In Kansas City, the ratio of fountains to barbecue joints is roughly 2:1—as in, 200-plus public fountains and more than 90 restaurants where you can order the city’s signature slow-smoked meat. Though Kansas City is known for its aquatic architecture and barbecue, it has also evolved into an artistic hub. Here, you’ll find a legendary history of jazz and blues, a brand-new performing arts center, and the world-class Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, prized for its European paintings and Imperial Chinese art. Add a die-hard sports community and a downtown area named one of America’s best by Forbes magazine, and the at-times overlooked Kansas City has all the makings of a memorable getaway with plenty of things to do amid its culture, Midwestern charm, and an endless supply of sauce-slathered ribs.
Though the storied jazz scene is well documented in the American Jazz Museum and continues to thrive in numerous clubs around 18th and Vine, it’s the flashy Power & Light District that draws a fashionable late-night crowd. This nine-block neighborhood in the middle of downtown is home to more than 50 shops, restaurants, and bars. If the weather is warm, head to the open-air rooftop lounge at Elements or [The Jones](http://thejoneskc.com/) for a drink under the moonlight. Enjoy even more libation-centric activities with a tour of the Boulevard Brewing Company, the largest independent brewery in Missouri.
Not everything in Kansas City requires an ID. Kid-friendly activities include fooling the senses with 21 illusions and the artwork of M.C. Escher inside Science City's Mr. E Hotel. Young ones can also splash down water slides and flip on roller coasters at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, a pair of theme parks that host roller coasters, carousels, gentle rivers, high-speed slides, and areas for kayaking and canoeing.