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I had the chance to swing through Kansas City earlier this year. If you don’t know, Kansas City is located in western Missouri, directly across the border from Kansas. Given that it boasts more than 200 water features, Kansas City has earned the moniker “City of Fountains.” The top activities in Kansas City include tailgating, devouring BBQ, visiting art galleries, and listening to a lot of jazz. I LOVE Jazz ever since I sat in on one of my kid’s college classes: History of Jazz. I have an incredible appreciation for it now and that is just ONE of the best things to do in Kansas City.
Beyond its famous sauce, Kansas City offers many historic buildings, great shopping, street art, and alcoholic beverages. Kansas City not only has great sports, but it also offers a lot of events all year long.
LET’S START WITH MUSEUMS
I don’t know about your, but I love to hit all different kinds of unique museums – there are simply so many cool things to learn about! I had to start my list of the best things to do in Kansas City with them as they have such an incredible selection!
One of the most distinctly American musical genres is jazz. This museum, situated in the former neighborhood of the great saxophonist Charlie Parker, appeals to jazz fans and newcomers. Collections of photos, sheet music, and posters are some examples of historical artifacts from the time when jazz was at its most popular.
Thanks to sensory and participatory exhibits, you can discover why jazz is so adored. Families will love it here, and kids under four can enter for free.
The Museum has a working jazz club, the Blue Room, interactive displays, educational programs, and the contemporary Gem Theater with 500 seats. Great jazz artists like Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, and countless others helped to define the music of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s in this area.
Interested in what it was like to live in the 1860s in America before the Civil War started? You might find some lessons about surviving in the past in the remnants of a steamboat that sank in 1856. Museum visitors can now see these items as a result of the recovery team’s work. The world’s earliest known pickles and toys are among the most unusual objects.
Children under three are admitted free, and admission is reasonably priced. On the 90-minute tours, you may discover the background of the recovery and the museum. This Kansas City marvel demonstrates how much information we may learn from looking back in time.
The College Basketball Experience is a dynamic, engaging space where fans of all ages may become fully engrossed in the game. A promotional film, a timeline of college basketball, a hall of fame for college athletes, and information on college coaches are all included.
You’ll have a unique opportunity to experience college basketball, from talent tests to calling a historic game at the ESPNU Broadcast Desk. This basketball hall of fame features two floors of highly interactive, real-life exhibitions that put your talents to the test and are enjoyable for all ages.
Visitors may exit and re-enter the CBE on the same day with a good entrance. As the home to the men’s collegiate basketball community’s official hall of fame, CBE is not your typical hall of fame, but it is a fun and great way to burn calories.
The Museum opened in 1957. It was made to keep the President’s historical records safe and available to the public. The Library uses President Truman’s life and legacy to teach, inspire, and educate people.
They show how his wisdom has stood the test of time and how much he has done for the world, which is still being used today. Visitors should prepare for a movie-like look at some of the most exciting times in history. Highlights of the museum include:
- World War I and Cold War-themed immersive sound-and-light theater
- Interactive 14-foot globe discussing the problematic issues of post-World War II peace
- More information on Truman’s advocacy for civil rights and the recognition of Israel.
You won’t get the impression that you are simply looking at the barbershop floor at Leila’s Hair Museum. You will learn about a style of art you might not be familiar with at this popular attraction site in Kansas City. This museum, named after the curator Leila Cohoon, honors the splendor of hair art. Hair has been used for generations to create beautiful objects like jewelry and wreaths by artisans and craftspeople. You’ll see hair-based jewelry such as necklaces, brooches, and more.
The Money Museum is a must-see for tourists in Kansas City, Missouri. Learning about money and its societal function is made very easy by the Federal Reserve Bank of the city. You may learn about the currency’s history at the Money Museum, including how gold bars and paper money have changed over time.
You can admire the artistry that goes into creating coins and paper money, as well as its beauty. You can stroll right into the Museum during regular business hours. Moreover, there is no charge for admission. Participate in the audio tours to enrich the learning experience. Your parting gift of minced currency, no longer in use, allows you to feel the past.
One of humanity’s most notable accomplishments is the development of air travel. Learn how tenacity and effort led to such remarkable results in transportation at the National Airline History Museum.
