One bite into a visit to Kansas City, and it’s easy to pick ten things to like about this friendly town. (KC, Kansas and KC, Missouri both share a common metropolitan area collectively known as Kansas City; the Missouri River splits the city into a KC on each side of the two states.) Once you make it to Kansas City, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t ventured there sooner. Though I could easily give you a hundred reasons to love KC, here are my Top 5. If you have other ideas, jump in. The water’s fine.
The Austin area has Snow’s, Dallas has Sonny Bryan’s, and Kansas City has Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque. And Gates Bar-B-Q.Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue. And Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue, plus nearly a hundred other smokin’ meat palaces across the metropolitan area. Each is a little different, but in a trek through the world of KC Cue last week, I still can’t pick an outright winner, though I gotta say the paper-thin sliced brisket and hand-cut, fried-in-lard french fries at Arthur Bryant’s were among the best things I’ve ever tasted.
2. Power and Light District
What Dallas’ Victory could only hope to become, the renovated entertainment district in the heart of downtown KC is a neon-lit swath of trendy bars, casual nightclubs, safe sidewalks, and the best place to mingle after dark.
3. The Blue Room
Just off the famed 18th and Vine, the Blue Room jazz club anchors the American Jazz Museum. If you’re thinking smoke, dim lighting, tight corners, and loud music, you’re not at the Blue Room. Instead, the smoke-free zone has a tiny stage up front, roomy seats, strong drinks, great sight lines, boomy acoustics, and an ever-changing lineup of local jazz combos playing everything from the classics to Pat Metheny. Keep your voice down, too: the jazz does the talking; you’re expected to do the listening.
4. Fountains and Boulevards
Hundreds of them, just like Rome. And almost as stunning.
It’s one of America’s National museums, and it’s worth a visit–even if you don’t care to learn about The War. All the cool stuff is here–artifacts like surgical field instruments, weapons, uniforms, journals, maps, flags–displayed in an interactive way that puts the War in the context of world affairs. And it’s all neatly laid out along a time line that explains how the world got into and out of that mess…and why it’s similar to current events.