On this weekend trip, we visited one of the USA's most central locations, Kansas City. Located smack dab in the center of the USA, Kansas City is as American as it gets with its legendary BBQ, baseball team, and site of Walt Disney's childhood home. Aside from the delicious eats and sports culture, I didn't know what to expect in the classic midwestern city. What I came to find out is that the city is compact enough to explore on a weekend and large enough to pack in international quality museums and historic sights.
Kansas City Weekend Guide - Vlog:
There are direct flights from 56+ cities across the US, Canada, Mexico and Iceland. We flew Southwest from LAX on Friday night with a return on Sunday evening which was plenty of time to explore.
Most of the downtown is walkable or scootable, however some points of interest are located on the outskirts of town and will require either a rental car or Uber.
1. Arthur Bryant's BBQ
You can't say Kansas City without mentioning the BBQ in the same breath. The smell of the smokey BBQ permeates the air in Kansas City, so be sure to arrive hungry. We visited one of the top rated restaurants called Arthur Bryant's, known for their charred "burnt ends" and for serving famous customers like Barak Obama.
Did you know that Kansas City boasts more BBQ joints per capita than any other city in the USA? If you want to bring the Kansas City flavor home with you, buy the famous vinegar-based BBQ sauce on Amazon.
2. WW1 Memorial and Museum
This is the museum I wish I had access to when I was studying World History in school. The museum distills the complex history into interactive exhibits and theatrical displays where you can learn why WW1 wasn't the last. I came away with a better understanding of the events that redrew borders and changed the face of the world.
Inside, you will find a replica of the WW1 trenches that comes alive when you enter with reenactment stories. The museum also displayed WW1 memorabilia including the swords that were used at the onset of the war. The exhibits take you through the 4 years of combat and the quest for peace. The museum exterior grounds are covered in an art installation of the red armistice poppy, a symbol of commemoration for WW1.
3. Liberty Tower
Attached to the WW1 Memorial and Museum is the Liberty Tower, which stands 20 stories tall and offers the best bird's eye view of the city. The tower is accessible via a combination of stairs and elevator with an open-air observation deck.
4. Truman Library
The Kansas City metro area was home to 33rd President Harry S Truman and his library is located about 25 minutes from downtown in Independence. The museum takes you on a journey through Truman's presidency with thought provoking interactive exhibits that explain the tough decisions he made including the atomic bomb in Japan, Cold War, and entering Korea. You can even step into a recreation of his 1950's Oval Office.
The ground level showcases Truman's life in Missouri, from his humble beginnings working on a farm, to enlisting in WW1, to becoming president, and even his travels to places like Key West. Truman and his wife Bess are buried in the courtyard where you will find a memorial garden.
5. Nelson Atkins Museum
This museum offers free admission and houses over 40,000 works of art from ancient to contemporary. The interior of the museum has a stunning central colonnade of columns and a restaurant in an atrium with fountains. Outside the museum is a sculpture garden with an art installation of shuttlecocks which caused a stir when they were first introduced.
6. Union Station
Kansas City's Union Station is considered the hub of the city, located in a 100 year old building. Union Station is an architectural gem and features a grand hall with chandeliers and also has numerous family-friendly exhibitions including the Science City.
7. Street Art
Kansas City is known for its jazz history and you will find these jazzy murals outside of Arthur Bryant's BBQ.
What are your favorite places to visit in Kansas City for a weekend trip? Comment below!
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