Exploring Paris of the Plains

National Geographic’s 2019 travel guide puts it best: You should “revel in the revival” of Kansas City. While you’re sure to find plenty of what you expect — BBQ and jazz clubs — there’s more to KCMO than just pit smokers and saxophones. And, thanks to the fare-free Ride KC Streetcar, traversing downtown KC is a breeze.

 

It’s a sports town. A tour through history. A burgeoning culinary destination. With a culture steeped in tradition, Kansas City seamlessly blends a colorful past into the modern day, featuring revitalized neighborhoods, world-class museums, and a flourishing food scene, complete with libations aplenty. While travel guides abound, few were comprehensive, and even fewer including the kind of mix that would appeal to M’s eclectic interests. Consider that solved.

Attractions

Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium

This impressive 60-foot-dome planetarium hosts traditional planetarium presentations, laser light shows, and special planetarium shows. Visit Website →

Sea Life Aquarium

Transport yourself into the amazing underwater world. Come nose to nose with sharks and prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays. See more than 5,000 sea creatures and 30 incredible displays. Visit Website →

Union Station Kansas City

Kansas City’s Union Station is the second-largest working train station in the country. This fully restored 1914 landmark is home to Science City, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium, the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre, and many other educational and engaging attractions. The Station also hosts world-class, educational, traveling exhibitions, such as Dinosaurs Revealed, the Art of the Brick, and Pompeii the Exhibition. Visit Website →

Ameristar Casino

Ameristar is one of the largest casino floors in Missouri, boasting more than 2,200 games, nine dining venues, a luxury hotel, 18 movie screens, and live entertainment at the Star Pavilion. Visit Website →

Royals Baseball

Head to “the K”, home of the 2015 World Champions, and catch a game in one of the most beautiful stadiums in the country. Visit Website →

Kansas City Zoo

Lions and tigers and polar bears — oh my! And penguins and sea lions, orangutans, elephants, giraffes, and more. Visit Website →

Bars, Comedy, and Nightclubs

Hamburger Mary’s

In addition to hamburgers and cocktails, Hamburger Mary’s features a variety of drag shows and drag bingo. Eat, drink, and be Mary! Visit Website →

Manifesto

Manifesto is a small, intimate cocktail lounge that opened April 10, 2009. Led by Ryan Maybee and a talented team of bartenders, this cozy bar is located in the basement of The Rieger, originally a hotel that was built in 1915. It was operated as a “Speakeasy” during Prohibition and was frequented by the likes of Tom Pendergast and Al Capone. Visit Website →

Missy B’s

Kitschy nightclub attracting a diverse crowd for adult-themed entertainment like drag performers. Visit Website →

Imrov Comedy Theater & Restaurant Kansas City

The Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre has been the career launching pad for dozens of familiar faces of television and film. Check out the lineup of stand-up comedians. Visit Website →

The KC Improv Company

KCIC specializes in improvised comedy — comedy that’s invented on the spot, based on audience suggestions. They even pull willing volunteers from the audience up on stage and involve them in the show. If you like “Who’s Line Is It, Anyway?” and Second City, you’ll love their shows. Visit Website →

Green Lady Lounge

Green Lady Lounge features Kansas City Jazz musicians in the rich Kansas City tradition. Free of televisions, you can focus on music, atmosphere, and conversation. Never a cover charge. Visit Website →

Mutual Musicians Foundation

The Foundation has been an institution in the Kansas City jazz scene for more than 100 years. Swing by to enjoy a late-night jam session that runs into the wee hours of the morning. Visit Website →

The Majestic

Restaurant and jazz Club. Visit Website →

Concert & Show Venues

Arvest Theater at the Midland

Historic theatre seating up to 3,000, updated to host music, movies, plays, comedy, dance, Broadway, and children’s shows. Check their website for scheduled performers. Visit Website →

Kansas City Music Hall

The Kansas City Music Hall is a large proscenium theatre with a striking streamline, modern interior that seats an audience of 2,400 patrons. The hall presents touring Broadway shows, as well as visiting symphony orchestras, opera and ballet companies, and other events. Visit Website →

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

An architectural gem with amazing acoustics, this venue is home to the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera, Kansas City Symphony, and other innovative programming, and embraces a variety of audiences with different tastes, interests, and passions. Visit Website →

Knuckleheads Saloon

Head across the tracks to the East Bottoms, where you’ll find this rough-and-tumble music venue that regularly hosts blues, country, and rock acts on outdoor and indoor stages. Visit Website →

