There are many exciting, engaging and creative things to do in Kansas City, Missouri. A city of fountains, barbecues and roots in jazz music, it went through a renaissance in the 1920s that set these traditions up to be a permanent part of the culture. The city’s jazz history began in the 1920s and 30s and created the iconic 18th and Vine districts packed with more than 40 jazz bars and clubs and the American Jazz Museum. After getting your fill of music, head to a barbecue joint.
The city is famous for barbecue, with its history stretching back to Henry Perry. Perry started an outdoor barbecue pit in the 1920s and served slabs of smoky meats wrapped in newspaper. From its birth, more than 100 restaurants in Kansas City are now serving up sweet and smoky pork, beef, chicken, and vegan-friendly options such as jackfruit and mushrooms.
The city is famous across the United States for its vast number of fountains. There are more than 200 fountains within the city, the largest number outside Rome. Fountains in Kansas City vary from small, delicate, and whimsical dancing waters to large displays dedicated to history, culture and the services. Kansas City’s love of fountains began in the late 1800s when the Humane Society built fountains for horses to drink from. These are the exciting things to do in Kansas City, MO, for couples, families and solo travellers.
Kansas City, Missouri
20 Things To Do In Kansas City
1- Go On A Distillery Tour
Missouri is well-known for its distilleries, and Kansas City is home to one of the most famous.
Book a guided distillery tour of J. Rieger & Co. to immerse yourself in the company’s history and sample some beer.
Jacob Rieger founded the company in 1887.
They began by offering 100 alcohol-based products and expanded their empire by providing a mail-order service for those outside the city.
When prohibition hit in 1919, the company suffered drastic losses and closed following the end of prohibition in 1933.
J. Rieger & Co reopened in 2014.
On a tour booked through Viator, you can access every phase of the distillation process, from grain to bottling.
After the tour, a tasting of four core products is offered, with commentary from a knowledgeable guide.
Distillery Tour is at J. Rieger & Co., 2700 Guinotte Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64120.
2- Explore The City’s Artistic Side On A Segway Tour
A fun thing to do in Kansas City is to take part in a Segway tour, which lasts for 1.5 hours and takes in the arts and historical side of the city.
The tour includes the use of a helmet, initial training, bottled water and a knowledgeable local guide.
Key stops include Country Club Plaza, fountains, and a wide range of outdoor art.
The tour heads towards the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and explores nearby gardens.
Tickets to the museum are not included. Art and Glide Segway Tour is a great way to see the city as a tourist or as a local.
Art and Glide Segway Tour is at 4245 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64111.
3- Discover The Crossroads Art District
For those looking for a more active thing to do in Kansas City, head out on an urban hike through Crossroads Art District and Westside.
The hike begins early morning at the National WW1 Museum and Memorial, taking in five miles (8 km) of Kansas City’s most famous and creative neighbourhoods.
Snacks are included in your ticket price, including a refreshing fruit juice drink at a local Mexican shop.
While exploring the Westside, your guide will share facts about the architecture, culture and, of course, street art.
There are plenty of Instagramable alleyways, buildings, and more on this tour, so make sure your phone is fully charged, and you have worn comfortable shoes.
Crossroads Art District and Westside Urban Hike is at National WW1 Museum and Memorial, 2 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO 64108.
4- Visit Sea Life Kansas City
For a family day out, head to Sea Life Kansas City, which is split into 11 zones, each offering interactive elements and a variety of sea creatures.
In the Rockpool exhibit, creatures like chocolate chip sea stars and cowrie snails can be gently touched and held.
One of the highlights of Sea Life Kansas City is the Stingray Bay exhibit, where happy and smiling stingrays swim gently in a habitat designed to match their natural home.
For a truly enchanting experience, head to the darkened halls of the Jellies exhibit.
Here jellyfish are kept in darkness save for a colourful blue or purple light that dances across their tentacles.
Sea Life Kansas City is at 2475 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64108. Skip the line and reserve your admission ticket here.
5- Scavenger Hunt and Interactive Tour
Explore Kansas City on an interactive scavenger hunt and walking tour using your smartphone to discover hidden gems across the city and solve puzzles.
The scavenger hunt takes you from Country Club Plaza and across the city past sculptures, incredible architecture, and quirky bars and restaurants.
Many of the stops on the interactive tour are considered hidden gems, with only locals knowing about them, making it a great way to open up the city and immerse yourself in the culture.
