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Best Things to Do in Kansas City, KS

Best Things to Do in Kansas City, KS

Kansas City, Kansas (or KCK as the locals affectionately call it), embodies a rich tapestry of cultures and histories that make it a treasure trove of experiences for any travel enthusiast. Whether you’re a seasoned road tripper or new to the joys of hitting the open road, KCK offers a unique blend of attractions and unique spots that will make your journey memorable. Here are the best things to do in Kansas City, Kansas, as recommended by the locals.

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Discover KCK’s Coffee Gems

Splitlog Coffee Co. – Located in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood, this charming spot offers a great cup of coffee or tea paired with irresistible pastries. For those who enjoy fresh bagged coffee, the Steamboat Espresso Blend makes my mouth water, though I typically prefer a dirty iced matcha, perfection at Splitlog Coffee.

You’ll also find great merch here.

splitlog-coffee

Three Bees Pottery and Coffee Shop – This one-of-a-kind cafe combines excellent coffee with Tavalera Mexican pottery and home decor. Don’t miss the best horchata (a delightful mix of rice milk, cinnamon, and Mexican vanilla) you’ve ever tasted. Adventurous drinkers should try the Atole or Tres Leches Latte and stay for the homemade sweet or savory tamales. 

Note, Three Bees is closed on Mondays.

Kinship Cafe – Known for its exquisite cold brew, it also tempts visitors with delicious pastries and sweet treats. Plus, you can purchase the unique artwork adorning the walls, making it more than just a coffee stop.

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KCK Food: A Culinary Adventure Awaits

Kansas City is a culinary treasure trove, teeming with flavors that mirror its rich diversity. From hearty comfort food to the famous KcKTaco Trail, local eateries serve a feast that delights the senses. Every bite you take tells the story of KCK’s storied past and its vibrant present.

Everybody loves pizza, so why not try the upscale pizza creations at 1889 Pizza Napoletana? Consistently rated as the best pizza in Kansas City, this place offers more than just great pies. I attended a dough and pizza-making class, which was both immensely fun and rewarding—especially when it came time to savor the end product.

Truthfully, 1889’s Chopped Salad, with its white balsamic vinaigrette and gorgonzola, impressed me even more than the pizza itself.

1889-pizza-napoletana

Learn more about the food of KCK and its neighboring towns in this Where to Eat on Kansas I-70 post. 

Discovering delicious Italian food in KCK was a pleasant surprise. Italian Delight truly lives up to its name, offering a wide range of delectable pasta dishes and pizzas. Renee, the friendly owner and manager, greeted every guest warmly and even brought a plate of cannoli for us to enjoy.

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I can personally attest to the mouthwatering calzones stuffed with flavorful ingredients. The tomato and cucumber salad is an absolute must! Don’t be deterred by the long lines; the food arrives promptly and is well worth the wait.

If you need food delivered via Uber Eats or Grubhub, keep Hawaiian Bros. Island Grill in mind. The island-inspired comfort food arrived timely and was incredibly flavorful and good. I recommend Huli Huli or Kilauea (hot!) Chicken with the macaroni salad.

hawaiian-bros-huli-huli-chicken

Whether you’re a local or just passing through, KCK’s vibrant culinary scene promises a memorable dining experience that’s simply too good to miss.

KCK BBQ: The Quintessential Taste of Kansas City

You can’t even speak of Kansas City, Kansas, without world-class barbecue coming to mind. Known for its signature slow-smoked meats and tangy-sweet sauces, KCK BBQ is a gastronomic experience that captures the essence of Midwestern hospitality.

Places like Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Slap’s BBQ, and Arthur Bryant are must-visit spots for an authentic taste of the city and ones I can’t help but visit repeatedly. 

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Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is a highly popular game-changer with some original dishes. My favorite is the famous Z-Man sandwich with slow-roasted brisket and provolone on a Kaiser roll. The potato salad and BBQ beans are both yummy. Here’s a tip: arrive early as the wait is long daily. 

