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Kansas City, Missouri

Local Details

Learn more about Kansas City, Missouri using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Kansas City, Missouri so great!

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City Guide

Kansas City is a large, major midwestern city on the border of Missouri and Kansas. It is the largest city in Missouri with a population around 450,000 people and more than 2 million in its metropolitan area (2005 estimate).

Understand

Kansas City is a great city that tends to hide itself from tourists. Having reportedly more boulevards than Paris and more fountains than any other city in the world except for Rome, it can be a beautiful city, too. It is also unique, in that it is split down the middle by the state line of Kansas and Missouri.

The suburbs are largely south of the central city, though the area north of the Missouri River (known locally as the Northland) is beginning to experience growth similar to the south. Numbering of east/west streets begins at the Missouri River with the east/west division occurring at Main Street. Westport is around 40th Street, the Plaza at 47th Street, Brookside at 55th, and Waldo beginning around Gregory (71st Street).

Downtown

Downtown Kansas City is generally defined as the areas including the River Market, the central business district (the "Loop"), the Crossroads Arts District, Crown Center and Union Station. http://www.downtownkc.org

After years of neglect and decay in the 1980s and 1990s, downtown Kansas City is making a comeback. Many once-abandoned buildings in downtown have been (or are being) rebuilt into high-dollar condominiums and loft apartments. The demand for residences downtown is quite high. In 2007, the Sprint Center sports arena will be completed, bringing a modern sports venue to the downtown core. The Power and Light District, an $850 million development adjacent to the Sprint Center, is currently under construction and will be opening in 2007 or 2008. The P&L District will comprise 5 high rise residential and office towers, with many clubs, bars, restaurants, and shops on the lower floors. Bartle Hall Convention Center is also undergoing extensive improvements, with the addition of a 250,000 square foot ballroom that is being built over I-670. If that isn't enough, there is also going to be a new performing arts center south of the convention center area. Overall, about $4.5 billion is currently being invested in downtown Kansas City, MO.

The "Downtown Council" operates security and cleaning/maintenance crews, who keep downtown's streets clean, and serve as a security presence. Downtown is one of the safest areas of the city, day and night.

Traveling north to south, the River Market is the first neighborhood one encounters, south of the banks of the Missouri River. A burgeoning urban neighborhood, the River Market houses many shops, restaurants, bars, and a very active farmers' market that convenes every Saturday, even in winter.

The expressways form a loop around the central business district (CBD). Crossing the north segment of the loop takes you from the River Market to the CBD. This is where Kansas City's famed skyline reaches its greatest heights, further accentuated by its position on top of a sizable hill. The CBD has the principal concentration of white-collar employment in the metro area. H&R Block are constructing a new world headquarters here, and around this, the city is building a new entertainment district, complete with shops, restaurants, bars, and a new arena. The estimated completion date is late 2007.

From here, crossing the south segment of the loop will bring a visitor into the Crossroads Arts District, which is a regional center for art, culture, and nightlife. The vibrant art community in the Crossroads hosts First Friday, on the first Friday of every month.

When a visitor crosses Pershing, they reach Union Station and Crown Center, which houses shops, restaurants, and offices, including the world headquarters of Hallmark. The nearby Liberty Memorial is the world's first World War I memorial and has spectacular views from the top. Just south of Crown Center is Union Hill, another revitalized area offering some of the best skyline views in the city.

South of Downtown

A visitor enters Midtown when they cross 31st Street. A largely residential area, Midtown is the largest single named neighborhood in the city, and actually includes a number of smaller neighborhoods, like Hyde Park, Sheraton Estates, Ivanhoe, Coleman Highlands, Roanoke, Volker, Westport, Southmoreland, Valentine, North Plaza, and many others.

Just south of Midtown is the Country Club Plaza, known locally as "the Plaza", one of the finest outdoor shopping centers in the US, modeled after Seville, Spain. Farther south is the Waldo/Brookside area marked by more bars and a wonderful pre-war neighborhood. Further south, the city gives way to suburban development, which continues for about ten to fifteen miles, before giving way to rural farmland and pastures.

