Things to do in Kansas City

First off, welcome to Kansas City and welcome to “Am I in Kansas or Missouri?” Let’s clear that up right off the bat. The metropolitan area is Kansas City, Missouri however there is a Kansas City, Kansas but most people just live in the general Kansas City area. For example my work is in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and our home is in Overland Park, Kansas – yet if you asked where we live and work the first answer would probably be Kansas City. Now that everyone is confused because I probably did a horrible job explaining it, let’s get to the list. These are in no particular order but happen to be some of my favorites. If something fun is not on the list, feel free to comment. We’ve only lived here a year so we still have lists of things we want to do!

1. Eat BBQ – ok, duh! This is sure to be on everyone’s list but here’s some options of which barbecue joint to go to. Also my favorite ordering trick is to order a two or three meat platter with a side or two and split it with someone else. That way you get to try lots of different menu items and both of you get your fair share of food. Sometimes it is the less expensive route as well!

  1. Woodyard Barbecue is delicious and laid back. They’ve been featured on tons of TV shows and are pretty well-known yet they never seem to have a line, which is nice when you’re hungry and can smell barbecue.
  2. Joe’s KC – There are multiple restaurants so they might be easy to find and they are all delicious. If you go to the original one, it really is in a gas station.
  3. Jack Stack – To me, this is the “white table cloth” restaurant of the barbecue joints. It is a little fancier and cleaner but still that great barbecue you hoped for.

2. Go to a Royals Game. Check the promotions on their website first because you might want to make sure you go on $1 hot dog night to save some dough! I’d like to add a Kansas City Chiefs game to this but I still prefer the Royals for your budget sake if you have to pick one. The parking cost $60 for a Chiefs pre-season game but we sat way up high and the seats were cheap but still a great view! I will say wherever you live going to an NFL game is probably worth trying because it was very exciting and enjoyable.


3. Visit the World War I Museum. This is the only national war museum that is anywhere other than Washington D.C. and the architecture alone is absolutely beautiful. My favorite part is the tower. Going to the top is quite the experience in an aged elevator that shakes the whole way up to the top – 217 feet high. But the view is more than worth it, it makes for an awesome backdrop to any selfie and the perfect Snapchat or Instagram story. That is, as long as you aren’t afraid of heights.

4. Go Fishing. This one does take a little extra effort to get the equipment and licenses but if you have the supplies the KC area has some great little ponds that are stocked with bass, blue gill and catfish. Great for an evening of fishing!


5. Go Apple Picking. Our favorite spot is Cider Hill Family Orchard and we have made the most delicious apple pies from their apples. They also have fresh vegetables, pumpkin picking in October and other fun Fall-themed activities. Oh and free fishing!


6. Lock your love on Love Lock Bridge. We did this when it was below freezing and almost dark – and would not recommend anyone else do it the way we did. I just know I could not feel my legs when we got back in the car. But we went back to visit our lock in the summer time and although or sharpie marks had worn off, our love lock was still holding on strong. Make sure and throw your key in the creek! (Again, don’t go when it’s freezing or you’ll be throwing the key on ice.) If you plan ahead you can even get a lock engraved.


7. Visit a Farmer’s Market. Don’t forget your sweet corn! We’ve been to the one at City Market and in Overland Park – both are wonderful. City Market is massive so come early and plan for a long morning!

8. Go to a concert. Kansas City seems to attract some of the best artists and some of my favorite less-known artists as well. I follow some venues like the KC Live! Block at Power and Light and the Truman just to see who they will have in town. When we were house hunting we almost went to see Tom Petty at the Sprint Center but didn’t end up going – boy do I regret that!

9. Visit the Kansas City Zoo. This zoo was huge so make sure and bring comfy shoes. The safari area was quite a long walk or you could take the lift to get an aerial view of the animals. I loved the interactive parts where we fed the birds and pet the stingrays, or would it be better if I said the kids I went with loved those parts? Fine it was me.

10. Go to the KC St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Full disclosure, this parade gets a little cold for the desert-born folks like myself but it’s worth hanging in for at least couple hours. Be on the lookout for Kansas City’s Superman. He might be at the parade or anywhere you end up really.


11. Visit the art museums. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art makes for a great afternoon and the sculpture garden is beautiful. Nearby is also the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

12. Go to the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting at Crown Center. This event drew a big crowd but it was worth the wait. It made for a festive way to ring in the Christmas season. You can park at Crown Center and just be sure to get your parking validated.

13. Visit the Plaza. This is a great place to walk around and window shop or regular shop. If you want to get two of these done at once you could eat at Jackstack barbecue on the plaza.

14. Take a picture with one of the many fountains. You can do this while checking off number 13 also.


15. Head on over to Union Station. Grab a ticket to the latest exhibit, enjoy the beautiful architecture or check out the model train area. It is a lovely place to visit and Pierpoint’s Restaurant is a great choice if you are looking for a fancy meal.

16. Go to the Ballet or Symphony. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a beautiful venue. Even if you are not typically a fan of the arts it is worth visiting. We went to see a Johnny Cash themed ballet and thought it was a fantastic experience.

17. Go to a food truck street fair. Whether it’s First Fridays or another event, Kansas City is full of culture, good food and great crowds. It is always crazy how many people show up for the street fairs and food truck events.

18. Go to the American Royal Livestock Show or Rodeo. These events are well-known throughout the nation so if you’re in the area at the right time, be sure to attend!


19. Go to Grinters Farms and take pictures. The massive fields of sunflowers actually exist and they are what dreams are made of. We had so much fun taking pictures and they turned out beautiful. It is worth seeing and definitely take a camera or find a photographer doing mini-sessions. I saw one photographer advertising mini-sessions for as low as $30 for a few digital images. The sunflowers bloom during the month of September, we went the second weekend.

Last updated September 9, 2018.