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Kansas City, MO City Guide {update}

by Grace Bonney

Today’s Kansas City City Guide comes to us from Kansas City resident Rachel Porter. Rachel has lived in Kansas city with her two children and husband for the past five years and loves learning about this midwestern metropolis every chance she gets. Along with her sister Chelsea, Rachel has put together this week’s guide to shopping, dining and playing in Kansas City.  Thanks ladies for sharing your city with us! —Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump…

Kansas City City Guide

I’ve been a part of the Kansas City area since high school. But it wasn’t till after I came back from college that my love for the city grew. My husband and I have lived in the urban core of Kansas City for five years now, and can’t imagine life anywhere else.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of what Kansas City has to offer. In fact, I had to stop writing down names of great places KC has to offer so I wouldn’t overwhelm you with my long list. Locals, feel free to add rec’s in the comments. Visitors, I hope visiting Kansas City makes you feel loved and welcome as a part of the community as we have over the years. There’s so much fun local stuff to see and do. Enjoy!

Check out the Google Map with the below listings!


Donna’s Dress Shop – An amazing combo of things new and vintage. A great little place for a new dress or accessory.

Vinyl Rennaisance– A record shop with some sass. TONS of different vinyl to chose from and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they can order it for you!

Bunker– A clothing, shoe and accessory shop with some attitude. Great finds for casual wear and carries all the latest trendy shoes and accessories.

Prydes– Known as “the hardware store for cooks” this kitchen/home store has been around forever. Upon entering you will be offered iced tea while you shop and search through the tons of kitchen appliances, supplies and accessories. They also have an incredible pie shop in the basement.

Kansas City City Guide
Room 39– SWOON. The best breakfast in the city. They use local in season ingredients and everything I have tried I have fell in love with. The atmosphere is also really cute and great for a coffee or breakfast date. Also open for lunch and dinner.

Beer Kitchen– A great local joint serving up lunch and dinner with any beer you can think of. They have a wide selection of drinks, and even incorporate ales into some of their entrees. Yum.

Pot Pie– If it’s not obvious, this is what you should order as your entrée. The best pot pie I’ve had, it comes out hot and bubbly and oh so good. It’s also situated in a very cute and cozy space in the city.

Port Fonda- What used to be a food truck has quickly turned into a Kansas City love of many. Now situated in their own restaurant space they offer very unique and delicious rustic Mexican food.

Oddly Correct– True to it’s name, this is the place to go if you want to take your time to have one of the best cups of coffee in the city. True story: I did not like black coffee until this place. They pour their hearts and souls into making the best cup for you using a pour over method.



Little Freshie– What originally started off as snow cones served in a trailer, has turned into its own store. Serving up awesome homemade snowcones, sodas, as well as cute stationary and other house warming gifts, this is a place not to miss.

Boulevard Brewing Company- our local brewers that serve up the best beer this side of the Mississippi ; ) They offer tours daily of their facility and their tasting room looks like a debonair bar out of the 1940’s. Yum yum.

Fervere– Handcrafted bread made daily. Oh my goodness. I haven’t met a bread here I didn’t love. They always offer free samples and trust me, you’ll be thinking of ways you can buy and use more than one loaf at a time. Check website for hours, as they’re open early and often sell out.

Westside Local– Serving up fresh local food from their garden out back or one of their great vendors, this place is always sure to please. Plus I think they have the best pint of fries in town.

Bluebird Bistro– Can we say Anthropologie in a restaurant? This little place used to be an old drug store and they now spend their time serving up fresh and often organic cuisine. Sunday Brunch here is a must!

Chez Elle Creperie– Serving a wide variety of sweet and savory crepes, this place is a must. They have every combination you can think of and each crepe is made to order.



Frankly Basic– This women’s store is a part of a row of shops that have been around since the early 1900’s. Great if you’re looking for a new accessory or dress.

Crestwood Flowers– The most adorable flower shop I’ve visited. Opened in 1932 and going strong ever since. They have every variety you could want.

J’Adore– A classic French inspired boutique that sells everything from furniture, to bath accessories and plants. Want something but don’t see it? Ask the owner or one of the staff, they’re great about getting in exactly what you are looking for.

Lauren Alexandra– The cutest baby boutique in the city. They offer baby clothes, furniture, diaper bags and other accessories. The best place to go for a gift for someone you know that’s expecting.

