In this article, we will go over the top 10 things to do when you are visiting Kansas City, Missouri. It sits on Missouri’s western edge, straddling the border with Kansas. It is known for its barbecue restaurants and fountains. According to the US Census Bureau, this city had an estimated population of about 0.5 million in 2019, making it the 38th most populous city in the United States.
Kansas City was found in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the West. The city comprises several neighborhoods, including the River Market District in the North and the Country Club Plaza in the South. Now, let us begin with the top 10 things to do in Kansas City.
Things to do in Kansas City
1. National World War I Museum & Memorial
World War I was called the war to end all wars. This museum opened in 1926 and was designated as America’s Official World War I Museum by the US Congress in 2004. The National World War I Museum & Memorial hosts one of the most significant war memorials globally. It features a 217-foot tall tower that rises above the Kansas City skyline and includes four 40 foot tall guardian spirits: courage, honor, patriotism, and sacrifice.
World War I indeed was the defining event of the 20th century and beyond. It was the first global conflict in human history where people on every inhabited continent participated. By the end of the war, more than 65 million people had served from 36 nations worldwide. When World War I broke out in 1914, the United States decided to remain neutral until 1917. President Woodrow Wilson was very much against entering the war, and he ran under the campaign of “He Kept Us Out of War” during his re-election campaign in 1916. However, in 1917, the Germans had tried to facilitate a war against the United States involving Mexico. The telegram sent to Mexico was intercepted by the British, decoded, and promptly given to the Americans. So, after a few months, Woodrow Wilson encouraged the United States to enter the war and did so in April 1917.
One of the most important inventions during World War I was the Tank. Tanks did not exist before World War I and were designed to help combat trench warfare. The French Renault FT-17 tank at the National World War I Museum is one of the few remaining in the world that saw action. The artillery pieces you can see here packed such a punch that most of them would destroy a house with a single artillery shell. The National World War I Museum possesses the most diverse and comprehensive collection of World War I objects and documents in the world. One great example of the breadth of the collection is the variety of uniforms that they have preserved. In one single space in the East Gallery, you can see a wide range of uniforms from British to French to Russian Cossack to Scottish to South African to Japanese and more. If you find history even a bit fascinating, you need to visit this museum whenever you are in Kansas City.
2. Worlds Of Fun
Now, we are going to talk about the Worlds Of Fun Theme Park in Kansas City. To start things off, we will talk about the roller coasters at the Worlds Of Fun. The top 3 are the Patriot, Mamba, and Prowler. Apart from these 3, the overall lineup is impressive, and you can choose which one to ride on depending upon your comfort. As you are going around the pathways in the park, you will notice that there are a lot of trees all over the place. This means that you have tons of space where you can go under the shade and have a fun time.
Speaking of flat rides, they have got Drop Tower and Enterprise. When you enter the part, you immediately notice that there are many family rides, which is essential when you visit with your kids. In addition, there is a vast area dedicated to Planet Snoopy that looks amazing. You will be impressed with its layout and the number of attractions they have in it. Other than just rides, there is plenty of open space in this park where you can enjoy yourselves. There is also a water park adjacent to Worlds Of Fun, called the Oceans Of Fun. If you are visiting Kansas City in summer, then Oceans Of Fun will be the most attractive place to go to. If you do not have the park map with you, you will find it challenging to work your way around. Therefore, we recommend that you get one as soon as you enter the facility.
3. Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
It is here at 18th and Vine in Kansas City that a legacy lives. It is about a building and a museum, but it is also about so much more. As you walk inside, you begin to understand a tribute to baseball. More importantly, it offers a history lesson of how sports helped everyone understand equality. One could not deny the talents of a league that helped integrate the sports in the United States.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum provides perspective on how the grand old game changed. The idea originated with the late Horace Peterson. He ran the black archives of Mid-America, and he came to Buck O’Neil, the great Negro Leagues player and co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. He said they needed to do something to celebrate a forgotten piece of baseball in American history. So, I was born in a place that would serve as an entertaining reminder of what once was and how it affected a nation to this day.
In this facility, the people come and leave with a different understanding than when they walked through the doors. This museum is one of the iconic structures in the city. It encapsulates the history of this entire area. Here, you can see a few monuments separated by design from the people who come through them. Here, at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, they segregate you from the field as they want you to at least remotely experience what segregation was like. You can see the field for most vantage points in the museum, but you cannot get to it. The only way you are allowed to take the field here is to earn that right, and you do so by learning the story. The story revolves around how baseball helped change society and how a group of people with a mission can make a difference forever.
4. Central Library
The Central Library is the main library of the Kansas City Public Library System. It is located in the library district of Downtown Kansas City. Situated at the junction of 14 West 10th Street and Baltimore Avenue, this library contains the administrative offices of Kansas City’s Library System. Within the central library, the Missouri Valley room includes a vast collection of items related to the local history of Kansas City, including original and published materials, news articles, postcards, photographs, maps, and directories dating from the city’s earliest history.
The library’s Ramos collection includes ancient books, historical pamphlets, famous journal articles, and other materials relating to African-American history. The area on which the library stands today was initially developed as a commercial and entertainment hub in the 1880s. This is one of the reasons why this library holds cultural and historical significance as well. Over the years, improvements around this district and modifications in the nearby establishments played an impactful role in defining a distinctive character for this neighborhood. The parking garage for the Central Library in Kansas City has a characteristic disguise of book pines. This garage was constructed by the design firm Dimensional Innovations, and residents of Kansas City got to choose which titles would be represented in this hallmark bookshelf. Whenever you are in Kansas City, your eyes should not miss this substantial piece of history and architecture.
