Everything You Need to Know About Kansas City Traditions
Barbecue, fountains and jazz define Kansas City—and have since the city's original renaissance in the early 1920s. Those traditions are as strong now as they've ever been thanks to free-flowing sauce, fountains and musical notes, each a testament to the city's culture, history and heart.
With its heritage in KC's African American community, jazz first flourished in the 1920s and '30s on 12th & Vine and in what is now the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District.
Today, those roots still run deep—the genre is as vibrant as ever, fueling more than 40 jazz and fine-dining venues every night of the week, including local icons the Mutual Musicians Foundation, The Blue Room, The Phoenix and the Green Lady Lounge.
Since the early 20th century, Kansas City has been synonymous with jazz. Today, those roots still run deep—the genre is as vibrant as ever, fueling more than 40 jazz and fine-dining venues every night of the week.
Kansas City’s barbecue craze can be traced back to Henry Perry, who in the early 1920s started barbecuing in an outdoor pit adjacent to his streetcar barn, serving slabs of food wrapped in newspaper.
His moment became a movement. Now, more than 100 different metro restaurants smoke everything from pork, beef and chicken to jackfruit, mushrooms and fish. There's even the KC BBQ Experience, an entire app dedicated to exploring the culinary scene.
For decades, visitors from across the globe have traveled to Kansas City, drawn in by its smoky aroma, just to get a sample of its acclaimed cuisine.
CITY OF FOUNTAINS
Kansas City is home to more than 200 fountains—more than any other city in the world except Rome. From large and majestic to small and whimsical, discover waterworks dedicated to fallen firefighters, the city’s children, women’s leadership and more.
The city's bubbly love affair began with a rather practical purpose; The Humane Society built the city’s first fountains as water troughs for horses in the late 1800s. Now cherished works of public art, the fountains have become an attraction unto themselves—and a quintessential component of KC culture, found everywhere from Crown Center and Union Station to the Country Club Plaza.
From grand cascading centerpieces situated prominently along the city’s major thoroughfares to petite spouting statuary in quaint residential neighborhoods, each fountain represents a unique contribution to KC’s timeless reputation as the City of Fountains.