MVPs, Gold Gloves, and a World Series title pepper more than 40 years of Kansas City Royals history, replete with powerful pitches and bat-cracking home runs. The recently renovated Kauffman Stadium treats visitors to a giant high-definition video board, which wears a 40-foot crown and waves a scepter made of massive glow sticks. During breaks in the action, fans can visit concessions stands, play mini golf in the outfield experience, or count each of the stadium’s 37,903 seats. Open until the top of the eighth inning, a 7,000-square-foot Hall of Fame guides guests through a maze of memorabilia, including photos of Royals past and perfume-scented love notes to the Royals of the future.
The late-October sun shining down on the stadium illuminates the 76,000 or so fans around you—fans who only pause their whooping, screaming, clapping, and whistling to yell for the Chiefs as another football game begins.
Arrowhead Stadium might initially impress visitors with its upgraded sound and scoreboard systems, expanded concourses, 360-degree video-ribbon board, and upgraded snack choices. But what keeps them coming back to the place is the camaraderie they feel watching their favorite football team catch a touchdown pass or stop an opponent short of the goal line.
The Hunt family recognizes this spirit, which is why when the time came to make decisions about the future of Arrowhead several years ago, they knew that, unlike other teams, who were tearing down and completely rebuilding their venues to better fit the modern world, they needed to preserve their iconic stadium. So with the help of Jackson County's loyal citizens, they raised $375 million and added such features as the Founder's Plaza, the luxurious Scout Investments Club Level, the Chiefs Hall of Honor presented by Time Warner Cable, and a new team store.
Zipping at a faster pace and racking up higher scores than their grass-stained outdoor cousins, the iconic Missouri Comets streak through MISL play from the inner orbit of the new Independence Events Center. From their midfield seats, footsport fans can enjoy an unobstructed view as they brush up on their knowledge of indoor soccer, which features six players to a side, legal plays off of walled sidelines, and the frenzied neon lights of the multi-ball round. Visitors will get to cheer on the newly resurrected team led by former Danish soccer star Kim Roentved as they go head-to-head against the Chicago Riot or the Omaha Vipers—teams that weave Midwestern footwork narratives that rival the toe-typed tales of "Handless" Studs Terkel.
Though the city's name would seem to suggest otherwise, Independence residents must still—by law—interact with each other occasionally. Luckily, Independence Events Center serves to bring the community together, hosting everything from national concert tours to youth hockey leagues within its walls. Such stars as Kelly Clarkson have graced the stage within the 5,800-seat arena, also home to local sports teams such as the Central Hockey League's Missouri Mavericks and the Major Indoor Soccer League's Missouri Comets. Additionally, a community rink lets residents and nonresidents alike hit the ice for programs ranging from open-skating sessions and lessons to private rentals for Civil War reenactments.
American Jazz Museum’s annual Rhythm & Ribs Jazz and Blues Festival is a one-day music extravaganza that colludes the talents of soulful singers, strummers, horn blowers, and string twangers across three performance stages. Headlining the event, the seven-member band War (10 p.m.–11:30 p.m.) blasts its funk melodies into the air. Before War takes the stage, Bobby “Blue” Bland (7:30 p.m.–9 p.m.) serenades the audience with sultry favorites, such as his rendition of Bill Withers' “Ain’t No Sunshine,” after Christian McBride with Inside Straight (5 p.m.–6:30 p.m.) cues the miniature musician living inside his standup bass to play a euphony of soul. Throughout the day, patrons can indulge in fare from local food vendors (not included with this Groupon) such as City Bar-B-Q, snacking until their fingers are covered with enough sauce to ensure easy snapping.
Iconic performer Peter Gabriel’s tranquil voice and hypnotic melodies envelop audiences with a cartulary of soul-mollifying songs during his New Blood tour. Each song flows as smoothly as butter skates on a griddle as Peter takes a radical approach to his beloved catalog and reinvents other songwriters’ nuggets in his latest record, Scratch My Back. No drums, guitar, or pyrotechnic fog horns, Peter relies solely on the combination of his voice and his New Blood Orchestra to fill the air of the breezy outdoor Starlight Theatre with mesmerizing consonance.