If there’s a quintessential city to embody our nation’s heartland, it’s Kansas City. With its vibrant arts, sports, and food scene, this midwestern gem may just be the best-kept secret in the country. But not if we have anything to say—here’s our curated guide to Kansas City.
Where to Stay:
In the downtown Power & Light district of the city, you’ll find the iconic Hotel Kansas City. The hotel’s gothic and Tudor-style architecture lays bare its over 100-year-old history, but the rooms are a modern marvel. Go ahead and spring for the loft layouts—you won’t regret staying in a multi-level room that provides the right amount of separation and privacy for both families and group travelers. And with plenty of on-property dining and drinking options, you won’t have to go far to have a good time.
If you’re looking for an ultra-boutique feel, look no further than the Hotel Aida (or its sister property, the Truitt). These two mansions, located just a few steps away from the Nelson-Atkins Museum and some of the best art the city has to offer, are charming, cozy, and perfect in every way. Each room is sprawling and unique, and common spaces are divinely decorated. There’s also complimentary coffee and snacks at all hours of the day, so you can truly think of this as your home away from home.
Where to Eat:
While Kansas City is known as a barbeque city, it would be an undeniable mistake to miss the fine dining experience that is The Town Company, led by James Beard-nominated Chef Johnny Leach and pastry chef (and wife) Helen Jo Leach. This genuinely exquisite restaurant has a menu that, while not expansive, is incredibly creative. The menu changes frequently to incorporate locally sourced ingredients from farms on both sides of the Kansas City border, and the wood-burning hearth plays a role in every dish. (Pro tip: Do not skimp on dessert.)
Frequently lauded as one of the best restaurants in the nation, this Hyde Park institution—initially opened in 2016—places just as much emphasis on its food as its expansive wine list. The rotating menu reflects the best goods of the season and is inspired by international trade routes, and on any given night, you might pair a focaccia with a tostada and some house-made beef bolognese.
Where to Drink:
Promising French flair and a Midwestern heart, this wine bar in Old Westport offers intimate jazz vibes alongside glasses of champagne. With a variety of bubbles sold by both the glass and the bottle, Ca Va explores sparkling wine not only from France but also from South Africa, the UK, and even Missouri. The bar also offers locally sourced hams, cheeses, and, of course, some caviar (perhaps less local).
Kansas City is known for its breweries, but perhaps none are better loved than the TK. This veritable compound is made for touring and tasting, so if you’re interested in learning more about the craft behind beer (in addition to tasting the beer itself), you’ve come to the right place.
Where to Visit:
As one of (if not the only) restaurant in Kansas City to boast live jazz seven days a week, Chaz is well worth a visit for a cocktail or a meal regardless of what day of the week you’re visiting. Share an appetizer while listening to some of the best music the city has to offer in a subterranean setting, and afterward, wander around the nearby Plaza, which offers some of the best shopping in the city.
This world-class art institution is a reason to visit Kansas City in and of itself. The collection houses more than TK pieces spanning TK, and provides a stunning backdrop for an afternoon stroll. The outdoor areas of the museum—which house the world’s largest shuttlecock—are also not to be missed. And given that admission is free, this is a great activity no matter how large your group is.
As the only American museum dedicated to celebrating the objects, history, and experiences of the First World War, this unique museum in Kansas City is home to one of the largest collections of WWI documents in the world and the second-oldest public museum dedicated to the cause. You’ll need about two hours to properly tour the entirety of the museum, which includes both permanent and special collections.