Best Things to Do in Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, Missouri, a gem in the heartland of America, is a city brimming with unique attractions and a rich cultural tapestry. This bustling metropolis, often referred to as the “Heart of America,” is renowned for its distinctive blend of historical landmarks, culinary excellence, and vibrant arts scene. Exploring the best things to do in Kansas City, MO, leads you on an exciting journey through a city that boasts a lively mix of modern urban charm and rich historical significance.

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As you delve into the myriad of activities in Kansas City, you’ll find that it’s a place where every corner tells a story. From its famous smoky BBQ joints to its lush, sprawling parks, Kansas City offers a plethora of experiences for every kind of traveler. Whether you’re seeking a family-friendly adventure, exploring fun things to do in Kansas City, or just soaking in the local lifestyle, this city will not disappoint.

Kansas City’s allure doesn’t just lie in its attractions but also in the warmth of its people. Life in Kansas City is characterized by a friendly, welcoming atmosphere that makes visitors feel right at home. Whether you’re strolling through the historic streets, attending a vibrant festival, or enjoying a night out in one of the city’s lively districts, the spirit of Kansas City is palpable in every experience.

Top Attractions in Kansas City

National WWI Museum and Memorial: Standing as a testament to the heroism and tragedy of the First World War, the National WWI Museum and Memorial offers a profound educational experience. Here, visitors can explore an extensive collection of artifacts, interactive exhibits, and poignant displays that bring the stories of the war to life. The museum’s architecture and the Liberty Memorial tower offer breathtaking views of the city, making it a must-visit landmark.

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: Art lovers will find a haven at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a premier institution housing a world-class collection of art that spans different cultures and time periods. From ancient sculptures to contemporary installations, the museum’s diverse exhibits are both educational and inspiring. The museum’s sprawling sculpture park, featuring the iconic Shuttlecocks, provides a picturesque setting for an afternoon stroll.

Kansas City Zoo: For families looking for the best things to do with kids in Kansas City, the Kansas City Zoo is an excellent choice. This expansive zoo is home to a wide array of animals from around the globe, providing both fun and educational experiences. The zoo’s commitment to conservation and its interactive exhibits make it a place where children and adults alike can learn about and connect with nature.

Culinary Delights

Famous Kansas City BBQ: Kansas City’s reputation for mouth-watering BBQ is well-deserved. From smoky ribs to juicy pulled pork, the BBQ in Kansas City is a culinary experience in itself. Visiting legendary BBQ establishments like Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que or Arthur Bryant’s is a must for food enthusiasts seeking the authentic taste of Kansas City.

Unique Local Restaurants: Beyond BBQ, Kansas City’s culinary scene is vibrant and diverse. From upscale dining to cozy cafes, the city offers a variety of eateries catering to all palates. Restaurants like The Rieger or Bluestem showcase the creativity of local chefs, offering innovative dishes that fuse traditional Midwestern flavors with international influences.

Culinary Tours: To fully immerse yourself in the food culture of Kansas City, consider joining a culinary tour. These guided tours offer a unique opportunity to explore the city’s food landscape, from historic markets to trendy food districts. It’s a fun way to discover hidden gems and taste some of the best food that Kansas City has to offer.

Outdoor Activities

Exploring the City Market: The historic City Market, nestled in the heart of Kansas City, is an open-air market bustling with activity. Here, visitors can browse through a wide range of vendors selling everything from fresh produce to artisanal goods. The market is also a hub for cultural events and festivals, making it a lively spot to experience the local community spirit.

Enjoying the Green Spaces: Kansas City is adorned with beautiful parks and green spaces, offering a peaceful escape from the urban hustle. Locations like Loose Park and Swope Park provide scenic landscapes perfect for picnics, leisurely walks, or outdoor sports. These green havens are ideal for those looking to enjoy some fresh air and tranquility in the city.

Biking and Hiking Trails: For the more adventurous, Kansas City offers numerous biking and hiking trails that meander through picturesque landscapes. Trails like the Trolley Track Trail or the Riverfront Heritage Trail provide both a workout and a chance to explore the city’s natural beauty. It’s a great way to experience life in Kansas City while staying active.

Cultural Experiences

Jazz at the Blue Room: Kansas City’s jazz heritage is deeply rooted and can be best experienced at the historic Blue Room jazz club. Located in the American Jazz Museum, this club hosts some of the finest jazz musicians, offering an intimate setting to enjoy live performances. The atmosphere here is electric, making it a must-visit for music lovers.

American Jazz Museum: To dive deeper into the rich jazz history of Kansas City, a visit to the American Jazz Museum is essential. The museum features interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, and educational displays that highlight the development of jazz as a quintessential American art form. It’s a cultural experience that resonates with the city’s musical legacy.

