The Great American Road Trip is back. Or, it never left. Either way, Americans in every corner of the states are packing bags, piling into their fuel-efficient vehicles and traveling north, south, east and west for adventures across the map. Regardless of whether you’re passing through or coming to town, Kansas City is a prime destination to visit thanks to its central location in the heart of the country, as well as its diverse culture, incredible cuisine and can’t-miss attractions.

Here are a few places to check out on your road trip to or through KC:

Experience KC's Finest Attractions

Sightseeing is one of the key elements to any successful road trip, and thankfully KC has you covered. For those looking to soak up culture, check out The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a free, internationally-renowned museum that features works from a multitude of time periods and places. In search of some KC history? Swing by the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, both proud institutions located in the historic 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District. Get outside and play at the Kansas City Zoo, which features more than 200 acres of excitement and exotic animals, including polar bears, orangutans and chimpanzees. Visitors have also been known to explore a different world, instead taking tours of some of the many craft breweries and distilleries in town, including Boulevard Brewing Co. and Tom’s Town Distilling Company.

Refuel From Sunup to Sundown

All that travel is exhausting, but with KC’s unique assortment of farm-to-table favorites, celebrity-chef staples and, yes, barbecue restaurants, there are plenty of options to get you fueled up. Grab a brunch bite at Happy Gillis Café & Hangout in Columbus Park. Or head west to The City Market and chow down on Chinese cuisine at Bo Ling’s. For a quick pick-me-up, take the free-to-ride KC Streetcar south to the Crossroads Arts District and caffeinate at PT’s at the Crossroads, an area coffee roaster loved by locals. Dinner? Delight in fresh fish flown in daily at Bristol Seafood Grill in the Power & Light District. If Mexican cuisine is more to your liking, try Port Fonda in Westport, helmed by Chef Ryan Patrick, a James Beard-semi-finalist. Meanwhile, farm-to-table staple The Westside Local is a must-try. Sample some of Kansas City’s best barbecue at Q39, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue or Arthur Bryant’s, all fan favorites in their own right.  

Catch Some Z's

Lodging is essential on a long road trip. Thankfully, sleeping in your car isn’t necessary thanks to a wide variety of rooming options. Stay in the heart of it all at the Aladdin Holiday Inn in Downtown KC, a boutique property only a short walk away from the Power & Light District. If you’re near the Country Club Plaza, rest at one of the finest hotels in KC, The Raphael Hotel. Here for a Royals or Chiefs game? Consider crashing at Drury Inn & Suites KC Stadium, located just across the highway from both Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium. However, not all road trips require indoor lodging. Get away from it all for a night and camp out at Smithville Lake, a scenic nature spot only 29 miles north of Downtown KC. 

Road Trip Pit Stops

Not all road trips end in KC. Sometimes you’re passing through on your way to a different adventure. But before you leave, make sure you check out some of the best that Kansas City has to offer during your abbreviated stop. Since you’ve probably heard about our barbecue, plan on checking out Gates Bar-B-Q. Known for their ribs (among many, many other delicious dishes), the KC institution has six different locations throughout the metro area, meaning you’re sure to be close to one of them no matter which way you’re traveling. If you packed your lunch in the cooler, check out the National World War I Museum and Memorial for a little R&R. The beautiful lawn out front provides several locations to set up a picnic, while the Liberty Memorial’s scenic Downtown KC overlook offers photographers one of the best shots in town. On your way out, cruise over to The Roasterie to tour their coffee factory and grab a cup before you hit the road again. 


Nelson Atkins

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