Aixois– A French Restaurant that serves some delicious traditional French cuisine; crepes, snails, etc. Don’t worry. They also have great burgers and salads if you prefer the more tame side of things. They also have a cute little coffee bar open daily if you want a quick cup.

Café Europa– A cute restaurant serving up local eats as well as a small selection of baked goods. Great Sunday Brunch as well! Their French toast for brunch is amazing.

Julian– You gotta love this place and the Chef. Chef Tio has been a part of some recent Food Network competitions and has cooked right alongside Michael Simon. Delicious meals with a creative twist.

Kansas City City Guide

The Roasterie– A loud and bustling coffee shop that’s been going strong for 20 years.  A great place to meet a crowd of friends for some coffee or tea. Try the “crunched for time” mocha. You won’t be disappointed.

Loose Park– One of our biggest parks in the city, it reminds me of being in Europe. There’s a huge walking trail around the perimeter of the park, as well as a rose garden complete with giant fountain, a playground and a splash park. A great outdoor option if you wanna be outside.

Kansas City City Guide

*This part of the city is tiny, but so darn cute. This is why I only have two places listed in this neighborhood, but it didn’t feel right to not include these two gems.

Oklahoma Joe’s- Truly an experience. Set inside a gas station, this BBQ joint has won too many awards to mention. One of the best BBQ’s in KC, once you visit here you’ll come back for more every time you’re in KC. Promise.

Hi Hat Coffee– Don’t blink or you’ll miss this little guy. Situated inside an old 1940’s gas station, this coffee shop has charm and some cute outdoor seating to boot.

The Plaza

Gram and Dun– A great local place to grab a bite to eat. Excellent cocktails and outdoor seating in the summer.

Bo Lings– If you’re craving Chinese, this is the place to be.

Blanc Burgers and Bottles- They serve gourmet burgers with beer battered onion rings or fries. A great stop if you’re a burger lover. They also have a wide selection of beer to choose from.

Zoom– a local toy store that has everything a kid can imagine. Be sure to check it out if you have kids or need a gift for one.

Panache Chocolatier– handcrafted chocolates and much more to treat yourself (or someone else) to!

Three Dog Bakery– the place to buy your puppy a treat (or cute little sweater) while you’ve been away.

Baldwin Denim– A Kansas City based clothing store that prides itself on quality made denim for men (and now women too!) American made and modern simple designs make this place a great resource for that perfect pair of jeans.

The Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery– Even the lawn of this Art Gallery is Beautiful. A great place for a quiet afternoon of art. New exhibits every season. Or if you prefer a more active afternoon, perhaps a game of Frisbee golf on the front lawn?

Latte Land– A great place to grab a latte while shopping. There are 2 locations on the Plaza as well.



The Raphael– one of Kansas City’s boutique hotels, they offer outstanding service and are centrally located right at the Country Club Plaza.

The President– once known as the hotel in Kansas City any incumbent President would stay in, hence the name ;) Located downtown this hotel is regal, elegant and hosts some amazing old photos of the hotel and our Presidents from the 20’s and 30’s


Notable Locals

  • Amy Seeley- a fun, whimsical musical artist that lives and works in KC.
  • Paul Rudd- an actor I’m sure we all know. We actually went to the same high school, but at different times of course.

Suggested For You


  • if you are looking for a bicycle Leawood Bicycles is the best place to shop! Family owned business has been there for 20 years now. The owner takes time with each customer to make sure you get the perfect bike for you. No better way to get around KC then by your own two wheels! http://www.leawoodbicycles.com – there are bike lanes everywhere and plenty of beautiful trails to explore!

  • Basically what others have said – the only thing listed in the “Brookside” part that’s IN Brookside is that Coffee shop.

    Also – GLACE’!!!!!!

  • A couple of other places not to miss:
    South of the Plaza
    Glace Artisan Ice Cream (Christopher Elbow is a local chocolatier; this is his foray into ice cream…): http://www.glaceicecream.com/
    Spin Pizza, right next door to Glace: http://www.spinpizza.com/

    Murray’s Ice Cream: https://www.facebook.com/murraysicecreams
    Tea Drops: https://www.facebook.com/TeaDropsKC

    And the Nelson-Atkins restaurant now offers table service dinner on Friday nights, with local produce: http://www.nelson-atkins.org/welcome/Restaurants.cfm

  • I take it Loose Park is safer than it was in the 80s.

