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.
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.
Taking a three-hour lunch break might be frowned upon when you're at the office, but not if you work for Taste of Kansas City Food Tours. The company's tour guides specialize in meals on the move, leading groups to nearby restaurants for samples of their specialties. The stops on the walking tour tend to be locally owned eateries located slightly to the left of the mainstream—though they don't shy away from a famous pizza joint or two.
One route takes guests through Crossroads, and the other explores Westport, but both fill the time between bites with facts about the neighborhood and its history. The tastings on each tour might change from day to day, so surprise is the only common ingredient. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that you'll end the afternoon with a full stomach and a stack of clean plates.
As sister bars, The Well and Lew?s Grill & Bar make a perfect pairing for parties. Throughout the year, the bars usually host event parties including St. Patrick's Day, Hop Fest Craft Beer Festival, and New Year's Eve celebrations. The Well's rooftop bar lets patrons relax under the stars as they drink from a selection of more than 30 tap beers and bottled brews. The Well's chef-prepared menu includes plates of elevated bar fare, including char-grilled KC strip steak, baja fish tacos, roasted vegetable ravioli, and black Angus burgers. Das Boot, Lew's signature drink, is an 84-ounce boot-shaped beer that comes with an optional challenge: patrons who can imbibe the full boot, plus 2.5-pounds of cheeseburger and fries, win a free T-shirt and the honor of proving they have a stomach that is bigger on the inside.
With Segway Bike & Stroll, visitors can explore Kansas City's past and present via three methods: Segway, bicycle, or their own two feet. Guides shepherd groups to various businesses and landmarks on six eclectic tours?some of which focus on history, others on KC's thriving arts and food scene. On the Museum, Parks & History tour, Segways roll through the city's cultural center, sampling the arts with visits to the Nelson Atkins Art Museum and Country Club Plaza. Likewise, the half-day BBQ, Brews & Bikes tour cycles through neighborhoods such as City Market and the Power & Light District to taste some of the area's best beer and barbecue ribs?a Kansas City tradition since Oregon Trail blazers used them to build their covered wagons.
It’s hard to make new friends in a park; but, thanks to KC Crew, friendships have been blossoming all over Roanoke Park, Parade Park, and Penn Valley Park. The secret to their success is rec leagues, in which players compete in kickball, flag football, soccer, softball, and sand volleyball, a beachy sport far preferable to speed eating shells. The organization provides umpires, a game schedule, and a $100 credit at eight local bars awarded to the winning team each week. And after the sun goes down, the organization offers more in-depth studies of the area nightlife through bar crawls, themed to celebrate holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day or simulate a zombie apocalypse.