Museums & Entertainment
NATIONAL WORLD WAR I MUSEUM AND MEMORIAL
The National World War I Museum and Memorial is the only American museum solely dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of a war whose impact still echoes in the world today. The National World War I Museum holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of the war. The Museum takes visitors on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the National World War I Museum inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations.
Region: Crown Center Area
Address: 2 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 888-8100
THE NELSON-ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART
You are invited to discover some of the 34,500 pieces in the collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. From ceramic objects found in ancient Chinese tombs to whimsical sculptures of badminton birdies, the Nelson-Atkins collection spans over 5,000 years of humanity.
The Nelson-Atkins aspires to create a glorious environment–the ongoing experience which is in itself as compelling as a single “blockbuster” event. Each visit to the Nelson-Atkins brings different connections and unique experiences. Whether you are exploring the collection for the first time or the hundredth time, there’s always something new.
The Nelson-Atkins has two restaurants and gift shop. Rozzelle Court Restaurant is fashioned after an open-air Italian courtyard and offers buffet-style service of main dishes, salads, soups, breads and desserts. The Café is a sleek alternative to Rozzelle Court. This casual, glass-enclosed café tempts visitors to indulge in savory bites and mouth-watering desserts. Seasonal terrace seating overlooks the Museum’s gorgeous entry plaza.
The Museum Store offers extensive selections of art and design books, home décor, cards, exhibition catalogs, CDs and unusual gift items. Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for the art lover in your life, or buying for yourself, you will be sure to find a beautiful selection at the Nelson-Atkins’ Museum Store.
A place for quiet relaxation, creative inspiration, or an exhilarating start to your weekend – the Nelson-Atkins invites you to experience one of the country’s pre-eminent cultural destinations.
Region: Country Club Plaza Area
Address: 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, MO 64111
AMERICAN JAZZ MUSEUM
The sights and sounds of a uniquely American art form come alive at the American Jazz Museum. The Museum includes interactive exhibits and educational programs as well as the Blue Room, a working jazz club, and the Gem Theater, a modern 500-seat performing arts center.
Located in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District in Kansas City, this is the place where jazz masters such as Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, and hundreds of others defined the sounds of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Today, scholars, students, musicians, and fans are drawn here to learn about the legends, honor their legacy, or simply enjoy the best music America has to offer.
Additional Museum Highlights: Celebrating the artistic, historical, and cultural contributions of jazz, the American Jazz Museum includes: Rare photos, album covers, memorabilia, and personal items telling the stories of jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker. More than 100 recordings of the greatest jazz ever played. Studio 18th & Vine, where visitors experiment with harmony, melody, and rhythm. Films and special collections honoring the impact of jazz on the American experience. Special exhibits highlighting Kansas City’s unique contributions to jazz.
The American Jazz Museum provides several programs and venues for people to enjoy live jazz music, including: The Blue Room: Named after the famed 18th & Vine nightspot in the old Street Hotel, this working jazz club is open four nights a week and features the best local and national artists in an intimate, creative, smoke-free setting. The Gem Theater: Behind the restored 1912 façade is a modern 500-seat performing arts center. In addition to our annual “Jammin’ at the Gem” jazz masters’ concert series, the theater hosts many community events and theatre productions. The Changing Gallery: Four times a year, the American Jazz Museum presents special artistic exhibits inspired by jazz, baseball, and African-American life.
Region: Downtown Area
Address: 1616 E 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 474-8463
KANSAS CITY ZOO
More Zoo for you to explore with more than 200 acres of adventure filled with more than 1,700 animals. See penguins like never before at Helzberg Penguin Plaza. Watch king and gentoo penguins torpedo through the water in their 100,000 gallon cool pool and see the Humboldt penguins bask in the sun and get their flippers wet in the 25,000 gallon warm water pool. Journey to the Polar Bear Passage and marvel at our polar bears’ beauty and strength. Swing into the Orangutan Canopy and get nose to nose with these orange apes. Take a walk-about through a mob of kangaroos. Climb a meerkat mound. Watch otters whirl. Lumber with elephants. Take a spin on the Endangered Species Carousel, ride the train, then continue the journey on the tram to Africa. Get a birds-eye view of zebras, giraffes and rhinos on the African Sky Safari. Meet two of the most adorable marsupials this side of the equator at Koala Flats, open through November.
