Kansas City has everything a great American getaway could ever need, including a thriving dining scene, a stellar collection of museums, and many historical landmarks. Along with a wide range of things to do, the city’s lively atmosphere has helped the state of Missouri overcome its reputation as a flyover destination in the USA.

    There are wonderful shopping precincts to explore, numerous charming markets, and even a world-famous baseball stadium. Plus, you’re only a short drive away from some of the Midwest’s most serene landscapes. On your visit to Kansas City, take a walk down any of its sprawling avenues and make your way to these incredible landmarks. You won’t be disappointed.

    What are the best things to do in Kansas City?

    1

    City Market

    Shop and dine at KC’s oldest market

    • Shoppers
    • History

    City Market showcases a wealth of dining, shopping and entertainment options, as the open-air marketplace winds its way around a series of riverfront streets. It’s the ideal place to spend the morning as you sample local and international flavours. Plus, you can find plenty of bargains inside a variety of trendy boutiques.

    The market dates back to 1857, with the site used for circuses, horse-trading and other old-time traditions. Nowadays, the weekly Farmers’ Market is City Market’s most popular event, as top-notch producers present their goods directly to the public. Nearby, you’ll find the Arabia Steamboat Museum, which displays a variety of centuries-old objects recovered from a 19th-century steamboat that sank in the Missouri River.

    Location: 20 E 5th St #201, Kansas City, MO 64106, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 816-842-1271

    Map
    2

    Country Club Plaza

    Explore this European-inspired shopping plaza

    • Shoppers

    The Country Club Plaza brings a touch of European shopping to Kansas City. One of the region’s most vibrant landmarks, American real estate developer J. C. Nichols designed this precinct in 1922 as the country’s first suburban shopping district. Having previously travelled to Europe, Nichols was inspired by Spanish architectural styles, such as stately towers, landscaped courtyards, and stucco facades.

    Across 18 different structures throughout the plaza, you can roam between antique sculptures and fountains as they shop. Featuring 804,000 sq ft of retail space, there are an array of delightful restaurants and bars, as well as luxury fashion boutiques and homeware superstores.

    Location: 4706 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64112, USA

    Open: Monday–Wednesday and Friday–Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm, Thursday from 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 816-753-0100

    Map
    3

    Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

    Immerse yourself in artistic creations of all kinds

    • History
    • Photo

    The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has a collection of 35,000 historical and contemporary artworks across just about every genre and style imaginable. Its architecture and design section has works ranging from medieval stained glass windows to 21st-century furniture, while its large-scale Japanese collection offers ancient woodblock prints by the legendary Katsushika Hokusai.

    Attracting more than 500,000 patrons throughout the year, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s enormous wealth of creative inspiration is spread across 2 striking buildings and is free to explore. Outside the gallery’s walls, there’s also the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park, which is where you’ll find the gallery’s famous giant shuttlecocks.

    Location: 4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA

    Open: Saturday–Monday from 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday–Friday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 816-751-1278

    Map
    4

    Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

    See works by some of modern art’s biggest names

    • History
    • Photo

    The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is difficult to miss – it features a 4-storey-tall spider right at the entrance. But don’t let that stop you from visiting, as this modern art gallery is one of the best in the entire country. Designed by world-renowned Latvian architect Gunnar Birkerts, the dramatic building features a 7-metre tall atrium that floods the gallery with natural light.

    Inside, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art presents a truly remarkable collection of modern artworks, featuring creations by acclaimed artists like Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keeffe, and David Hockney. During your visit, make sure you visit the stunning Café Sebastienne, which pairs wonderful art with cuisine that’s just as good.

    Location: 4420 Warwick Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA

    Open: Saturday–Wednesday from 10 am to 4 pm, Thursday–Friday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 816-753-5784

    Map
    5

    Kauffman Stadium

    Watch world-class baseball in this beloved stadium

    • Families
    • Group

    Kauffman Stadium is a must-visit landmark that virtually every Kansas City resident loves. As one of the oldest parks in Major League Baseball, almost every game throughout the season is loaded to full capacity, with 38,000 fans turning out to cheer on the Kansas City Royals. 

    When you decide to visit Kansas City, catching a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium should be at the top of your to-do list. There’s not a bad seat in the house, with the 360-degree concourse offering stellar views that ensure you see every home run. Plus, the stadium is home to a series of world-famous fountains, which stretch for almost 100 metres along the outfield fence.

