Barbecue, Music, Boutique Lodges, and a Flourishing Womens’ Sports activities Scene

Some guests consider Kansas Metropolis, Missouri as both flyover nation or a pit cease; maybe a spot to swing via to pattern some burnt ends or probably run into Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift.

Elliott Scott, director of selling and communications for the Kansas Metropolis Sports activities Fee and WIN for KC, initially was amongst them. “I didn’t count on to like Kansas Metropolis after I got here right here,” he admits, “however the individuals, the tradition, and the chance of this Midwestern metropolis captured my coronary heart.” He’s now referred to as Kansas Metropolis residence for greater than 15 years. “A coworker who just lately moved from the Pacific Northwest nailed it when he informed me, ‘I’ve been plenty of locations the place individuals are good. However Kansas Citians are sort,'” he says. “It’s an alchemical mixture of civic pleasure tempered by humility and hustle softened by kindness. Merely put: it’s magic.”

A microcosm of sports activities, historical past, tradition, artwork, meals, and drink awaits in Kansas Metropolis, which is equal elements Southern, Western, and Midwestern, in accordance with six-year resident Martin Cizmar, who was editor-in-chief of Kansas Metropolis Journal for 5 of these years.

With a present inhabitants of round 508,000, per the U.S. Census, “you get the creativity and buzz of an enormous metropolis, however with out the loopy site visitors, air pollution and overcrowded-ness,” says lifelong native Tyler Shane, meals editor and restaurant critic for Kansas Metropolis Journal.

As somebody who lives a three-hour drive away and makes frequent weekend journeys to Kansas Metropolis from Des Moines, Iowa, I can see (and style) why it was chosen as one among Journey + Leisure‘s 50 greatest locations to journey in 2024. Learn on for the place to remain, what to eat, and the neighborhoods to discover as you cease and keep awhile.

Prime 5 Can’t Miss

  • Relaxation your head on the eclectic but intimate No Emptiness. Every of the boutique lodge’s eight rooms rock a special aesthetic to match your temper.
  • Share artistic small plates and absorb giant quantities of hospitality on the Antler Room, among the many greatest eating places within the metro.
  • Stroll via the Crossroads neighborhood and bop from artwork gallery to brewery to restaurant.
  • Cheer on Kansas Metropolis Present, the womens’ soccer workforce that’s co-owned partly by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his spouse Brittany.
  • Savor no less than one chunk of barbecue; and when you’ve got time, create your individual saucy crawl with stops at locations like Joe’s Kansas Metropolis BBQ, Chef J BBQ , and Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue.

Greatest Lodges and Resorts

Courtesy of The Fontaine Lodge

No Emptiness

On the coronary heart of the Crossroads neighborhood, you’ll shortly perceive why this boutique lodge earned its title: it has simply eight rooms. However if you happen to’re fortunate sufficient to order one, you’ll be capable of choose one that matches together with your most popular aesthetic, whether or not you’re feeling playful (a gold disco ball shines above the mattress in suite 4) or serene (studio 6 will transport you to an elegant, southwestern escape).

Crossroads Lodge

Get a style of all issues native earlier than you even start to discover city. At this 131-room Crossroads haven, you’ll be surrounded by Missouri-made artwork, sweets, linens, and wallpaper. Cease within the 24/7 public artwork gallery earlier than heading as much as a favourite of 11-year-resident Jhy Coulter, restaurateur and CEO of Orange By Devoured and Devoured Pizza: Percheron Rooftop Bar. It’s the proper place to sip on a Skyline Previous Common as you benefit from the view.

The Fontaine

Buying followers, this stylish 132-room luxurious lodge is for you. Located inside Nation Membership Plaza, a 15-block walkable space peppered with greater than 70 retailers and 20 eating places, these polished rooms supply loads of house to retailer your investments — and kick your ft up. Begin the day within the Solarium with a French pastry, then watch the sundown out of your non-public rooftop poolside cabana.