The scavenger hunt and interactive tour is at 47th Mill Creek Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64111.
6- Go Shopping At Country Club Plaza
Country Club Plaza is a plaza with a Spanish design that offers an open-air shopping and dining experience.
The plaza spans 15 blocks of shopping and dining with more than 100 stores and 30 restaurants.
There are plenty of barbecue restaurants in the plaza, with local favourite Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue serving upscale ‘cue and Gram & Dun creating barbecue dishes with carefully paired drinks.
Explore on foot or by riding a horse-drawn carriage for a more romantic evening experience.
Country Club Plaza is at 4706 Broadway Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64112.
7- Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
R. Crosby Kemper Jr. and Mary ‘Bebe’ Hunt founded the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in 1994.
The museum, free to enter, shares a rapidly expanding permanent collection of modern and contemporary art from across the globe.
The museum has impressive paintings, sculptures and installations.
The heart of the museum is the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, gifted to the museum by its co-founders. In the collection are works from Jasper Johns, Georgia O’Keefe, and Jackson Pollock.
The museum hosts regular temporary exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and creative programs for all ages.
Kemper Museum is at 4420 Warwick Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64111.
8 – The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
For those seeking an arty day out in Kansas City, MO, look no further than the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
This is a great thing to do in Kansas City, MO, for art lovers and families.
The museum’s permanent collection of artworks includes more than 35,000 pieces created across thousands of years in Europe, Asia and America.
Alongside its indoor exhibits, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art also has a 22-acre lawn dotted with unique sculptures, including the badminton birdie installation.
The museum is free to enter.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is at 4542 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64111.
9- City Market
The best thing to do in Kansas City to get a feel for its food culture is to visit City Market, the original marketplace within the city.
City Market opened in 1857 as a place for commerce, horse trading and medicine shows.
Since then, the market has served the people in Kansas City with incredible local produce and an unrivalled bustling atmosphere.
The market is formed of an eclectic range of shops, boutiques, stalls selling fresh produce and international ingredients.
Stalls at the market include international ingredients and dishes from Carollo’s Italian Grocery and Deli, Taste of Brazil, and Ting’s Filipino Bistro.
Several speciality grocers offer unique items to inspire cooking creativity.
Stop by Dragonfly Tea Zone for a refreshing bubble tea or box of loose-leaf tea, or try delicious artisan bread and cakes from Bloom Baking Company.
City Market is at 20 E 5th Street #201, Kansas City, MO 64106.
10- American Jazz Museum
For those that love music, Kansas City is a great place to visit, so begin your Kansas City music tour at the home of jazz.
American Jazz Museum is in the city’s historic 18th & Vine Jazz District.
The museum presents the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibitions and film.
The museum opened its doors in 1997 and has expanded to include a performance space, education programs, community events and more to open up jazz history, honour its legends and reach out to the local community.
American Jazz Museum is at 1616 E 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108.
11- Kauffman Stadium
Locally known as ‘The K’, Kauffman Stadium is a must-visit site in Kansas City for fans of Major League Baseball.
Kauffman Stadium is the home ground of the Kansas City Royals and is part of the larger Truman Sports Complex, which also houses the Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Named after Ewing Kauffman, the founder of the Royals, the stadium was opened in 1973.
It is the sixth oldest baseball stadium in the major leagues.
The stadium has hosted many World Series games and the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.
Kauffman Stadium is at 1 Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129.
12- Blue Room Jazz Club
Blue Room Jazz Club is part of the American Jazz Museum.
This music venue is an important location for jazz history and African American history.
Street Hotel at 18th and The Paseo was a safe place for African American travellers in the 1930s and was listed in The Negro Motorist Green Book.
The hotel famously had Jackie Robinson staying there whenever he was in Kansas City.
The hotel had a famous nightclub called ‘The Blue Room’, giving the American Jazz Museum’s club its name and the desire to continue its legacy.
The Blue Room today is an exhibit and venue. It provides an intimate setting for performances from local and nationwide jazz talent.
Blue Room Jazz Club is at 1600 E 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108.
13- Mutual Musicians Foundation
Not far from the Blue Room is the Mutual Musicians Foundation, founded in 1917 and is now a National Historic Landmark.
The foundation hosts musicians on Friday and Saturday nights to jam late into the night.
It also offers rehearsal spaces for members of the foundation and education programs for visiting students.
Mutual Musicians Foundation is at 1823 Highland Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64108.
14- West 39th Street
If you’re at a loose end in Kansas City, explore the expanse of West 39th Street.
