Kansas City Travel Guide 2021

2021 Kansas City Visitors Guide

From its founding, Kansas City has been the crossroads of America. The largest city in Missouri, Kansas City sits on the Missouri River, close to the geographic center of the continental United States. Its central location has made Kansas City a hub for transportation and commerce throughout its history.

The three most significant trails of the early 19th Century — the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California — had trailheads in the Kansas City area, sending settlers, soldiers and merchants across the West. Later, in the age of railroading, Kansas City became a hub for cross-country passenger and freight service. And when the interstate highway program launched in the 1950s, Kansas City once again was at the center, serving as the launch pad of the country’s first interstate, I-70.

Kansas City Fun Guide

Kansas City is now a travel destination for art, history and sports lovers. In fact, its re-invigorated downtown was lauded by Forbes magazine for its architectural and business culture. The downtown districts currently have over 30 buildings under construction or proposed for construction, and renovated buildings include the historic Freight Building, the massive Union Station rail facility, and the old TWA world headquarters.

Kansas City is served by two airports. The largest one is Kansas City International Airport, built in the early 1970s. Visitors to the area might be surprised to find out that the airport is not close to downtown, having been built 20 miles north of the city center in what is still a rural area.

Kansas City Travel & Visitors Guide

Kansas City is home to a number of museums, including the National Airline Museum, located at the Kansas City Downtown Airport. Baseball’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and to the American Jazz Museum are located just southeast of downtown. And a unique downtown museum preserves the 19th Century shipwreck of the paddlewheel steamboat Arabia.

But perhaps Kansas City’s most famous attraction is the Liberty Memorial tower and National World War I Museum, located in a beautiful park just south of Union Station. The 21-story granite and limestone building has a unique steam-and-light effect on the top that can be seen for miles.

Kansas City is known for its unique brand of barbecue, a sweet flavor that developed in the early 20th Century. The city now has over 90 barbecue-centric restaurants. The city is also famous for it’s cut of steak, the Kansas City strip steak.

Sports fans also have reason to pay Kansas City a visit, since the city is home to three major professional sports franchises (MLB, NFL, and MLS) and numerous minor league teams. And major college tournaments call the city home each year, proving once again that Kansas City is the crossroads of America.

Kansas City Attractions

Kansas City, Missouri offers a wide range of attractions for the everyday visitor. Here you will find a selection of museums, stadiums, gardens, and parks that can be enjoyed by all ages. During your next trip to Kansas City, don’t forget to stop by these attractions to fully enjoy all that the area has to offer.

National World War I Museum

The National World War I Museum is the only museum in the entire world that is dedicated to preserving the history of World War I. Visitors from around the world come to Kansas City to reflect on the war that changed so many lives. View objects and items that were used in and found from World War I, learn about the history behind the war and discover many stories from soldiers and families whos lives this event in history greatly impacted. Be educated through interactive technology in this high-tech facility that continues to thrive as a major Kansas City attraction.

Kansas City Zoo

The Kansas City Zoo is made up of 95 acres of property, home to over 400 different animals. Visit a wide range of exhibits where you can see monkeys, African wildlife and reptiles roam free in their natural habitats. Animal keeper shows are held on a regularly scheduled basis where you can learn more about the animals found at the Kansas City Zoo. Children of all ages can also enjoy the KidZone, an interactive area home to a variety of animals and fun play structures.

Kauffman Stadium

Kauffman Stadium is Kansas City’s most popular ballpark. This Major League Baseball Stadium is home to the Kansas City Royals. Head here to catch a game while enjoying the delicious stadium food right from your seat. This fan-friendly atmosphere provides visitors with an experience that they’ll never forget.

The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden

Part of the Kauffman Legacy Park is The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. Take a leisurely stroll through this 2-acre garden where you can view a selection of beautiful plants and floral arrangements. Exhibits change frequently to provide visitors with a new experience each time that they come to the garden. Free garden tours are also available.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was first opened in 1991 and serves as a spot to pay tribute to some of the games most talented unknown players. Many of these legends, although unknown to most, helped to shape the game of baseball that we have come to know and love today.