Lodge Phillips Kansas Metropolis, Curio Assortment by Hilton

Two blocks from the Energy and Gentle District, a preferred space for leisure, is a 216-room lodge that fantastically fuses some issues previous with many issues new. The art-deco decor scheme provides a nod to the 1930 constructing’s origins. As does the basement bar, the ultra-luxe P.S. Speakeasy. The rooms are totally fashionable, although, full with rejuvenating pillow-top beds, granite fixtures, and blackout curtains.

21c Museum Lodge Kansas Metropolis

Between Energy and Gentle District and River Market in downtown Kansas Metropolis you’ll discover this 120-room modern art-focused property. Whereas the on-site restaurant, Savoy, celebrates the fashionable Midwest, the artwork within the on-site museum and within the rooms is curated from all over the world. For an immersive expertise, e book the Panther Room, which is definitely an lively artwork set up created by artist Patty Carroll. (You’ll spy panther motifs scattered all through the house.)

Greatest Issues to Do

Courtesy of Informal Animal Brewery

Take pleasure in a flight at a brewery.

Only a few a long time in the past, Kansas Metropolis was overflowing with beers from Budweiser, which is predicated in close by St. Louis. Immediately, choices abound if you happen to’re into the craft brewing scene. Pull up a stool at a taproom like Coulter’s favourite, Informal Animal Brewery, or at Vine Road Brewing Co., to sip on thoughtfully crafted ales, sours, and stouts.

Construct your individual barbecue crawl.

“Barbecue and jazz are the 2 issues which might be most original right here, and each are available in flavors that you do not readily discover elsewhere,” Scott says. “Don’t skip the burnt ends, primarily nuggets of barbecue brisket, which had been stated to be created right here.” Henry Perry is considered by many to be the founding father of Kansas Metropolis-style barbecue. He planted a seed for greater than 100 years of drippy goodness which have adopted. Feast your method via it at Joe’s Kansas Metropolis BBQ, Chef J BBQ , Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, Gates Bar-B-Q, or Slap’s BBQ.

Elliott Scott, director of selling and communications for the Kansas Metropolis Sports activities Fee and WIN for KC

Don’t skip the burnt ends, primarily nuggets of barbecue brisket, which had been stated to be created right here.

— Elliott Scott, director of selling and communications for the Kansas Metropolis Sports activities Fee and WIN for KC

Catch a film at Screenland Armour Theatre.

Though Leawood, Kansas–based mostly AMC Theatres dominate the world, Scott says this independently owned and operated film home greater than holds its personal. In summer time, get pleasure from a retro flick outside. Or if climate isn’t ultimate, cozy up within the theater for an indie movie or Friday Night time Frights, a weekly horror film providing. In case your abdomen growls at any time, Scott suggests asking for “The Kevin Bacon,” a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, mozzarella, white cheddar, and garlic aioli.

Attend a present by the Kansas Metropolis Chamber Orchestra.

Whereas the Kansas Metropolis Symphony and Kauffman Middle for the Performing Arts rightfully earn accolades and a focus in abundance (Kauffman can be the place you will discover the Kansas Metropolis Ballet and touring Broadway reveals), Kansas Metropolis has one other classical music choice that Scott deems very worthy of consideration: The Kansas Metropolis Chamber Orchestra. Performances are polished, nonetheless, gatherings are extra casual and inexpensive, “which makes this an approachable strategy to expertise basic music whereas serving to help skilled artists in the neighborhood,” he provides.

Root for the house workforce throughout a Kansas Metropolis Present soccer match.

Kansas Metropolis’s sports activities scene has been gaining plenty of steam during the last decade. Sporting Kansas Metropolis gained the MLS Cup in 2013, adopted by a 2015 World Sequence victory by the Kansas Metropolis Royals, and 2020, 2023, and 2024 Tremendous Bowl wins by the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. These successes have cemented Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes as family names, however “nothing has energized the group just like the Kansas Metropolis Present’s historic funding in ladies’s sports activities, particularly the development of the primary purpose-built stadium for knowledgeable womens’ workforce on the earth: CPKC Stadium,” Scott says. “Kansas Metropolis is being swept away by Present fever.” Co-owned partly by Mahomes and his spouse Brittany, this workforce has been kicking it and drawing crowds since 2021. Restaurant concessions are native, “ the power of the followers is contagious,” in accordance with Scott, and the potential is palpable. “To be there may be to really feel impressed and enthusiastic about the way forward for women and girls in Kansas Metropolis,” Scott explains.

