If You Go...
Besides serving mouthwatering food, Kansas City offers an array of other great experiences to savor, no matter what time of year you visit.
Explore the past: In the 18th & Vine Jazz District are two exceptional museums, each with poignant elements. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum tells the amazing stories of whom many experts believe to be the best baseball players of all time. The adjacent American Jazz Museum gives extensive profiles on the four greats: Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Kansas City’s own Charlie Parker.
Paint the town: The Kansas City Power & Light District, an $850 million development covering eight formerly quiet blocks, is a rocking scene with dozens of bars, clubs, and restaurants. There, you’ll find Gordon Biersch, a microbrewery; Raglan Road Irish Restaurant and Pub, a rollicking Irish bar; Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge, a hip bowling alley with a DJ; Angel Rock Bar, a lights-out rock dance club; and Howl at the Moon, a dueling-pianos bar.
Artful pursuits: If you like the Met in New York, you’ll love the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, with its extraordinary Chinese antiquities collection, European paintings, 22- acre sculpture park, and the stunning new Bloch Building. And the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has plenty of edgy works as well as fabulous gifts. Both are in the Country Club Plaza. The Crossroads Arts District is home to a monthly First Friday art walk, which draws huge crowds to 40 galleries and shops open in the evening.
Listen to music: Live jazz is plentiful in Kansas City. Two of the most popular venues are the Blue Room, inside the American Jazz Museum, and the Majestic Steakhouse on Broadway in downtown.
Special sipping: The Boulevard Brewing Co. has become a huge hit, and its distribution is growing around the country. Take the free tour, which offers tastings of several of the brewery’s 11 creations at the source. The Pale Ale, Irish Ale, and Bully! Porter are hard to beat.
The Aladdin Hotel is a newly renovated art-deco showplace, a downtown boutique lodging operated by Holiday Inn. Rooms are small but very comfortable, and the staff is exceedingly hospitable.
The Hotel Phillips is a beautifully restored 1930s gem downtown that has big, luxury rooms and a thoughtful staff.
The recently reopened Hilton President is a 1940s downtown landmark bringing yesteryear glamour into focus; it has a cool restaurant and bar loaded with history.