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.
Things to do
You could easily spend a day at Crown Center, a “city within a city” featuring 60+ shops and restaurants, live theater and the Hallmark Visitors Center. Kids can be kids here, too, thanks to the side-by-side attractions LEGOLAND Discovery Center and the city’s first aquarium, SEA LIFE. Next door is Union Station, KC’s historic train station, which now houses a children’s science center, plus theaters, touring exhibits and Amtrak. To the south is the National World War I Museum and Memorial, an American treasure and the country’s only museum dedicated to the Great War.
Where to shop
Crown Center Shops houses several unique finds—everything from kitchen gadgets and handmade chocolates to tween accessories and Crayola products. Best of Kansas City is a one-stop source for Kansas City souvenirs, be they barbecue sauce, cookbooks or Wizard of Oz paraphernalia. Halls on Grand features stylish home furnishings, designer labels in men’s and women’s fashions and the most sought-after contemporary looks in a thoughtful range of price points. People travel from all over to sample and buy from Shang Tea, a purveyor of award-winning teas spanning more than a dozen flavorful options.
What to eat
Enjoy the “catch of the day” before you catch the train at Pierpont’s, a surf-and-turf institution nestled inside historic Union Station. (The all-day lounge menu represents one of the best deals in town, 5-ounce Filet Mignon for $15.) Kids love playing with their food at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, where your burger arrives to your table on a model train. New to the area is SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, packed with fresh ingredients and a contemporary vibe.
Image via Facebook.com/Unforked
Self-billed as “honest, clean food,” Sheridan's Unforked in Crown Center takes advantage of local ingredients to create a colorful, diverse menu with plenty of options for everyone, including tacos, quesadillas, creative burgers and seasonal items that throw twists on traditional fare. Also check in with what fruits are in season, because they often find their way into the dessert offerings.
Souvenir Stop: A big hit with kids, every visitor at the Federal Reserve Money Museum walks away with a complimentary bag of shredded currency—$165 worth. Talk about a priceless souvenir. • Free