Get in

By plane

Kansas City International (MCI), serves the Kansas City area and is located in the Northland. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority offers hourly service to and from the airport on the #129 bus, called the I-29 Express, on weekdays, from 5AM to 7PM. The fare is $1.25 since February 1st, 2006. KCI Shuttle offers a shuttle service between the airport and downtown hotels.

By train

Amtrak serves Kansas City via the recently renovated and cavernous Union Station, located at Main and Pershing. Kansas City serves as a major stop on the Southwest Chief, which provides service between Chicago and Los Angeles. Barring delays, eastbound trains depart at 7:45AM and westbound trains depart at 10:55PM.

By car

Interstate 435 forms a ring around the city. Notably I-70 goes east to St. Louis and west to Denver. I-35 is a major corridor running northeast and southwest. US Highway 71 runs north and south and forms a midtown expressway, running from the I-435/I-470 interchange, in a northwesterly course toward downtown, where it joins I-29. North of the River, US 71 follows the same route as I-29. For more information about navigation in the metro area see the Kansas City Metropolitan Area Wikipedia Article.

By bus

  • Greyhound
  • Kansas City is also serviced by other commercial coach service companies, which arrive and depart from the depot at 10th and Troost.
  • Megabus, +1 877 462-6342. Low-cost bus service to Kansas City from Chicago and St. Louis, fares start at $1. Buses arrive and depart from the bus shelter on the west side of the KCATA Transit Center located at 10th and Main Streets in downtown KC.
  • Mid America Coach, +1 800 821-5451. A one-stop dealership addressing all of your transportation needs with new and pre-owned vehicles, service, body shop, transportation, and financing.

Get around

First, purchase a good book style map. The national map companies produce book style maps that can be purchased at many grocery and book stores. Local real estate agents and delivery drivers use a book map produced by a local company in the crossroads district but it is hard to find. The one inside the Feist directory is good and can often be obtained locally for free but the directory itself may be too bulky to carry.

Businesses that deliver (e.g., pizza) usually know the city well and have large maps on their walls.

For more information about navigation in the metro area see the [:WikiPedia:Kansas City Metropolitan Area].

Street numbers

Addresses on east-west streets are numbered from Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri, and on north-south streets from St. John Avenue (or the Missouri River, in the River Market area). The direction 'South' in street and address numbers is generally implied if 'N' is not specified, except for numbered 'avenues' in North Kansas City. In most of Wyandotte County, Kansas the north-south streets are numbered and the address numbers are measured from Riverview Avenue.

Navigation landmarks

  • The KCTV pyramid shaped tower can be seen from many parts of the city and is well lit at night. It is next to KCPT studios at the corner of 31st and Main.
  • The twin red brick towers of American Century Investments are oriented north and south along Main at 45th street. They are just north of the Country Club Plaza. The Kemper Museum is slightly east. The Nelson Atkins Museum is east and slightly south.
  • Kansas City Community Christian Church at 4601 Main, has a group of lights that shoot a beam straight up at night. It is slightly south of and across the street from the American Century Investment Towers. The Nelson Atkins is to the east and the Kemper Museum is to the north and slightly east.
  • Bartle Hall has a section that looks somewhat like a north-south suspension bridge crossing over I-670 at the southwest corner of the downtown loop. It has four towers with metal sculptures on top of each tower.

