Solo Traveling in Kansas City
By Lysa Allman-Baldwin
There are a lot of wonderful things about Kansas City: more than 100 outstanding barbecue restaurants. Soul-stirring, world-class jazz. Vibrant cultural offerings. But don’t just ask us. It’s been dubbed as one of “America’s Best Cities for Singles” and one of the “Top 10 U.S. Destinations for Solo Travel in 2017.” Yep—unattached travelers love it here, finding plenty to do and see without the prerequisite partner participation.
Here are some of the best ways to travel solo in KC:
Delicious Food and Drink
Kansas City’s gastronomic landscape brims with flavor—and its assortment of culinary choices make it easy for solo visitors to select what they’re craving or looking to sample. Many area chefs harvest inspiration here to cultivate their own incredible farm-to-fork menus at places like The Westside Local and Howard's Café, among others.
Open daily year-round, The City Market highlights the region’s best meats, produce, herbs and homemade food products at more than 150 food stalls, specialty purveyor shops and locally-owned restaurants.
Great food pairs well with amazing drinks, and KC offers more than a splash of places where single travelers can delve into the beer, wine and spirits scenes. For beer, try homegrown star Boulevard Brewing Co., where production tours end with samples of fine ales and lagers made from traditional ingredients.
Tom’s Town Distilling Company tantalizes with in-depth facility tours and cocktails made from specialty gins, vodkas and bourbons while several varieties of wines are made exclusively from Missouri-grown Vinifera grapes at Amigoni Urban Winery.
Solo travelers can also make new friends while on the Kansas City Tap Tour, featuring local craft breweries, and on Barley Bus Tours, complete with specialized sojourns that stop at some of the city’s trendiest beer joints.
Captivating Sight and Sound
Kansas City’s music scene encompasses many genres, most notably jazz, the city’s calling card since its thriving 1920s heydays, and each club is ideal in its own way for travelers on their own. Grab a drink and enjoy the sound at places like The Phoenix Jazz Club and The Blue Room in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, and the Green Lady Lounge, all among today’s keepers of the jazz flame.
Exceptional performing arts options include the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, one of Kansas City’s iconic cultural venues, and the regal Yardley Hall and Polsky Theatre at The Carlsen Center. At each venue, you’ll find exquisite performances from symphonies, ballet troupes, opera singers and more.
See, Do and Enjoy!
Take your solo travels down to the Crossroads Arts District, where sculptures, paintings, ironworks, pottery, photography and more abound in KC’s cultural mecca. On First Fridays, an estimated 10,000 people come to explore dozens of artisan spaces and distinctive art galleries, dine at out-of-this-world restaurants and food trucks and enjoy energetic street performances.
The West Bottoms, a former industrial and stockyard area, delights with a sundry of antique shops, clothing and home décor boutiques, restaurants and music—perfect for a little “you time.” Head to the Country Club Plaza—home to 15 blocks of laid-back and upscale restaurants, shopping, live outdoor and lounge entertainment and other unique entities—to experience a true KC gem.
In the heart of Downtown, the Power & Light District boasts nine blocks of exciting bars and restaurants, unique local shops and lively entertainment venues. The centerpiece is KC Live!, an outdoor concert stage featuring local, regional and national bands performing year-round.
All Around Town
Visiting without a car? No problem. Easy and solo-friendly transportation options include the new KC Streetcar with 16 hop-on, hop-off stops extending 2.2 miles from River Market to Crown Center and the city’s historic Union Station. Kansas City B-Cycle is a 24/7 public bike sharing system perfect for short, all-day, or multi-day jaunts while Kansas City Segway Tours offers themed adventures via Segway, bicycle and on foot.
With your own wheels, worthwhile spots to explore include Cliff Drive, Missouri’s only urban scenic byway; and the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens—300 acres bursting with 1,700 species of plants, 13 spectacular gardens and inviting walking and hiking trails.
Swope Park touts 1,805 acres of recreation, sports and entertainment entities while Shawnee Mission Park draws crowds for its nature, biking and horseback trails, 120-acre lake and 53-acre off-leash dog area, among many other activities.