The Crossroads Arts District, a hub for creative types, consists of 20 square blocks in the heart of Kansas City. With Hotel Indigo Kansas City-The Crossroads as your starting point, you can easily explore this vibrant neighborhood’s restaurants, bars, galleries, boutiques and music venues.
Food & Drink
For those who crave a traditional Kansas City dining experience, Jack Stack’s is the destination for local barbecue in a historic freight building behind Union Station. The cheesy corn is renowned by foodies throughout the Midwest, but the brisket and jalapeno cheddar cornbread is also worth the calories.
Another old building that garners as much conversation as the food itself is the early 20th century Rieger Hotel where the menu includes one of the city’s best charcuterie plates. No longer a hotel, the building also houses Manifesto, an intimate speakeasy featuring craft cocktails that’s accessed via a secret door.
Creative cocktails—some of them served on fire—are as memorable as the street tacos at the Mission Taco Joint, an energetic and trendy spot in the east Crossroads.
Heavy on the keyboards and light on brass is the “cool jazz” born in Kansas City in the 1920s when alcohol openly flowed despite a little obstacle called Prohibition. The American Jazz Museum in the historic 18th & Vine District tells that story and presents nightly shows at the Blue Room.
Jazz is one of many genres performed at The Record Bar throughout the week, where brunch, lunch and dinner are part of the attraction. Or for two stages at once showcasing the Kansas City Symphony and other renowned musicians, check the schedule at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.
The Crossroads Arts District, as the name suggests, is all about art. More than 400 local artists show their work in dozens of studios, as well as coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. First Friday here is one of the largest such events in the U.S.
One of the neighborhood’s best known artists is jewelry maker Cheryl Eve, who brings her love of the colorful Caribbean to this landlocked city in the Midwest.
The Kansas City Art Institute, where Thomas Hart Benton taught and Walt Disney took classes, displays its students’ work in a Crossroads gallery, as well as at the main campus.
The Bloch building of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art caused a stir for its modern design when it opened in 2007, and some still debate whether its elongated light-infused gallery complements the original Beaux-Art building from 1933.
The Kauffman Center of Performing Arts, designed by superstar architect Moshe Safdie, has added even more of a contemporary edge to the KC skyline.
Long before either of those modern masterpieces graced the city, a visionary named J.C. Nichols developed Country Club Plaza, the first shopping center in the U.S. designed for the automobile. The Moorish architecture of Seville, Spain, where Nichols spent time as a young man, influenced his design of these iconic buildings.