Along every boulevard and around every corner, there’s something to do that’s unique to Kansas City. With a thriving creative arts scene, eclectic mix of entertainment and die-hard sports—it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone. Find your way in KC by doing it all … or, at least trying to.
Explore the neighborhoods within walking distance or a short streetcar ride away from the center of your Kansas City convention experience.
KANSAS CITY POWER & LIGHT DISTRICT
Location: East 2 blocks from hotels
“THRIVING” DOESN’T QUITE CAPTURE THE ENERGY EXUDED BY THIS APPROPRIATELY-NAMED DISTRICT. LOCATED IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN KANSAS CITY, KANSAS CITY POWER & LIGHT DISTRICT GENERATES BUZZ ALL ACROSS TOWN WITH CITYWIDE WATCH PARTIES, HUGE CONCERTS AND TERRIFIC FOOD. GET PLUGGED IN.
Home to more than 50 bars, restaurants and shops, the Kansas City Power & Light District is an eight-block entertainment hub unlike any other in town. KC Live!—the district’s covered outdoor courtyard—hosts more than 150 free events each year. Fans gather here to cheer on their favorite squads, be it the Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, Sporting Kansas City or one of the many teams playing in the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. Across the street you’ll find one of the country’s busiest arenas, the glittering Sprint Center.
Theater is well represented here too, as shown by the many marquees lighting up the night. Take your movie-watching to the next level at Alamo Drafthouse, a modern cinema that serves food and drinks during screenings, plus features unique touches like quote-along shows and in-theatre pyrotechnics. Test your skills at The College Basketball Experience, a hands-on hoops haven.
One street over from KC Live!, you’ll find The Garment District, a fashion collective with eight stores in one, complete with a full-service bar in the center. Locals love this boutique for its wide assortment of KC-made clothing brands. Make your way to Rally House to stock up on all your sports fandom needs before the big game. Before your big night out, drop in to Polished Nail Salon or Posh Blow Dry Bar for a little pampering. Cosentino’s Downtown Market has you covered in a pinch thanks to its full grocery, liquor selection and quick-service dining options.
CROSSROADS ARTS DISTRICT
Location: South 2 blocks from hotels
ONCE-VACANT WAREHOUSES NOW HUM WITH RENEWED VIGOR. YOU CAN SENSE AN ENERGY IN THE AIR, INVITING VISITORS TO TAKE PART IN ALL THE DISTRICT HAS TO OFFER. TOUR A GALLERY BEFORE DINING AT A FARM-TO-TABLE RESTAURANT IN THIS AVANT-GARDE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT THE ARTS BUILT.
Art is everywhere you look. The party in the streets? That’s First Fridays, one of the nation’s largest free art crawls, featuring more than 70 shops and galleries that stay open late in the 20-block area. Those soaring arches in the sky? Meet the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the pièce de résistance and the city’s sleek new address for theater, music and dance. Live music is well represented too, thanks to top-notch local venues like Green Lady Lounge, Crossroads at Grinders and recordBar.
There’s more to the district than just art, though. Relive your childhood at Up-Down or Tapcade at Crossroads, arcade bars serving up nostalgia and craft brews thanks to tons of classic arcade games and extensive beer menus. Or book a tour at Tom’s Town Distilling Company, a distillery inspired by Prohibition-era spirit(s) and style. Follow that up by taking your friends on a district crawl to Border Brewing Company, Torn Label Brewing Company, Brewery Emperial and Double Shift Brewing, all within a 10-minute walk of one another.
Artisanal finds accentuate the area shopping scene. Find a card for a loved one at Hammerpress, a letterpress print shop and design studio that specializes in everything handcrafted. Explore Webster House, a 19th-century schoolhouse turned antique emporium, or get lost in Architectural Salvage, a set designer's paradise filled to the brim with antiques and oddities. Track down screen-printed tees at Normal Human, a local retailer with quirky-cool style.
Connoisseurs enjoy Cellar Rat for its 800 wines and premium spirits as well as free weekly tastings and hands-on classes.
Restaurant choices in the Crossroads make up an eclectic gallery all their own. History is served at delightfully reimagined venues like The Rieger and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue. Not a carnivore? Café Gratitude is a must for veggie lovers thanks to its 100-percent organic vegan fare. Sample what’s cooking from celebrity chefs Lidia Bastianich (of Lidia’s Kansas City) and Michael Smith (of Extra Virgin).
Take your taste buds on a world tour at Nara (casual Neo-Japanese sushi), Affäre (modern German plates) or Grünauer (Austrian-German cooking). Or hit up Town Topic, a classic American diner that’s been open 24/7 since 1937. Thirsty? Libations of the vine are paramount at Tannin Wine Bar + Kitchen while The Jacobson constructs crowd-pleasing craft cocktails (and delicious food to boot). Thou Mayest Coffee Roastershas the pick-me-up you need to keep your day (or night) going with drinks made using freshly roasted beans.
Souvenir Stop: A favorite of Food & Wine, complex artisanal chocolates by nationally recognized Chocolatier Christopher Elbow range in flavors, such as tequila lime and wildflower honey. • $10 & up
Location: North 3 blocks via KC Streetcar
SAMPLE CUISINES FROM ALL ACROSS THE WORLD AND NAVIGATE THROUGH STALLS STOCKED WITH FRESH PRODUCE. THIS DISTINCT, 150-YEAR-OLD RIVERFRONT NEIGHBORHOOD IS A MECCA FOR LOVERS OF HISTORY, LOCAL PRODUCE AND FRESH EATS.