The National Airline History Museum tours daily, teaching people about the history of flying. You can stroll through the hallways and admire some of the best airplanes. You may see the awesomeness of ships like the Boeing 727-223 and the Curtis Condor for a very affordable admission price, which includes free admission for those 12 and younger.
The National Frontier Trails Museum is an interpretative museum, library, and archive focused on the western trails in Independence, Missouri. The Museum emphasizes the unique characteristics of each path and its significant influence on American history.
A study library, exhibitions featuring tracks, covered wagons, trail notebooks, artifacts, and a prize-winning film are all part of the complex. Views of swales, or grassed-over wagon ruts, from the period of the trails, are visible from a nearby walking path.
A children’s playroom, real covered wagons, authentic trail artifacts, historic trail journals, and letters are all available for visitors to explore. Numerous diary entries from trail users are included in the exhibit text, revealing their aspirations and anxieties, challenges and tragedies, hopelessness and tenacity.
You can purchase unique goods with a western theme at the museum gift shop. The Oregon-California Trails Association’s national office, the foremost organization for conserving, documenting, and identifying the trails and informing the public about their influence on the formation of America, is also located on the Museum’s grounds.
The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures features achievements from the board game, dollhouse, and figure industries. The skill level put into creating these items will astound you.
The museum is exceptionally family-friendly, as one would anticipate from a location like this. Children five and under enter free of charge, and admission is reasonable. Consider visiting this museum to be reminded of the influence toys have had on culture.
The National World War I Museum and Memorial’s top-notch collection of WWI artifacts is a must-see for history buffs. Before the tour, watch an introductory video describing various outfits, tools, and accessories.
Additionally, by viewing timelines, maps, timelines, and short films, you can learn more about the geopolitical causes of the Great War. The Liberty Memorial Tower, a memorial honoring soldiers who served in the war, offers a great view of the city. Educational movies and first-person accounts from those there help clarify the story of the Great War.
On display are an actual Renault FT-17 tank and a recreation of the trenches where the soldiers would have stayed. Through audio recordings, the written words of soldiers in these circumstances can also come to life. This fantastic museum sheds light on the horrific reality of war.
The historic 18th & Vine neighborhood, where the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is situated, was the center of black culture and activity in Kansas City from the late 1800s to the 1960s.
Through multimedia exhibits, collections of photographs and memorabilia, and film exhibits, visitors can discover more about the long past of African-American baseball at this location.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum documents the path to sports stardom for legends like Jackie Robinson. By forming their own teams and refusing to allow exclusion to stop them, they had to fight against the persecution that kept them out of the big leagues. Black athletes eventually overcame segregation to be accepted into the major leagues.
The 13 bronze sculpture fields and the museum shop are worth seeing. It is essential to recognize the accomplishments of black athletes in America, especially considering how many of them had to deal with segregation.
You will adore these priceless items, whether you are an art enthusiast or a casual spectator. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art houses more than 40,000 exceptional pieces and includes more modern displays, materials, and centuries-old Japanese artwork like photography.
The Nelson is one of the top museums in the nation; best of all, there is free admission. The all-white, translucent glass building uses dazzling lights at night and continually changes natural light throughout the day to present the art in the best possible light.
The four enormous shuttlecocks on the property are also iconic. The amazing collection of European paintings and sculptures spans from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century, focusing on Italian Baroque paintings from the 17th century and a remarkable collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings from the 19th century.
FOR THE KIDS
Whether you are two or one hundred or two, these are fun places to visit.
The 202-acre Kansas City Zoo will appeal to animal lovers of all ages. A staggering 1,700+ animals may be found here, including alligators, otters, leopards, and more. There are so many fun things to do. You can attend the Sea Lion Splash and the daily penguin feedings.
Don’t forget to ride the African Sky Safari before you leave the zoo. This seven-minute ski lift takes you over the continent of Africa, where you may find spectacular animals like giraffes, rhinos, and cheetahs. Visitors can learn more about how different animal species coexist at the Kansas City Zoo. African elephants, leopards, chimpanzees, and penguins are all found here.
