In a few short days, Kansas City will welcome baseball fans of all ages for the All-Star Game. I’m so excited to see both VisitKC (our CVB) and SMCKC (the Social Media Club chapter) put on their best and actively get ready to welcome new friends to Kansas City. If anyone is coming to KC and has questions, the Twitterati will be watching, ready to help you have a blast in our town.
There are all kinds of “what to do in KC” lists — families, I thought I’d add my suggestions to the mix, specifically what maybe a 30-something group with no kids may want to see. There’s a lot of fun nightlife and culture to see in this city! Here’s my To Do List for you:
Kansas City is crawling with art and artists. Whether it’s the strong patron community or just the creative talent from monsters like Hallmark, this town has a right-brain creative bent. While you’re here, check out the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which is always free admission — though a donation is happily accepted at the door (and while you’re at it, have lunch and shop around on the Country Club Plaza nearby). The museum building itself, the sweeping lawn and the quirky shuttlecocks should be inviting enough to get in you in the door. Not sure which exhibits to check out? The info desk peeps are always helpful!
If you’re already in town on July 6th, plant yourself at First Friday in the “Crossroads” district near 18th & Wyandotte downtown. It’s a free art walk that roams for 5 blocks in every direction from 5:00 P.M. to about 10:00 P.M. You’ll stumble on live music, street vendors, food trucks and every kind of visual art just by popping in and out of galleries that open their doors every First Friday.
First Friday will certainly be swingin’ but if you’re feeling more of a jazz vibe, you have to head to 18th & Vine. Friday the 6th, Everette DeVan’s group plays at the historic Blue Room venue or Saturday the 7th, The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum puts on “Buck, BBQ & Baseball” — a food & music event in the 18th & Vine jazz district. If dancing is more your style, head to the heart of downtown to the Power & Light district: Elements is an outdoor bar featuring salsa dancing Saturday night (under the clock tower right near 14th & Main) and two doors down the newly open Alamo Drafthouse is hosting Lonesome Hank and the Heartaches for swing dancing at 9:00 P.M.
In case somehow our reputation hasn’t preceded us, Kansas City will surely not leave you hungry. But there’s more than great barbeque to be tasted while you’re here. The Brick at 18th & McGee downtown is one of my favorite dives in Kansas City that actually serves some healthy stuff on the menu. Their salads are fantastic, but don’t let me mislead you: the dozen different kind of burgers and half dozen specialty hot dogs are where it’s at. Not far away at 19th & Baltimore is Pizza Bella, which will pretty much guarantee you never see pizza the same way again. To die for stone-fired pizzas and an almost upscale appetizer menu – but don’t be intimidated. The patio is relaxed, the chairs are plastic and the beer is at least partially local. (Try the potato pizza and then thank me later.)
If you scoot over to the Country Club Plaza area, be sure you get dinner on the back patio of Cafe Trio. The patio overlooks the Plaza’s Spanish architecture and one KC’s finest fountains and their food menu doesn’t have a single bad item on it. Bit pricier but always worth it.
4. Cool Cocktails
Let me go ahead and say that if you can get into a tour at the Boulevard Brewing Company, just off I-35 downtown, do it. This is one of Kansas City’s coolest tours and it comes with the tastiest souvenirs! If you miss out on a tour, just go to ANY bar in KC and order a Boulevard beer. Tank 7 and Dark Truth Stout are my favorites, but the Boulevard Wheat is the beer o’ choice in KC.
If you’re craving a more unique cocktail experience, Kansas City has two gems within a few blocks of each other. Snow & Company at 18th & Wyandotte serves “artful frozen cocktails” – which depending on our temperatures may be just what you need to cool off. Manifesto is Kansas City’s not-so-secret secret Speakeasy, underneath the restaurant at the Rieger Hotel at 19th & Main. You have to request your way in (texting a head is a great idea: 816.536.1325) and these cocktails will run about $12 a piece, but each will send you well on your way to tipsy and each will be its own unique experience. Half the fun is watching the pros shake these drinks up!
This week has Kansas City especially revved about baseball. In addition to the Buck, BBQ & Baseball event on Saturday, I’d highly recommend stopping by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum while you’re in town. I just went for the first time a couple weeks ago and it tells the amazing story of the sport of baseball in an era of segregation. It’s the only museum of its kind and well worth the stop. If by some chance you’re NOT going to the actual All-Star Game, but want to be a part of the excitement, there are a ton of satellite watch parties going on around the city. Best bet for us night lifers is the watch party at the Power & Light District, where they’ll play the game on the big screen in the Live! block (an outdoor, but covered block in the heart of the bar district). Drink specials, energy… it’s all there.
Check out the bestofjess YUUM calendar (Young Urban Upwardly Mobile) for all the goings on in Kansas City this week or any time. And welcome to KC!