Sprint Center

Sprint Center is a world class event arena that seats nearly 19,000 and hosts everything from concerts to sporting events, ice and cirque shows, comedians, and dinosaurs! Check current schedule for events. Visit Website →

Uptown Theater

This mid-size theater hosts a variety of musicians and comedians. The building is on the historic site registry. Visit Website →

Interactive Fun

Worlds of Fun & Oceans of Fun

Thrill rides (roller coasters!), family rides, shows, and more. Visit Website →

Blade & Timber

Axe throwing, beer, wine, and snacks! Ages 10 and up. Visit Website →

Breakout KC

Breakout KC is one of the nation’s top-rated, live-action escape room facilities, located in downtown Kansas City’s River Market. Your goal is simple: You have 60 minutes to break out from one of their live-action, themed rooms. Crack codes. Use your gut. Solve riddles. Do you have what it takes to break out in time? Visit Website →

College Basketball Experience

The College Basketball Experience is a high-energy interactive facility where fans can immerse themselves in the game. From skills challenges to capturing your own call of a historic game at the ESPN-U Broadcast Desk, you’ll experience college basketball like never before. Learn about the legends who have made the game great. A must for basketball fans of all ages! Visit Website →

Go Ape Treetop Adventure

Go Ape is an unparalleled outdoor adventure experience. Tackle dangling obstacles, explore the trees from a new perspective, and fly around on multiple zip lines from exciting heights. Visit Website →

iFly

Indoor Skydiving! This is an awesome experience in a vertical wind tunnel, without the risks and cost of jumping out of a plane. On your mark, get set, fly! Visit Website →

JAEGERS Subsurface Paintball

The world’s first and only underground paintball arena catering to all skill levels of the game. Nestled in the hillside of one of Kansas City’s oldest limestone mines, JAEGERS has five underground recreation fields and a two-man speedball field set up year-round. Visit Website →

Kaleidoscope

Children use their imaginations to make art with materials from Hallmark’s manufacturing processes. Some are cut into shapes, while others are left just as Hallmark sends them. And Hallmark provides different materials, so the projects are ever-changing! Visit Website →

Legoland Discovery Center

Based on the ever-popular LEGO® brick, the Center offers a fun, highly interactive and educational two to three-hour indoor experience ideal for families with children 3-10 years old. Visit Website →

Science City

Science City is a place of wonder, where kids and adults can find something new with each visit. Throw the don’t-touch mindset out the window. There are no tests and no wrong or right answers, just a chance to explore with freedom and pure imagination. Named one of the country’s 25 best science centers by Parents Magazine. Visit Website →

Up-Down KC

Up-Down Kansas City is a 21+ arcade bar featuring more than 50 arcade games from the ’80s and ’90s, pinball machines, four classic skeeball alleys, Nintendo 64 console gaming, life-size Jenga, and Connect Four. All games cost just 25 cents. Drink menu includes an extensive craft beer selection with more than 50 beers on tap and even more bottles and cans, as well as a full bar. Visit Website →

Zip KC

Soar high above the bluffs of the Kansas River on nine zip lines stretching over 5,800 feet and reaching up to 50mph! Zip KC is your ultimate Kansas City adventure. Come experience a high-flying adventure less than 30 minutes. from downtown Kansas City. Visit Website →

Museums & Historical Sites

Harry S Truman National Historic Site & Truman Home

The Harry S Truman National Historic Site preserves the longtime home of Harry S Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, as well as other properties associated with him in the Kansas City, Missouri, metropolitan area. President Truman took America from its traditional isolationism into the age of international involvement. Despite his power, he never forgot where he came from. Today, visitors can experience the surroundings Truman knew as a young man of modest ambition through his political career and final years as a former president. Visit Website →

Lexington Tourism Bureau

Lexington is a quaint and charming Missouri River town that makes a great day trip and group destination for shopping, history, and sightseeing, just an hour east of downtown Kansas City. The city is the home of the famous “cannonball in the courthouse column,” a relic of the 1861 Civil War Battle of Lexington. The battlefield is now a state historic site with museum and guided tours of the 1853 restored plantation house used as a field hospital during the battle. Visit Website →

Quindaro Ruins Underground Railroad

Located on the Missouri River, Quindaro began as a boomtown and evolved into a stop on the underground railroad. Now part of Kansas City, Kan., archaeological digs are under way at the Quindaro ruins with limited public viewing. Artifacts are on display at the Wyandotte County Museum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit Website →