    Location: 1 Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129, USA

    Phone: +1 816-921-8000

    Map

    photo by jimcchou (CC BY 2.0) modified

    6

    Worlds of Fun

    Get your heart pumping at 2 awesome theme parks

    • Families

    The Worlds of Fun amusement park is an electrifying way to spend a day in Kansas City. The 95-hectare park is stacked with both hair-raising and family-friendly activities, including 7 rollercoasters and a plethora of thrill rides to enjoy. There’s also a wide array of restaurants, bars and cafes to visit, where you can stock up on refreshing drinks and sugary treats.

    The price of admission also grants you access to Oceans of Fun, a massive waterpark that shares the same location. It’s an excellent summertime destination when you need to escape the heat. You can also ride the Riptide Raceway, the world’s longest mat-racing waterslide at 148 metres.

    Location: 4545 Worlds of Fun Ave, Kansas City, MO 64161, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 816-454-4545

    Map

    photo by ian munroe (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    Ernie Miller Nature Center

    Leave behind the city and experience Missouri’s natural beauty

    • Families
    • Photo

    The Ernie Miller Nature Center is an excellent place if you need to take a break from the bustling city. Set amid 47 ha of picturesque landscape, the entire park is alive with fascinating native birds and plants. You can take a relaxing stroll along 3 miles of hiking trails, where you might come across rare species of osprey, hawks, and falcons.

    The nature centre also has a variety of immersive displays, which highlight interesting information on local species. There’s also an aquarium displaying dozens of native stream fish. Free to visit, the Ernie Miller Nature Center is a wonderful place to explore far from the city lights.

    Location: 909 North, KS-7, Olathe, KS 66061, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 913-826-2800

    Map
    8

    National WWI Museum and Memorial

    Get a history lesson at America’s official WWI museum

    • History
    • Photo

    Kansas City’s National WWI Museum and Memorial is the quintessential place to learn about one of history’s most significant events. Designated by the United States Congress as the nation’s official WWI museum, visitors are presented with interactive displays, eyewitness accounts, and a series of gripping films. Meanwhile, it also features one of the largest collections of WWI artefacts in the world.

    Tracing the events of WWI from the earliest days in 1914 until peace talks in 1919, the museum offers a global perspective on The Great War. Be sure to visit the towering Liberty Monument – it commemorates those who served during the war. Climb to the top for an outstanding view of Kansas City.

    Location: 2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

    Open: Summer: Sunday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. Regular hours: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 816-888-8100

    Map
    9

    Jacob L. Loose Park

    Take a walk amid KC’s most charming rose garden

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Spanning 30 ha of pristine gardens, the Jacob L. Loose Park has tennis courts, a water park, and endless places to enjoy a picnic in the sun. The park’s centrepiece is a beautiful rose garden that dates back to 1931, which has steadily increased in size over the years. There are over 4,000 roses across 168 unique varieties.

    Jacob L. Loose Park is also where some of Kansas City’s most significant history took place. As a major site of the Battle of Westport, an important moment during the American Civil War, the park saw 30,000 troops engaged in a conflict that changed the direction of the war.

    Location: 5200 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64112, USA

    Open: Daily from 5 am to midnight

    Phone: +1 816-513-7500

    Map

    photo by lauriellen (CC BY 2.0) modified

    10

    Power and Light District

    Get involved in Kansas City’s late-night fun

    • Food
    • Nightlife

    The Power and Light District, spread across 9 blocks in the centre of Kansas City, is a renowned dining, shopping and entertainment neighbourhood. Completed in 2008, this Downtown area attracts crowds with regular live performances and a wealth of fun-loving venues that operate late into the night.

    The complex features over 50 delicious places to eat, ranging from contemporary Japanese restaurants and hip taco joints to huge sports bars. For partygoers, KC Live hosts jam-packed music events across 2 levels. Plus, there’s a selection of high-end retailers showcasing the latest trends for fashion-conscious shoppers.

    Location: 50 E 13th St #200, Kansas City, MO 64106, USA

    Phone: +1 816-842-1045

    Map

    photo by Ed Schipul (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    Hudson Brown | Contributing Writer

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