Polar Bear Passage boasts Midwest Travel Treasure by AAA. America’s Best Zoo book featured the KCZoo as one of the top 60 Zoos in the United States boasting the best African, Kangaroo and Chimp exhibits. The Zoo continues to win the favorite family day trip from KCParent Magazine and best kids’ attraction as voted on by tourists. An always changing, always fun family experience for all ages. Open daily, year round. It’s always a new adventure at the Kansas City Zoo!
Address: 6800 Zoo Dr., Kansas City, MO 64132
Phone: (816) 595-1234
GREEN LADY LOUNGE KANSAS CITY JAZZ
Green Lady is an exclusively Jazz lounge featuring Kansas City Jazz musicians in the rich Kansas City tradition. Free of televisions you can focus on music, atmosphere and conversation. Allow our respectfully attired but unpretentious staff to serve you and your companions. Please check our Calendar Page for our jazz performance schedule.
Kansas City Jazz has a rich and real history there is no doubt. As important, Kansas City Jazz is alive, thriving and still growing. The sheer number of amazingly talented musicians in Kansas City is beyond comparison… especially for the size of our wonderful city.
Green Lady Lounge is proud and honored to be able to feature live performances by some of the best Jazz musicians in the world. Please join us 7 nights a week for no-cover live Jazz performances.
Region: Crossroads District
Address: 1809 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 215-2954
ARTHUR BRYANT’S BARBECUE
Arthur Bryant, the legendary King of Ribs, is the most renowned barbequer in history. He created a sauce that has attracted the likes of former Presidents Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter to his restaurant . . . considered to be the best restaurant in the world by New Yorker columnist Calvin Trillin.
Since 1930 celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Michael Landon, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bryant Gumbel, Tom Watson and George Brett — and common folk alike — have made the pilgrimage to Arthur Bryant’s to enjoy barbeque that’s slow-smoked with a combination of hickory and oak woods, mellowed to the peak of flavor, then splashed with Original or Rich & Spicy sauce. Now you can enjoy these sauces with carefully guarded secret recipes at home, for the authentic taste of Arthur Bryant’s barbeque. Arthur used to mix and store his sauce in big five gallon glass jars. You can still see one in the window of the Brooklyn restaurant today.
Address: 1727 Brooklyn Ave., Kansas City, MO 64127
Phone: (816) 231-1123
JOE’S KANSAS CITY BAR-B-QUE
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is one of Kansas City’s iconic barbecue restaurant companies. With three locations in the metro, Joe’s is the home of The Z-Man.
Address: 3002 W 47th Ave., Kansas City, KS 66103
Phone: (913) 722-3366
Blending national-championship barbeque with wood-fire grill techniques in the heart of Kansas City.
Region: Old Westport Area
Address: 1000 W 39th St., Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: (816) 255-3753
MCCOY’S PUBLIC HOUSE
McCoy’s Public House has been recognized as one of Kansas City’s best brewpub serving award-winning comfort food and hand-crafted ales for more than 15 years. Come visit us to check out our new menu. Whether you choose our Original Mac & Cheese, Beer-Battered Fish & Chips, homemade Root Beer or Chocolate-Peanut Butter ice cream sandwich, you won’t leave unhappy.
Address: 4057 Pennsylvania St., Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: (816) 960-0866
Key Commercial Districts
Take in the sights and sounds of this 15-block area with a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride or a gondola float on the adjacent Brush Creek. When the holidays roll around, the Plaza Lights are an eight-decade sensation and the annual Plaza Art Fair each fall presents the country’s top visual artists. Two nationally renowned art museums are located nearby, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Located on the campus of UMKC, the Kansas City Rep is one of the best-kept secrets in the Midwestern theater scene, delighting local audiences and inspiring New York productions at the same time.
Remnants of Westport’s 19th-century charm color the neighborhood with historic buildings, old-style lampposts and tree-lined boulevards that almost beg for a long walk. Luckily, history buffs will find a walking trail with placards that recount the area’s storied history and the Battle of Westport, the largest Civil War conflict west of the Mississippi.
