October 2, 2018
Have you ever heard somebody say that they were planning a family vacation to Kansas City, MO? Or that it’s on their top-five list of places they want to see? Probably not, but I’m telling you, that’s crazy. That city is full of history, beauty, and culture, and if you’ve never dreamed of visiting it, start dreaming now.
I went there the fist time for a girls’ weekend with my mom and sister, and we stayed in a particularly cool part of town. Our hotel was situated along a river (not the Missouri….Brush Creek, maybe?), and the weekend we stayed there coincided with an art festival that was taking place all up and down the beautifully manicured riverwalk, that also boasted lots of shopping and dining. On our final morning there, we met my mom’s friend for brunch, and then she drove us around, showing us the sights, and I was astonished by how many parks there were — big, sprawling green lawns covered in huge, magical trees. I was officially smitten.
This time around I was there with Todd and the boys, obviously, and only for one day, but I liked it just as much. It was the first place that we “officially” explored on this RV trip. We visited the very grand-looking Union Station and wandered through its exhibit about trains. We went on a trolley tour of the city and saw the World War I Memorial (outside only, we had no time for the full experience) and the marvelously unusual yet gorgeous Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art with its giant shuttlecocks on the lawn. We saw gentrified areas of the city, we learned about the mob boss Tom Pendergast who controlled Kansas City in the early 1900s, we heard about the growth of jazz during Prohibition, and we heard all about Kansas City BBQ. We saw fountains in abundance, enough to understand how it earned the title of “City of Fountains.”
At lunchtime we almost ate at the beautiful restaurant in Union Station (have you seen the movie Hugo? Union Station reminded me a little bit of the station in that movie) but opted instead for the more family-friendly Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant nearby, where you call in your hamburger order from a phone at your table and then a little train comes around a track on the ceiling and lowers your tray onto your table. The burgers were not the best ever but the novelty factor was very high.
The weather in Kansas City is colder and more humid than in Phoenix but more temperate than Chicago or New York. It has museums galore, history both impressive and entertaining, and food to keep you happy for days. (Months, in fact — our tour guide on the trolley said that you could eat at a different barbecue location every day for three months before you’d start to repeat.) It’s just this sweet little gem of a city, and it is my humble opinion that it is very much worth the visit.