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16 Differences Between a Local and a Transplant in Kansas City

by Joseph Griffin Nov 18, 2016

1. A transplant will be surprised to find that most of Kansas City is actually in Missouri, not Kansas.

To a local this is common knowledge, and everyone knows to get beer in Missouri.

2. A transplant will spend a lot of time on Google maps trying to figure out how to get anywhere.

A local won’t even have to think about it and probably knows several shortcuts to any one place in case there’s roadwork (which there always is).

3. A transplant may not understand what locals mean when they talk about how bad the Johnson County drivers are.

Seriously, they’re the worst. They must have all learned how to drive in Paris. Avoid driving in Johnson County if at all possible.

4. Most locals will look at you suspiciously if the only place you want to go is the Power and Light District.

A sure way to give away you’re a transplant. Power and Light’s ok, I guess, but really, check out the Crossroads or Westport sometime. Waldo, even. Come on! Why spend all your time in the phoniest place in town?

5. A transplant has no idea how long a conversation about BBQ can last until you ask a local where a good place to get BBQ is.

Seriously, hours.

6. A transplant may have the idea that everyone in Kansas City is as friendly on the highway as they are in person.

Locals know this is not the case. See previous point about Johnson County drivers.

7. The word “shuttlecock” has a special significance to a local that a transplant may not understand even after a visit to the Nelson-Atkins.

8. A transplant might think the only music there is in Kansas City is Jazz and Tech N9ne.

Locals, however, know a venue for just about anything you want to hear, including Jazz.

9. Locals know that the Royals and the Chiefs are the greatest sports teams, ever, even if they don’t win all the time.

A transplant is going to have to learn this sooner or later. Also, you’ll find out about Sporting KC, even if you don’t think you’re into soccer. Be prepared.

10. A local is likely to have a favorite craft beer, whether it’s from Boulevard or KC Bier Co or somewhere else.

A transplant probably won’t know what to choose and will end up ordering a Bud Light.

11. Local Kansas Citians know that Paul Rudd is not the only famous person to have ever lived in Kansas City.

There’s Ernest Hemingway, Harry S. Truman, Robert Altman and Charlie Parker, for instance. Oh, and Tech N9ne.

12. A transplant might at some point ask, “What’s going on in Olathe?”

To which a local would reply, “Not much. Why don’t we go downtown instead?”

13. A transplant won’t know the difference between KCK and KCMO.

KCK is Kansas City, Kansas. KCMO is Kansas City, Missouri. A local is very aware that Kansas has some of the most restrictive alcohol laws in the United States, whereas Missouri’s alcohol laws are some of the least restrictive. Between the two, KCK is like a barren wasteland compared to KCMO’s ever-flowing streams of liquor and beer.

14. Fountains are a fact of life to a local in Kansas City.

This may come as a surprise to a transplant, but there are more fountains in Kansas City than there are BBQ restaurants. The only people not likely to be impressed by the number of fountains in Kansas City are either people who live there and see them all the time or people from Rome.

15. A transplant probably knows the most recent name of Sandstone.

I had to look it up, and, apparently, it’s now Providence Medical Center Amphitheatre and has been since 2012. What!?

16. A transplant might have no idea it’s possible to pack so much art into one city.

Whether it’s First Fridays at The Crossroads, outdoor concerts, or The Fringe Festival, there’s something going on all the time. Really, if you mention Nutcracker to a local, you may need to clarify whether you’re talking about the ballet or the beer—both are seasonal.

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