This facility is ideal for everyone who adores Lego and who played with it for most of their childhood. The Legoland Discovery Center in downtown Kansas was constructed entirely out of Lego blocks.
The multiple play areas, laser rides, 4D movies, and Lego building master workshops are all enjoyable for kids. A sizable installation called Miniland is also present here, and it features a Lego recreation of Kansas City. Visitors can also construct their automobiles in Build’N Test and race them on the Driving School track. Kids of all ages will enjoy interactive activities that use more than 3 million Lego bricks.
Oceans of Fun is the Midwest’s most fantastic destination to slide, splash, relax, and eat, so beat the summer heat! The convenient Oceans of Fun water park is next to Worlds of Fun.
Oceans of Fun offers family fun activities with waves of fun ranging in intensity from gentle to crazy. Extreme water slides are popular among thrill-seekers, and children adore Crocodile Isle’s little slides, geysers, and structures. Float down the Caribbean Cooler lazy river and catch some waves at Surf City Wave Pool, a crowd favorite.
There is no lack of family-friendly entertainment, whether it is live performances, arcade games, water slides (stand in line for the heart-stopping Detonator! ), or thrill coasters. The Worlds of Fun Resort includes not just two top-notch amusement parks but also an opulent resort hotel with roomy pools and a variety of on-site food options.
At Science City, conveniently located in Kansas City and a part of the renowned and iconic Union Station complex, visitors may find interactive exhibits covering more than 92,000 square feet. Kids of all ages will experience the wonderful world of science firsthand via engaging and intriguing exhibits and events.
STEM education is the main focus of the scientific center’s exhibits, demonstrations, lessons, exhibitions, talks, special events, and activities. Science City has grown into THE local attraction for families, parties, and special events by constantly modifying and devising fresh ways to make science exciting and fun.
In the heart of the city sits Sea Life, a stunning aquarium. A significant glass wall keeps you from seeing the incredible aquatic world, making it quite immersive. More than 5,000 marine animals visitors can view are sharks, gliding stingrays, and octopuses. All these treasures have perfect conditions, including plenty of room for swimming.
You may hold a crab in your finger or brush a starfish at the aquarium’s Touchpool Experience, where visitors can interact with the animals. There is a Sea Turtle Rescue Center at Sea Life where you can get up and personal with the turtles who have been saved and discover more about these lovely animals.
Many family fun activities at the Sea Life Kansas City Aquarium include Meet a Mermaid and viewing several exhibits. The Kansas City Aquarium is an excellent destination for a family weekend trip in Missouri. For kids under three, admission is free. Additional group discounts are available.
This amusement park is packed with thrilling experiences that the whole family will enjoy. One of this amusement park’s best features is its roller coasters. The Timber Wolf, Patriot, and Prowler are worth looking at if you have an insatiable appetite for adventure.
If the novel Around the World serves as the inspiration for an amusement park in Eighty Days, you can be sure that it will be mind-blowing. There are more than a hundred rides in Worlds of Fun. The park has five fascinating areas, including Scandinavia, Africa, Europe, the Orient, and the Americana.
The outdoors have always played a significant role in Kansas City culture, and there are over 200 fountains, over 220 parks, 20 or more lakes, and around 160 miles of trails and bike paths to prove it. The majority of locals can reach green spaces after a 10-minute stroll.
Explore the picnic areas, including the KC Botanical Garden, which spans 970 acres of lush hills and meadows and features more than 21,000 plants. It would be wrong to leave Kansas City without having some barbeque, either before or after a night at the theater.
Connecting with nature is a great way to spend time, no matter where you choose to travel.
The Ernie Miller Nature Center is tucked away in the center of a lovely 116-acre park and features three miles of gorgeous hiking paths, native birds, and creepy crawlies. It also features educational exhibits and a gift shop.
In honor of Ernie Miller, former President of the Olathe Chamber of Commerce and journalist, the center bears his name. The center is a great place if you want to experience a peaceful Kansas City setting. There is also a nature center where parents and kids can do educational activities and play with hands-on displays. All year long, it provides interpretive activities for guests of all ages and a gift shop for those who appreciate nature.
The Lakeside Nature Center is one of Missouri’s most extensive wildlife rehabilitation facilities. The facility is now home to about 75 creatures, including, Kestrel falcons, raccoons, hawks, barred owls, and turkey vultures.
