Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. June, traveler readiness to fly steadily increases for both domestic and international flights. By then, 52 percent of travelers said they’d be ready for a domestic flight. In a survey of more than 3,200 TripIt users based in the U.S., 94 percent of respondents said they plan to travel in 2021.
There’s nothing quite like getting the opportunity to explore a new city for the first time and Kansas City is one of those that everyone should visit at least once. It’s called the Heart of America for a reason, after all. Here, we’re going to look at some of the best things to check out in the city, which has been known as the City of Fountains, the Gateway to the Southeast, and the Paris of the Plains, amongst many other things.
Grab a bite and a souvenir
If you want to feel the beating heart of the heart of America, then what better way than to enjoy some shopping and something to eat? You’re going to find that and a lot more still at the Country Club Plaza. Known colloquially simply as “the plaza” this is the place to go for dining and shopping in the city. The plaza covers fifteen blocks with all manner of retailers, both beloved home brands and designer purchases, not to mention cafes, restaurants, theaters, and more. It’s also a gorgeous place to wander, thanks to the fountains, murals, statues, and the European-inspired architecture that surrounds on all sides. A true heart of early and modern American culture in the city.
Hit up the City Market
If you want to feel the hustle and bustle of the crowd and see the locals, as well as supporting them by buying some local produce, microbrews, and flowers, then there’s no better place to do that than by visiting the historic City Market. Having been open for over a hundred years, since starting in 1857, it is one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the entire country and brings not only local goods, but specialties from all over the world, including Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and more. There are also plenty of gift shops in the market to pick up a souvenir here, as well. Standing in contrast and complementing the Plaza, these two stops represent the best of commerce in the US.
The home of BBQ
Amongst the many things it is famous for, Kansas City also has a reputation for being one of the best BBQ hotspots in all of the country. Austin, Dallas, and St. Louis residents might have a little something to say about that, but the over 50 well-established BBQ joints in the city speak to a culture that takes grilling meat very seriously, as well. Find a guide to some of the best BBQ spots in Kansas City, bring your favorite hot sauce, and get stuck in. Here, BBQ is best known for being mixed with side dishes like French fries, baked beans, and coleslaw, as well as the thick tomato-based BBQ sauce that is a staple of the city’s dishes.
The Gateway to the Southeast
Even those who were just passing through Kansas City in the past could enjoy a truly marvelous sight in the form of Union Station. This station was able to hold thousands of passengers passing to, from, and through the city until the 1980s when it was closed down. However, it’s still open to the public, host to shops, restaurants, and a range of other businesses, as well as having a smaller railway service operating from it. It’s also an architectural marvel and is surrounded by some of the best fountains in a city that is well known for its fountains. Here, you can visit Science City, the City Stage Theater, and much more.
For the history buffs
Kansas City is known, in part, for an excellent collection of museums, but none of them make quite the impact of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Dedicated to the sacrifices of all those who fought for their country across the world during the Great War, it includes not only memorabilia and artifacts from the age of that great conflict but studies the impact that the war has had on the course of history, technology, culture, and more ever since. It’s also particularly great for taking a look at some of the more personal stories of the war from records taken from the time, so it’s not all just military history abstraction as such museums can often become.
Get a tour of the home of the Chiefs
It’s easily one of the best NFL stadiums in the entire country. The Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City Chief home field offers the best tailgating experience of the whole lot, which plenty of grilling and celebrating going on outside what is currently considered to be the loudest stadium in the league. However, aside from getting involved with the fun and enjoying the game, there are also tours of the stadium that you can take even when the team isn’t playing, including the press box, field, away locker rooms, press conference room, Founder’s Club, and more that you wouldn’t normally be able to see.
Stop and enjoy a drink
What better way to cool off after a day of trekking around the city than with a nice cool bottle or glass of beer? While Kansas City certainly isn’t lacking for great bars and taverns of all stripes, there’s one place worth taking the trip to, especially, and that is the Boulevard Brewing Company. One of the most famous spots in the whole city, the brewery offers all kinds of home-made draughts, including unfiltered wheat, pilsner, and pale ale. It’s the largest specialty brewer in the midwest and ships many of its brew across the US. You can also enjoy a free guided tour that explores the history of the brewery as well as its operations.
See sports at its most divided
While the Arrowhead Stadium might celebrate sports with all of the fanfare and pomp that it’s great for, there’s also a part of the city that uncovers one of the darker chapters of its sporting history. Baseball is just as big a part of Kansas City but it was once racially segregated. Whilst many cities might have chosen to hide and forget this part of the past, Kansas City puts it on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, one of the very few that explores this part of the country’s sporting history. A respectful and introspective look at how far we have managed to come in dealing with the racial divides that have been part of the nation since its founding.
Dive under the city
Did you ever think there might be a city under a city? Well, it’s certainly the case in Kansas City, where you can find SubTropolis. This is the largest underground complex in the world, with over 55,000,000 square feet of the subterranean city to explore. Originally beginning as a mine beneath the limestone bluffs by the city, this space grew and grew until the owners realized they could rent it out to businesses of all kinds. Since then, it has mostly become a huge storage area. It’s all private property, but you can drive through it throughout the week, at certain opening times and there is even an underground paintball business if you’re looking for some fun with friends.
To say that Kansas City can make quite the impression is nothing if not an understatement. There’s a reason it has had so many nicknames in the first place, after all. Hopefully, the above tips give you a few places to start exploring from but, of course, we can’t include every single highlight in one article. There’s just too much to see and do.