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City of Fountains: A Beginner's Kansas City Guide

by Lysa January - last edited October

“Best U.S. City for an Affordable Getaway.” “The City of Fountains.” “America’s Next Great Culinary Destination.” These are pretty impressive accolades for a former cowtown that started out as a major thoroughfare for pioneers travelling west along the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails. Discover the best of the City of Fountains with our beginner's Kansas City guide...

 

City of Fountains | Kansas City Guide

The JC Nichols Fountain is the most famous of the over 200 in the city © Visit KC
 

Kansas City has come a long way since its founding in 1850, each generation transforming the literal Heart of America far beyond merely its geographic location into a true metropolitan gem in the plains. 

 

Visitors from all over the world come to this metropolitan area of just over two million denizens to enjoy a wide array of unforgettable experiences. Visual showpieces include the over 200 public fountains, monuments and sculptures gracing nearly every courtyard, parkland and tree-lined boulevard. 

 

City of Fountains | Kansas City Guide | The Plaza

Built in the 1920s, the Country Club Plaza is a popular central district © Visit KC
 

And there’s the Country Club Plaza—“The Plaza”—as it is called by the locals—a 15-block, premier outdoor shopping, dining and event district resembling the captivating courtyards, red tile roof buildings and ornate towers found in Spain.

 

Gastronomically speaking, Kansas City is best known as the “Barbecue Capital of the World,” boasting over 100 mouth-watering barbecue joints and numerous award-winning barbecue aficionados that compete amongst 500 teams during the annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue.

 

But K.C.’s culinary palate is expansive. 

 

City of Fountains | Kansas City Guide | Barbecue

Kansas City is the "Barbecue Capital of the World" © Visit KC
 

Extraordinary fare ranging from simple, homemade comfort foods, to award-winning dishes created by its numerous nationally recognized chefs is served in nearly every neighbourhood bistro, café and restaurant. Each one offers a wonderful fusion of the region’s deeply rooted fresh, farm-to-table, Midwestern food culture, peppered with the proprietor’s own unique talents, flavours and flair. 

 

Music has been an integral part of the landscape here since Jazz and Blues made the city famous in the 1920s and ‘30s with legends like Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Hot Lips Page. Today, the Historic 18th and Vine District carries on that legacy and tradition at a number of venues featuring a bevy of local, regional and internationally recognised musicians.

 

City of Fountains | Kansas City Guide | Power and Light District

The Power and Light District is the Midwest's premier entertainment centre © Visit KC
 

An incredible performing arts panorama represents more than 65 organizations, encompassing everything from Broadway to small stage plays, musicals, the symphony, ballet, concerts and other artistic productions at Starlight Theatre, the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, the New Theatre Restaurant, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, the Lyric Opera,and the Sprint Center, located in the city’s landmark Power and Light District.

 

The vibrant philanthropic community here has birthed some of the nation’s finest art museums including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, while the Crossroads Arts District showcases the city’s eclectic art galleries and studios.

 

City of Fountains | Kansas City Guide | Nelson Atkins Museum

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is one of the city's top museums © Jeff Fudge
 

Historical attractions abound as well, like the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, the National World War I Museum, Union Station, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site, to name just a few. 

 

Whether you’re visiting Kansas City for the first time or coming back for more, you’ll find that it continues to delight and inspire. 

 

Visiting Kansas City has never been easier with our partnership with Delta with daily flights across the Atlantic.

 

Have you had a chance to see Kansas City and its many fountains? What was your favourite stop in the city? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Written by Lysa Allman-Baldwin


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About the author: Lysa

Lysa Allman-Baldwin

For the past 18 years, Lysa has fed her wanderlust for "everything the world has to offer" by writing passionately about travel, cuisine, historic sites and attractions, cultural events, spas, festivals and other subjects for numerous print and online publications. Her parallel loves are her two teenage sons who possess the travel and gastronomy bugs as well, accompanying her on many sojourns around the globe. Living in the Kansas City area for over a decade, Lysa says the Heartland of America offers an often unexpected warmth, charm, depth and excitement that entices people to come back for more.