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Kansas City (Missouri)

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Missouri Kansas City

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Introduction

Kansas City is the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Missouri, USA. The city has almost half a million inhabitants and the total metropolitan area over 2 million.

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Neighbourhoods

  • 18th and Vine District - Hot Jazz, Cool Blues, Phenomenal Dining, Progressive Dance and Cultural Preservation. The 18th & Vine Jazz District offers unique cultural attractions that include The American Jazz Museum, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Mutual Musicians Foundation, and the Black Archives of Mid-America. The entertainment and restaurant venues are the KC Blues and Jazz Juke House, the Blue Room and Harpers Restaurant. The offices of the Black Chamber of Commerce, Black Economic Union, Full Employment Council, Kauffman Urban Entrepreneurial Partnership and the Jazz District Redevelopment Corporation are in the district. Visitors also enjoy an outdoor Pavilion next to the Charlie Parker Memorial and the Jay McShann Outdoor Pavilion.
  • The Kansas City Power & Light District is a premier dining, entertainment and shopping district in the heart of downtown Kansas City. Offering over a half million square feet, the Kansas City Power & Light District is the KC's premier entertainment epicenter. With more than 50 unique restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues, the Power & Light District offers something for everyone. Located in the heart of downtown, this vibrant, new nine-block neighborhood links the Convention Center to the Sprint Arena and is bringing the beat back to Kansas City. World-class attractions include the Midland Theater by AMC, The AMC Mainstreet Movie Theater and the KC Live! Entertainment District.

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Sights and Activities

  • The National World War I Museum - Established in 1920 as the Liberty Memorial Museum, the museum collections and exhibitions tell more than an American story. They cover the entire war from the first shots in 1914 to the last attempts at peace in 1919. All the belligerent nations involved, reflecting both the battlefield and the home front, are represented. The collections reflect not only the common items carried by the soldier in the field, but also rare treasures of national significance. Currently it holds 55,000 items in its museum, library, and archival collections.

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Events and Festivals

  • Plaza Art Fair - Each autumn, the streets of the Country Club Plaza are transformed into a beautiful outdoor art gallery. Artists from across the country will come together to display their fabulous artwork and attract countless art enthusiasts. A nationally-recognized event, the Plaza Art Fair features 240 Artists, 30 Plaza Restaurants, Three Live Music Stages, Kids Art Workshop and Kemper Street Museum.

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Weather

Kansas City lies on the border of the humid subtropical and humid continental climate zones. Summers are hot and relatively humid with highs around or above 30 °C from June to early September and lows slightly above 20 °C. Winters from December to February sees highs of around 5 °C while nights dip well below zero for a few months. Average annual precipitation is around 900 mm with 80% of that falling from April to October. Winters are relatively dry with occasional snow.

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Getting There

By Plane

Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is located about 15 miles (24 kilometres) from the central business district of Kansas City. It's one of the best mid-sized airports in the USA. Although it mainly functions as a large domestic airport, there are a few international connections to Canada and Mexico.

To/from the airport

  • Car: the airport is conveniently located on major highways Interstate 29 and Interstate 435. There are many short-term and long-term parking places available, as well as rental cars. Taxis are available as well.
  • Bus: The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority operates one public bus service to the airport, bus #129. It only operates 18 times per day, between 6:00am and 6:00pm, Monday to Friday. It operates between Terminal C and the downtown bus center with several intermediate stops.
  • Private shuttle companies offer comfortable and expensive minivans, and although there are still wishes for a light-rail system, there is still no approval for this plan.

By Train

Two trains, operated by Amtrak, travel to and from Kansas City:

By Bus

Greyhound operates buses to and from Kansas City.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 13. Last edited at 12:38 on Jul 11, 13 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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