Known for jazz, barbecue and fountains, Kansas City is a creative community that prides itself on good times and friendly, fun-loving people. The city’s cool, cultural vibe is inspired by a thriving arts scene, one-of-kind museums and fantastic shopping.
Here are 13 quintessential KC experiences that every visitor should make time for.
Eat KC-style Barbecue
The Barbecue Capital of the World offers more than 100 barbecue restaurants from legends like Gates and Bryant’s to smaller, local favorites.
Listen to Live Jazz
Kansas City gave jazz its swing, and this rich heritage can be heard regularly at more than 40 local clubs.
Tour KC’s World-famous Fountains
With more than 200 fountains, KC is known as the City of Fountains – boasting more fountains than any other city, except maybe Rome.
Attend the American Royal
Nicknamed the “World Series of Barbecue,” the American Royal is the largest barbecue competition on the planet and is held in Kansas City’s West Bottoms each fall.
Shop the Country Club Plaza
Opened in 1922, the nation’s first outdoor shopping district designed for the automobile covers 15 blocks with Spanish-inspired architecture and dazzling fountains.
Visit 18th & Vine
Relive the history of this historic African-American neighborhood at the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Tailgate at a Chiefs Game
KC is a true sports town, but no tradition looms larger than fans arriving hours before the game to cook out in the NFL stadium’s parking lots.
Explore the Crossroads Arts District
More than 60 art galleries and shops stay open late the first Friday of each month for one of the nation’s largest art walks.
Visit America’s National WWI Museum
Dedicated in 1926, Congress has declared this museum and monument as “America’s National World War I Museum.” Travel to the top of the 217-foot tower for a bird’s-eye view of the city.
Picnic next to a Shuttlecock
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Sculpture Park offers 22 acres of outdoor art including four badminton "birdies," each nearly 18 feet tall, as well as the largest collection of Henry Moore sculptures outside of England.
Relive the Wild West Through Jesse James
Visit the home where Jesse and Frank James grew up. Don’t miss the Jesse James Bank Museum, the site of the first daylight, peacetime bank robbery.
See How Greetings are Made
J.C. Hall started Hallmark by selling cards out of a shoebox in 1910 at the local YMCA. A century later, visitors can go behind-the-scenes at the world’s largest greeting card company and watch artists create real cards at the Hallmark Visitors Center.
Learn Why “The Buck Stops Here”
From the decision to drop the atomic bomb to end World War II, to the start of the Cold War, Harry S. Truman – America’s 33rd president – presided over a tumultuous time. Explore the sites of his hometown of Independence, Mo., including the Truman Presidential Museum and Library and the Truman Home.