Kansas City Dining

After you’ve settled into Kansas City, you’ll undoubtedly want to check out the local attractions, the sights, and sounds. Since this happens to the largest city in Missouri and there are lots of things to do, you might spend quite some time exploring. You’re going to need to keep your energy up and get properly fed. Luckily, in Kansas City, there is no shortage of fine dining options to choose from. Here are a few to get you started:

Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque

This place had a rich history dating back to the 1920s when the restaurant was started by Arthur’s older brother, Charlie Bryant. Arthur took over after Charlie passed away and continued in the tradition of serving good old fashioned barbeque delicacies. You can order a variety of sandwiches with whatever kind of meat strikes your fancy at the moment. This place has it all. You can have your pick of pulled or sliced pork, long or short end ribs, and even burnt ends. If you’re particularly hungry, you can order an entire slab or pork ribs or select meat by the pound. Of course, you’ll have to try one of the famous barbeque sauces. The flavors include original, rich and spicy and sweet heat, which vary in intensity but are equal in deliciousness.

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque

In 2011, this restaurant has been recognized as the most popular in Kansas City, and, for the last 10 years has been rated the best barbeque in the entire country by Zagat Survey. With a mouth-watering menu that sends your taste buds directly to heaven, this place certainly deserves a national spotlight. In addition to traditional menu items you’d expect in a place with the word barbeque in its name, Fiorella’s offers savory stakes grilled to perfection over hickory wood, a selection of lamb ribs, crown prime beef ribs, salmon and other fresh grilled seafood. A seemingly endless wine and bar selection is on hand with the finest drinks around to supplement and enhance the flavor of your meal.

The American Restaurant

This popular establishment has been satisfying customers and their hunger since 1974. It’s designed to serve up quality food while offering patrons a breathtaking view of Downtown Kansas City and the vicinity. A new menu every day ensures the food is always fresh and delicious. The typical fare might include dry-aged pork with bourbon, barley and peach, crispy duck, chicken with wild persimmon and smoked maple, dry-aged rib eye, and, based on seasonal availability, wild king salmon, and Alaskan halibut. There is also a lounge menu with selections of nibbles and small bites. There are always fresh salads, a variety of cheeses, desserts and an impressive wine list. The combination of fresh food and a spectacular view makes this a delightful dining experience.

Kansas City Events

Kansas City has emerged as a destination for world-class events. Locals and guests have access to a medley of splendid activities for all tastes and interests. From superb eating and music events to high-level sporting competitions, the city offers a bevy of events that attract interest from all walks of life.

Restaurant Week

During this event, the city exhibits the most established and emerging culinary craftsmen. Kansas City Restaurant Week features a range of tasty dishes from elite chefs across the metro area, underscoring the prominence of the city’s restaurant scene. The Zagat Survey, among other publications, has considered Kansas City the top dining value of all major cities in the United States. The event provides the opportunity for diners to sample delights from established restaurants and new establishments in the metropolitan area of the city. Traditionally, diners order from pix-fixe menus offered by the restaurants.

Science of Rock n’ Roll

The Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll an innovative traveling exhibition that has been established at Union Station in Kansas City. The display features a unique examination of the scientific and technological evolution of rock ‘n roll. Guests learn of how the music has influenced the technology as well as how the technology has transformed music.

Big 12 College Basketball Tournament

Sports enthusiasts have an opportunity for exciting college basketball. Kansas City has been named as host for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship. The tournament will be played at the state-of-the-art Sprint Center. The city has hosted the tournament over 11 times since the inception of the tournament. The city organizes a wonderful time for its guests and the teams with events and other activities for families. The city has received kudos from tournament officials and guests for its management of the event.

Boulevard Brewing Tours

Those who enjoy beer and its unique history in the area have a splendid opportunity to taste some of the areas most flavorful beverages as well as learn of the processes used to develop them. Boulevard Brewing Co. offers free tours of its facilities and neighboring establishments most days of the week with a reservation. Established in 1989, the business has become the largest niche brewer throughout the entire Midwest. The breweries products are available approximately 20 states, including Hot Springs, Arkansas.

From sporting events to tasty food festivals, Kansas City demonstrates its status as a splendid American metropolis. As the city continues to evolve, guests and locals have increased access to more diverse events that enrich their experience in this wonderful Midwestern destination.

kansas city zoo
elephants at the Kansas City Zoo

Family Fun near Downtown Kansas City

There are plenty of opportunities for family fun in Kansas City! Consider some of these popular attractions.

