If you love beers and BBQ you’ll find plenty of things to do in Kansas City.
Quick, name which state Kansas City is located in.
If you said Missouri, you’re right. If you said Kansas, don’t worry, tons of people make the same mistake. It’s sort of complicated, to be honest.
While KC might be best known for its delicious BBQ, its Jazz heritage, and its burgeoning craft beer scene, there is a LOT more to do in this city than just eating and drinking. Once you’ve had your fill of barbecue and beer, that is.
We’re going to dive into some other cultural aspects of Kansas City, fun places to visit, awesome places to take the kids, and help you plan out your trip.
Things to Do in Kansas City
Go on a Beer or Brewery Tour
With over 60 breweries located within the city limits Kansas City has a blossoming and delicious beer scene. Craft beers flow from golden taps all across the city, making KC a beer lover’s paradise. There are many breweries to pick from, and some awesome brewery tours to partake in.
We compiled a list of beer tours in Kansas City which we recommend you have a look at.
So get your beer gut ready, Kansas City and all of its brews await!
Sample Some (or loads) of That Famous KC BBQ
Which city in the USA has more barbecue restaurants per capita than any other? If you said Kansas City guess what? You’re right. From “burnt ends” to unique barbecue sauces Kansas City has long been renown for its BBQ game.
Sampling some (or a LOT) of BBQ is a rite of passage for anyone visiting KC. Ergo, eating some delicious BBQ should definitely be on your list of things to do in Kansas City.
Visit the Jazz Museum
The American Jazz Museum is located in the historic “18th and Vine” district of Kansas City. This wonderful museum preserves, records, and displays the history of American jazz music. Exhibits on Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and others are located with its premises. That alone makes this a must-visit destination for fans of Jazz music.
Even if you aren’t a fan, you might want to visit. You never know what you might learn and be inspired by. The Jazz Museum offers free shows on Friday evenings, which you should DEFINITELY take advantage of when visiting Kansas City. tjey also offer work shops for kids, which might be something your little ones are into!
Check Out the Arabia Steamboat Museum
In September of 1856 the steamboat Arabia sank in the Missouri River, six miles west of Kansas City. The ship and its cargo were lost to the world…until it was dug up in 1988. Remarkably most of the cargo survived intact, and in pristine condition.
You can see this collection, which claims to be the largest collection of pre-Civil War goods in the world, on display at the Arabia Steam Boat Museum.
Tickets for adults are $14.50, and kids under the age of 14 get in for $5. This Kansas City attraction is a great place to visit if you have kids or are a history buff.
Catch a MLB or a NFL Game
Baseball might not be the pure American pastime it used to be, but catching a game live is always a treat. The Kansas City Royals have been a staple of the city for decades now, last winning the World Series in 2015.
The Royals play in the historic Kauffman Stadium, which is right next door to the city’s NFL team and stadium. You can get package deals on tickets in both stadiums.
Visit the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
House within a space-age styled building the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is one of the major cultural sites in Kansas City. Opera, theater, ballet, and orchestral performances can all be viewed and attended here.
The Kauffman Center’s stated goal is to “enrich the lives of everyone in our community through extraordinary and diverse performing arts experiences.” That’s a very commendable goal, so make sure you leave a donation after you visit.
The Center is cool just to look at, and should be visited by anyone with even the faintest interest in awesome architecture.
Ride the KC Streetcar
2.2 miles of totally free rides are available on the KC streetcar. This tram will take you through some of Kansas City’s most important districts. It’s a great way, and a free way, to get to know downtown Kansas City.
We personally LOVE riding trams and above ground street cars in cities we visit, as it gives us a very good sense of geography and important locations in any new city. Kansas City is no exception. Hop on and ride!
Eat and Drink at the City Market
If you are anything like us, you LOVE yourself a good farmer’s market. Especially a market in a new city you are exploring. With 140 stalls the Kansas City Market is the largest farmer’s market in the region. In addition to fresh produce the market offers a wide variety of meats, baked goods, flowers, specialty foods and other items from America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
You’ll also find a variety of restaurants, gift shops, and the above mentioned Arabia Steamboat Museum here.
The City Market is open seven days a week all year round, and tours are available for free!
Browse Through the Kansas City Public Library
The Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library is a stately and beautiful ode to literature and writing. The building itself is a work of art, both outside and in.
Don’t forget to check out the parking garage facade to snap some pictures of the 25 foot ball book spines sitting there, as if neatly arranged on a bookshelf.
Stroll Through Overland Park and Gardens
Over 300 acres of gardens, pools, prairies, and trails can be found in this beautiful city park. You’ll also find play areas for the kids, a botanical garden, and a sculpture park. If you want to spend some time outdoors in the grass while visiting Kansas City you owe yourself a trip out to Overland Park.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Find art from every continent in this lovely museum. You’ll find a robust modern art collection, photography exhibits, and some Native American art within the extensive museum collection.
The building itself is another one of Kansas City’s architectural gems, so you owe it to yourself to have a gander if architecture is your slice of pie.
Shoal Creek Living Museum
Sitting on 80 acres of land in Hodge Park this this unique Kansas City attraction offers visitors a glimpse into Missouri’s past. See authentic buildings from the 19 century in the village, and watch re-enactments of daily life. You can also hike around the property on the trails they offer guests.
Your kids will probably love it here. And so will you if you are a history buff.
Definitely one of the quirkier and more interesting things that should go on your list of things to do in Kansas City. Admission is free unless there is a special event occurring.