FOR YEARS NOW, Kansas City’s been busy bubbling away, forming its own culture and personality while few were paying attention. Most cities look to the coasts for inspiration, but here that’s a long-distance ask — so KC just started doing its own thing.

And the city has gotten it right. Free public transport. A state-of-the-art opera house. Speakeasies, craft beer, and the best barbecue this side of anywhere. If you had any assumptions about KC before this, throw them out the window. Throw them out the window hard, and get ready to see #HowWeDoKC.

1

Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium

Turns out seas do come in shades of red and gold. And these seas are where the party's at — in 2014, the "crowd roar" at Arrowhead Stadium set a Guinness World Record. Not too surprising, considering over 75,000 football fans gather here regularly, filling the seats of the sixth-largest NFL stadium in the country.
Photo: Visit KC

2

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The accolades for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art just keep on coming. It's the best museum in the US according to Yelp, and it made Time's list of top 10 new architectural marvels across the globe. Inside, you'll find works from all eras and places, but its collection from Imperial China is the best known.
Photo: David Mark

3

Kansas City Skyline

Behold the Kansas City skyline. What are you going to explore first?
Photo: David Arbogast for Visit KC

4

Kansas City Ballet

KC is so big-city they even have a professional ballet. Thirty dancers light up the stage regularly at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (more on that in a bit), and 15,000 students hone their skills each year through the Kansas City Ballet's educational programs.
Photo: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

5

Boulevard Beer Hall

Boulevard began in 1988 with equipment picked up from a defunct Bavarian brewery — and now serves most of the United States. Stop by for a drink, or hop on one of their hour-long tours for a look behind the scenes.
Photo: Visit KC

6

J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain

One of Kansas City's nicknames is the "City of Fountains," and the fact that there are hundreds here might explain why. Rumor has it that the only city with more is Rome.
Photo: David Arbogast for Visit KC

7

First Fridays

On the first Friday of each month, head to the Crossroads Art District for gallery openings, street music, food trucks, and popup events. Everything's walkable—and awesome.
Photo: Jason Dailey for Visit KC

8

Kansas City Royals

Kansas Citians will talk about their barbecue until they're blue in the face, and that shade happens to be Royal blue. The Kansas City Royals went to the World Series in 2014 and 2015, winning the latter, and the pride isn't dying down anytime soon. Why should it? With teams like the Royals, the Chiefs, and Sporting KC, what city has a more noble lineup?
Photo: Visit KC

9

Bluestem

You know about the barbecue, right? Right. But did you know that Thrillist called KC one of the most underrated food cities in the States? We won't bore you with the details of how the city is making headlines without impersonating the coasts, but we will point you in the right direction: Oddly Correct for coffee. Cocktails at Manifesto. Burgers at Westport Flea Market. Chocolate from Christopher Elbow. Bluestem for decadence, City Market for everything. The list goes on.
Photo: Bonjwing Lee for Bluestem

10

Kansas City Union Station

If you'd seen KC's Union Station 40 years ago, you would've remarked on a grand building in a state of disrepair. Now, it's anything but. Union Station is back to being one of the busiest Amtrak stations in the region, but it's also home to a planetarium, Science City, movie theaters, restaurants, and shops. The spirit of the '40s lives on here, and it's a great place for a primer on the history of the city.
Photo: David Arbogast for Visit KC

11

Power and Light District

KC's downtown Power & Light District rages till all hours of the night, anchored by the KC Live! block — two levels spread out over a whole city block dedicated to live music, entertainment, bars, and restaurants. Check out Cleaver & Cork, The Dubliner, and Howl at the Moon on your way in.
Photo: Visit KC

12

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Nope, not Sydney. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts houses the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and — as you already know — the Kansas City Ballet. It took 40,000 square feet of glass to construct, making it one of the most complex structures ever built. And, yes, the acoustics were worth it.
Photo: Mike Day for Visit KC

13

Kansas City Streetcar

You know that time public transit was free in Seattle, New York, and LA? Exactly. It might only ride for a few miles, but the KC Streetcar is totally free, and it goes right through the heart of downtown, passing all the spots you want to go. Take it from River Market to Power & Light to Union Station — heck, just ride it for fun.
Photo: David Arbogast for Visit KC

14

National World War I Museum and Memorial

What used to be just a museum has been elevated to national memorial status — this is the official memorial for WWI in the United States. When you enter, you'll cross a glass bridge, passing over 9,000 red poppies — one for every 1,000 lives to be remembered. Clearly, this goes beyond museum and memorial and into experience territory.
Photo: Visit KC

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This post is proudly produced in partnership with Visit KC.
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