A weekend in Kansas City, Missouri left me wanting more! Let me just say that this city might be the most under-rated city I have traveled to yet. With plans to visit a friend and just get a change of scenery for a weekend, I left for K.C. with little to no expectations and was surprised by its lively spirit, walkable streets, fun eateries, and friendly people. If you want a quick weekend getaway, trust me, don’t mark K.C. off your list as an option! Here are some great things to do and see in Kansas City, that I promise will make for a trip you won’t forget.
BBQ & Other Eateries
You probably know that K.C. is one of many Southern cities known for its barbecue, so of course I was on the hunt for the best spot in town. Word on the street brought me to Q39, a unique joint serving up K.C.’s popular wet or “rubbed” BBQ which is different from the Texas take on “dry” or smoked meats. A must have on my order was their famous burnt ends, which are literally the tips, or the more well-done parts of the brisket. Though it was absolutely delicious, I am a Texas girl, and without bias (I swear), can confidently say that I prefer Texas brisket to theirs. If you are in town though K.C.’s BBQ is an absolute must try during your visit! Their baked beans were superb, and possibly the best I’ve ever had. Food aside, the service was top notch, and we were in and out, feeling way to full, in all of about 35-minutes.
If BBQ is not your thing, or if you are looking to diversify your lunch options, I highly recommend LuLu’s Thai Noodle Shop, a local spot with amazing Thai food, bubble teas, and vegan and vegetarian options. I opted for the drunken noodles with chicken and chili paste to give it a spicy kick. The ambience of this place was super chill and inviting with a stocked bar, ample greenery, and a bomb playlist.
Of course you cannot visit a new city without grabbing a cute ass Sunday brunch! Though K.C. offered many options, the spot that caught my attention was Westport Cafe, a quaint and intimate neighborhood spot serving french dishes and unique cocktails. I am a savory person when it comes to my breakfast, but I could not go without having a bite of the unique lemon ricotta pancakes, and let me tell ya, they did not disappoint!
For your mandatory “I’m on vacation and I’ve had one two many tequila shots” late night bite, we were told to check out Town-Topic Burgers, a walk-up counter style diner serving burgers, fries, tots, onion rings, root beer floats and hand-spun milkshakes. It definitely hit the spot, not to mention the line was always stacked. We waited about twenty minutes for our order to come out, but it was 100% worth the wait.
How to Spend your Day’s
Starting off my day in a new city wouldn’t be right without grabbing a cup of coffee from a local shop. The coffee needs to be great, but if you know me, I am also all about that aesthetic. She needs to be cute, okay! The coffee scene in K.C. was pretty vibrant, so I had several options to choose from but when I saw that Messenger Coffee Co. was three-stories, with a rooftop, a bakery, and a mimosa bar, I was sold! You could literally grab a coffee and a bagel downstairs before heading upstairs to hangout with some friends for drinks. It was honestly a one-stop-shop for fun.
One of my favorite stops over the weekend was the River Market, a hot spot which has been thriving since 1857 in downtown Kansas City. This large area is like a farmer’s market on steroids, full of gourmet grocery shops selling spices, fresh fruits and vegetables, loose leaf teas, sweets, breads, and everything in-between. Also sprinkled throughout are unique eateries, a funky coffee shop, and florists selling fresh flowers and potted plants.
When I travel, I always make sure to leave a little space in my suitcase for the shopping I plan to do. K.C. offered several neat and diverse shopping districts. Our first stop was a large outdoor shopping mall area called The Plaza. Outdoor malls aren’t really my thing when touring a new city, as I prefer the local spots, but it was worth the short drive just to check out Made in Kansas City Marketplace, a space full of various K.C. artisan merchandise, a coffee shop and a chill bar. We did a bit of shopping before posting up for a couple glasses of wine and chatting with the friendly bartenders.
A few areas more my speed were the artsy districts of Crossroads, Westport, and Brookside, pockets of town filled with cute boutiques, local restaurants, and organic grocers. Hands-down my favorite stores were Skin, an all-natural skin care store, sister-boutiques Coco and Kate KC, River Market Antiques, a four-story antique store (yeah, wear your sneakers and be prepared to be there for at least an hour or two), and Records with Merritt, where I could’ve easily spent the whole afternoon thumbing through albums. Seriously, it was a great spot! While I looked for a few albums to take home I chatted with the store owner about the good ‘ol days when we went to live shows. Remember those?
For me, the best part of weekend getaways would be the nightlife, and K.C. surprised me yet again! My first night we checked out Power and Light, a cool area known for its live-music stage surrounded by indoor and outdoor pubs. That weekend was actually the first since COVID that a band was playing! It felt so awesome to just sit with a cold drink and listen to a live band. The people watching was on another level too. We thoroughly enjoyed observing the many, many, unique human specimens sprinkling the dance floor. I was certainly entertained!
A good rooftop bar with views of the city is always something I look for when I travel, and finding one in K.C. was actually a bit tricky. After some digging on the internet I finally came across Percheron Rooftop Bar at the Crossroads hotel. By the way, if you are looking for a place to stay I highly recommend this funky and modern boutique hotel. The rooftop was a winner, with a beautiful view of the Kansas City skyline, craft cocktails, and groups of people hanging out for Sunday funday.
A last must-do for me is to visit a good local dive bar, because you always meet the best people and after spending $14 per cocktail at the rooftop bar, a $4 vodka water is even better. I have to thank our Uber driver for leaving us at Rhythm and Booze. No, literally, the bar we choose was closed down so we just told him to drop us off somewhere. This spot was a true dive bar, complete with dark seedy vibes, pool tables and bathroom walls covered in sharpie hearts and profanity. As soon as we walked in a group asked us to shoot pool, which turned into rounds of tequila. It was exactly what every dive bar should be.
My weekend in Kansas City was packed full of fun. I did all the things, met so many people, and loved every minute of it. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be going back, and soon! Thanks K.C., and shoot out to my girl Jessica for being a badass hostess, and honestly, just a badass human! I can’t wait for you to visit H-town next month! xoxo