Places and notes

  • Waldo refers to the Waldo Residential District in Kansas City, Missouri near 75th St. and Wornall Rd.
  • The Country Club Plaza (called "the Plaza" by locals) is an upscale shopping district built by the J.C. Nichols Co. in the 1920s.
  • 39th St. usually refers to the small section of West 39th St. between State Line Road and Southwest Trafficway. It has many restaurants, bars and shops, and is just across the state line from the University of Kansas Medical Center.
  • University of Kansas Hospital (KUMED) is the corporate name of the hospital on the KU Medical Center campus.
  • Benton Curve, a site of many accidents, is a curve on Interstate 70 where it crosses Benton Ave.
  • Grandview Triangle is the intersection of three major highways: I-435, I-470, and US Highway 71 (Bruce R. Watkins Drive). Notorious for fatal accidents, as of February 2005, improvements and upgrades on the Triangle have mostly been completed.
  • Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd., named for former mayor and current Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, comprises recently renamed portions of 47th St. and Brush Creek Blvd.
  • 18th and Vine Historic District contains the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum.
  • The Library District is a recently defined district around the new Central Library at 14 West 10th Street
  • Strawberry Hill is a historical area in Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Hospital Hill is the area near 23rd and Holmes.
  • Argentine is a part of Kansas City, Kansas near 30th and Argentine.
  • The Crossroads Arts District is a Downtown neighborhood between the Central Business District and Union Station, centered around the intersection of 19th St. and Baltimore. It contains dozens of art galleries and is considered by many to be the center of the arts culture in the metropolitan area. Local artists sponsor exhibits there on the first Friday of each month.
  • Quality Hill is an upscale residential and commercial neighborhood on top of a hill in downtown Kansas City, across the river from the Kansas City Downtown Airport|Charles B. Wheeler Airport.
  • Washington-Wheatley is an historically African American/black neighborhood southeast of the 18th and Vine District.

Bus service

The Metro bus is feasible within the urban core, where most of the tourist destinations are located. The MAX (Metro Area eXpress) and #57 buses connect downtown, Crown Center, Westport, the Plaza, Brookside, and Waldo. There are other lines that can drop you fairly close to your door in KCMO as well as limited stops in outlying suburbs such as Kansas City, KS, Independence, Blue Springs, Lee's Summit, the Northland, etc. There is pretty good service to the casinos.

Standard fare is $1.25/trip with transfers available from the bus driver that expire two hours after issue. Some lengthy and express routes may cost more. You may purchase a One Day Pass on the bus. The Day Pass is good for local service only. It is issued at the farebox and expires at midnight. Upon boarding, request a Day Pass before depositing the $3 exact change into the farebox.

Most major routes use buses that are equipped with bike racks.

The JO

If you are needing bus service in Johnson County, KS (Overland Park, Mission, Fairway, Leawood, Olathe, Lenexa, Westwood, Merriam, Shawnee) you can access "The JO" bus service. It also has lines that run from downtown KCMO to Johnson County and vice versa. The stops are limited and far apart.

Service on "The JO" is limited mostly to morning rush hour, mid-day, and evening rush hour. Fares are $1.25 for trips that begin and end in Johnson County, $1.75 for trips that go start or end in Downtown KCMO. Transfers are available.

Most buses are equipped with bike racks.

See

18th and Vine Historic District

  • American Jazz Museum, 1616 E 18th St, T-Sa 9am–6pm, Su noon–6pm. Adult $6.
  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 1616 E 18th St, T-Sa 9am–6pm, Su noon–6pm. Adult $6.

Combination adult ticket for both museums $8, (save $4).

Union Station area

  • Union Station, 30 West Pershing Rd, Has a visitor center, theatres, restaurants, shops, the Amtrak station and the following attractions.
    • Science City, Gottleib Planetarium and KC Rail Experience. Ticket to all 3 is $8.95.
  • National World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial, 100 W. 26th St, Tu–Su 10am–5pm (4:15pm for the tower). Museum opened Dec 2006. The memorial is the world's first for World War I. Take an elevator to the observation deck at the top of the 200ft obelisk for spectacular views. Adult $8 museum, $4 tower elevator, $10 both.

Near the Plaza

  • Visitor Center, 4709 Central, Phone: (800) 767-7700. M-Sa 10am–6pm, Su noon-5pm.
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. Also has the Kansas City Sculpture Park. Tu–Th 10am–4pm, F 10am–9pm, Sa 10am–5pm, Su noon–5pm. Free.
  • Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick Blvd. Tu–Th 10am–4pm, F–Sa 10am–9pm, Su 11am–5pm. Free.
  • Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and visible from the Plaza.

Other

  • First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, (gallery crawl between Downtown and Crown Center), 7PM-9PM on the first Friday of each month. Many art galleries are open late on these Fridays, attracting a growing crowd of art enthusiasts. You can walk between galleries, or hop the free trolley. Summer months are typically the most busy and entertaining. Entry to most galleries is free. Some charge for refreshments.
  • Swope Park Zoo
  • Ward Parkway
  • Harley-Davidson Final Assembly Plant, 11401 N Congress Ave (near the airport). Free tours (approx. 1 hour) 8am-1pm M-F. No cameras allowed.

