Kansas City (Missouri)

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Missouri Kansas City



Kansas City is a large, major Midwestern metropolitan area that spreads across the border of Missouri and Kansas and has a population of around 2 million. The central city of the metro area is Kansas City, Missouri, the largest city in Missouri, with a population of around 450,000. Across the state border is Kansas City, Kansas, often called "KCK" by locals, which has a population of 150,000. There are also a number of suburbs on both sides of the border.




  • 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.
  • The Country Club Plaza is Kansas City's most famous shopping district, featuring world-famous fountains, exquisite shopping and causal as well as fine dining. County Club Plaza is KC's unique and historic outdoor shopping center. Annual events such as the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, Restaurant Week, and the Plaza Art Fair bring together Kansas Citians and visitors alike in a complex that also includes some of the city's best hotels and sights. Encompassing over 15 blocks in Kansas City's centre, the Plaza is a must-see for visitors and a leisurely day's visit for those intuitive enough to take the time to pause and enjoy what this City of Fountains has to offer.



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.
  • [listing name=SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium type=activity address=2475 Grand Blvd, Kansas City url=http://www.visitsealife.com/kansas-city/ phone=816-471-4386]Come nose to nose with sharks and prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays.



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.


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.




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.



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 Car

Interstate 435 forms a ring around the city. Notably I-70 goes east to St. Louis and west to Denver. I-35 is a major corridor running northeast and southwest. US Highway 71 runs north and south and forms a midtown expressway, running from the I-435/I-470 interchange, in a northwesterly course toward downtown, where it joins I-29. North of the River, US 71 follows the same route as I-29. For more information about navigation in the metro area see the Kansas City Metropolitan Area Wikipedia Article .

By Bus

Greyhound operates buses to and from Kansas City.



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.

By Public Transport

The Metro bus is feasible within the urban core, where most of the tourist destinations are located. The MAX (Metro Area eXpress) and #57 buses connect downtown, Crown Center, Westport, the Plaza, Brookside, and Waldo. There are other lines that can drop you fairly close to your door in KCMO as well as limited stops in outlying suburbs such as Kansas City, KS, Independence, Blue Springs, Lee's Summit, the Northland, etc. There service to the casinos.

Standard fare is $1.50/trip with transfers available from the bus driver that expire two hours after issue. Some lengthy and express routes may cost more. You may purchase a One Day Pass on the bus. The Day Pass is good for local service only. It is issued at the farebox and expires at midnight. Upon boarding, request a Day Pass before depositing the $3 exact change into the farebox. Most major routes use buses that are equipped with bike racks.

A new north-south streetcar service links Union Station with the popular River Market district. Currently free to ride, the streetcar is a convenient although quite slow way to cross the city centre. Streetcars run every 10-15 minutes from early morning to evening, with extended services om weekends. Route maps and more information avalible at KC Streetcar website.

By Bike

  • Kansas City B-Cycle bike share - Bike sharing program offering 24 hour, 7-day, 30-day and annual memberships, with stations located downtown. $7/24 hours; $15/7 days




"Who has the best barbecue in Kansas City?" is a question that causes much debate in Kansas City. Although the debate is usually in good humor, be ready for a passionate explanation which may take some time (or a light-hearted argument if asked in front of more than one person). Although the different restaurants each have their own unique flavors, they will usually have a sauce which is thicker and sweeter than offered in most other parts of the U.S.

Kansas City is also home to a barbecue dish that is rarely found outside the area, called "Burnt Ends." These are the overcooked ends and edges of a brisket, which although dry and chewy, are amazingly smoky and full of flavor (much more flavorful than any other cut). If you are feeling open-minded about your KC barbecue experience, they are definitely worth a try.




There is a popular brewery in KC by the name of Boulevard whose beers are available on tap at many different bars and restaurants throughout town.




Keep Connected


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.


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.


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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Kansas City (Missouri) Travel Helpers

  • BassRoll442

    I was born and have lived here for most of my life. Feel free to ask anything.

    Ask BassRoll442 a question about Kansas City (Missouri)
  • kbrownlee

    I have lived in the Kansas City area my entire life, both inside the city and in its suburbs. While most people are familiar with the KC's famous BBQ rivalries and excellent museums, I can also offer insights in to when and where to visit, places off the beaten path worth the traveler's time, and day trips that will enhance even the Kansas Citian's appreciation of this cultural gem.

    Ask kbrownlee a question about Kansas City (Missouri)

This is version 36. Last edited at 9:41 on Jun 12, 19 by Utrecht. 11 articles link to this page.

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