Kansas City Zoo

The Kansas City Zoo has a collection of over 1,000 animals for visitors to see. This impressive zoo is arranged in several sections that include the KidZone, endangered species, Asian animals, and animals from Australia along with many others. This zoo also has rare animals in its collection such as the Eastern Black Rhino! The Kansas City Zoo is dedicated to animal conservation. A family who tours this zoo will learn a lot from its unique and educational exhibits. The zoo’s educational shows and discussions with zookeepers add to a day of fun for a family. Visitors can walk through the zoo, ride a train or even take a tour from above! The zoo provides both outdoor and indoor dining experiences for families with a variety of tastes. The Kansas City Zoo is open year-round, seven days a week (with the exception of some holidays). The admission prices to this zoo are reasonable for families who want to enjoy a memorable day.

Kansas City SEA LIFE Aquarium

Family members of all ages will be thrilled to visit the 5,000 plus sea creatures at the Kansas City SEA LIFE Aquarium! Among the many occupants of this aquarium are zebra sharks, clownfish, rays, and a collection of sea horses. Families can take a leisurely tour of the aquarium. Kids will enjoy looking at sea creatures through our underwater tunnel. The educational talks given by experts at our aquarium provide plenty of opportunities for children to learn about ocean life. The Kansas City SEA LIFE Aquarium is open each day with the exception of some holidays.

Worlds of Fun

This amusement park in Kansas City features dozens of rides for family members young and old! Along with a number of exciting roller coasters, there are many entertaining live shows. Planet Snoopy is one area of the park that kids are sure to love! Worlds of Fun offers visitors a variety of dining experiences and a water park along with much more!

Kansas City Museum

The museum grounds are a wonderful place for families to share a picnic. Kids and adults alike can learn about some of the exciting periods in Kansas City history. The museum is full of colorful, intriguing exhibits that offer visitors a new perspective on Kansas City. The Kansas City Museum is an ideal choice for a relaxed day with family.

Shopping near Downtown Kansas City

Kansas City abounds with a medley of informal, exclusive, urban and antique shopping options to satisfy any taste. The retail outlets feature unique designs and sumptuous settings for visitors to find their favorite labels or designers or to be surprised with a unique curiosity.

While they shop, guests are able to enjoy a variety of restaurants and entertainment attractions. Ultimately, guests and locals have access to wonderful opportunities to find a perfect gift for someone special or to indulge themselves in a fun-filled environment.

The Power & Light District offers superior dining, shopping opportunities and entertainment options in the downtown area. Spanning in excess of half a million square feet, the center is the region’s foremost entertainment center. Space features over 50 choice bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and shops. The center links the Convention Center to the Sprint Arena helping to make Kansas City a vibrant destination.

The southern area of the city houses Westport, a former Civil War battle site now featuring art galleries, jewelers, boutiques and a bevy of restaurants and bars. Hallmark Cards’ Crown Center features in excess of 60 unique shops and eating establishments. The home of Hallmark Cards, this unique space offers refined fragrances, sports memorabilia, gourmet chocolates, and Asian jewelry.

During the fall, guests experience the Country Club Plaza offers over 150 retail outlets and eateries, set against European-inspired architectural styles, including luxury brands like Tiffany & Co. and Burberry. Brookside and Waldo offer a bevy of retail specialty shops, boutiques and gift shops. Urban shoppers enjoy the hip Crossroads Art District where they find edgy spots like High Cotton, Birdies and Black Bamboo.

On the Kansas side of the city, shoppers find intriguing local shops in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. At the Corinth Square Shops, visitors find antiques and gifts for children in an outdoor setting. At the Briarcliff Village, amongst a Tuscan-inspired space, shoppers enjoy Tivol and Nell Hill’s retail outlets.

Even though the shopping spaces and outdoor facilities offer rich shopping experiences, Kansas City offers an assortment of shopping malls such as the large Oak Park Mall and the Great Mall of the Great Plains. In addition, the City Market offers more than 30 novelty stores abounding with curiosities and souvenirs.

Locals and visitors to Kansas City have tremendous opportunities to satisfy all of their retail needs. From designer handbags to novel items from distant lands, the city’s shopping outlets have something to offer any taste. Regardless of the occasion, shoppers in Kansas City are certain to have a memorable experience.

 

Kansas City Downtown Hotels

Downtown Kansas City boasts a rich cosmopolitan experience, including performing arts, visual arts, fine dining, entertainment, and cinema. The area is comprised of 10 vibrant neighborhood featuring a medley of delectable delights, notes and flavor provide enriching experiences for leisure and business travelers alike. Downtown Kansas City features a range of hotel options that include the latest amenities to accommodate every time of traveler. From luxury options to more budget-conscious places, guests find splendid options to fit their needs. The downtown area includes rich cultural outlets like the trendy Crossroads Arts District and the Power & Light nightlife area. Outdoor and indoor dining options abound with a bevy of over 100 restaurants offering a variety of flavors and dining settings. The city produces a summer concert series in the downtown area with a performance by national acts at the Sprint Center one of the top arenas in the United States.

