start:

Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art was the very first gallery to open in the Crossroads area (back in 1985), and it is now one of
the oldest continuous contemporary art galleries in the Midwest. The gallery shows works from emerging, established and internationally acclaimed artists in a variety of artistic media.

Snow & Co. has put a cool spin on the art of the cocktail by freezing hand-mixed classic drinks. The crowd favorite is The Rockefeller (a frozen Manhattan), made from Old Overholt Rye Whiskey infused with cherries and Cinzano sweet vermouth. This is a great location for mingling; Snow & Co. has become a fast favorite for everyone from the city’s tech entrepreneurs to local performance artists. 

For more information on Kansas City’s Crossroads neighborhood, visit www.kccrossroads.org

Lidia’s Kansas City is the westernmost venue of famed Italian chef, author and television host Lidia Bastianich. The chefs have trained with Lidia to learn her special style of regional, authentic Italian cuisine. 

The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center was founded by Jim Leedy, an artist and educator who helped create Crossroads. This gallery showcases top-notch art of all kinds from Kansas City creators, while also emphasizing art education and community outreach. 

For music, art and cocktails, catch a show at Czar Bar, a venue that aims to promote cutting-edge entertainment in Crossroads and to get people out of their comfort zones. Try the local favorite: the bar’s alternative version of the ­Moscow Mule. 

Art connoisseurs who also enjoy history will love the Belger Arts Center. Dick Belger, whose grandfather founded the lucrative Belger Cartage Service in 1919, began collecting artwork done by contemporary American artists from 1960 to the present. In 2000, the Belger Arts Center opened to exhibit these works. Pieces from the collection have been lent to the Smithsonian, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and several international arts organizations. 

Visit famous chocolatier Christopher Elbow’s flagship store to see the master at work six days a week. All of the artisanal delicacies at Christopher­ Elbow Chocolates are handmade in small batches to ensure quality, so each one is unique.



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