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Top Things To Do In Kansas City

As the nation’s most centrally located city, Kansas City ought to be called the heart of the United States. While the name itself evokes cornfields and rolling hills, this city is also known as the “cradle of jazz” in the north. The unique culture of Kansas City can be seen at its many museums, live music venues, and hometown eateries. Visitors come from across the country and arrive by car, by plane, and by train. Kansas City’s famous Union Station sits atop an Amtrak line that runs east to St. Louis and Chicago and west all the way to L.A. Keep scrolling to discover all you need to do on a stop through this friendly city.

Sophisticated streets and expansive boulevards make it easy to get to the variety of places to visit in Kansas City. If Crossroads District feels crowded, visit Westport for a more laid back atmosphere.

The best activities do near Kansas City include:

  • Bring the kids to Worlds of Fun Theme Park to explore over 235-acres of amusement park attractions
  • Learn about Asian calligraphy, global costume design, and African history through art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Make friends with the toucans at Kansas City Zoo
  • See a planetarium show inside Kansas City’s Union Station, which also houses permanent & temporary exhibits
  • Explore the most comprehensive collection of WWI objects in the world at the National WWI Museum and Memorial

The hometown vibe of Kansas City makes it easy to find affordable things to do either downtown or near its suburbs. Visit a well-maintained park for relaxation or explore local history on a museum tour.

Cheap activities near Kansas City include:

  • Picnic near the fountain at Loose Park before exploring the rose garden nearby
  • Tour the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, the home of the thirty-third president of the United States
  • Discover how jazz evolved at the American Jazz Museum
  • Enjoy the skyline from the manicured park view at Penn Valley Park
  • Uncover the mysteries of a sunken ship inside the Arabia Steamboat Museum

NFL fans should snag a ticket to Arrowhead Stadium to see the Kansas City Chiefs. Art enthusiasts will enjoy the Plaza Art Fair which features artists from across the United States.

Popular attractions near Kansas City include:

  • After wandering through the exhibits at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, enjoy contemporary cuisine at Café Sebastienne
  • Walk the trails that wind through woodlands in Swope Park before exploring the treetop adventure park
  • Sip a local brew inside the tasting room at Boulevard Brewing Company
  • Bike the pathways that parallel the winding Missouri River at English Landing Park in nearby Parkville
  • See a thrilling Broadway show at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Kansas City is home to Verrückt, the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the world’s tallest water slide. Try ascending those 264 steps before taking the plunge.

Exciting activities happening near Kansas City today include:

  • Venture through the wooded hills and limestone outcroppings at Roanoke Park
  • Explore the colorful botanic garden at Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden  
  • Uncover a treasure trove of information at the Money Museum
  • Learn about the historic settlement of the American West at the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, MO
  • Tour the Vaile Mansion, a perfectly-preserved Victorian mansion with themed rooms

This jazz-lovin’ city offers a unique variety of nightlife activities. See a live band perform downtown, or sample locally distilled spirits after enjoying a play at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Nighttime attractions near Kansas City include:

  • Visit the first legal distillery in Kansas City since prohibition at Tom’s Town Distilling Co.
  • Play retro arcade games while sipping cocktails inside the funky Up-Down KC arcade bar
  • See a contemporary play inside Unicorn Theater, which produces play never before seen locally
  • Catch a blockbuster movie showing at the B & B 1-70 Drive-In
  • Tickle your funny bone at a local comedy show at ComedyCity

This weekend, try some of KC’s famous barbecue. There’s no shortage of options, but Anthony Bourdain named Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue as “One of Thirteen Places to Eat Before You Die.”

Weekend activities near Kansas City include:

  • Swim and relax on the banks of Longview Lake, where fishing and horseback riding are also available
  • Escape to the woods in the midst of the city at Waterfall Park in Independence
  • Sleep under the stars on a camping trip at Blue Springs Lake
  • Ride the Mamba roller coaster attraction at Worlds of Fun
  • Cheer on the Kansas City Royals from the bleachers at Kauffman Stadium

Find fun for all ages at one of Kansas City’s many kid-friendly attractions. Parents and kids can learn something new at Science City before putting the world under a microscope at the Miniatures Museum.

Family-friendly things to do near Kansas City include:

  • Visit Science City at Union Station to experience a variety of interactive science exhibits
  • Splash around at Oceans of Fun Water Park after visiting Worlds of Fun next door
  • Stretch your imagination inside the Lego Ideas Studio at Legoland Discovery Center
  • Attend a kid-friendly creative arts & crafts session for free at Kaleidoscope
  • Explore a miniature world, from jewelry to furniture, at the Toys and Miniatures Museum

First date, 50th anniversary, or somewhere in between, there’s always room for romance in Kansas City. Tonight, sip a glass of wine inside an intimate restaurant with your partner before taking a moonlit walk through the rose gardens.

Date night ideas near Kansas City include:

  • Stroll through the rose gardens at Antioch Park
  • Enjoy an intimate live performance at Starlight Theater
  • Laugh together at a stand-up comedy act inside the iconic Improv Comedy Club
  • Toast to romance under the sultry lighting at Green Lady Lounge
  • Experience live cabaret inside the laid-back interior at Uptown Arts & Bar

When your crew is large, KC has you covered when it comes to group activities. Learn about marine life at the aquarium before taking the city by storm on a segway tour.

Things to do with your friends near Kansas City include:

  • Explore the city by trolley bus on a Kansas City Fun Tour
  • Interact with thousands of sea creatures at Sea Life inside the Crown Center
  • Scream for the touchdown when the Kansas City Chiefs score at Arrowhead Stadium
  • Discover the River Market neighborhood together, the oldest incorporated district in Kansas City
  • Experience Kansas city culture and history in a whole new way on a Segway, Bike & Stroll tour of its museums

When going outside doesn’t fit the mood, Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa touts 1,500 slot machines and 37 tables games. After hitting it big, visit a winery or the public library to unwind.

Things to do indoors near Kansas City include:

  • Lounge amongst the books at Kansas City Public Library
  • Tour the Harley Davidson Factory and learn all about the history of the motorbike
  • Sip wine inside Amigoni Urban Winery
  • Embark on a quest for hidden art on a scavenger hunt of the Nelson-Atkins Museum
  • Wander amongst American relics inside the National Archives building

Outdoor attractions beckon locals and travellers alike to Kansas City. Golf at one of the city’s premier golf courses. Then, enjoy a leisurely bike ride through downtown proper.

Outdoor activities in Kansas City include:

  • Rent a bike near J C Nichols Memorial Fountain and explore the area
  • Swim in Lake Jacamo, a 970-acre freshwater reservoir located near blue Springs
  • Relax on the park benches nestled along the trails at Parkville Nature Sanctuary
  • Explore the colonnade before playing disc golf at Kessler Park
  • Tee off on the green at Swope Memorial Golf Course

Not every attraction is a tourist destination. Some of Kansas City’s best kept secrets include speakeasies, romantic bridges, and Alice in Wonderland-sized bookshelves.

Must-see places near Kansas City include:

  • Order a flame-cocktail at Manifesto, a speakeasy-style basement bar only accessible via a back alley entrance
  • Between Holmes and Blue River Road on Red Bridge Road, celebrate love by locking a padlock to the bridge amongst hundreds of others
  • Frolic through the wildflower meadows at Powell Gardens
  • Gasp at a series of 25-foot tall book spines at the Kansas City Library’s giant bookshelf
  • Tour an orchid garden inside a subtropolis cave at Bird’s Botanicals