With it being down to one full day in Kansas City, I needed a bit of a plan in order to be able to see everything I wanted. I was up and out early and made the final bus of the morning into KCMO at 7.13am. As with many US cities, Kansas City is not particularly compact. The major sights are fairly spread out. However there’s a decent light rail system to get from one end of the city centre to the other. It’s free to use too. I started off at the World War 1 Memorial. This huge monument is set on a hill that gives an excellent view of the Kansas City skyline. In the foreground is the grand Union Station and behind are some great buildings. Kansas City has some beautiful architecture. This came as a pleasant surprise as it’s something that I’d never heard about until recently. Aside from New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco, I’d put Kansas City up there with any US city in term of architecture. It would have been nice to have had look around the World War 1 Museum that adjoins the monument and is meant to be excellent but unfortunately it was too early in the day for it to be open.
The next stop was 18th and Vine. This is a historic area containing many restored buildings. It’s famous for a rich jazz heritage and contains a nice looking theatre, some jazz clubs, the American Jazz Museum and the Negro League Baseball Museum. In a nearby park there’s a statue/sculpture (I’m not sure which it technically is) of local legend, Charlie Parker. There didn’t seem to be a great deal happening though, which is hardly unsurprising for a cold Tuesday morning in December.
I headed back into town via the impressive Kauffman Centre for the Performing Arts. Throughout the downtown area are numerous architectural gems, both of modern and older styles. This eventually led me to the Missouri River. While not the most attractive part of the city this area has a food market which was suitably quiet for this time of the week, as well a mural commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Presumably this pioneering mission passed through Kansas City on their journey west.
Kansas City may be off the beaten path as a mainstream tourist destination but there’s plenty to see and do here. It would’ve been nice to have had a bit more time to look around but nonetheless today was really enjoyable.