Locals like to refer to Kansas City, Missouri, as the “Paris of the Plains” for its wide boulevards and ample fountains. It’s also known for its blues and jazz scene, professional sports teams and of course its signature style of barbecue. The Hotel Indigo Kansas City Downtown, housed in a restored 1930s building, is the perfect hub to explore nearby culinary gems, the vibrant art and design scene and some snazzy music venues. Here are some of the best places to check out near the hotel:
Food and Drink
The bustling Power and Lights District features staple eateries like Bristol Seafood Grillwith its freshly-shucked oysters and 801 ChopHouse for wedge salads and Tuscan style ribeye steaks. For classic Kansas City barbecue, head to Jack Stack BBQ, which serves a heaping combo platter with burnt ends, pulled pork and chicken. The bustling Extra Virgin pairs chef Michael Smith’s tapas plates with the house sangria, perfect for enjoying on the outdoor patio.
For Neapolitan-style pizza, Il Lazzarone has you covered. Order the wood fired caprese pie made with San Marzano tomatoes and wash it down with a glass of local Boulevard pilsner. For dessert, try the fritto Nutella with powdered sugar.
The music history runs deep thanks to greats like Charlie “Bird” Parker who helped put KC on the map. And, luckily, the scene shows no signs of cooling off. For piano performances and signature cocktails like the fruity, Howlin’ Punch, drop by the dimly-lit Kill Devil Club.
Meanwhile, the cozy, Green Lady Lounge, slings retro cocktails to live music while the casual, nightly jazz spot, the Majestic is always jamming. For a jazzy Saturday brunch, The Phoenix mixes live tunes with crab cake eggs benedict, home fries and Bloody Marys.
For more formal diversions, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, a striking building by architect Moshe Safdie houses the Kansas City Symphony alongside ballet and opera performances.
In Crown Center, the boutique department store Halls carries hip labels like Rag & Bone alongside local graphic tees. For cool throwback shirts and souvenirs (made in the Midwest) Raygun is your best bet. Nearby, artist Peregrine Honig runs the sweet intimates shop, Birdies while the hip boutique Finefolk stocks homeware goods and niche brands like Rachel Comey and Isabel Marant.
For namesake notebooks and gift cards, drop by the local design studio Hammerpress. Situated in an old schoolhouse, the Webster House has a smattering of antiques and unique gifts; there’s also a kitchen serving a gourmet lunch.
With an eclectic range of both edgy and traditional arts, Kansas City has something for all cultural fans. The Crossroads District houses Blue Gallery, featuring an array of emerging and regional artists like Rich Bowman’s bold, big-sky paintings while nearby the venerable Sherry Leedy hangs contemporary works, sculptures, photography and ceramics. And, every month, the Crossroads “First Fridays,” presents a lively art walk of special exhibits. For over 40 years, the industrial-flared Hilliard Gallery has featured rotating shows including artist Kerry Hirth’s colorful works alongside a custom frame shop.
Looking for more? Five minutes by car and known for its Asian art collection, you can’t miss the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, also home to world-class contemporary works and a reflective Isamu Noguchi sculpture court. Across the street, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, flanked by artist Louise Bourgeois’ giant lawn spider, is also houses works by artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Dale Chihuly.