Do

  • Kansas City Chiefs (Football) Tailgating is a key tradition evident at every home game.
  • Kansas City Brigade (Arena Football)
  • Kansas City Royals (Baseball)
  • Kansas City Knights (Basketball) (Did not play a 2005-06 season)
  • Kansas City Wizards (Outdoor Soccer)
  • Kansas City Comets (Indoor Soccer)
  • Kansas City Royals (Baseball)
  • Kansas City T-Bones (Independent League Baseball)
  • Plaza Art Fair
  • American Royal BBQ contest (Largest in the world)

Work

  • Sprint (Overland Park, KS)
  • General Motors (Fairfax, KS)
  • Ford (Claycomo, MO)
  • Hallmark
  • Aquila
  • Yellow Roadway
  • Cerner Corporation

Buy

  • The Country Club Plaza. Upscale shopping. High quality chain restaurants.
  • Brookside Shops local non-chain shops and non-chain restaurants. Grocery stores, bar, sandwiches.
  • 39th Street Corridor between State Line Road and Southwest Trafficway many local shops and non-chain restaurants.
  • Halls
  • Crown Center
  • Great Mall of the Great Plains (in Olathe, KS)
  • Zona Rosa
  • Town Center Plaza
  • spool boutique Crossroads
  • The Legends

Eat

  • Stroud's - Best fried chicken (Stroud's South at 1015 East 85th Street is closed).

Diners

  • Town Topic - famous small diner. Low prices. The original is at 2021 Broadway just north of Broadway and Southwest Blvd. It is open 24 hours. Souviner T-shirts available.
  • Chubby's, 3756 Broadway St - Greasy spoon that attracts the after 3AM bar closing crowd.

Barbecue

  • LC's - 5800 Blue Parkway in Kansas City, MO (just head east on Ward Parkway from the Plaza).
  • Rosedale - One block west of Rainbow (aka 7th St.) on Southwest Blvd.
  • Arthur Bryant's The original at 1727 Brooklyn is the best. It has pictures on the wall of presidents and other famous people who have visited. The sandwich consists of a large pile of brisket and two pieces of butternut bread. One sandwich could feed three people. If you get an order to go make sure you ask for sauce. There is a security guard in the parking lot at night.
  • Gates When you walk in, you will immediately hear: "Hi, may I help you?" So if you're eating in, grab a tray ASAP if you don't want to be yelled at.
  • Haywards
  • Fiorella's Jack Stack Three locations, suburban Overland Park, the original in Martin City, and a gorgeous flagship in the restored Freight House, which it shares with Lidia's and the City Tavern.
  • Oklahoma Joe's Located in Kansas City, KS. This gem is situated in a gas station/liquor store. Walk around to the serving line and have some of the best ribs in Kansas City.
  • Zarda
  • BB's Lawnside BBQ

Italian

  • V's Restaurante
  • Lidia's
  • Anthony's
  • Garozzo's
  • Cupini's
  • Cascone's

Splurge

  • American Restaurant
  • Bluestem
  • Capital Grille
  • Jaspers
  • Savoy Grill
  • Skies-rotating restaurant atop hotel

Drink

Downtown

  • Tanner's, 1000 Broadway - Offers 20-30 beers on tap and standard bar fare. It can get noisy and very smoky, but the Thursday night steak special is not to be missed.
  • The Quaff, 1010 Broadway (next-door to Tanner's), - Large, very popular bar with scantily-clad waitresses and tough guy bartenders. Frequented mostly by the post-college crowd.
  • 12 Baltimore, 12th St and Baltimore (attached to the upscale Hotel Phillips).
  • The Phoenix
  • John's Deck
  • The Peanut

River Market

  • River Market Brewing Company
  • Harry's Country Club
  • The Cup and Saucer
  • Kabal
  • Winslow's Barbecue
  • Minsky's