Greatest Eating places

Courtesy of Antler Room

Further Virgin

Michael Smith’s tapas restaurant has had an extended and common run within the Crossroads District for good cause. Its vibrant decor echoes the vibe and look of the eclectic, flavorful dishes. Scott recommends sitting on the giant, central bar and sampling the herbaceous fattoush salad, some chickpea fries with romesco sauce, and the harissa- and preserved lemon-scented roasted branzino.

Billie’s Grocery

About 190 miles away in Des Moines, I caught wind of the cult-like following that surrounds this natural eatery. So the final time I used to be on the town, I satisfied my friends to cease in for brunch. We had been met with a heat good day and heat mild streaming from the home windows into the ethereal, white house. After perusing the small market of cookbooks, spirit-free drink mixers, and condiments, we made our strategy to the counter to order a “boujee blueberry-lemon streusel poptart” (many baked items are vegan, gluten-free, and/or uncooked), the Turkish eggs and grilled halloumi, and a kimchi bloody mary. It was all so unimaginable, we couldn’t resist snagging copycat Snickers and Twix bars and a six-pack of gluten-free donut holes to get pleasure from on the way in which residence.

Baba’s Pantry

Baba immigrated to the U.S. within the late Seventies as a Palestinian refugee. Feeling wistful for grandma’s residence cooking, he’d name his mother ceaselessly to ask for household heirloom recipes so he might attempt to recreate them stateside. He did simply that, and did it so nicely that professors, associates, and colleagues requested for extra. That’s how Baba’s Pantry was born. A few 20-minute drive south of downtown, Baba’s is good for lunch. “This small bodega-style restaurant makes velvety hummus, golden falafel, and scrumptious shawarma wraps in its colourful, cozy house,” Shane says. Wash all of it down with Baba’s iced black tea, which is sweetened with date syrup.

Antler Room

With names like Rene Redzepi and Danny Meyer on their resumes, husband-wife workforce ‍Leslie and ‍Nick Goellner definitely put of their reps earlier than they planted their roots on the Antler Room. You possibly can sense the finesse in seasonal small plates (roasted cauliflower with  gochujang dressing and quinoa furikake) and home made pastas (braised lamb-stuffed cappelletti with pickled beets). “Head right here in your fashionable American gastronomic eating expertise,” Shane advises. “The comfortable house excels in modern superb eating and prime notch service,” which has earned the workforce three nominations for the James Beard Basis’s Greatest Chef: Midwest award.

Earl’s Premier

“A cluttered East Coast fish home and oyster bar may appear misplaced smack dab in the midst of the nation,” Shane concedes. However belief the locals, who line up for the most effective oysters within the metropolis. (The menu touts that Earl’s is actually premier as a result of the workforce places in critical TLC to supply the “freshest, highest-quality farm-raised oysters accessible right here within the Midwest.”) Share “Champagne and a dozen” — 12 oysters with a half-bottle of bubbly — then spherical out the meal with a bowl of New England clam chowder with fried saltines and a basic cheeseburger on a pillowy potato bun, Shane suggests.

Greatest Time to Go to

Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Pictures

The very best time to go to is spring or fall. Kansas Metropolis experiences all 4 seasons, so after lengthy winters, “our metropolis comes alive within the spring,” Shane says. From brewery patios to farmers markets to parks in full bloom, April via June are divine. Fall can be unbelievable. September and October usher in sweater climate, meet on the axis of Present and Chiefs seasons, and showcase vibrant fall foliage.

