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Fun Facts

Call them the little tidbits that make Kansas City life just a bit more interesting. Here are a few fun facts on Kansas City as you plan your visit to our great city:

  • With a total population of 2.1 million, Kansas City is the 29th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. Four of the area's largest cities are Kansas City, Mo. (482,299); Overland Park, Kan. (174,907); Olathe, Kan. (121,962), Kansas City, Kan. (143,209) and Independence, Mo. (121,180).
  • The Kansas City Barbecue Society reports that KC has more barbecue restaurants per capita than any other city in the nation.
  • Jazz has been a staple of the KC music scene since the 1920s with artists like Count Basie, Bennie Moton and Jay McShann. Charlie "Bird" Parker, who was born in Kansas City, Kan., grew up during this era.
  • KC ignored Prohibition during the 1920s, leading to an abundance of jazz clubs, brothels and gambling halls. This earned KC the moniker “The Paris of the Plains” after one journalist wrote “If you want to see some sin, forget Paris and head to Kansas City.”
  • The jam session originated in Kansas City. Jazz musicians would gather after their gigs and play together into the wee hours of the morning.
  • In 1910, Joyce Hall began selling postcards out of a shoebox in KC. Today, his company has grown to the world’s largest greeting-cards maker, Hallmark Cards.
  • KC is home to the largest maker of boxed chocolates in the world. Based here since 1932, Russell Stover Candies still hand dips more than 25 million pieces of chocolate each year.
  • Walt Disney opened his first animation studio in Kansas City, Laugh-O-Gram Studios. He fed a small mouse in the building, which he later said was his inspiration for Mickey Mouse.
  • The Country Club Plaza opened in 1922 as the nation’s first shopping district designed for the automobile.
  • Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium has hosted more NCAA Final Four Championships than any other venue in the country
  • Local advertising agency Bernstein-Rein invented the Happy Meal for McDonald’s after the owner noticed his son staring at the cereal box during breakfast.
  • The scoreboard at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, was the first to transmit instant replay.
  • By 1949, 86 factories were manufacturing garments in KC. It was said that one in seven American women wore clothing made here.
  • A young Ernest Hemingway worked as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star from 1917 to 1918. He returned to the city for the birth of his second son and wrote the tragic ending to his World War I epic "A Farewell to Arms" while here.
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