The street has a quirky collection of culture and cuisine and is considered one of the most colourful neighbourhoods in the city.
The best way to explore the street is simply by taking a walk to explore the numerous bar, restaurants, shops and bakeries.
Enjoy refreshing frozen drinks at the vibrantly coloured pink and blue Miami Ice, or sample delicious vegan and gluten-free desserts at Mud Pie.
The street is also dotted with pleasant squares and parks – for fresh air and relaxation, unwind at Roanoak Park.
If you want to learn more history during your Kansas City mini-break, head to the Thomas Hart Benton House to see the artist’s original furnishings and paintings in the house where he lived.
15- The Fountain at Mill Creek Park
Look no further than Mill Creek Park for fresh air and nature, but you may be surprised to learn that the park also draws visitors for its famous fountain.
The fountain is one of many in Kansas City and is the most photographed and best-known.
Henri-Leon Greber designed the fountain in 1910, which was installed in the park in 1960.
The fountain welcomes visitors to the park from the southern end of the park.
Greber’s fountain depicts four horsemen said to represent four of the world’s mighty rivers; the Mississippi, the Volga, the Seine and the Rhine.
There are also figures of alligators, bears, children and fish.
The Fountain at Mill Creek Park is at W 43rd Street & Broadway Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64111.
16- Kansas City Zoo
For a fun-filled and wild family day out, visit Kansas City Zoo, which has 200 acres filled with 1700 animal species.
The zoo hosts many events, including GloWild, an annual light show, and seasonal events linking to Halloween and Christmas.
Animals at the zoo are well-cared for and are in similar habitats to that of the wild. See Amur leopards, bat-eared foxes, endangered black rhinos and more.
The zoo hosts daily chats about the animals where experts educate visitors on cheetahs, lions, polar bears and rhinos.
There are also daily feeding sessions where visitors can watch as penguins, lorikeets and more receive their food whilst the guides tell you more about each species.
Kansas City Zoo is at 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, MO 64132.
17- Money Museum
Money Museum is a free-to-enter museum exploring currency.
The museum offers visitors a rare opportunity to watch millions of dollars of American currency be created and processed.
Visitors also have the chance to lift a gold bar worth $400,000.
The museum has a range of interactive exhibits to educate on the economy and history of American currency.
The Money Museum gives everyone a bag of shredded currency as a souvenir of your visit.
Money Museum is at 1 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, 64198.
18- T-Mobile Centre
T-Mobile Centre is a vast multi-purpose arena in downtown Kansas City.
The arena hosts a range of music, sporting and comedy performances year-round.
Tickets for the events are available through the T-Mobile centre website and should be booked in advance to save disappointment.
Upcoming shows include Lizzo, Kevin Hart, and Eagles.
T-Mobile centre offers premium experiences to make your night even more special.
There is a range of premium suites that include padded seats, a dedicated attendant, VIP entrances, custom food & drink options and access to the Konica Minolta Founders Club.
T-Mobile Centre is at 1407 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64106.
19- Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park
Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park is on the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art grounds.
The Hall Family Foundation acquired 57 sculptures and works of art by Henry Moore in 1986, which began the sculpture park.
As more and more sculptures were acquired, the garden expanded.
The most famous installation in the sculpture park is Shuttlecocks by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
Recent additions include Roxy Paine’s Ferment, a stainless steel tree-like creation.
Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park is at 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64111.
20- Arrowhead Stadium
Arrowhead Stadium is the home of the Missouri-based NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Whether you can attend a game or want a behind-the-scenes pass to tour the stadium, Arrowhead is a must-visit location for fans of the Chiefs and NFL alike.
Inside the stadium is a dedicated hall of honour listing all inductees with their number and a bust.
The stadium also houses the Arrowhead Art Collection, a selection of regional art, and aims to engage the community in educational opportunities.
Visiting the stadium on game day is an incredible experience, as fans flock to the grounds early for tailgating, where fans can meet, eat and drink ahead of the game starting.
Arrowhead Stadium is at 1 Arrowhead Drive, Kansas City, MO 64129.
21- Visit The National WWI Museum and Memorial
The National World War I Museum and Memorial is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of WWI memorabilia.
The location is opposite Union Station opened in 1926 in a famous address by President Calvin Coolidge, who referred to it as the national monument to the Great War.
The National WWI Museum and Memorial is at 2 Memorial Dr, Kansas City, MO 64108.