Vaile Victorian Mansion

Built by Colonel and Mrs. Harvey Vaile in 1881, it was “the most princely house and the most comfortable home in the entire west,” the Kansas City Times reported in 1882. Situated on North Liberty Street, a mile north of the historic Independence Square, the three-story Gothic-like structure today sits in solitary splendor, an architectural anomaly among the surrounding Midwestern homes. The 31-room mansion includes nine marble fireplaces, spectacular painted ceilings, flushing toilets, a built-in 6,000-gallon water tank, and a 48,000-gallon wine cellar. This mansion is one of the best examples of Second Empire style architecture in the United States. Visit Website →

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The fountain consists of five rectangular, interconnected pools of different sizes. The water is symbolic of time with the power to cleanse and heal the divisions the Vietnam War caused in the country. A semicircular memorial wall has the names of the 451 casualties who called the Kansas City area home. Visit Website →

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Kansas City’s acclaimed, free contemporary art museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art opened in 1994 and boasts a rapidly growing permanent collection of modern and contemporary works of art from around the world. The Museum hosts exhibitions, installations, lectures, workshops, and other creative programs, free for all ages. Visit Website →

Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art has one of the top internationally acclaimed collections of emerging and established artists today. Public Art Review magazine named Johnson County Community College as one of the top 10 university/college campuses for public art in America, citing the sculptures, paintings, ceramics, photography, and works on paper installed throughout the campus. The museum presents many of the region’s most important exhibitions of leading-edge contemporary art, as well as dynamic and diverse educational programming. Visit Website →

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is home to roughly 34,500 pieces in its collection. From ceramic objects found in ancient Chinese tombs to whimsical sculptures of badminton birdies, the Nelson-Atkins collection spans over 5,000 years of humanity. Visit Website →

Arabia Steamboat Museum

The Arabia Steamboat Museum is home to a true time capsule of frontier life in the 1800s. The Arabia was headed up the Missouri River in the fall of 1856 when she struck a tree snag and sank just north of Kansas City. Her cargo hold was full of 200 tons of supplies bound for general stores and pioneer settlements. In 1988, a group of modern-day adventurers uncovered the lost Arabia and her magnificent cargo, including fine dishware, clothing, and even bottled food, all preserved in remarkable condition. Their find has been called the King Tut’s Tomb of the Missouri River. Visit Website →

Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall

Housed in the historic 1910 Beaux-Arts style mansion and private estate of lumber baron and civic leader Robert Alexander Long and his family, the Kansas City Museum became a public museum in 1940. Seventy-five years later, the Museum is under extensive renovation and open to the public for tours, exhibitions, programs, and events. Visit Website →

National Frontier Trails Museum

The National Frontier Trails Museum is a history museum, interpretive center, and research library dedicated to telling the rich history of America’s principle, pioneering trails, including the Oregon, Santa Fe and California trails. It’s located in Independence, Mo., a key starting point for hundreds of thousands of pioneers who risked their livelihoods for a new life in the American West. Visit Website →

18th & Vine

Honors the careers and legacies of KC’s jazz greats, as well as celebrates the experience of jazz as an original American art form through research, exhibition, education, and performance. Find it in the former Gem Theater on 18th & Vine. Located nearby is the Charlie Park Memorial, a stunning sculpture that pays tribute to one of the city’s legendary jazz sons. Visit Website →

The Money Museum at Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

This free, walk-in experience includes interactive exhibits on banking and finance, the historic Harry S. Truman Coin Collection, and the Bank’s cash processing and vault viewing area. Reservations are not required as all guests are invited to walk-in and visit the museum at any time. Visit Website →

American Jazz Museum

Located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibits and films, the Changing Gallery exhibit space, Horace M. Peterson III Visitors Center, Blue Room jazz club, and Gem Theater. Visit Website →

Glore Psychiatric Museum

Voted one of the top-10 attractions in Missouri in the USA Today Readers’ Choice contest, the museum takes visitors through the wide span of mental health treatment history. Visit Website →

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum recreates the look, sounds, and feel of the game’s storied past. Video presentations and memorabilia in the 10,000 square-foot multimedia exhibit chronicle the history and heroes of the leagues from their origin after the Civil War to their demise in the 1960s. The federal government recently designated the museum America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Visit Website →

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

The museum exhibits the art of the imagination through the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures and one of the nation’s largest collections of antique toys. Visit Website →

TWA Museum at 10 Richards Road

The TWA Museum is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the history of Trans World Airlines. Many interesting and historical TWA airline artifacts and airline cockpit simulators are on display for visitors. Visit Website →

National WWI Museum and Memorial

The National WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s museum dedicated to remembering, interpreting, and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum and Memorial, along with the Edward Jones Research Center, is home to one of the largest Great War collections in the world — more than 330,000 items strong. While it is the official World War I museum of the United States, the Museum and Memorial uses its collection to tell more than just the American story. Exhibitions take a comprehensive look at the entire war, from the first shots fired in 1914 to the last attempts at peace in 1919. Visit Website →

