Picture of the skyline of Downtown Kansas City, Kansas

Things to do in Kansas City: A Guide by a T&N Employee

August 27, 2018

Author: Josie Sivigny

I’m Tony Sloan, the Assistant Store Lead at T&N’s Kansas City location.

I just moved to Kansas City from Utah in June, and I absolutely love it here, consider me your local tour guide.

As a theatre actor, the vibrant arts and culture of KC drew me. I plan on cultivating some of my own theatre works in my time here, and I truly feel Kansas City is the place to do it. We have such a strong community of artists and art fans, and that is what I love the most about it here. I also love the friendly midwest culture, the food, and the fitness communities I belong to.

Picture of the outside of Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que Restaurant

Food and Drink:

My favorite place to eat is Jerusalem Cafe in Westport. This place has the BEST falafel I’ve ever had in my whole life. I always get the falafel and hummus pita with the lentil soup. Try it and your life will never be the same.

I also love Avenues in Brookside. Avenues has an amazing brunch with delicious bottomless mimosas. I love the Maryland Benedict and the Lobster Deviled Eggs.

The last place I would recommend is a KC staple—Joe’s Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas. Joe’s is one of the most famous barbecue joints in the world, and sits inside an eclectic gas station. I’m a vegetarian, but they offer a portobello mushroom version of their famous Z Man sandwich that I absolutely love. I pair it with their amazing fries. It is one of my favorite place to take friends and family who haven’t experienced Kansas City before.

Note from Jeremy, Store Lead of T&N’s Kansas City store: “There is also Jack Stack BBQ. The two chains are constantly battling for popularity in town and nationally, similar to Gino’s East and Malnati’s pizza in Chicago. I’m with Tony though, Joe’s is my preferred, but they are definitely both worth trying!”

Picture of a scoop of chocolate ice cream from Betty Rae's in Kansas City

Betty Rae’s

Then for dessert, head over to Betty Rae’s in Waldo. Their ice cream is world class, and they are constantly making new delicious homemade flavors. My favorite is the Creme Brûlée Caramel in one of their freshly made waffle cones.

Two people enjoying each others company and laughing on top of a rooftop in Crossroads District Kansas City

Tony and a friend enjoying the rooftop scene in the Crossroads District

As for nightlife, Kansas City has a very vibrant scene. There are numerous rooftops, concert venues, theatres, bars, and dance clubs to attend every night. My favorite club to go to is Missie B’s, they feature a drag show almost every weekend and have the best dance floor in Kansas City up top. I also enjoy going to Up-Down in the Crossroads district. This “barcade” is an absolute blast. Im not a gamer, but I love playing ski-ball with good company and a few beers. Another cool place to go out in Kansas City is Manifesto. Manifesto is a speakeasy with specialty cocktails. To make a reservation, you text their phone number, set a time, and a worker in a suit will lead you down a flight of stairs. Located in the basement of the historic Rieger Hotel (now The Rieger Restaurant), this place is truly a treat with great ambience and delicious drinks.

A picture of the World's only World War 1 Museum & Memorial in Kansas City

The world’s only WWI museum in Kansas City.

Hidden Gems:

Buzzard Beach, Johnny Kaw’s, and Woodys are my favorite local bars to kind of blend in with the crowd. Low key all around, but still a lot of fun. If you’re in the mood for a great rooftop, both Hop Cat and John’s Big Deck have a great vibe to them.

Most people don’t know that Kansas City is home to the world’s only World War I museum, if you’re interested in American History, you should absolutely check it out. There are so many cool artifacts and useful information in the museum.

Broadway Cafe in Westport is my favorite place to grab coffee. The setting is quiet, and it is a great place to get work done and enjoy a delicious cup of joe!

Picture of two sets of feet, one with cycling shoes on and the other bare with a Mojo Cycling hat on the floor

MOJO Cycling

MOJO Cycling Studio is located in the Country Club Plaza and it is my favorite place to get my sweat on in Kansas City. I try to make a class everyday. Every instructor is so talented at teaching this beat-based cycling class. The community is so welcoming, and the space is nice and clean. I’d have to say, it will be most fun workout of your life, and your first class is always free!

Finally, my all time favorite thing about Kansas City is all the theatre. One of the most important theatres in the area is the Unicorn Theatre located in Midtown. This small space houses two stages and they are constantly providing unique, new, and socially conscious work. The Unicorn is where I’ve seen some of the most gripping and important art in my entire life. I’d highly suggest seeing whatever show is playing there while you visit.

Picture of the Shuttlecocks by Oldenburg & van Bruggen, on display at The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City

Shuttlecocks by Oldenburg & van Bruggen, on display at The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum

Must Sees:

The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum certainly lives up to the hype. The easy to navigate art museum has multiple amazing exhibits going on all the time, plus the grounds are absolutely gorgeous.

Country Club Plaza is often crowded, but this shopping center is truly unique. There are fountains and beautiful parks all along the outskirts, and all your favorite stores are included in this unique mall.

Boulevard Brewery is another Kansas City claim to fame. While you’re here, definitely check out the beer hall and try a flight of delicious beer. I love Boulevard’s wheat beers. I also have heard only rave reviews about the brewery tours, but have not yet had the chance to do one. It is definitely on my KC Bucket list!

The Crossroads District of Kansas City is one of my favorites. This is considered the “arts district” of Kansas City. You’ll find the most unique boutiques, galleries, salons, and restaurants here. Grinders Pizza is a really cool bar with delicious pizza and a concert venue in the back. Right next to it, is Thou Mayest Coffee which is a great coffee shop that roasts their beans in house and also features a cereal bar! The back patio upstairs is my favorite place to sit. However, you can not leave Kansas City without trying a bon bon from Christopher Elbow’s Chocolate located in Crossroads. This chocolate is very beautifully decorated and equally beautiful in taste! A little on the pricy side, but totally worth the experience.

Tourist Traps:

The Power and Light District is exciting and cool to see. The architecture is great, and really adds to our skyline. However, I would not recommend spending too much time there. The traffic is always terrible, and it has a very corporate, busy feel. I try to avoid those parts if I can.

Another Tourist Trap would be First Fridays. I love supporting local art, and First Fridays in Crossroads gives a great opportunity for locals and tourists to see local art. However, the streets get extremely packed and the lines become too long to make the event enjoyable. I’d suggest maybe going once, but only if you have time on your hands and the patience to do so.

Picture of some street art in Kansas City that has a face and the words I Love You

Street art in Kansas City

Do It For The Gram:

Definitely take pictures with the Shuttlecock sculptures at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum and the beautiful Fountains at the Country Club Plaza. Kansas City is the city of fountains, so you’ll have lots to choose from!

If you can get on a rooftop in the Power and Light or Crossroads District with the skyline in the background, I’d highly suggest that too. Our skyline is one of the coolest cityscapes I’ve ever seen.

We also have lots of public art. All over the Crossroads District and Westport District you will find walls covered in really great street art that make for great photos. One of my favorites is the flamingo wall outside Miami Ice!

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