Kansas City, Missouri 72-Hour Vacation
Known as a mecca for some of the best barbecue in the country, the city that straddles two states has more than ribs as a backbone. A vibrant town showcasing more than 200 fountains, Kansas City shares its wide boulevards, world-class shopping and two major league sports teams with a thriving arts and always jumpin' jazz scene. Once a bona-fide cow town bustling with livestock stockyards and colorful cowboy culture, Kansas City has dusted off yesteryear, emerging as a cosmopolitan hub of the Midwest.
Often called the "Heart of America," Kansas City has plenty to boast about. Famous sons and daughters Harry S. Truman, Walt Disney, Thomas Hart Benton and Charlie Parker can stake a claim in the city's rich and diverse heritage.
The town itself spreads across two state lines and two rivers. On the Missouri side of the state line is Kansas City, Missouri on the banks of the Missouri River and spreading south and, the smaller, more low-key part known as Kansas City, Kansas, cradled between the Kaw and Missouri River to the west. Most of the action happens in Missouri, from the Downtown with its shiny new Sprint Arena and Power and Light District to the arts haven known as the Crossroads District through Crown Center and on to the Plaza, which is arguably the most famous landmark in the area.
The Country Club Plaza is Kansas City's most famous landmark and the location of the elegant Intercontinental at the Plaza. The boutique Raphael Hotel and Southmoreland on the Plaza, an upscale urban inn, are engagingly comfortable alternatives—all within easy walking distance of shopping and dining.
Start your day with breakfast at Classic Cup Café. This charming café boasts a diverse menu from classic eggs Benedict to vegetarian omelets—enough to sustain you while shopping; window or otherwise.
The Country Club Plaza is a 14-square block of shopping, dining and sightseeing venues. Scattered among boutiques and upscale merchants are dozens of fountains. Of particular note: the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain with its four horsemen representing rivers of the world, which was sculpted in Paris in 1910 and is located at 47th Street and J.C. Nichols Parkway.
Across the street you'll find the tallest tower in the district; a replica of the Giralda in Seville as well as the Clock Tower with Spanish scenes in ceramic tile at 47th Street and Wornall Road. Check out the Fountain of Neptune across from the Clock Tower. As you stroll, keep an eye out for murals, statues, plaques and intricate streetlights. Note that the Plaza is a popular destination during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holidays, when its beauty is enhanced with extensive lighting that's heralded among the prettiest in the country.
Stroll across the street and visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Considered one of the country's most notable art museums, it holds outstanding collections of European, Asian and American Art.
Choose from dozens of dining options between the Plaza, Westport and downtown. Award-winning steaks secure the city's reputation as a great town for beef. Find your favorite cut at Starker's Reserve or The American.
After dinner, take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the Plaza or check out one of the many live music venues including Jardines or the Phoenix Jazz Club.
* Images Courtesy of the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association.