Art in Unlikely Places in KC

Ballet in the hotel lobby. Shakespeare in the park. Art in the alley. Kansas City’s artists and performers surround visitors and locals with art, regardless of the location—and oftentimes where you least expect it. Because in a city as imaginative and talented as KC, creativity is everywhere.

Here are some of the most unlikely places to experience art in KC: 

Pop-Up Performances

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The recently renovated Hotel Phillips touts more than excellent accommodations. Whether checking in, waiting to be seated at the establishment’s underground speakeasy or somewhere in between, guests can get a taste of Kansas City’s art culture at any given moment. Witness a live ballet performance or spontaneous choir set right in the Art Deco-designed lobby—part of the Downtown hotel’s ArtLight program to inspire and elevate their guest experience beyond traditional stays in KC.

For additional pop-up performances and experiences in Downtown KC, be sure to check out Art in the Loop, a foundation committed to supporting and enriching artistic development in the area.

Skyline Sights


The Kansas City Convention Center touts more than exemplary amenities. Look atop the structure and you’ll spot Sky Stations/Pylon Caps, a four-part sculpture installation that tops off each of the Convention Center’s 200-foot towers. They’re subtle and unexpected, and yet add a unique texture to the city’s burgeoning skyline—one that you won’t find anywhere else.

Crossroads Canvas




The Crossroads Arts District is no stranger to creative expression. Popular for its First Fridays celebrations each month, the neighborhood is also home to one of KC’s most colorful urban canvases. Tucked away in the east end of the district is Art Alley, a hidden gem featuring an ever-changing array of graffiti art ranging from pop culture homages to surreal explorations of the brick walls on which the art appears. 


There's also the Kansas City Graffiti Tour, which guides participants to and through some of the most popular and recognizable street art in the Crossroads, all ending at Parlor for drinks and bites. 

Shakespeare in the Park

Whether you’re planning an entire trip around the summer showcase or happen to stumble upon a showing, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival is a perennial favorite more than 25 years running. Head across the street from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to Southmoreland Park, where you can catch performances of some of the most popular and influential plays in Western culture, all penned by the one and only Bard of Avon.

Larger-Than-Life Literature


The ideal backdrop for your next great Instagram post, the Community Bookshelf at the Kansas City Public Library’s Central branch depicts towering book spines of literary works ranging all throughout history. The Bookshelf doubles as the Library’s parking garage, a fitting metaphor for those inspired by the titles to go and park themselves in a comfy chair to read for hours on-end. 

Artful Architecture

Photo Credit: David Remley

Overlooking the Missouri River Valley just northeast of Downtown KC sits a historic 1910 Beaux-Arts mansion, home to the Kansas City Museum. Take in the impressive Corinthian columns and the ornate details that have made this a treasured structure since its construction. While the facility itself is closed for renovations, the exterior is worth the visit alone, and the grounds host several events and programs each year. 

More Arts and Culture in KC


Public art and local landmarks are just two of the many other ways to experience Kansas City’s art culture. Stay up-to-date with the scene so that you’re always in touch with the scene.