Plug into KC’s live music scene with rousing acts at Riot Room, a local haven for finding that next great sound. Meanwhile, The Westport Saloon features music acts of a different tune, including roots, blues, rockabilly and more. Or hit the patios at both Westport Ale House or HopCat for craft beers and live sports watching. Feeling tropical? Sneak down to TikiCat, a subterranean escape hidden underneath HopCat and featuring more than 20 tiki cocktails.
Catch an indie flick at Tivoli Cinemas, a movie theater that specializes in screening independent, documentary and foreign films. If live performances are more to your liking, check out The KC Improv Company for hilarious weekly comedy shows. Just next door, you’ll find Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements, an aptly-named barbecue restaurant with a killer outdoor patio and yard games, perfect for an afternoon or evening with good company. Just a block away, you’ll find Kelly’s Westport Inn, an iconic bar known for rowdy nights. Fun and funky gifts from colorful shops are this area’s specialty. Those with a love for all things kitchen-related must poke around in Pryde’s Old Westport, the triangular building where every nook and cranny is stuffed with must-have cooking tools. Get your next favorite KC T-shirt at The Bunker, a retailer that features locally produced apparel and fun gifts.
Westport’s watering holes like Julep (a whiskey bar) and Ça Va (a champagne lounge) attract young professionals in their 20s and 30s, but their menus appeal to travelers of all ages. Part bar, part confectionary establishment, the Doughnut Lounge crafts specialty dones and cocktails for guests throughout the day. Get authentic Mexican cuisine at Port Fonda, a perennial James Beard-nominee and known for its excellent, creative menu.
Bluestem boasts inventive takes on American cuisine while Beer Kitchen and McCoy’s Public House are both perfect before a concert or night out, making mouths water thanks to tasty gastropub menus and delicious drinks. Westport Flea Market dishes out one of the area’s most popular burgers, while a cup of joe from Broadway Café and Sunday brunch at The Corner Restaurant are sure to cure what ails you.
As luck would have it, two of the city’s most acclaimed museums are under one roof. A frequent stop for visiting celebrities and dignitaries, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum chronicles the stars and stories of America’s favorite pastime from the leagues’ origin after the Civil War to their demise in the 1960s. Next door is what The New York Times called “an interactive paradise,” the American Jazz Museum, with its many listening stations, touch-screen adventures and custom-mixing soundboards. Keep your eyes peeled for Charlie Parker’s saxophone, a gift to the museum from former president Bill Clinton. Sample KC’s signature sound at the district’s acclaimed Jammin’ at The Gem series or inside the museum’s working jazz club, The Blue Room. Night owls are in for a real treat at the Mutual Musicians Foundation, where the late-night sounds bebop until 5 a.m. Have an instrument of your own? You’re welcome to join—this is where the jam session was invented after all.
Similar to First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, Third Fridays shines a spotlight on a KC district worth celebrating, where live music fills the air and local merchants and restaurants offer exclusive deals. On any other day of the month, gather a group together for an impromptu bar crawl or trivia adventures at places like The Hi-Dive Lounge, Gilhouly’s and Drunken Worm.
During the daytime, go on a sweet treat tour with baked goods at Yum, frozen drinks at Miami Ice and vegan or gluten-free delights at Mud Pie. If a little fresh air is what you’re searching for, head north a few blocks to Roanoke Park. History awaits right around the corner at the Thomas Hart Benton House and Studio State Historic Site, where visitors can see the late artist’s original furnishings and paintings.
A great deal of KC’s specialty and international eateries call West 39th Street home, ranging from Asian dumplings at Blue Koi to authentic NYC bagels at Meshuggah Bagels. Build your own Mongolian meal at Genghis Khan or sample Thai cuisine at the chic Aep Restaurant. Farm-to-table fare wows diners at Room 39while comfort cooking at Anna’s Oven makes you feel right at home.
Down the block, Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen mixes delicious Creole food with that toe-tapping KC sound. Q39, an award-winning barbecue joint, reigns supreme as one of the hottest spots in town, and continues to rack up ribs (and recognition nationwide). Sushi lovers rejoice over Bob Wasabi and Friends Sushi & Bento Place, both local favorites.
