Hailed as a mecca of the Midwest for its innovations, Kansas City continues to model itself on the longstanding traditions that built it. From the arts to cuisine to sporting culture, the city remains an old soul, authentic to the area it represents. Through modernization and continued improvements, the buildings along the skyline may have changed with time, but the spirit of Kansas City will forever remain: a community centered on just that in the heart of America.
As America’s most centrally located major metropolitan area, Kansas City combines American culture and many international ones strengthening the ethnic fabric of our minority communities. Our cultural diversity is influenced by African, African-American, Asian, Latino, American Indian, Slavic, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures. We then top it off with some homegrown culture of our own: the heartland.
The city spans across a wide area of land, being so great that two states, Kansas and Missouri, fought to share it. It features the best of both worlds: beautiful cityscapes whose lights dot the night sky and bring the city to life, and the rich farmland that paints a watercolor mural of all four seasons to behold in the region.
Kansas City is ranked as Travel + Leisure’s #1 Affordable Getaway. Lodging, airfare, food and services all host competitive rates in an effort to bring you to them, and ensure your satisfaction in return.
Per its homegrown roots, the city strives to provide the hospitality, comfort and care native to the lands. In the heartland, home is where the heart is.
No visit to KC is complete until you can literally taste it. Luckily, it’s a taste you’re guaranteed to enjoy – legendary KC barbecue. It's practically a rite of passage for visitors to leave with at least one sauce-stained shirt. Today you’ll find more than 100 barbecue establishments in the area, each boasting its own house special – from staples like ribs, pork and ham to not-so-standards, like mutton, sausage and even fish. Many of these city favorites are members of the Kansas City Barbeque Society – the world's largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts.
World Class Cuisine
On top of its emergence as the barbecue capital of the world, Kansas City is also home to multiple upscale restaurants and the concept of fresh food straight from the farm. The city now features two James Beard Award winners and a semifinalist, each for Best Chef Midwest. Nationally-renowned Saveur Magazine heralds it as “America’s Next Great Culinary Destination.” And the best part? We’re just heating up the grill.
Home to numerous art galleries, two national museums and the Kansas City Symphony, the city’s dedication to the arts is one of many aspects that separate it from others in the Midwest. The National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial explores the impact of “The War to End All Wars” on the era’s art while the newest addition, the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, features 72,000 objects from around the world spanning more than three centuries. Local artists can showcase their work in the Crossroads Art District, or at Arrowhead Stadium in the Arrowhead Art Collection.
The city was also ranked No. 4 in the nation for its art scene while topping the lists for its annual Christmas light decorations by Travel+Leisure.
A beacon of architectural prowess, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts aims to enrich the community with various performing arts while pushing the limits on KC’s ever-changing cityscape. Likewise, the Sprint Center is renowned as one of college basketball’s most prominent sites, hosting the Big XII Conference Men’s Basketball Championship since 2010 with plans to remain until 2020.
As one jazz genius put it, “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” Rest assured, Kansas City has it. From the roaring '20s through the early '40s, jazz reigned supreme in Kansas City. The sweet sounds can be heard throughout the city to this day.The 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District provides instant proof to the genre's rich KC roots. For a look into the city's jazz legacy, take in The American Jazz Museum featuring legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. Finally, take in a fierce, late-night jam session at the Mutual Musicians Foundation for an unforgettable, music-filled adventure.
LANDMARK LOOKOUT: When you're near 18th & Vine, stop by the Charlie Parker Memorial Plaza. A native to Kansas City, the legacy of this famous jazz musician lives on with a 17-foot bronze sculpture that bears his likeness.
City of Fountains
With more than 200 fountains trickled throughout the city, it's no surprise that KC has earned the nickname, “The City of Fountains.” Kansas City's bubbly love affair began with a rather practical purpose. The Humane Society built the city’s first fountains as water troughs for horses in the late 1800s. Now cherished works of public art, the fountains have become an attraction unto themselves, beckoning a steady stream of visitors – especially the Fountain of Neptune on the Country Club Plaza, the Waterworks Spectacular at Kauffman Stadium and the Civic Courtyard Fountain inside The Legends at Village West.
Kansas City is home to the best sports fans in the business, featuring three top-tier professional teams and a national NASCAR track. Its state-of-the-art venues and facilities are a sight in themselves and pay tribute to the city’s rich history in the sports industry. Travel + Leisure names Kansas City as one of the Top 10 Cities for Sports-Crazed Citizens.
Other professional teams in the area include the Kansas City Royals and Sporting Kansas City while NASCAR races are held each year at the Kansas Speedway.