Kansas City Here We Come
Nearby Kansas City is a long-time favorite travel destination of mine. Offering an abundance of history and spectacular area attractions, this cosmopolitan city provides a vast choice for all ages and interests—-without too much lead time needed for Tulsans.
A mere four-hour drive from T-town, Kansas City, also known as the “City of Fountains” since it boasts more fountains than Rome, is a major metropolis with European-style architecture, magnificent museums, professional sports, theme parks and world-class shopping and dining.
Southern Living magazine described Kansas City as, “upscale, downtown and affordable” and as a place “where you can stay in the lap of luxury without paying through the nose.” I love that Kansas City couples large city offerings with the charm that is typically found in a smaller town.
Unique neighborhoods such as Westport, which has an eclectic mix of cafes and shops, the 18th & Vine District, home to The American Jazz Museum, and the refurbished downtown area provides visitors with enormous choice and variety. It’s a cinch to get around by car. So, if you want to spend part of your day sightseeing and then dine downtown, it’s no problem.
Baseball, Barbeque and Bebop
- Deliver on your child’s all-American dream of attending a major league baseball game by visiting Kauffman Stadium where you can watch the powder-blue uniformed Kansas City Royals take the field. Call 816-921-8000 for ticket and scheduling information.
- Chow down an irresistible, Kansas City-iconic Gates barbeque sandwich while at the game or, post-game, visit one of several red-roofed Gates Bar-B-Q restaurants located throughout the city.
- Afterward, head to Westport to pay tribute to great jazz musicians from the early 20th century such as Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie at The American Jazz Museum. (americanjazzmuseum.com).
Treats and Eats at “The Plaza”
Put on your walking shoes and stroll along picturesque Country Club Plaza. One of the prettiest and the oldest shopping districts in the country offers visitors a slew of choices with its wide array of retail establishments, including not-to-be-missed Hall’s department store as well as numerous eateries and restaurants.
All are housed in stunning Spanish architectural-style buildings, modeled after those found in Seville, Spain. Check out the many murals and art displays sprinkled throughout!
“Out of This World” Outside
Amusement-park addicts can get their fix at Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun, two family theme parks, situated amidst 235 sprawling acres. At Worlds of Fun, experience some of the more than 50 rides and attractions including the infamous Mamba–one of the tallest, longest and fastest coasters in the world or its new inverted coaster called Patriot.
Then cool down in a million-gallon wave pool or head for one or all of 18 water slides at Oceans of Fun, the largest water park in the Midwest. A hopper pass for $51.99 (adult pricing) and $29.98 (for those under 4-feet tall) offers the best value. Call 816-454-4545 for more details.
Explorers and Artists Adventure
Beat the heat at some indoor creativity-stirring explorations including:
- Science City, housed within historic Union Station, a magnificent 1914 building. Explore fossil digs and get up close to prehistoric creatures. And, so that children can learn how science and technology play a significant role in day-to-day living, they can use their imaginations in a mock newsroom, crime lab or medical center. Call 816-460-2020 for hours and admission fees.
- Kaleidoscope is perfect for those interested in creativity-stirring activities. It is located in the Crown Center complex, which is connected to Union Station via skywalk. Call 816-274-8301 for hours and admission fees and art session details.
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is known for its notable collection of East Asian art and its outdoor sculpture garden. Indoors, check out Museum Guard, a lifelike sculpture that almost seems to be breathing. There are more than a dozen sculptures by world-renowned Henry Moore. Admission is free. Call 816-751-1ART.
Kansas City is renowned for its famous barbeque and succulent Kansas City strip steaks. In addition to the already-mentioned Gates, another popular barbeque restaurant is:
- Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque–New to the scene, this gets rave reviews by food critics including Food and Wine magazine. It is located at 101 W. 22nd St. Call 1-816-472-7427.
And for spectacular steaks:
- Hit downtown’s Hereford House, one of the finest steakhouses nationwide. 2 East 20th St. Call 816-842-1080.
- Sheraton Suites at Country Club Plaza–Rates start at $150 for a family of four. Call 816-931-4400.
- The Westin Crown Center–Tour the lobby and admire the five-story waterfall. Rates start as low as $89 for a family of four. Call 1-800-228-3000.
- Embassy Suites Country Club Plaza–It’s tried-and-true for its complimentary buffet breakfast, indoor pool fun and spacious suites. Call 1-816-756-1720.
- Great Wolf Lodge–A vacation in itself, Great Wolf boasts an indoor water park, a mini golf course, an arcade, and MagiQuest, a new live-action adventure game. For summer specials, go to greatwolf.com. Located at 10401 Cabela Dr., (913) 299-7001.
With all of this to offer, you must now understand why I am such a fan of Kansas City. Explore this nearby city with your family! With all the many options at one’s fingertips, the only drawback is trying squeezing it all into one trip. But, thanks to its convenient location, it’s easy to revisit Kansas City time and again.
For further information about all the many points of interest, simply visit kcchamber.com or visitkc.com where you can find the DiscoverKC Pass full of coupons and special offers.