    Arthur Bryant’s is the best BBQ on the planet! Yes, the original location is a bit of a dive, if by dive you mean working class. I’ve been told there are other locations that are a bit more sanitized, but I’ve only been to the original one.

  • I grew up in KC, and I’d like to add the jazz/blues scene around 18th and Vine and/or Paseo, or really located throughout the city. I’d also like to mention the beyond description burnt end BBQ sandwiches at Gates Barbeque, or anything at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque, especially the ribs and brisket. I’m salivating at the mere thought! And KC is the City of Fountains, with more fountains per capita than any other city in the US. It’s a beautiful place to visit with tons to do! Go KC!

  • LCs BBQ (on blue Pkwy) is the best in the city!! Even though its a bit further away, Its the only BBQ place I take visitors to. Its not touristy like Gates or Arthur Bryants and gives a complete KC experience!
    Kitty’s Cafe on 31st deserves a great shout out for their burgers as well!

  • 816 bicycle collective !!! 816bike.org
    I lived in kc for years and never needed a car. These people have a wonderful and unique thing going that should not be overlooked!!

  • There are so many new things happening all over Kansas City! I love this town so much that I moved back after living in Chicago. There are some amazing shops opening soon in the old Arts Incubator space on West 18th Street between Wyandotte and Baltimore. Of course Birdie’s lingerie is there, and now Hadley Johnson has a boutique, Peggy Noland, and YJ’s coffee shop has been there for as long as I can remember. However, hopefully by the end of the summer, there will also be an orchid shop, jewelry boutique (with jewelry made by local designer Coki Bijoux), and other amazing shops.
    There is also the best antique/vintage shopping in the city in the River Market area by the name of River Market Antique Mall. 3 floors plus a basement full of amazing finds (my home is full of items found there) and they also have a location located at 600 Central (which is also the name of the place) that’s not as big but still has a great selection of antiques and vintage.
    If you’re lucky enough to be in Kansas City during one of the 1st Friday weekends, there are many other great antique/vintage shops that are open (as well as the huge selection of galleries and shops that are open in the Crossroads on the 1st Friday of every month). Some of my favorites include Urban Mining (just off Main Street and 39th) and other great spaces located in the West Bottoms such as Liberty Bell, Good Juju, and Bella Patina.

  • You are missing all of the River Market area, specifically an amazing coffee shop called Quay Coffee check out here http://quaycoffee.com/ They also house this really great vending machine called Easy, Tiger. Has amazing cards and on the cheap! cardsforawesomepeople.com

  • Deanna Rose Farmstead, the Kansas City Zoo and Crown Center are great if you’ve got little ones.

    I’ll reiterate what others have said – the WWI Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art are a MUST. They’re world-renowned and truly incredible.

    If you’re here for a First Friday, check it out. It’s quite a deal in KC. ART, live music, street vendors, wine, etc. Kansas City is home to some fantastic artists indeed.

  • Where’s Waldo on this list?! Waldo is a great neighborhood just south of Brookside – the heart of it being 75th and Wornall. Easy bus access, bicycle friendly (the Trolley Track Trail), and plenty of parking too. Check out:

    One More Cup – organic fair/direct trade coffee from 4 area roasters, Shatto milk, lots of local products, smoothies, baked goods, Nutty Girl sandwiches http://www.onemorecupkc.com

    Bier Station – large selection of taps and bottles, some food, plus the only place in town where you can enjoy one of their bottles there, or grab some to-go http://www.bierstation.com

    Waldo Pizza – some of the best pizza in town! lots of topping choices, and a fantastic beer selection

    Plus numerous other restaurants, bars, yoga studios, bicycle shops, and more!

  • If you like craft cocktails, KC is your kind of place. Drinks at Westport Cafe & Bar, The Rieger, Manifesto, Affaire or Extra Virgin can’t be beat! Dinner at these restaurants is good, too!

  • I have to second the recommendation for Oddly Correct. It’s a fantastic hole-in-the-wall coffee shop and they do it right! The City Market is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday as well!

  • This list is cool, but there’s so many great places missing from it!

    Let me add one that just opened in the West Bottoms. A beautiful bar called Voltaire.


    So far, Pigwich is my favorite food truck in Kansas City:


    I just moved here from NYC 6 months ago for a job. If you are carless (like I am at the moment) you are best living close to a MAX stop because it runs the most.

