Monday, July 18, 2011

Destination Monday #11

Alas, the end of summer is near (especially for me, as I will be starting my professional career in educating the youth of america...), so sadly, that means the end of our Destination Mondays Segment. I know we've enjoyed virtually traveling the past couple of months and we hope you have, too! So, for our final destination point...

Kansas City...

...Kansas City, here we come! (I couldn't resist - I mean, our city has it's own song.)

Located smack dab in the middle of the country is our lovely city (well, it's lovely in the spring, winter, and fall - it's way too hot to enjoy in the summer to be honest). Now technically (for those of you out-of-state-who-don't-quite-understand-the-kansas-missouri-kansas-city-thing), Kansas City (the city) is located in both Kansas and Missouri, especially when you take into account the metropolitan areas. I believe we have one of the largest (space-wise) metropolitan areas in the country. Anyways, what you need to know is, all the good stuff is in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City, Kansas is kinda whatever (except for The Legends shopping area (huge), The Kansas Speedway (nascar), and the brand-spankin-new Livestrong Sporting Park (home of Sporting Kansas City - the former Wizards soccer team)). 

On the Missouri side of things, there's lots to see and do. Let's start with dining (my favorite):

BBQ: Danny Edwards, Smokestack, Arthur Bryant's, Oklahoma Joe's, and Smokehouse. There's a bunch more on Food Network (there was a Kansas City tour on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" - cause our barbeque is delicious). 

Outside of BBQ, there are a couple of awesome places you just cannot skip. These include Hayes Hamburgers (a great diner) and Stroud's - best friend chicken, period. And, as far as more fancy restaurants go - check out Piropos (or any of the other restaurants in Briarcliff Villiage). 

There's also The Phoenix, located downtown, and The Blue Room (located in the American Jazz Museum - for great live jazz. 

Another fun thing to do in KC is go to a Royals game at Kauffman Stadium (located next to Arrowhead Stadium, home of The Chiefs): 

It's all redone and whatnot (you can watch the baseball game from seats in the outfield - it's a pretty neat view) and there's even a new mini-museum that's got lots of historical and cool stuff (mostly focusing on how the Royals used to be awesome):

You can also check out Kansas City's newest sports team - the Missouri Mavericks - our Hockey Team (they're actually really good!). 

If sports aren't your thing - then maybe Art Museum's are more your taste, in which case you absolutely must check out The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Stephen and I outside of The Nelson-Atkins

It's superb. There are so many great exhibits and fantastic pieces of art. And it's doubly great on super-hot days (not unlike today) to hang out in the ac and look at art. 

Stephen and I checking out the art inside the Museum.

While you're downtown you can also check out the Liberty Memorial  - which has the only World War 1 Museum in the country. I've never actually been inside - but the view of the city from the monument is unparalleled: 

Downtown Kansas City from the WWI Memorial.

You can see Union Station, and The Convention Center and Music Hall, The Sprint Center, and The Power & Light District (lots of bars and music - very popular night scene). 

You can also see the sparkling new performing arts building (Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts) - home of the Kansas City Symphony and The Kansas City Ballet. You can't imagine my family's excitement on checking it out this coming fall when it opens. 

The Performing Arts Center  is the silver bumpy things in the upper left-hand corner,
under the spikey things (which are artsy towers over the convention center).

This is the WWI Memorial building and tower -
there's always a fire burning in it to symbolize remembrance,
or something like that. It's neat. 
Just a bit north of downtown KC (in North Kansas City - smart name, huh?), you can check out a really awesome old theatre - it just so happens to be where Stephen and I had our wedding reception:

It's called The Screenland Armour Threatre

During the Summer in KC you can check out Shakespeare in the Park during the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, which is held at Southmoreland Park, or play in one of the many city fountains. (We are, after all, The City of Fountains.)

Year round, you can check out The Folly Theatre, Crown Center (a pretty cool shopping center), or walk across the street to Union Station and hit up an exhibit or Science City (seriously fun for kids). There's also Kaleidoscope, a sciencey-fun place for kids. (and Nelson-Atkin's holds summer classes for kids - Carl and I did that one summer when we were probably five or six)

Another place you totally need to check out is The Plaza  (modeled after Seville, Spain). And you have to go at Christmastime, because of The Plaza Lights (the entire place decks itself out in Christmas Cheer.) You can walk around or take horse-drawn carriage rides through the area, checking out everything from a million great restaurants and bars to bookstores, science stores, The Apple Store,  and other fancy-shmancy stores. 

The Plaza, at Christmas.

All in all - Kansas City's not a horrible place. Especially after Stephen and I found all this free stuff you can do...including tours of the Boulevard Brewing Company and City Market. We also got really excited when we found this link to 10 Quirky Attractions in KC...such as The Airline History MuseumThe Toy and Miniature Museum, and the 1950's All-Electric House. Those are definitely on our To-Do List.

Hopefully those of you who don't live here come and visit, and those of you who do live here have found something new or rediscovered something to do here! (Seriously, check out the Visit KC website - they've got tons of ideas. I'm only disappointed we didn't discover this site years ago!)

And thanks for "traveling" with us this summer!

Vanessa & Stephen - Your Destination Mondays Travel Guides.

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