Historical Boutique Hotel in Downtown Kansas City
As the saying goes, “Jazz was born in New Orleans, but it grew up in Kansas City.” And that’s more than just a boast. The city’s own style of the music flourished during the Prohibition era, when Kansas City continued to allow alcohol and became an entertainment capital. That legacy of jazz continues today in clubs and bars all over town, including the onsite lounge at Hotel Phillips, which has an ongoing music series that spotlights local jazz artists. It’s fitting, considering the hotel also got its start in the 1930s. It has since been renovated and redecorated and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hotel Phillips is located downtown amid the local art scene, and it taps into Kansas City’s artistry in a number of ways. The original lobby has many art-deco details from the 1930s, including dark walnut paneling and a golden statue of the goddess of dawn. Hotel Phillips also has an artist in residence, photographer Ahram Park, whose work can be seen throughout the hotel. The hotel’s artistry extends to guest rooms, which feature custom furniture and decor that mixes bold patterns.
The onsite restaurant, 12 Baltimore, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Daily specials include sandwiches, soups, and entrees such as crab cakes. The restaurant also has happy-hour specials from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday–Friday. This is also where musicians play for the Jazz At The Hotel Phillips music series. Alternatively, you can head to the mezzanine level on weekday evenings for complimentary wine-and-cheese receptions.
Kansas City, Missouri: Barbecue, Jazz, and Nightlife
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, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and the 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: culture, Midwestern charm, and an endless supply of sauce-slathered ribs.
Though the storied jazz scene 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 for a drink under the moonlight.