Nestled just south of the Missouri River is historic River Market, a diverse area abundant in local and international flavor. Take family and friends to visit the region’s largest farmers market, found at The City Marketevery Saturday and Sunday year-round. The bounty includes more than 140 stalls of fresh produce, flowers, baked goods and other local wares. A quick jaunt across the market brings you to the Arabia Steamboat Museum, where visitors can travel back in time to Kansas City’s frontier days and discover 200 tons of sunken treasure dating back to 1856. Fuel up at Quay Coffee with an espresso (made with locally roasted coffee beans) before testing your problem-solving skills at Breakout KC, an entertainment game with one simple goal: escape from a locked room in 60 minutes or less. Then lace up your skates and hit the ice at The Blue Line, a hockey-themed establishment and one of the city’s top-rated sports bars.
Venture down to River Market for unique finds of all kinds. Go digging at River Market Antiques in pursuit of vintage artifacts to deck out your digs. Search through Emblazon Cards & Gifts and the Candy Wizard for retro candy or a funky birthday card. Suit up at Houndstooth with hand-made, tailored clothing that never goes out of style. Coffee enthusiasts congregate at City Market Coffee House, where organic, fair trade beans are king, along with all the brewing accessories and equipment needed to make the perfect cup at home. Chefs both amateur and experienced love finding fresh, locally-produced ingredients for their next dish at the farmers market every weekend in The City Market.
Foodies won’t have to walk far to uncover a plethora of palate-pleasing dishes in River Market. The Farmhouse sets the bar high with its farm-to-table, tip-to-tail comfort food done right. Belly up to the bar for happy hour at Harry’s Country Club and enjoy classic fare plus a cocktail. Get your fill at Burrito Brothers on the cheap, all while chowing down on menu items chock full of fresh ingredients. Those in search of Vietnamese dishes need look no further than Pho KC, a delicious eatery that specializes in, you guessed it, pho. Dine in or carry out delicious Chinese cuisine from Bo Ling’s, a family-owned staple in the KC culinary scene. Cupcakes are always a must, and thankfully Baby Cakes has you covered. Its gourmet treats are perfect for special occasions—or for treating yourself.
Art is everywhere you look. The party in the streets? That’s First Fridays, one of the nation’s largest free art crawls, featuring more than 70 shops and galleries that stay open late in the 20-block area. Those soaring arches in the sky? Meet the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the pièce de résistance and the city’s sleek new address for theater, music and dance. Live music is well represented too, thanks to top-notch local venues like Green Lady Lounge, Crossroads at Grinders and recordBar.
There’s more to the district than just art, though. Relive your childhood at Up-Down or Tapcade at Crossroads, arcade bars serving up nostalgia and craft brews thanks to tons of classic arcade games and extensive beer menus. Or book a tour at Tom’s Town Distilling Company, a distillery inspired by Prohibition-era spirit(s) and style. Follow that up by taking your friends on a district crawl to Border Brewing Company, Torn Label Brewing Company, Brewery Emperial and Double Shift Brewing, all within a 10-minute walk of one another.
Artisanal finds accentuate the area shopping scene. Find a card for a loved one at Hammerpress, a letterpress print shop and design studio that specializes in everything handcrafted. Explore Webster House, a 19th-century schoolhouse turned antique emporium, or get lost in Architectural Salvage, a set designer’s paradise filled to the brim with antiques and oddities. Track down screen-printed tees at Normal Human, a local retailer with quirky-cool style.
Restaurant choices in the Crossroads make up an eclectic gallery all their own. History is served at delightfully reimagined venues like The Rieger and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue. Not a carnivore? Café Gratitude is a must for veggie lovers thanks to its 100-percent organic vegan fare. Sample what’s cooking from celebrity chefs Lidia Bastianich (of Lidia’s Kansas City) and Michael Smith (of Michael Smith Restaurant and Extra Virgin). Take your taste buds on a world tour at Nara (casual Neo-Japanese sushi), Affäre (modern German plates) or Grünauer (Austrian-German cooking). Or hit up Town Topic, a classic American diner that’s been open 24/7 since 1937. Thirsty? Libations of the vine are paramount at Tannin Wine Bar + Kitchen while The Jacobson constructs crowd-pleasing craft cocktails (and delicious food to boot). Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters has the pick-me-up you need to keep your day (or night) going with drinks made using freshly roasted beans.