The facility offers a woodland area for rent for professional and corporate gatherings, hiking paths, and a picnic pavilion. The property provides a calm space where one can unwind while surrounded by animals.
The largest inhabited park in America is in Overland Park, just west of Kansas City. The park is the starting point for everything Kansas City offers: culture, history, outdoor activities, sassy burnt ends, and thrilling rides. Overland Park has both the friendliness and rustic charm of rural Kansas and the conveniences of a big city. Visit this charming location where outdoor activities abound and farming is cherished alongside a fascinating cultural landscape.
Enjoy a filling dinner in the evening at one of the downtown family-run eateries. In the enormous movie theater with luxurious seating and tasty snacks at Cinetopia Overland Park, you can round off the evening by watching a blockbuster movie. Visit the city’s beautiful hiking trails in the summer, or join locals for some sledding fun in the winter on the snow-covered hillsides.
Swope Park in Kansas City is a beautiful public park. The park’s land belonged to Colonel Thomas H. Swope, who presented it to the city as a gift in 1896. This gesture also gave the park its name.
The region attracts visitors because of its wealth of amenities and breathtaking beauty. In addition to communal gardens, there are also soccer fields, golf courses, a treetop adventure park, and stunning fountains. The Starlight Theatre, Kansas City Zoo, and Lakeside Nature Centre are just a few of the attractions in this park.
OTHER FUN PLACES WORTH VISITING
We found a few more fun gems to add to your list – check them out:
Arrowhead Stadium is the ideal location to enjoy a football game or outdoor music in Kansas City. This stadium, frequented by fans from around Missouri, hosts the home games of the Kansas City Chiefs. With more than 76,000 seats, Arrowhead Stadium first opened in 1972.
Additionally, there are several tourist attractions. Excellent concessions are available at several restaurants, where you can also eat. Opulent suites are also available for those who like to watch a game or performance in style.
You may still enjoy Arrowhead Stadium’s strength even when there isn’t a game or show. Making a reservation for a personalized tour allows you to learn a lot. The entire facility is visible, even in areas that aren’t usually accessible, like the press box and the locker room of the Chiefs.
Discover the remarkable history of this Kansas City-based company and its brewing process. Be on the lookout for other events like Boulevardia, where the brewery partners with a few neighborhood businesses for a lively block party with live performances, delectable snacks, and drinks.
At Boulevard Brewing Co., you can observe the pride and hard work of making some of the best beer in the nation. Each sip brings more attention to the premium, locally sourced components. Free brewery tours and samples of several beers are available.
The best part of visiting this fantastic Kansas City brewery might be trying out the different brews. Take every aspect of each beer and note its color, aroma, flavor, and aftertaste for the finest possible experience.
City Market, a Kansas City institution since 1857, is constantly crowded, and for a good reason. Here you can find local food, hipster stuff, restaurants, coffee shops, and more. There is a well-liked farmers’ market on the weekends, and City Market hosts various entertaining events like live music and festivals during the summer.
Although Kansas City’s River Market area is best known for its weekly farmers’ market, it offers more than just fresh produce. After visiting City Market to buy fruits, vegetables, plants, and locally made goods, look around the neighborhood’s shops, then stroll to Berkley Park to take in the Missouri River views.
Visit the vintage Planters Seed & Spice Co. on the main street for a glimpse into the past before visiting the Arabia Steamboat Museum, where you can see an impressive collection of pre-Civil War artifacts. You can sample some of the most outstanding products from surrounding farmers while you’re there.
At Crown Center, there is entertainment for all tastes. There are more than 30 stores and eateries in the three-level Crown Center Shops. Additionally, the center offers free events, including Santa’s Gingerbread Station, community choirs, and kid-friendly displays.
Events, including ethnic festivals, outdoor movie series, and live music, are held there all year long and are fantastic for the whole family. Free events sponsored by Hallmark are also available at the site. The Hallmark Visitors Center provides information on the storied past of the global authority on free speech, while Kaleidoscope engages kids and their families in imaginative art experiences. The Link, a pedestrian walkway that is elevated and climate-controlled, connects them to the shopping area.
