Kansas City Travel Guide

Discover all the top attractions, things to do, places to stay, and more with this comprehensive travel guide for Kansas City.

Comprehensive Travel Guide to Kansas City

Kansas City, located in the heart of the Midwest United States, is a vibrant city known for its jazz music, BBQ, and famous fountains. It is a city that is often overlooked but has so much to offer, from cultural attractions to scenic outdoor spaces. This comprehensive travel guide will help you discover all the top attractions, things to do, places to stay, and more when visiting Kansas City.

Introduction to Kansas City

Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri and is located on the western edge of the state. The city is divided into two parts, with one section in Missouri and the other in the neighboring state of Kansas. The city has a rich history, with many cultural and historic attractions to explore, as well as plenty of outdoor activities and natural attractions to enjoy. The city is also known for its great food scene, including its famous BBQ.

List of Places to Visit in Kansas City

There are so many things to do and see in Kansas City that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here is a list of some must-visit attractions:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • National World War I Museum: This museum is dedicated to the history and impact of World War I and includes artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays.
  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: This museum is dedicated to the history of African American baseball players and their impact on the sport.
  • Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum: This museum and library is dedicated to the life and presidency of the 33rd President of the United States.
  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: This museum has a vast collection of art from around the world, including ancient artifacts, European paintings, and contemporary art.

Natural Attractions of Kansas City: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Kansas City Zoo: The zoo has a wide variety of animals from around the world, including penguins, polar bears, and kangaroos.
  • Loose Park: This large park has beautiful gardens, a pond, and plenty of walking and biking trails.
  • Swope Park: This park has numerous trails, campgrounds, and a golf course, as well as nature and bike trails.
  • Kauffman Memorial Garden: The garden has a wide variety of flowers and a striking water feature.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Kansas City

Kansas City is a great city for hiking and biking, with many great trails to explore. Here are some of the best routes to get started on:

  • The Riverfront Heritage Trail: This trail follows the Missouri River and has scenic views of the Kansas City skyline.
  • Trolley Track Trail: This trail runs through the neighborhoods of Waldo, Brookside, and the Country Club Plaza and has plenty of opportunities to stop for food and drink.
  • Indian Creek Trail: This trail runs through many of the city’s parks and has scenic views of Indian Creek.

Best Things to Do in Kansas City: Activities and Tours

The city of Kansas City has plenty of activities and tours that offer unique experiences. Here are some must-try options:

  • BBQ Tours: Kansas City is known for its BBQ, and there are many tours that take visitors to the best BBQ joints in the city.
  • Jazz Tour: Kansas City has a rich jazz history, and there are many tours that take visitors to the best jazz clubs and museums.
  • Country Club Plaza: This outdoor shopping and dining district is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike, with Spanish-style architecture and a vast array of shops and restaurants.

Week-Long Itinerary for Kansas City

Here is a suggested itinerary for a week in Kansas City:

  • Day 1: Explore the National World War I Museum and visit Union Station.
  • Day 2: Visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and afterward, enjoy a hike or bike on the nearby trails.
  • Day 3: Take a BBQ tour and sample some of the best BBQ in Kansas City.
  • Day 4: Visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and afterward, head to the Country Club Plaza for dinner and drinks.
  • Day 5: Take a jazz tour and visit some of the city’s best jazz clubs.
  • Day 6: Visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and afterward, enjoy an afternoon at the Kansas City Zoo.
  • Day 7: Take a day trip to nearby Weston, Missouri, and visit the historic town’s museum and wineries.

Food and Drink Scene of Kansas City

Kansas City is known for its BBQ, but the food scene in the city goes far beyond that. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages to enjoy while in Kansas City:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Burnt Ends: A signature dish of Kansas City BBQ, this dish is made from the ends of smoked beef brisket and coated in a sweet and tangy sauce.
  • Fried Chicken: Kansas City has many restaurants that serve crispy fried chicken, a southern-style dish that is comfort food at its best.
  • Gooey Butter Cake: This dessert is a local favorite, with a sticky, sweet filling and a buttery, chewy crust.

