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Kansas City is an exciting travel destination in Kansas, home to more fountains than any place in the world other than Rome. It’s also known for its parks and wide range of outstanding cultural attractions. If you want to make the most of your time in this city, you’ll find a ton of things to see and do. Be sure to put these on your must-experience list.
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Renowned for its award-winning neoclassical architecture and impressive collection of Asian art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art was designed in the classical Beaux-Arts architectural style and opened its doors more than 80 years ago. Its collections include not only Asian art, but European and American paintings, Native American art, photography, sculpture, and works by the likes of greats such as Caravaggio and Pissarro. The museum also hosts an onsite restaurant, Rozelle Court, a museum store and multiple classes, workshops and programs for adults as well as kids.
The Power & Light District is located in the heart of downtown and serves as Kansas City’s entertainment district, popular with locals and visitors alike. This vibrant, eight-block neighborhood is bursting with more than 50 restaurants, clubs, bars, theaters, a high-end market, and entertainment venues that hosts free concerts too. Its highlights include the Arvest Bank Theatre, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and the KC Live!
The Kansas City Zoo, founded back in 1909, is home to more than 1,000 animals. It sits across more than 202 acres, and is arguably most popular for its Kenya and Tiger Trail exhibits, although the new Orangutan Canopy is something that never fails to mesmerize, a place where you can watch the animals climb the poles, vines and trees, playing and exploring, and even showing off their painting skills in the 3,400-square-foot outdoor habitat. The zoo recently added the always adorable koala bears to its roster, and offers a number of zoo rides too.
One of the largest and most popular farmer’s markets in the Midwest, City Market has been drawing locals and visitors since 1857. Open every day all year-round, it hosts dining, shopping and entertainment in an open-air setting, including all of your favorite farmers market items like locally-sourced produce and other foods, specialty groceries, flowers, herbs and even handcrafted gifts. When you’re planning your visit, be sure to check the event schedule as it hosts some great events throughout the year.
Certainly more somber than most of Kansas City’s popular attractions, the National World War I Museum and Museum is buried below the 21-story Liberty Memorial and engages visitors while paying a somber tribute to the War’s victims. You’ll walk a glass bridge that links the lobby to the museum exhibits, with galleries set above a field of red poppies to represent the nine million casualties of World War I.
The Crossroads Arts District is a 20-block area that showcases over 150 galleries and artists’ studios, along with some 100 eateries and shops, primarily housed in former empty warehouses, making it a popular place to be all year round. Some of the highlights include the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the city’s sleek new address for theater, music and dance. Live music is easy to find here too, with numerous outstanding local venues like Green Lady Lounge, Crossroads at Grinders and recordBar.
The Arabia Steamboat Museum houses the world’s largest collection of pre-Civil War artifacts, and is not surprisingly, one of the city’s most popular attractions. It brings visitors on a journey to the American frontier of the mid-19th-century and documents the 1988 salvage of the Arabia Steamboat. It fascinates with its impressive collection of artifacts, including everything from the oldest pickles on Earth to fine china and carpentry tools. By taking a guided tour, you can also watch the short film that focuses on the process endured in order to salvage the sunken steamboat.
This 1914 train station has been restored and transformed into a popular spot that hosts restaurants, shops, an IMAX theater, a model railroad exhibit, the Science City interactive science museum, a planetarium, an exhibit on the history of the American railroad and more. You could easily spend a day or more here just experiencing the many attractions, though just wandering through the huge Union Station building is worthwhile. Picture the days when thousands of passengers once walked through and gaze up at the gorgeously restored 95-foot ceiling in the Grand Hall.
Boulevard Brewing Company
Kansas City is proud of its Boulevard Brewing Company, which they believe is far superior to St. Louis’ Anheuser-Busch. Among its many brews, you’ll find everything from the popular unfiltered wheat to pilsner and pale ale. The largest specialty brewer in the Midwest, it recently opened up a visitor center which features beer exhibits, a tasting room, and an expanded retail shop. Visitors can also take a free guided tour that includes a short video that discusses the history of the company and how Boulevard Beer is made, and, of course, enjoy free samples.