Performing Arts

Coterie Theatre

A nationally recognized nonprofit organization with a mission of providing professional, classical, and contemporary theatre challenges audiences and artists by creating educationally dramatic outreach programs in the community. Visit Website →

Kansas City Ballet

Founded in 1957, Kansas City Ballet is a 30-member professional ballet company under the direction of artistic director Devon Carney and executive director Jeffrey J. Bentley. Kansas City Ballet offers an eclectic repertory, ranging from the traditional classics to exciting contemporary ballets. Visit Website →

Kansas City Symphony

The Kansas City Symphony currently has 80 full-time musicians, all area residents. Each year, it plays a 42-week season, which includes subscription concerts, educational concerts, regional and national tours, and public outreach concerts. The Symphony also performs music for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City Ballet. Visit Website →

MTH Theatre

Musical Theatre Heritage presents professional musical theatre productions for your inner theater geek. Visit Website →

New Theatre Restaurant

Dinner and live theater! New Theatre Restaurant is the largest and most successful theatre restaurant facility in the United States, averaging more than a quarter million in attendance annually. The theatre is beautiful, the food is excellent (and plentiful), and the productions are of consistently high quality, with nationally known guest performers. Visit Website →

Unicorn Theatre

The Unicorn Theatre develops and produces high-quality, thought-provoking plays that have never been seen in the region. They illuminate social issues by shining a light on diversity and inclusive stories which include race, religion, and gender identity. Visit Website →

Random

Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary & Education Center

Cedar Cove is a nonprofit organization devoted to the care and preservation of endangered large cats while educating the public on their behavior, physiology, habitats, and the threats and dangers of extinction. Aside from our public hours on the weekends, Cedar Cove arranges hosted tours for schools, special interest groups, families, or any group interested in visiting the park during the week if your schedule prevents a weekend visit. Visit Website →

Prospero’s Books

Founded in 1997 with three floors of books and media, meet and take home the greatest minds in history, or join in on KC’s finest, running conversations at the counter. Located in the scrum of KC’s bohemia. Visit Website →

Moon Marble

This unique shop sells marbles and marble games, old fashioned games (no batteries required), things you remember playing at your parents’ or grandparents’ house, and glass jewelry and ornaments, and lots of other intriguing items. They conduct on-premise demonstrations twice daily on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday showing how they make a large, decorative marble. Visit Website →

Tours

KC Barbecue Tours

Bus-guided food tours. Sample some of KC’s mouth watering BBQ. Original tour includes stops at four BBQ restaurants. The ’Que & Brew stops at three. Visit Website →

Boulevard Brewery Tours

Multiple tour options available for the Boulevard Brewery. Visit Website →

KC Beer Tours

The KC Beer Tour offers guests a designated driver to guide them to local breweries and up-and-coming producers, offering tour-goers an opportunity to learn about the craft brew business and sample exciting new beers. Tours are led by a knowledgeable driver to ensure the best possible experience for participating guests as well as for the companies with which they partner. Their all-inclusive tours on the KC Beer Bus provide a unique visit to many popular Kansas City and surrounding area craft breweries. Visit Website →

J. Rieger & Company

A one-hour guided tour of J. Rieger & Co., Kansas City’s iconic distillery, located in the historic Electric Park neighborhood of the East Bottoms district. Discover the history of their brand, from its founding during the wild and raucous years when the city boasted “the wettest block in the world,” to its premature demise at the dawn of Prohibition, and eventual revival in 2014, nearly a century later. Enjoy extensive access to each phase of the distillation process, from grain to bottle. Check out the two-story slide! The tour concludes with a tasting of their four core products led by one of their knowledgeable guides. (See the website for restrictions such as the requirement to wear closed-toe shoes.) Visit Website →

Hallmark Visitors Center

Discover how a teenager from Nebraska tucked two shoeboxes of postcards under his arms and set out to create an iconic company in Kansas City. From their timeline walking visitors through Hallmark’s humble beginnings, to famous collaborations with U.S. presidents, world leaders, and famous artists, to samples of their current products customers have grown to love, come visit and be immersed in the world of Hallmark at their Visitors Center. Visit Website →

KC Double-Decker Sightseeing Tours

A 90-minute guided tour on a double-decker bus. Tour includes the Power & Light district, downtown, the River Market, the WWI Museum, Plaza and more! Tour picks up at both the Westin and Sheraton. Visit Website →