5. Legoland Discovery Center
Anyone who has grown up playing with Legos would love to pay a visit to this facility. You can buy the ticket to this center online through their official website. This will save you a few dollars as well. An adult ticket costs around 40 USD, whereas children tickets cost about 30 USD. Check-in into the discovery center is quick and easy. You have to show up with your ticket, and you’re good to go.
Let us start with the Lego Ninjago City Adventure, also known as the Jungle Gym. It is pretty fun for kids and adults alike. Right next to the Ninjago City Adventure, there is a Lego built-in play zone. The discovery center also hosts a detailed and intricate mini-land of Kansas City. There are plenty of Lego structures all around the facility. There are multiple builds and play zones as well. You can also go into the Lego 4D cinema; however, it is unsuitable for babies and young children. There is also a Lego Racer Build & Test Zone. Here, you can build your car from the ground up and then test to see if it can make it from one side to the other. They do have a coffee shop here that serves Starbucks for the parents and food for the kids. All in all, there is enough for you and your children to enjoy the discovery center all day long.
6. Boulevard Brewing Company
Boulevard Brewing Company has been named one of the top 10 brew tours in the United States. So, if you’re in Kansas City, you need to stop down there and see what all the fuss is about. When Boulevard Brewing Company opened its doors back in 1989, it wasn’t long before they started doing tours of the facility. Over the years, those free tours have become, for apparent reasons, crazy popular. You can have an idea regarding the popularity of this place because the lead time for these tours is around 3 to 4 months.
The tour starts in an old turn-of-the-century warehouse where John McDonald’s vision of a brewing company began. In here, you get a sense of just how far one guy’s dream to build a brewery in Kansas City has come. Visitors get to see a bit of everything. They are led by very energetic tour guides who volunteer their time to the cause. In just under an hour, visitors get to see both the original plant and Boulevard’s newly expanded, state-of-the-art bottling facility. The tour’s highlight is seeing the production line, where you can see the beers coming down the trail. After all, is said and done, people get to enjoy several frosty brews, courtesy of the brewmasters at Boulevard. As this brewing company has grown in size and reputation, so has the demand for tours. Therefore, if you want to visit, you will have to get your calls in before you arrive in the city.
7. Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts
This is a majestic structure right in the middle of Kansas City that cannot be missed. It is surrounded by panels made up of 48 thousand square feet of glass. This makes Kansas City home to the largest enclosed glass and cabling structure in the world. The main lobby in this center is even larger than a football field. You can even rent this area if you are looking to hold a wedding ceremony. It can host about 400 people. Adjacent to the main lobby is a thousand car parking garage with the most prominent green roof in the United States. This garage is connected directly to the main entrance so visitors and performers can walk right in.
The Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts is a sight to behold. It holds over 1600 people, and the first thing you notice as you walk in is that there is a lot of wood. No matter what seat you are in inside this auditorium, you are no more than a hundred feet away from the stage. An even bigger hall inside the center is the Muriel Kauffman Theater. It holds 1800 people in total. This theater is the home base for Kansas City’s opera and ballet. The view from the top floor of the Kauffman Center is gorgeous. You can even see the Liberty Memorial, Union Station, and pretty much all the downtown from up there.
8. American Jazz Museum
Located at 18th and Vine in the historic Jazz District of Kansas City, American Jazz Museum has been operating since 1998. The museum includes the Gem Theater and the Blue Room, Kansas City’s Premier Jazz Nightclub. The American Jazz Museum also has the Changing Gallery, which hosts world-class exhibitions 3 to 4 times a year.
Jazz comes alive at the American Jazz Museum, where there are interactive exhibits about different aspects of Jazz Music. There are also special exhibits on some great titans of the art form, including Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. They also have the John Baker film collection, an exhibit of rare jazz footage from the late John Baker. It consists of over 5,000 films and is over a million feet in video-tape length.
9. Arrowhead Stadium
Arrowhead Stadium is the iconic home of the Kansas City Chiefs. The ground was broken for the stadium complex on July 11, 1968, with Arrowhead finally opening on August 12, 1972. This makes it the third oldest currently operating NFL stadium, after Soldier Field in Chicago and Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The original plan for the complex called for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs to have two side-by-side stadiums with a shared roof and other utility areas. The typical roof between the stadiums would have been incredibly innovative but ultimately proved to be too costly. As a result, the idea was scrapped, leading to both stadiums being open-air today.
A unique design aspect includes the stadium’s upper bowl being placed at a steep incline to increase seating. Arrowhead stadium continues to be an iconic and beloved NFL venue nearly 50 years after its grand opening. With the recent renovations and the Chiefs’ continued success, the stadium’s legend will only continue to grow. So if you are in town and your schedule aligns with one of the Chiefs games, you need to come here and take in a mesmerizing experience.
10. Breakout KC
If you are into some thrilling experiences, you can come to the Breakout KC. Inside the brick walls lies something you have likely never seen. It is a live-action escape game that will test your knowledge and your patience. The story begins inside a mock-up of a small, dingy hotel room. Customers pay around $30 to get locked in the room. Then they have to find their way out. There are clues hidden throughout the room that you have to put together to break out.
If guests cannot make it out in an hour, they fail. Their every move is being watched on surveillance cameras by one of Breakout’s employees. The employee then sends more clues on a TV monitor. If you are thinking right now that this is pretty easy, it is not. The quickest escape so far was made at the 51st minute. Want to challenge your ultimate escape limits? Visit the Breakout KC.
In this list, we talked about the top 10 things to do in Kansas City. There is a lot to love about this city, and it will not take you long to discover it once you are here. Besides the stand-out sights, top-class museums, and thrilling amusement and water parks, Kansas City is full of pretty neighborhoods and areas of effortless charm. That will easily keep you hooked to the vibe of the city for at least a week. If you are in the Great Plains, it will make no sense to miss out on a trip to Kansas City.