Nestled just south of the Missouri River is historic River Market, a diverse area abundant in local and international flavor. Take family and friends to visit the region’s largest farmers market, found at The City Market every Saturday and Sunday year-round. The bounty includes more than 140 stalls of fresh produce, flowers, baked goods and other local wares. A quick jaunt across the market brings you to the Arabia Steamboat Museum, where visitors can travel back in time to Kansas City’s frontier days and discover 200 tons of sunken treasure dating back to 1856. Fuel up at Quay Coffee with an espresso (made with locally roasted coffee beans) before testing your problem-solving skills at Breakout KC, an entertainment game with one simple goal: escape from a locked room in 60 minutes or less. Then lace up your skates and hit the ice at The Blue Line, a hockey-themed establishment and one of the city’s top-rated sports bars.
Venture down to River Market for unique finds of all kinds. Go digging at River Market Antiques in pursuit of vintage artifacts to deck out your digs. Search through Emblazon Cards & Gifts and the Candy Wizard for retro candy or a funky birthday card. Suit up at Houndstooth with hand-made, tailored clothing that never goes out of style. Coffee enthusiasts congregate at City Market Coffee House, where organic, fair trade beans are king, along with all the brewing accessories and equipment needed to make the perfect cup at home. Chefs both amateur and experienced love finding fresh, locally-produced ingredients for their next dish at the farmers market every weekend in The City Market.
Foodies won’t have to walk far to uncover a plethora of palate-pleasing dishes in River Market. The Farmhouse sets the bar high with its farm-to-table, tip-to-tail comfort food done right. Belly up to the bar for happy hour at Harry’s Country Club and enjoy classic fare plus a cocktail. Get your fill at Burrito Brothers on the cheap, all while chowing down on menu items chockfull of fresh ingredients. Those in search of Vietnamese dishes need look no further than Pho KC, a delicious eatery that specializes in, you guessed it, pho. Dine in or carry out delicious Chinese cuisine from Bo Ling’s, a family-owned staple in the KC culinary scene. Cupcakes are always a must, and thankfully Baby Cakes has you covered. Its gourmet treats are perfect for special occasions—or for treating yourself.
Purveyor of spices, tea, coffee and more, Planters Seed & Spice Co. offers an array of ingredients designed to bring out the best in your food. Try the “Here’s the Rub KC’s Favorite” gift basket, which features a collection of barbecue and seasoning rubs perfect for cookout chefs. $16.95
PLACES OF WORSHIP
Please refer to the list below for places of worship in Kansas City's urban core. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of places to worship in the Kansas City metro area.
ADDITIONAL NEARBY AREAS
Explore additional neighborhoods in Downtown Kansas City. All a short streetcar or drive away.
Just west of the convention center. Take 17th Street west to start exploring this district.
This long and lean corridor, technically under one square mile, packs in more flavor than a neighborhood twice its size. Westside brims with local gems, from local wares to restaurants defining farm-to-table. There’s food and fare so good you’ll want to unfold a chair to guarantee a slice of the action. In fact, many do just that.
Head just west of the southern area of the Crossroads Arts District.
International food, flavorful coffee and craft brew dominate Southwest Boulevard—a celebrated stretch of road adjacent to the Crossroads featuring a spirit vibe totally unique to KC.
18TH & VINE DISTRICT
Due east of the Crossroads. Hop on the streetcar at 19th Street, head north one block to 18th Street and walk east.
Follow the downtown beat to Kansas City’s historic jazz district, where barbecue, baseball and blues meld together for one sweet melody.
Head south to Union Station on the streetcar to explore the National World War I Museum and Memorial, historic Union Station and Crown Center.
Stay and play in this Downtown area where family fun reigns supreme—especially at the area’s namesake, which doubles as the corporate headquarters for Hallmark Cards.
Pigskin meets America’s favorite pastime 10 minutes east of downtown at KC’s double-header for professional sports. The Truman Sports Complex is home to the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals at the side-by-side Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums. Follow in the footsteps of the 33rd president in Independence, Mo., home to 16 heritage sites and the final resting place for Harry S. Truman. Attractions include the Truman Library and Museum, the Truman Home, Victorian mansions, the National Frontier Trails Museum and a vibrant historic square. Religious sites include the Community of Christ World Headquarters and the Mormon Visitors Center.
Visit the Museum at Prairiefire, one of the area’s crown architectural and artistic jewels, for extinct encounters with the likes of the monstrous T-Rex, plus plenty other immersive experiences. The New Theatre Restaurant serves audiences great cuisine and memorable, star-studded shows while you can catch a new flick at the historic Rio Theatre. Pay your respects at both the 9/11 Memorial—which includes a steel beam pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center towers—and the Korean War Veterans Memorial, two moving tributes less than five minutes from one another.
Shopping comes easily in Overland Park. The tough part? Choosing where to start. Head to Hawthorne Plaza for sophisticated shops such as the local Olive Tree, a retailer featuring flavored olive oils, artisan salts, specialty spices and other kitchen essentials. Threshing Bee at Prairiefire offers heartland-focused looks for all ages. Check out the Overland Park Farmers Market for fresh fruits, vegetables and spices from regional growers and producers.