Local Theater and Performances: Kansas City’s cultural scene is not limited to music; it also boasts a vibrant theater community. Venues like the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Missouri Repertory Theater host a variety of performances, from Broadway shows to local productions. These performances showcase the artistic talent and creativity thriving in Kansas City.

Family Fun

Worlds of Fun: Worlds of Fun is a theme park that offers endless excitement for families. With a wide range of rides, attractions, and entertainment, it’s a place where fun and adventure meet. From thrilling roller coasters to kid-friendly rides, the park has something to delight visitors of all ages.

Science City at Union Station: Science City, located in the historic Union Station, is a dynamic interactive science center. It provides a hands-on learning environment where children can explore different aspects of science and technology. The center’s engaging exhibits and activities make it one of the best things to do with kids in Kansas City.

Children’s Museums and Playgrounds: Kansas City is also home to several children’s museums and playgrounds that cater to the younger crowd. Places like the Wonderscope Children’s Museum and the Kaleidoscope offer creative and educational experiences that stimulate young minds. These family-friendly spots are perfect for a day out with the kids.

Shopping in Kansas City

Country Club Plaza: Country Club Plaza is not just a shopping destination; it’s an experience. This open-air shopping district, known for its stunning Spanish architecture and fountains, houses high-end retail stores, charming boutiques, and delightful dining options. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or unique local crafts, the Plaza caters to all shopping desires.

Local Boutiques and Shops: Beyond the Plaza, Kansas City is dotted with numerous local boutiques and shops that offer a more personalized shopping experience. Areas like the Crossroads Arts District and Westport are home to eclectic stores selling everything from handmade jewelry to vintage clothing. Shopping here not only supports local businesses but also provides a glimpse into the creative spirit of Kansas City.

Artisanal and Specialty Stores: For those who appreciate craftsmanship and uniqueness, Kansas City’s artisanal and specialty stores are a treasure trove. Shops specializing in locally made goods, specialty foods, and unique home decor items can be found throughout the city. These stores are perfect for finding that special souvenir or gift that embodies the essence of Kansas City.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Power & Light District: The Power & Light District is the heartbeat of Kansas City’s nightlife. This vibrant area is packed with bars, nightclubs, live music venues, and restaurants, offering endless entertainment options. Whether you’re in the mood for a lively concert, a casual drink with friends, or a night of dancing, this district has it all.

Local Breweries and Distilleries: Kansas City’s craft beverage scene is thriving, with local breweries and distilleries gaining national acclaim. Venues like Boulevard Brewing Company and Tom’s Town Distilling Co. offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to sample some of the best local beers and spirits. It’s a fun way to experience the city’s burgeoning craft culture.

Live Music and Performances: Kansas City’s musical heritage extends beyond jazz, with a variety of venues hosting live music across genres. From intimate jazz clubs to large concert halls, the city offers a rich tapestry of musical experiences. Checking out a live performance is a great way to immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural life of Kansas City.

Historical Sites

Liberty Memorial: The Liberty Memorial, a majestic monument dedicated to the soldiers who fought in World War I, is a symbol of Kansas City’s historical significance. The memorial, coupled with the National WWI Museum, offers a poignant reminder of the past and a place for reflection and education.

Historic Westport: Westport is one of Kansas City’s oldest neighborhoods, steeped in history and charm. Walking through Westport is like stepping back in time, with its well-preserved buildings and historical landmarks. The area is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars, making it a perfect blend of past and present.

Museums and Heritage Sites: Kansas City’s commitment to preserving its history is evident in its numerous museums and heritage sites. Places like the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Steamboat Arabia Museum offer insights into specific aspects of the city’s past. Exploring these sites is an educational and enriching experience.

Art and Creativity

Crossroads Arts District: The Crossroads Arts District is a testament to Kansas City’s vibrant arts scene. This dynamic neighborhood is filled with galleries, studios, and creative spaces where local artists showcase their work. First Fridays in the Crossroads are a cultural staple, where galleries open their doors to the public for a night of art, music, and community. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing the artistic heartbeat of Kansas City.

Public Art and Murals: Kansas City’s streets and public spaces are adorned with striking murals and sculptures that add color and character to the cityscape. These public art pieces, created by local and international artists, reflect the city’s cultural diversity and artistic spirit. A walking tour of these artworks offers a unique and inspiring way to explore Kansas City.

Art Festivals and Events: The city regularly hosts art festivals and events that celebrate creativity and craftsmanship. These events, such as the Plaza Art Fair and the Brookside Art Annual, showcase the work of artists across various mediums. Attending these festivals is not only a way to appreciate art but also to engage with the local community and artists.

