By Kirstin A. McCudden
Just south of Brush Creek, this laid-back neighborhood touts historic homes that hint at the city’s storied past—and a thriving culture scene that tells of the here-and-now—as tree-lined streets intermingle with scenic parks and a college campus more than 80 years old.
Things to Do
Among the thousands of students hurrying to and from class each day, the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) campus boasts the proud UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, an internationally recognized center for artistic excellence and innovation. Nearby you’ll find the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, one of the country’s premier regional theatres. Those in need of some outdoors time can spend the day at Jacob L. Loose Park, KC’s sprawling 75-acre green space. The playscape on the north end is a good place to stretch little legs, while the duck-filled ponds make a picturesque stop. To stretch longer legs, there’s an outer track for lap running and four public tennis courts. A Civil War battlefield cannon tells the story of Loose Park as a major site in the Battle of Westport. And no stroll is complete without following the fragrant paths in the Municipal Rose Garden. The 1.5-acre space is a favorite for weddings, picture stops and even summertime Kansas City Ballet performances.
Where to Shop
The Crestwood Shops are a haven for shoppers in search of local flavor, offering everything from Underdog Wine Co.—a family-owned shop featuring 400 select varieties of cabernet, chardonnay and more—to curated home goods at George and his-and-her closet additions at Hudson & Jane. Stop in at André’s Confiserie Suisse for Swiss-style chocolates, perfect as a gift to others, or to satisfy your own sweet tooth. Once the shopping is done, stick around for something to eat.
Places to Eat
In Crestwood, Aixois brings authentic French food and wine pairings to the Midwest and serves it up best when the sun drenches its Trolley Trail-facing patio. Café Europa lies a few doors down, offering a small but spot-on menu and fresh-baked desserts. Neighbors SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza and Prime Sushi serve up delicious eats on 50th and Main while KC mainstay The Peanut dishes out Buffalo wings both big in size and in legend. Il Centro is the local’s favorite for a mature atmosphere and a bartender who always knows your name. For a more casual crowd, go east on 51st Street as choices abound near the university. Get your caffeine fix at Crows Coffee and sip while surrounded by a mix of studying students and city regulars. Pizza 51 rounds out the block with slices large enough to hang off their paper plates.
For a pleasant stop, swing by The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. It’s exactly what it sounds like—an entire museum devoted to small-scale delicacies and antique toys. Hit up the gift shop for some whimsical memories on the way out. At least you know it’ll fit in the suitcase if necessary.