By Justin Moxley
Whether it is blues, barbeque or baseball, you don’t want to miss Kansas City.
Whether it is I-29, I-70, I-35 or Kansas City International that brings you to the Heartland, you don’t want to miss Kansas City.
Whether it is an outing to Words of Fun for the kids, the Country Club Plaza for the wife, or a night at a Royals or T-Bones game for Dad, you should be careful not to miss it.
Kansas City, at nearly 2 million in population and more than $3 billion of new construction in downtown alone, has more than enough of everything you might want in a summer destination. While you’re here for the NACC, be sure to see as much as you can.
While consistently ranked as one of the best cities to live in the nation, Kansas City also is a great place to visit. It is known as the city of fountains because only Rome has more, but Kansas City also has numerous other nooks and crannies well worth exploring.
Shopping, Sites, and Places to Eat
Any trip to Kansas City should include some time at the Country Club Plaza. You can stroll amid its Spanish architecture and its numerous fountains with the kids, or friends, or simply a cup of coffee. Watch people, get some exercise, or visit one of its many shops and restaurants.
George Brett’s restaurant is there, as well as the Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s. Visit a Thomas Kincaid gallery. Or relax at the world-famous J.C. Nichols Fountain in the park right across the street.
Union Station and Crown Center, both a few minutes south of downtown by car, sit ready to be explored.
Science City, the IMAX, and several traveling displays are always available to see at Union Station. Just across the street, Crown Center houses numerous shops and restaurants. The highlight for the kids is Fritz’s, where they can eat a hamburger delivered to their table via a train.
Crown Center’s fountains are beautiful to look at and even more fun to play in. On a hot day the water is great for the young and the young at heart. Crown Center also houses Kaleidoscope, a free craft and discovery center for kids operated by Hallmark. Reservations are required and extra room in the suitcase will be needed to take home all of the treasures they will create.
The Legends Mall and Kansas Speedway area is just west on I-70, 15 minutes or so from downtown. You can go to a minor league baseball game at the T-Bones stadium, tour the speedway, or visit one of the largest furniture and electronics stores in the world at Nebraska Furniture Mart.
Get any type of hunting or fishing gear you’ve ever wanted and see hundreds of animals on display at Cabela’s, and then eat at T-Rex the restaurant, with its mechanical dinosaurs and the rain forest ambiance. Or just dine, take in a movie, and shop till your heart’s content at the brand-new outdoor Legends Mall.
You can also tour the Negro League Baseball Museum or the American Jazz Museum in the 18th and Vine District, visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library in Independence, Missouri, explore the Nelson Gallery of Art just east of the plaza, or catch a Royals baseball game at the K, one of the best major league baseball parks in America.
Kansas City will surprise you.
The World’s Best Barbecue
But whatever you do, don’t miss the barbecue! A trip to Kansas City isn’t complete without eating what we believe is the world’s best.
And whether it’s Oklahoma Joe’s original location in the gas station or the hole in the wall where Arthur Bryant has served his best to presidents and dignitaries going back to Kennedy—or the new location of Jack Stack in the Warehouse District (just over the walking bridge from Union Station)—you won’t go wrong.
And whether you like your barbeque sweet or spicy, with sauce or a hand rub, we have you covered.
I’ll tell Ollie Gates’s crew at Gates BBQ to warm up the pit and start cooking just for you.
Come for the NACC, but stay a day or two for the family fun and food.
It’s time! Don’t miss Kansas City.
Justin Moxley is executive director of the Heartland Project, a regional church-planting ministry.