Known as the City of Fountains, with more than 200 of them, Kansas City is one of a kind.
Streets are lined with sculptures and people enjoying outdoor activities, and there is a really good vibe in the air. With a sense of euphoria, I pulled up to the Raphael Hotel, and knew immediately that I would love Kansas City.
Shopping at Country Club Plaza
The Raphael is directly across from Country Club Plaza, which has more than 150 shops ranging from intimate boutiques to huge brand-name stores. This is also where the famous J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain is situated. There are loads of restaurants with indoor and outdoor dining, and some lively street entertainment. After many hours of shopping and eating, I was ready to experience some of the history and culture of the city.
The J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City
Kansas City Heritage and Culture
First up was the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, which stands atop a hill with great views of Kansas City. There is a collection of emotional films and displays that will captivate history buffs, and there are exhibits for children. The museum has one of the world’s largest collections of World War I artifacts. Opposite the museum is the famous Kansas City landmark, Union Station, which is stunning inside. Whilst I was there, they had a huge King Tut exhibit, which was fantastic.
I headed over to Lidia’s, which is just five minutes from Union Station, for a late lunch after it was recommended by several locals. The restaurant is gorgeous, the service phenomenal and the food exquisite. The coffee was so good that I had them ship a batch to my house.
Walk of Honor at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City
Vibrant and Distinct Neighbourhoods
Kansas City is made up of small areas, such as the Power & Light District and the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District. The Power & Light District is very hip and has live music, boutiques, dining and great nightlife. At 18th & Vine, you will find the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, both of which I toured. The museums are interactive and intriguing. Learning about both the history of Jazz and the African-American baseball leagues really makes you appreciate life in Kansas City all those years ago.
Also in this district you’ll find the legendary Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, a local favorite. Equally wonderful barbecue spots include Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue and Gates Bar-B-Q. You should try them all and decide for yourself which one tops them all.
Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque restaurant in Kansas City
Art and Music Abound
After sleeping like a rock at The Raphael, I took myself on a tour of the art museums. Kansas City is a very artsy place. Most of the museums are free, and those that aren’t are worth the minimal cost. Kansas City also has plenty of places to run, walk or bike to work off that barbecue.
That evening, I popped in to the Blue Room Jazz Club for a little Jazz followed by dinner at Seasons 52 in Country Club Plaza. After just two wonderful days here, I can’t wait to come back. Kansas City really has it all.
Performing in the Blue Room Jazz Club in Kansas City