“Kansas Metropolis’s outside occasion season is firmly rooted in autumn. As scorching temperatures start to fall in mid-September, traditions just like the Plaza Artwork Honest, American Royal World Sequence of Barbecue, and Garmin Kansas Metropolis Marathon draw individuals again outdoors,” Scott says.

Whereas days are normally heat throughout these durations, mornings might be brisk, so it’s clever to pack layers.

Elliott Scott, director of selling and communications for the Kansas Metropolis Sports activities Fee and WIN for KC

Kansas Metropolis’s outside occasion season is firmly rooted in autumn. As scorching temperatures start to fall in mid-September, traditions just like the Plaza Artwork Honest, American Royal World Sequence of Barbecue, and Garmin Kansas Metropolis Marathon draw individuals again outdoors.

— Elliott Scott, director of selling and communications for the Kansas Metropolis Sports activities Fee and WIN for KC

Get There

Take flight through Kansas Metropolis Worldwide Airport. Simply 15 miles northwest of downtown, this newly renovated airport is a frequent vacation spot for carriers like Southwest and Delta. 

Kansas Metropolis is a simple drive from different heartland hubs like Des Moines (three hours), St. Louis (4 hours), Oklahoma Metropolis (5 hours), Omaha (two hours and 45 minutes), and the Ozarks (three and a half hours).

Neighborhoods to Go to

Lorraine Boogich/Getty Pictures


Cizmar is likely to be slightly biased since he lives on this Southwest Kansas Metropolis neighborhood, however he’s a agency believer that “it is essentially the most walkable place within the metropolis with some artwork galleries, eating places, and bars.” Brookside simply so occurred to win “greatest neighborhood” in Kansas Metropolis Journal‘s readers’ selection ballot throughout his reign, “and never as a result of I rigged it,” Cizmar laughs. For the most effective perspective, stroll alongside the Trolley Monitor Path between the Plaza and the quaint small downtown of Brookside, zigzagging into any retailers and eating places that catch your eye.


From superb artwork (the Kauffman Middle and T-Cellular Middle are recognized for his or her live shows and performances) to superb eating (Farina, Corvino, and Affare are further greatest restaurant picks from Shane), this arts district is “a must-visit,” Shane and Cizmar agree. “Don’t neglect to move to Brewer’s Alley for the most effective craft breweries,” Shane says.

West Bottoms

All through the month, this historic district thrives because of eating places just like the Golden Ox and The Campground, reside music at The Ship, and dive bars like Fortunate Boys. The very best day to swing by is throughout a First Friday, “when all of the classic retailers come alive for his or her month-to-month opening,” Shane says.

River Market

Dwelling to “some of the full of life farmers markets within the metropolis,” in accordance with Shane, in addition to a various restaurant scene, this centrally situated neighborhood is concurrently charmingly historic (the Arabia Steamboat Museum) and forward-thinking (Thou Mayest Espresso Roasters). Whichever eating places you select, remember to save room for dessert at beloved Betty Rae’s Ice Cream. “Betty Rae’s distinctive flavors like Candied Walnut-Goat Cheese and Creme Brûlée make guests and locals alike soften,” Shane says.

Overland Park

Technically a suburb on the south facet of Kansas Metropolis, many individuals who don’t have an Overland Park zip code are inclined to ignore it. However Cizmar believes it’s definitely value a cease. “The downtown space has cool eating places, a meals corridor, and a pleasant report store,” he says. “It is also residence to among the best farmers markets within the metropolis on Saturday mornings.”

Get Round

TriggerPhoto/Getty Pictures

“Though Kansas Metropolis stays a vacation spot greatest explored by automotive, free transit choices and devoted bike lanes are slowly decreasing the metro’s reliance on private autos,” Scott says.

Your greatest bets for native transportation embrace:

  • Renting a automotive from a model like Avis, Alamo, Funds, Enterprise, or Hertz
  • Renting a motorbike utilizing RideKC Bike share
  • Utilizing a rideshare like Uber or Lyft

You too can hop aboard the free 2.2-mile RideKC Streetcar, which makes 16 stops to attach Foremost Road to River Market to Union Station.

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