Seasonal Events

American Royal BBQ Contest: The American Royal BBQ Contest is a highlight of Kansas City’s event calendar. This world-renowned competition attracts BBQ enthusiasts from across the globe, showcasing the city’s deep-rooted BBQ culture. Visitors can sample some of the best BBQ, enjoy live music, and experience a true Kansas City tradition.

Plaza Lights in Winter: The Plaza Lights event is a magical experience during the winter season. The Country Club Plaza is transformed into a dazzling display of lights, creating a festive atmosphere. This long-standing tradition is a beloved part of Kansas City’s holiday celebrations, drawing visitors and locals alike to bask in the seasonal glow.

Cultural Festivals and Celebrations: Throughout the year, Kansas City hosts a variety of cultural festivals and celebrations that reflect its diverse community. From the vibrant Kansas City Irish Fest to the colorful Festival of the Arts, these events offer a taste of the city’s rich cultural tapestry. Participating in these festivals is a great way to experience the best things to do in Kansas City, MO.

Sports and Recreation

Kansas City Chiefs and Royals Games: Sports fans can experience the thrill of a live game by catching the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) or the Royals (MLB) in action. The electric atmosphere of Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium is a testament to the city’s passion for sports. Attending a game is a fun way to engage with the local community and experience the excitement of American sports.

Golf Courses and Parks: For those who enjoy a more leisurely pace, Kansas City’s golf courses and parks offer a serene escape. With well-maintained greens and beautiful landscapes, golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round in picturesque settings. The city’s parks, such as Mill Creek Park and Berkley Riverfront Park, provide ample space for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Outdoor Adventures: Adventure seekers will find plenty of activities to satisfy their thrill-seeking spirit. Kayaking on the Missouri River, hiking through the scenic trails, or biking around the city are just a few of the outdoor adventures available. These activities offer a unique way to explore the natural beauty of Kansas City and its surroundings.

Relaxation and Wellness

Day Spas and Wellness Centers: For those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, Kansas City’s day spas and wellness centers provide a tranquil retreat. Facilities like The Spa at Briarcliff and Spa on Penn offer a range of treatments and therapies designed to soothe and pamper. It’s a perfect way to unwind and indulge in some self-care.

Scenic Walks and Bike Trails: Kansas City’s scenic walks and bike trails are ideal for those looking to enjoy nature at a leisurely pace. Trails like the Brush Creek Trail and the Line Creek Trail offer picturesque routes for walkers and cyclists alike. These paths provide a peaceful way to experience the natural beauty of Kansas City.

Yoga and Fitness Studios: For those who want to maintain their wellness routine while traveling, Kansas City offers a variety of yoga and fitness studios. These studios cater to all levels and styles, providing a welcoming environment for both residents and visitors. Joining a class is a great way to stay active and connect with the local wellness community.

Unique Experiences

Escape Rooms and Virtual Reality Venues: For a fun and challenging experience, Kansas City’s escape rooms and virtual reality venues offer an exciting adventure. These interactive experiences are perfect for groups looking for a unique activity. Solving puzzles in an escape room or immersing oneself in a virtual reality world provides a memorable and enjoyable time.

Themed Bars and Restaurants: Kansas City’s themed bars and restaurants add an extra layer of excitement to the dining and nightlife scene. From speakeasy-style bars to restaurants with unique concepts, these venues offer a distinctive atmosphere. Enjoying a meal or a drink in one of these establishments is a fun way to experience the creativity and flair of Kansas City.

Cultural Workshops and Classes: For those interested in diving deeper into the cultural aspects of Kansas City, participating in workshops and classes can be enlightening. From cooking classes featuring local cuisine to art workshops led by local artists, these experiences offer a hands-on approach to learning and understanding the city’s culture.


In conclusion, Kansas City, Missouri, stands out as a vibrant and inviting destination, rich in culture, history, and entertainment. Renowned for its world-class BBQ, dynamic cultural scene, and beautiful parks, the city offers a diverse array of activities that appeal to all ages and interests. The best things to do in Kansas City, MO, are not just attractions; they are experiences that leave lasting impressions on visitors and residents alike.

Interestingly, movers in Kansas City, MO, have noted a significant uptick in the number of people relocating to the area. This trend is a testament to the city’s growing appeal, driven by the wealth of activities, the quality of life, and the unique blend of urban and cultural charm it offers. From exploring its renowned museums and indulging in its culinary delights to enjoying its lush green spaces and engaging in its vibrant nightlife, Kansas City continues to draw people not just for visits, but for new beginnings.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural enrichment, Kansas City is a place where every visit can turn into a memorable journey. Its ability to attract new residents while enchanting tourists speaks volumes about its charm and vitality. As more people discover the wonders of life in Kansas City and the fun things to do here, the city’s heartbeat only grows stronger, echoing the warm welcome it extends to everyone who steps into its vibrant realm.


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