Downtown Kansas City boasts a bevy of activities and diversions to create a wonderful experience for its guests Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Kansas City that are quality hotels at an affordable price. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!

Kansas City Weather

The city of Kansas City typically features a humid continental climate with long, hot summers with mild to cold winters. As the region lacks prominent mountains or oceans in close proximity, the climate is influenced by cold air from the Arctic regions and heat and humidity coming from the Gulf of Mexico. It is not uncommon for the area to experience temperature swings from 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit with 24 hour periods. Nevertheless, the climate conditions of the city abound with the opportunity to create a customized experience suited to any taste.

Spring

The spring season lasts from March to May and is often features the most precipitation. The average temperature reaches 54°F with rainfall levels near 12 inches. Precipitation may continue through the month of June. The season also is the most vulnerable time for tornadoes with approximately 35 occurring each year.

Summer

The summer season lasts from June through August. This is the warmest time of year in the city with average temperatures between 73 °F to 76 °F. Precipitation levels approach 12 inches, and June sees the most rainfall compared to July or August.

The most extreme heat occurs in July and August with temperatures exceed 100 °F. It is common to experience three consecutive days of temperatures over 100 degrees heat. It is possible to experience tropical cyclones at this time of year that can elevate precipitation levels.

Fall

The fall months take place from September through November with fewer levels of rain as the season reaches its end. The average temperature for the area is 56.5°F with average rainfall levels of 10 inches. Throughout October, tropical cyclones can impact the area with continued precipitation.

Winter

The winter season can extend into March with mean temperature levels ranging from mild to extreme cold. The average low temperature in January is 26 °F. The record for the cold temperatures in the area reached −40 °F. The driest times of the year occur during the winter. However, significant levels of precipitation occur at this time. The median snowfall fall reaches 10-20 inches. Extensive northwest winds are present at that time of year.

Kansas City features a range of varying weather conditions. Bitter cold and extreme heat coupled with the occurrence of tornadoes and cyclones are possible. At the same time, the city offers pleasant times of year that afford delightful weather conditions to enjoy the city. Whether a visitor is seeking breezy spring weather or crisp fall climate conditions to explore the city, the climate of Kansas City affords something for every taste.

Kansas City Transportation

As the largest city in the state of Missouri, Kansas City is easily accessible by several major highways. Interstate 70 runs directly through Downtown Kansas City and offers convenient drives to ten different states. Overall, I-70 stretches for more than 2,000 miles from western Utah to eastern Maryland. Interstate 35 is another major highway that passes right through the heart of Kansas City. I-35 runs as far south as the Texas-Mexico border and as far north as Duluth, Minnesota along Lake Superior. Interstate 435 is a beltway that encircles Kansas City and offers convenient access to the surrounding suburban communities. Additionally, I-635 is a smaller loop that surrounds the northwestern part of this city.

Public transit in Missouri’s largest city is provided by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. The KCATA operates more than 60 total bus routes throughout the city and the surrounding region. Many of the bus services are only offered during weekdays since they are primarily focused on accommodating commuters and not tourists or visitors. Most of the KCATA bus routes converge in the Downtown District between 8th Street and 12th Street. The 10th & Main Transit Plaza by the Kansas City Public Library is a major transfer hub for the KCATA bus network. Another major transfer point is Washington Square Park and the Union Station, which are both located along Main Street just south of the Downtown District.

The Kansas City Union Station is served by two intercity Amtrak lines. The Missouri River Runner links Kansas City with the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center in St. Louis, the second largest city of Missouri. The 285-mile scenic journey between these two major cities takes about five hours. The Southwest Chief line operates between Chicago and Los Angeles and covers more than 2,000 miles of total tracks through multiple states in the Midwest, Southwest and West Coast.

Kansas City International Airport is an important gateway into the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. This airport is located roughly 15 miles northwest of the Downtown District in Missouri’s biggest city. Kansas City International Airport has directly connected to more than 20 different cities throughout the United States thanks to major American carriers such as Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. More than ten on-site car rental facilities offer a diverse selection of cars for navigating the Kansas City area. The I-29 Express KCATA buses stop also stop at the Kansas City International Airport. Located across the river from the heart of Kansas City, the smaller Kansas City Downtown Airport is primarily used for general aviation and not commercial flights.