Crossroads

  • Bulldog, 17th and Main - Fantastic cocktails, amazing atmosphere, and fine eats make this place a can't miss.
  • The Cashew, 20th and Grand - An open air café type feel to this two-story bar ensures a great time. In the summer months, the windows are raised up (think garage door) and both stories gain a relaxing breeze, and a nice view of the city. Occasionally including live music, The Cashew is also a popular stop during First Fridays.
  • Danny's Big Easy, 16th and Main.
  • Jilly's
  • Grinders
  • The Brick
  • Balanca's Pyro Room

Midtown

  • The Newsroom
  • The Velvet Dog
  • The Lava Room
  • The Empire Room
  • Davey's Uptown Rambler's Club
  • Harling's
  • The Hangout
  • The Levee
  • The Grothaus+Pearl Gallery

Westport

  • Buzzard Beach
  • Kelly's
  • Harpo's
  • McCoy's Public House
  • Westport Flea Market
  • Dave's Stagecoach Inn
  • Harry's Bar and Tables
  • Karma

Country Club Plaza

  • Tomfooleries
  • O'Dowd's
  • Fred P Ott's
  • The Granfalloon
  • George Brett's
  • JJ's
  • Reverse

Brookside

  • Charlie Hooper's
  • The Brooksider
  • Sharp's
  • Carmen's Cafe

Waldo

  • 75th Street Brewery
  • Lew's
  • Waldo Pizza
  • Fin's Waldo Bar
  • Bobby Baker's Lounge
  • Tanner's Waldo
  • The Gaf
  • Swizzle

Sleep

Budget

  • Microtel Inn & Suites Kansas City International Airport, 11831 N.W. Plaza Circle, +1 816 270-120.

Mid-range

  • Hotel Phillips, 106 w 12th street is located in Kansas City, Missouri. The hotel offers 217 guest rooms including two luxury suites, a consummate host of business and social events, with art deco ballrooms, private boardrooms and banquet service.
  • AmeriSuites Kansas City/Airport, 7600 NW 97th Terrace, +1 816 891-0871 Located just two miles south of the Kansas City International Airport and 12 miles north of downtown Kansas City.
  • Embassy Suites Kansas City International Airport, Located four miles from Kansas City International Airport, one mile from Zona Rosa, and minutes from downtown.
  • Southmoreland on the Plaza,116 E. 48th Street. Bed and Breakfast ideally located on the Plaza.

Splurge

  • The Intercontinental on the Plaza (formerly the Fairmont)
  • Hyatt Regency Crown Center
  • The Westin Crown Center
  • The Raphael Hotel (Plaza)

Stay safe

Like most major cities, the tourist and business areas of Kansas City (downtown and the Country Club Plaza) are generally safe day and night, but it is always best to beware of your surroundings. Most violent crime happens during the late nighttime hours. "Inner city" neighborhoods east and southeast of the downtown-midtown-plaza areas are experiencing an increase in violent crime. These areas offer little for visitors and are best avoided.

Cope

Kansas City enjoys mild winters with light snow, but with temperatures usually staying well above freezing. Snow accumulation occurs 3-5 times per year, on average, rarely exceeding 2-4 inches, and usually melting away within a week, if not 24-48 hours. KC enjoys very pleasant spring and autumn weather, and suffers hot, humid summers. It is not uncommon for the temperature to stay above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks at a time, during July and August. Because of the heat, almost all buildings in Kansas City are equipped with air conditioning. While KC has relatively high humidity, the most common weather is clear with almost completely blue skies. The majority of the rain falls in April, May, and June, but even in these wettest months, rain is light, compared to other cities in the region.

Get out

Kansas City is one of those places where hidden in darker corners, you will find the gems, the places to visit and go. Rarely do things jump out at you and say, come visit this attraction, food, shopping, or historical establishment. Pick up a Pitch Weekly for nightlife information. If you want to relax and enjoy a walk, check out Loose Park just south of the Country Club Plaza. During the spring and fall, it's one of the most beautiful places to stroll. When you are done there are plenty of other beautiful and majestic cities in this region like Omaha, Chicago, Saint Louis, Lee's Summit, and Des Moines.

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