Another fantastic choice is Slaps BBQ for the best brisket, burnt ends, smoked turkey, and warm baked potato casserole you’ve ever tasted! I swear by the Cheesy Corn, a must-have side item! 

slaps-bbq-turkey-and-pulled-pork

At Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, my friends and I tried brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausages, turkey, onion rings, potato salad, and baked beans. I liked the smoked turkey best, but my friends raved about the ribs’ great, balanced flavor.

arthur-bryant-bbq-meats

Taco Trail: A Flavorful Journey

Did you know KCK boasts a Taco Trail? I’ve been exploring this vibrant city long before the trail existed, savoring street tacos at El Camino Real, known for its homemade corn tortillas.

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After learning about the Taco Trail—where you enjoy tacos, check in, and earn rewards. Each stop celebrates the city’s rich cultural diversity with unique and delicious tacos.

At Taqueria Mexico #4 in Kansas City, Kansas, I stumbled upon a gem. Their Pollo A La Mexico, a succulent blend of marinated chicken breast, queso, and poblano pepper, is a Mexican dish that stands out among the best I’ve ever had.

kansas-city-taco-trail

The Legends: Shopping and Entertainment Hub

The Legends Outlets Kansas City is a premier shopping destination featuring 100+ stores (Sephora, Levi’s Outlet Store, Soma, Rack Room Shoes), restaurants, and entertainment options. Whether you’re in the mood for retail therapy or a fun day out, there is plenty to do at this stylish complex, which features art sculptures and installments. 

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Kansas Speedway and Hollywood Casino: Thrills and Entertainment

For those seeking excitement and adventure, the Kansas Speedway is a top-notch attraction for immersing yourself in heart-pounding NASCAR races that promise entertainment and fun. Indulge in delectable meals at five diverse restaurants, some providing outdoor seating with breathtaking views of the racetrack, allowing you to savor a delicious meal while absorbing the electrifying atmosphere of the races.

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Photo from Kansas Speedway IG page.

Kansas Speedway hosts two major NASCAR race weekends annually, offering travel enthusiasts the perfect blend of high-speed action and world-class leisure.

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Just next door, the Hollywood Casino invites you to immerse yourself in its vibrant gaming atmosphere, promising endless entertainment. Discover over 3,000 slot machines, 50+ table games, and a poker room dedicated to your enjoyment. It’s time to elevate your gaming experience!

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Photos from Hollywood Casino website.

Soccer Stadium and Team: Catch a Game

Home to Sporting Kansas City, KCK’s Children’s Mercy Park is a state-of-the-art soccer stadium with an electric atmosphere for soccer fans. Catching a game here is a thrilling experience that showcases the city’s passion for sports and community spirit.

Fun Fact: KCK is the Soccer Capital of America.

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Great Wolf Lodge: Family Fun and Adventure

Great Wolf Lodge provides a perfect getaway for families. It offers an indoor water park, themed suites, and various activities for kids and adults. The food is really good, and there is never a dull moment with the jam-packed itinerary list. Great Wolf Lodge is an ideal spot for a weekend of fun and relaxation.

I love staying here every bit as much as any kid would. 

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Grinter Place Museum: A Step Back in Time

Discover the historical charm of the Grinter Place Museum, a beautifully preserved 19th-century home that offers a unique glimpse into the life of early settlers. Explore the museum through insightful tours that delve into the rich history of the Grinter family and the broader narrative of frontier life in Kansas.

The house, built by Moses and Annie Grinter—a white man and a Lenape Native American woman—played a crucial role in bridging their diverse communities. After being sold in the ’50s, the home was later donated to the Kansas Historical Society, which restored it into the charming museum we see today. While the house is a delightful step back in time, the docent’s engaging storytelling truly brings its history to life.

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KCK Underground Railroad Sites: A Journey Through History

Discover the heart-touching history of the Underground Railroad in Kansas City, Kansas, by visiting sites that once served as sanctuaries for enslaved individuals on their path to freedom. These locations provide an evocative glimpse into an essential chapter of American history.

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Kansas was a crucial player in the Underground Railroad, with Quindaro standing out as the first free port along the Mississippi River. Anthony Hope, a relative of the Monroe family, shared this rich history with me at Quindaro Overlook, a serene spot offering panoramic views of four counties.

