Nestled right in the middle of the country is a gem of a city that offers more than you think with things to do with your family- Kansas City. Here are 10 of the best things to do in Kansas City if you are stationed in Ft. Leavenworth or if you are traveling through the city on PCS orders.
Kansas City actually splits two states. The city splits the border between Kansas and Missouri, divided by three major rivers (Missouri, Kansas, and the Kaw) and infamous bloody civil war history that lives on in our collegiate sports today. Kansas City, in the 21st century, is a very liberal, forward-thinking place. Full of art districts, musical entertainment, and museums you can easily spend a few days exploring and feel like you need more time. Give this fly-over state a chance and experience some of the best things to do in Kansas City.
10 Best Things to Do in Kansas City With Your Family
Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
The building itself is a Neoclassical prize, but with over 34,500 pieces of art to see on display at any given time, you surely need to make time to go. The museum is also free and offers kids classes and summer camps. Ranging from Asia to pre-Columbian and everything in between there is a collection for everyone at the Nelson. Those people who are not particularly interested in the arts tend to spend ample amounts of time enjoying the grounds. The famous shuttlecock sculptures tend to make wonderful photo opportunities as well.
This may sound like an odd “top 10” attraction, but Kansas City loves their sports teams and they have a lot. If you are a NASCAR fan, the Kansas City Speedway hosts two races each year. The racetrack also has its own casino and hotel. If its baseball you love we have our beloved boys in blue, the Kansas City Royals (majors) and the T-Bones (minor league).
Do you like football? Here they have the Kansas City Chiefs. If soccer is what you prefer, or your aspiring soccer star would like to see how the pros do it, they have the Sporting KC Pro Team, who win regularly and are so fun to watch. Even the PBR frequents Kansas City’s West Bottoms District and The American Royal Rodeo is an amazing event that takes place every September.
The Country Club Plaza
An amazing place to spend a day and a brisk evening, the Country Club Plaza was designed in 1922 to replicate the beautiful architecture in Seville, Spain. It was the very first shopping area designed for automobile use and became even more famous in the 1940s due to mass European immigration to Kansas City. The shopping center is 15 blocks wide, containing 100 stores and 30 of the finest restaurants in the metropolitan area. This is the perfect place for window shopping, especially so during the holiday season as the plaza participates with a beautiful light display. During the holidays in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza, you can also enjoy the architecture by horse-drawn carriage.
This is technically another shopping mall, but during Christmas, it is absolutely beautiful and should top your seasonal best things to do in Kansas City list. The Crown Center Hotels overlook an outdoor ice skating rink, the courtyard is a wooden Christmas wonderland, the shop windows are alive and gorgeous and the Coterie theatre is packed with viewers.
World War I Monument and Museum
This monument and museum is potentially the most fascinating and touching experience you will have in Kansas City. Designated the World War I Monument and Museum for the United States in 2004, the museum houses the world’s largest World War I collection. You enter the 32,000 square foot complex by crossing over a glass bridge. Below you lies 9,000 red poppy flowers, each one representing 1,000 combatant deaths.
A stunning work of architecture constructed in 1914, this was once a hustling and bustling train depot. The amount of train travel decreased after World War II and by 1986 the depot had closed as a public train station. It then underwent a $250 million dollar restoration and was opened again as a cultural center. Catering to the arts and sciences, Union Station is now home to Science City, an interactive science museum, the Irish Cultural Heritage Museum, numerous yearly traveling exhibitions and the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
One of the most complex architectural designs of the 21st century, the Kauffman Center was a $413 million dollar construction project, including over 40,000 cubic feet of glass. Now home to the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Ballet and the Kansas City Lyric Opera, the Kauffman Center is a stunning work of modern art, providing nothing but the best artistic talents in the area.
The Starlight’s story began in 1925 when Romania’s Queen Marie came to visit Kansas City and the locals created a talent show of sorts in her honor. The turn out of local talent was so significant that development began on an outdoor theatre. The Starlight Theatre is now home to an annual musical season. Tickets sell out regularly, but this is still an exceptional way to spend a summer night.
The original birthplace of Kansas City itself, this open-air market with adjacent gathering square is home to over 40 year-round vendors of bohemian style shops. Weekly open-air farmers’ markets are a beautiful way to spend a Saturday from April to October. Also within River Market is the Steamboat Arabia Museum, which contains thousands of artifacts found on the Steamboat Arabia that sank in nearby Kansas in 1856. The steamboat is a large tourist attraction for Kansas City and the museum is of the highest quality for the whole family to enjoy.
Kansas City is second in the world for most fountains per square mile. Only second to the City of Fountains; Rome, Italy, they are truly a sight to be seen. Therefore, making Kansas City the most fountain happy city in the Western Hemisphere. Fountain tours are offered, but you will see them everywhere you go without having to look hard.
Whether you’re coming to visit Kansas City for the arts or the sports, you will encounter a very rich history in every location. From the original Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the birth of BBQ, the Irish Immigration, or the Mob activity of the early 1900s, this city will amaze you. If you can find a way to enjoy the rather drastic and harsh weather of this border town, you may even find yourself wanting to stay.
Within the military community, there are even opportunities to get to Kansas City for a short duty station. The Kansas City Marine Corps Recruiting Team has been one of the most successful in the country in recent years. You may also find yourself at Fort Leavenworth or Fort Riley. Keep an open mind and you can discover the best things to do in Kansas City, and the midwest.
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