Local Beverages

  • Boulevard Beer: This local brewery is known for its wide selection of beers, including their famous pale ale.
  • Fritz’s: A local soda fountain that has been around since the 1950s, Fritz’s is known for its root beer and burger menu.

Where to Stay in Kansas City: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Kansas City has numerous options for places to stay, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to high-end hotels. Here are some top options:

  • Hotel Phillips: This historic hotel is located in downtown Kansas City and has a 1920s art-deco decor.
  • The Fontaine: Located near the Country Club Plaza, this hotel offers luxurious accommodations and scenic views.
  • Hostelling International Kansas City: This hostel is located in an historic building in the Westport neighborhood and offers affordable rates and a communal atmosphere.

What to Buy in Kansas City: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Kansas City has a unique shopping scene, with plenty of local products and unique souvenirs to bring home. Here are some must-buy items:

  • BBQ Sauce: There are numerous BBQ sauces to choose from in Kansas City, each with their unique flavor and style.
  • Local Crafts: There are many artisan markets and shops in Kansas City that offer locally-made crafts and products.
  • Pottery: Kansas City has a rich pottery history and there are many pottery shops throughout the city that offer beautiful and functional pottery.

Local Culture and Customs of Kansas City

Kansas City is a city that values community and hospitality. The people of Kansas City are known for being welcoming and friendly to visitors. The city has a rich history, particularly in terms of jazz and BBQ, and its residents are proud of their cultural heritage.

Best Time to Visit Kansas City

The best time to visit Kansas City is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the city is colorful with flowers and foliage. Summers can be hot and humid, while winters can be cold and snowy.

Do’s and Don’ts of Kansas City


  • Do try Kansas City BBQ, it’s some of the best in the country.
  • Do explore the city’s rich cultural history and attractions.
  • Do take in a jazz concert or visit a jazz club.


  • Don’t forget to tip. In Kansas City, the standard tip is typically 20%.
  • Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with locals, they are known for being friendly and welcoming.
  • Don’t overlook the city’s hiking and biking trails; they are some of the city’s best-kept secrets.

Safety and Health

Safety in Kansas City

Kansas City is a safe city, but like any city, there are places where visitors need to exercise caution. Visitors are advised not to leave valuables in their car and to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Health in Kansas City

Kansas City has top-rated hospitals and healthcare facilities. Visitors are advised to make sure they have adequate insurance coverage before traveling.

Getting to Kansas City: Transportation Options and Logistics

Getting to Kansas City is easy, as the city has several transportation options:

Airports Near Kansas City

  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI): Located 15 miles northwest of downtown Kansas City, this airport is the primary airport for the city.

Bus Stations Near Kansas City

  • Greyhound Bus Lines: Provides service to Kansas City from various locations throughout the country.

Other Options

  • Amtrak: Provides train service to Kansas City from various locations throughout the country.

How to Get Around in Kansas City

The best way to get around Kansas City is by car, but the city also has a reliable public transportation system. The city has a bus system that serves most areas of the city, as well as ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

Where to Go Next from Kansas City: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Kansas City is located in the heart of the Midwest and is surrounded by several nearby destinations that are worth a visit. Here are some top options:

  • St. Louis: Located 250 miles east of Kansas City, St. Louis is known for its Gateway Arch, museums, and breweries.
  • Omaha: Located 200 miles northwest of Kansas City, Omaha is known for its zoo, art museums, and historic architecture.
  • Branson: Located 200 miles south of Kansas City, Branson is known for its music shows, theme parks, and outdoor activities.


Kansas City is a city that is full of surprises, from its rich history and culture to its beautiful outdoor spaces and delicious food scene. This comprehensive travel guide should help you make the most of your time in Kansas City and discover all the best things to do and see in the city.