Kansas City pit-masters are a bit like wizards: with dashes of sauce and wisps of wood-smoke, they summon barbecue aficionados from across the world. But tourists aren't the only ones who hunger for their savory-sweet brisket, ribs, and burnt ends––locals do, too. Bethanie Schemel, owner of KC Barbecue Tours, gives both locals and travelers insider's access to the rich history––and deep flavor––of the city's smoked-meat scene through bus-guided food tours.
On these tours, groups visit famed barbecue hot-spots. They also make stops at beneath-the-radar barbecue joints. "We do have a couple smaller places on our tour that we tend to keep a secret because they are the hidden gems that not a lot of people know about," owner Bethanie Schemel told KCTV 5 News. Food isn't the only reason for booking a spot on one of KC Barbecue Tours' expeditions—participants also get a peek at behind-the-scenes preparation techniques, and can ask pit-masters for tips on what type of wood chips to use or how to build a xylophone from leftover rib bones.
If your shady parking spot rests beneath bird-filled trees, or someone scrawled carpetbagger into the inch of road salt on your car window, Travel Clean Express Car Wash can give your vehicle its original off-the-lot luster. With today's Groupon, you'll get Travel Clean's ultimate car wash for $5 (a $12 value). Use your Groupon at Travel Clean's locations in Lee's Summit or Overland Park.
PRP Wine International backs up its name by stocking more than 200 different wines from around the globe. A team of vino connoisseurs showcases the shop's international selection during in-home wine tastings and wine-tasting events, held in local hotels, warehouses, and deep-sea bunkers. Personalized wine labels and etched wine glasses and bottles can complement newly discovered wines.
This duo of history-rich houses showcase antebellum architectural styles, while providing insight into the mores of the era. With four tour tickets total, the historically inclined can visit each house twice or bring a friend along for each visit, while family memberships net unlimited entries for the nuclear unit, along with advance invites to special society-only events. A Greek revival-style home from 1858, the John Wornall House beckons history lovers in to watch costumed reenactors living in the past, where they play period-specific video games while drinking period-specific Mountain Dew. Regular special events at the house include paranormal investigations by local ghost hunters and recreations of the house’s past as a Civil War hospital. Dogs can sprint across the lush grounds while their two-legged companions waft in luscious scents from the herb garden, which contains a variety of delicate plants used in medicines and recipes.
Kansas City's Ghosts and Gangsters Tour takes thrill-seekers by coach for an authentically spooky look at KC's paranormal and Mafia life. Strap on a proton pack and let an engaging guide tell of the history and hauntstory of landmarks such as the Hotel Savoy, the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, and St. Mary's Church, which the ghost of Father Henry David Jardine is said to haunt to prove his death wasn't a suicide and his car wasn't a bicycle. In addition to spectral sights, you'll see several worldly Mafioso spots, such as the location of several late-1970s bombings and bullet holes from a 1933 massacre of four police officers and a fugitive at the Union Station railroad depot. Tours, which start at 1300 W. 12th Street, are held by reservation on Friday nights and Saturday nights from 6 p.m.–9 p.m. and 9 p.m.–12 a.m.
The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe transports brave souls into a house where Poe's macabre poetry and short stories come to life. Literature buffs and horror enthusiasts will both be enthralled walking into such cryptic Poe classics as The Raven, Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, and Cheerleader Motel. Enter Poe's nightmarish House of Usher and attempt to escape the ghoulish reverberated sounds emanating from the walls. Your morbid journey replicates the feeling of being buried alive, suffocating, claustrophobia, suffocating, and being buried alive. This deal also gets you a line pass, so you'll skip to the front of an often-lengthy queue.