It’s a long story, but it is worth hearing directly from someone there so you can experience the same passion as I did. 

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The Quindaro Township Ruins are awaiting Senate approval to be designated as a historical landmark. Visitors can delve into this rich heritage at the Old Quindaro Museum and the Quindaro Underground Railroad Museum.

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Lewis and Clark Sites: Trace the Explorers’ Path

Follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark by visiting various historic sites in KCK that commemorate their journey. These locations offer educational plaques and markers that provide fascinating insights into their expedition and the early history of the United States.

If you’re searching for an authentic travel experience rich with history, exceptional views, and abundant photo opportunities, Historic Park at Kaw Point is your address. This treasured location offers more than just a scenic park—it’s a portal to the past where history and nature converge.

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In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark arrived at these very shores during their monumental journey to the Rocky Mountains. They spent several days here, repairing boats and gathering vital supplies. 

Spanning 10 acres, the Lewis and Clark Park at Kaw Point features scenic trails and a boat ramp at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. As you explore the park, you’ll encounter historic plaques that narrate the challenges and triumphs of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Be sure to note the 19 flags representing regional native tribes. 

Wyandotte County Museum: Unearth Local History

Discover the hidden treasures of Wyandotte County Museum, minutes away in Bonner Springs, which paints a vivid picture of the region’s vibrant past with an impressive collection of 75,000 artifacts. 

Step back in time as you explore exhibits ranging from Native American heritage to the industrial era. Marvel at unique pieces like a vintage 1903 steam fire engine, a dugout canoe, whimsical firefighter statues, and a Civil War cannon.

One standout artifact is a piece of the USS Arizona, struck during the attack on Pearl Harbor—a poignant reminder of our shared history.

wyandotte-museum-artifact

Celebrating Farming Heritage at the National Ag Center

The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame (whew, that’s a mouthful!), also in Bonner Springs, pays tribute to farmers and the agricultural industry’s vital role in shaping America. This remarkable museum offers interactive exhibits and educational programs that provide a hands-on, engaging glimpse into the evolution of farming. 

Boasting around 30,000 artifacts, the Center is a treasure trove of historical farming equipment and family-friendly activities. Don’t miss the charming one-room schoolhouse and the historical insights costumed interpreters provide at the Blacksmith Shop, Train Depot, and others. Riding the mini-Union Pacific train was super cheesy and fun.

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Check out more of our Kansas posts:

Where to Eat on Kansas Highway 36

5 Things to Love About Salina

25 Reasons to Visit Wichita

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Agness | the adventure traveler

Sunday 14th of April 2019

At first, I was wondering about what you meant by Authentic Travel. But as I read through your article, I was able to understand the essence of this type of travel.

Ami Bhat

Wednesday 30th of January 2019

You got me with that Wizard of Oz thing. I would love to experience that. I wouldnt mind the farm museum too. I see that as not just educational but a lot of fun too. And yes, especially that classroom

Arnav Mathur

Wednesday 30th of January 2019

You had me at all those yummy pictures of food. When the food looks so good, it tastes 10 times better for sure, and food is definitely one of the best ways of experiencing Authentic Kansas. Would love to check out the live Wizard of Oz production.

Punita Malhotra

Tuesday 29th of January 2019

Wizard of Oz live show sounds wonderful and your pictures prove it. I have only seen the movie :( How I would love to take back some memorabilia with me!! That and the food...works for me...

sherianne

Tuesday 29th of January 2019

Funny (not funny) I grew up about 3 hours from here, visited often, and have not heard of any of the places you visited! That isn’t exactly true, I know about the raceway and KC BBQ is as famous as Texas BBQ. But I didn’t know KC had a major role in the Underground Railroad, you’d think they would have taught us that in school. Anyway, I would love to check out the Wizard of Oz memorabilia.

MelodyPittman

Thursday 31st of January 2019

Awesome! I'm glad you found some new things to check out. I really love the state of Kansas. You are a lucky girl. ;) Thanks for reading.

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