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. Neither locals nor visitors agree on who makes the best sauce-slathered ribs, but Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, Gates Bar-B-Q, Arthur Bryant’s, and Oklahoma Joe’s often get high marks. Aside from having an unusually high concentration of barbecue eateries and structures spouting water, Kansas City has also evolved in recent years into an artistic hub with a downtown area named one of America’s best by Forbes magazine.
Music and Nightlife
- Power & Light District: An $850 million development project completed in 2008 brought more than 50 restaurants, nightspots, and shops to this nine-block district in downtown Kansas City. Here you can get a gel manicure by day and see a concert by night.
- 18th & Vine Jazz District: See artifacts from jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker at the American Jazz Museum and stick around for a live show at the onsite club, the Blue Room.
- Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is home base for the city’s ballet, opera, and symphony orchestra. The complex’s glass, concrete, and stainless-steel exterior is a distinctive aspect of the skyline.
- Place your bets at five casinos in the area. You’ll find more than 1,500 slot machines and 47 table games at Harrah’s, which is open 24 hours a day.
- Cheer: There are pro football, baseball, and soccer teams in Kansas City, and more NCAA basketball games have been played here than in any other US city.
- Play: The College Basketball Experience features 16 interactive exhibits that let you shoot, pass, and even play the role of sports announcer.
- Learn: Modeled after old stadiums like Chicago’s Comiskey Park, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum highlights African American players from the late 1800s to the major-leagues era.
Where to Stay
- Near the stadiums: Drury Inn & Suites Kansas City Stadium is less than a mile from Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums. After a game, head to the hotel’s 5:30 Kickback for free food and drinks.
- Downtown: The Kansas City Marriott Downtown includes a restored portion of the Muehlbach Hotel, opened in 1916. Fourteen US presidents as well as Babe Ruth and the Beatles have stayed here.
- Near shopping: The AAA Four Diamond Raphael Hotel overlooks Country Club Plaza, a 15-block district with upscale retailers and restaurants.