At 18 when I moved to the Kansas City suburbs to live with my family after being on my own, I was not in a good place. I was broke, overweight, listless and felt defeated and was unclear on what I would do. Nothing changes overnight and I was certainly no exception. It took me a long time to get out of that period of my life, but the move to Kansas City sparked something in me; I saw somewhere I wanted to be. I started seeing things differently little by little. I constantly met kind people, I felt like I could build something for myself, and I saw a fresh start.
After 13 years living in KC, it is officially and forever my home. So I want to welcome you to my home and share it with you! If you haven’t considered Kansas City as a destination worthy of a weekend getaway, think again. This city is an incredible collection of people who are kind, creative, and dedicated to making their city a beautiful place to live. Here you’ll find my favorite spots that you would only likely get from a local.
KC Taco Co. – Best queso in the city. Hands down. We’ve tried them all.
Joe’s KC BBQ – It wouldn’t be Kansas City without some barbecue! Formerly Oklahoma Joe’s, Joe’s KC is a staple and by far my favorite spot for local flavor. I craved it when we were in Texas, where the dry-rub-style barbecue just couldn’t complete.
Betty Rae’s Ice Cream – There are ‘best of’ lists out there that rank the top ice cream spots in every state across the country, and Betty Rae’s tops those lists! They have a ton of unique flavors and even have gluten/dairy-free options that taste fantastic!
Crossroads Hotel – You can forget the usual chain hotels. This is the spot to stay when you visit. Their rooftop is always the place to be and the hotel itself is gorgeous. Not to mention it sits minutes from some of the best spots in the city.
Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park – We are champions for every sport where we have a professional team. Just sayin’… But seriously, the KC pro soccer team has a fantastic pitch where they play and there is literally not a bad seat in the house. It is always a fun time. Word of caution: if you aren’t a diehard fan, do not get a ticket in ‘The Cauldron’ unless you are prepared to be in our standing-only, drum-filled mega-fan section.
Crossroads District – The perfect Sunday FunDay locale. The Crossroads is a collection of bars, restaurants, shops, and art galleries in the downtown area. The UpDown Arcade Bar (where the above picture was taken) has vintage arcade games, a full bar, and one of the best rooftops in the city.
Waldo – If you are looking for some bars to hop, most will head to Power & Light. However, some of the best nights we’ve had out have actually been in Waldo. The vibe is more laid back and the crowd is less….what is the word….’frat-tastic’? (No judgement if you went Greek, but you’ll know what I mean about the vibe from that word).
Urban Hikes KC – I stumbled onto this gem on Instagram. Urban Hikes KC offers 3-5 mile guided walking tours around different pockets of Kansas City. We had family in town one weekend and set up a tour for everyone that took us through the Strawberry Hill neighborhood. With Drew’s family being Croatian and knowing so much about the area, he didn’t think it would be much of anything aside from a morning walk. But he was blown away with the amount of new things he saw and learned and he has lived in KC his whole life! 10/10 recommend!
Union Station – The railroad has a deep history in KC and in our family because of that. Union Station sits in the heart of Kansas City and houses great restaurants and exhibits that are fun for all. They host events throughout the year (perfect wedding reception venue!) and have the most gorgeous Christmas decorations if you are here for the holidays. It is worth going back time and again with all the many things they have going on year ’round.
The West Bottoms’ First Friday Weekend – I have full posts about First Friday Weekends so I will try to keep my excitement to a limit. The first Friday of each month is party downtown in KC with artists showcasing their talents, musicians performing, shops full of local vendors, and more. The West Bottoms is an old warehouse district that has filled with hundreds of antique vendors, local artisans, and boutiques all showing off their goodies. My top two picks? Bella Patina (pictured above and below) and The Painted Sofa.
Whether you are in KC for a few days or live here permanently, Kansas City is packed with fun and interesting places to see and do. When we lived in Austin for a few years, the locals had an expression: “You’re only bored if you choose to be.” Being back in KC in the last few years, I feel like our city is finally in that same realm and I absolutely love it.