Kansas City, also known as “K.C.,” balances many identities: a cradle of jazz, home to world-renowned fountains, and the birthplace of the American barbecue. The largest city in Missouri might seem a bit disjointed – it’s even split across two states and a river – but it all comes together in an inviting way. Art galleries, city parks, high-profile performances and museums all serve to make this city one of the most interesting in the Midwest.
Swing past the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art or explore ancient relics and modern masterpieces at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The museum’s sculpture park is an ideal place to bring a picnic. Children will love the hands-on experience at the Toy and Miniature Museum of Kansas City. Explore the unique exhibits in the Arabia Steamboat Museum, wander through the River Market area and stop by the City Market on weekends to sample local produce and handmade goods.
The historic Westport area is a great place to stop for lunch and explore the city’s past. Look for restaurants serving home-style barbecue and classic hickory-smoked cuisine. Music aficionados should head down to 18th and Vine, which is just east of downtown, to experience one of the heartlands of American jazz.
Head beyond the city center and visit the expansive Swope Park. In addition to numerous trails, a golf course and gardens, the park is also home to the Kansas City Zoo and the Starlight Theatre, two of the most visited venues in Kansas City. To the north of the city, Worlds of Fun will keep the kids amused for hours, while the Harley-Davidson Factory will appeal to motorcycle enthusiasts. When the weather gets warm, bring the family to Schlitterbahn Water Park, home to the mighty Verrückt, one of the world's tallest waterslides. Back in town, the Liberty Memorial has an internationally renowned World War I museum.
Although Kansas has a reliable public transportation network, the car is still the major mode of transportation in the city and is necessary if you want to explore some attractions outside the city center.