Kansas City serves as the headquarters of Hallmark. There is a lot to see at the business’ visitors center, including a collection of exquisitely adorned life-size Christmas trees that staff members made as Christmas presents for Hallmark’s founder J.C. Hall.
The highlights include the following:
- A timeline showing Hallmark’s goods have changed over nine decades, with contributions from Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell, and Maya Angelou.
- The J.C. Hall Collection of Christmas Trees For many years.
- A life-sized Christmas tree was created and decorated as part of the tradition in 1966.
Visitors can design a star-shaped bow to take home as a souvenir by pressing a button. There are self-guided tours available. Bookings are required for groups of 15, though. Parking is cost-free in the Crown Center parking garage for the first three hours following the validation receipt.
One of the oldest and most beautiful ballparks in the MLB is Kauffman Stadium. Behind the right-field fence is a fountain and waterfall exhibit called The Water Spectacular, which is its most noticeable feature. The outfield concourse allows spectators to circle the stadium 360 degrees. Furthermore, parking is no problem.
The Major League Baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, play their home games at Kauffman Stadium, which opened for business in 1973. You will have a good time if you take advantage of the opportunity to see a performance or a game. Additionally, dining establishments serve traditional Kansas fares like barbecued pork.
The Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a fantastic tribute to all the artistic achievements that have come out of that city. You can catch Kansas City Symphony performances at the Kauffman Center.
If you enjoy dancing, The Kansas City Ballet can demonstrate its distinctive method of artistic expression. The Kauffman Center is stunning to look at. The famous architect Moshe Safdie came up with the shape of the building, which has beautiful platinum curves.
One of Kansas City’s top attractions for art lovers is this. This unique museum has been operating since 1994 and has a collection of modern and contemporary artwork. The unusual pyramid shape of this museum and its towering four-story spider statue make it impossible to overlook.
This museum provides a venue for special events, interactive educational activities, and temporary exhibitions by regional and national mid-career emerging artists who offer a fresh perspective on the art world. It also hosts lectures, concerts, workshops, film and video series, exhibitions, and other artistic events.
Adults, kids, and teenagers can all participate in programs. The museum also offers a gift shop where you can buy various items, including books, t-shirts, home accents, art supplies, and toys. Additionally, parking and entry are both free.
Have you ever imagined driving a NASCAR car in your dreams? You can do that at Kansas City Speedway with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. A qualified driver can accompany you around, or you can drive the car yourself.
Real NASCAR race cars can be driven by you alone or with a NASCAR ride-along at Richard Petty Driving Experience. There are no pace cars to keep up with, making this an authentic NASCAR driving experience.
Richard Petty’s Driving Experience offers a selection of several national speedways. Reserve a Richard Petty driving experience with NASCAR or purchase a gift certificate. You can use it at Kansas Speedway or any other racetrack with the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
The Sprint Center has hosted several incredible musical performers, including Fleetwood Mac and Lady Gaga. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and other outstanding sporting events have also occurred there. Basketball fans must invariably stop by the Sprint Center.
The Sprint Center is perfect for significant events because it can accommodate 19,000 spectators. Additionally, a ton of delicious cuisine is available nearby at top-notch eateries like Yard House and Providence. Most nights, the downtown live events stadium hosts performances by the biggest names in music, sports, and other forms of entertainment. You might see anything from a well-known country musician to WWE wrestling, monster trucks, comedy events, or Disney Live.
This 1914 architectural wonder housed a train station until the 1980s when years of neglect caused it to close. However, it reopened in 1999 following a historical renovation that cleared more than 10 million pounds of rubbish and brought the structure back to its former splendor.
Today, Union Station still serves Amtrak trains and is home to renowned restaurants like Pierpont’s and Harvey’s, the City Stage Theatre, a planetarium, a science center, and other facilities. Check out the Grand Hall’s enormous chandeliers, 95-foot ceiling, and six-foot-wide clock while you’re there. The Union Station is one of the best places in Kansas City since it demonstrates that pride in one’s hometown entails respecting the past.
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Kansas City is home to various activities and experiences. If you’re unsure of what to do next, keep this list of Kansas City, Missouri’s popular attractions close at hand.
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