  • I’m a KC native, but currently live in Southern California. I’m glad to see so many exciting places on the list. I can’t wait to check some of these places out when I eventually get back out that way. Also, Gates BBQ is a must!!!

  • I’m reading the comments and feeling the love for my old home town. No place quite like it. If you haven’t been to the Steamship Arabia museum, it’s a must see. Some guys who ran an air-conditioning repair company excavated a buried steamship from the 1800’s and did it beautifully. And the Nelson-Atkins will take your breath away. The miniature portrait gallery alone…..I grew up in Merriam but my mom still lives off of Ward Parkway. I miss it every day.

  • I have to second the Waldo recommendations above, and add that the Classic Cookie has the best cookies in town. Though I haven’t been yet, I’m also hearing great things about Louie’s Wine Dive. If you have kids — or are young at heart — you should also check out Brookside’s Reading Reptile bookstore. It’s a magical place.

  • Good list, for sure, but I do really wonder how you left off all of downtown???

    I mean Happy Gillis, Garozzo’s, Vietnam Cafe, Harry’s Country Club, Le Fou Frog, Beignet, Manifesto, The Reiger, Michael Smith, Extra Virgin, La Bodega, Grunaeur, Genessee Royale, Succotash, Pierponts, River Market Antique Mall, just to name a few are begging to be on this list.

  • Great list, thanks! Just moved to KC from Chicago, and very appreciative of all the great suggestions!

    My studio is in the West Bottoms, in the Live Stock Exchange building, where there are some awesome vintage and sunny studios. Highly recommend! Eat at the Genessee Royale Bistro across the street, it is marvelous.

  • Absolutely love this list and all other suggestions left in the comments. So much to be proud of in this awesome city my family and I call home. My big city friends who visit inevitably say, “hey, Kansas City is cool! Who knew?” Love this community!!!

  • Korma Sutra is the best Indian food you will have in KC. It’s located in Westport. Downtown has city market, city market coffeehouse, Bloom Bakery that has amazing bread and desserts, the Majestic for steak dinner and live jazz piano. They also have a good brunch. Happy Gillis cafe has great lunch sandwiches. It’s different but always good. Staff isn’t that friendly but whatev.

  • As a recent-ish transplant to KC, I’ve really grown to love and appreciate this town…forgive the long post, but wanted to include links for the inquisitive…

    Please update the guide under the Plaza for The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (thanks!)…also, here is Port Fonda’s weblink: http://portfondakc.com/…amazing blood orange margaritas!

    Also a shout out to UMKC (University of Missouri – Kansas City) – very important to supporting the local arts scene – both with programs like Artist INC http://www.artistinckc.com, the fantastic KCUR http://www.kcur.org/, the Toy and Miniature Museum http://www.toyandminiaturemuseum.org/, and in its educational programs – especially the Conservatory http://conservatory.umkc.edu/ and the awesome (but dreadfully overlooked) Art & Art History http://info.umkc.edu/art and Comm Studies departments (film in there as well) http://cas.umkc.edu/communication_studies

    A few additions to suggested:

    East Bottoms –
    Local Pig http://www.thelocalpig.com/ I saw someone suggest the Pigwich Sandwich Truck, which parks back behind Alex Pope’s charcuterie…amazing sausages and stuffed dates.

    Knuckleheads http://www.knuckleheadskc.com/ Great live music (including old local Guy Forsyth), great fried pickles

    Brookside –
    Reading Reptile http://www.readingreptile.com Amazing bookstore geared to kids, but also wonderful for adults…the bakery in the store has cupcakes based on different fairytales and are delicious

    Crossroads –
    Hammerpress http://hammerpress.net/ Awesome letterpress studio with a sense of humor and collaborates heavily with lots of other area businesses (like Little Freshie, Oddly Correct, Local Pig)

    Black Bamboo http://www.black-bamboo.com/ Right next door is this home decor store that is full of amazing furniture and accessories.

    Plaza –

    Cafe Sebastienne – inside the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art http://www.kemperart.org/cafe/ is absolutely delicious…I especially like their brunch
    Outside City Limits –
    Justus Drugstore (Smithville) – http://www.drugstorerestaurant.com/justus.php?id=1 Chef Jonathan Justus is an amazing storyteller and innovative chef…well worth the trip up north of the river!

    General Happenings –
    Middle of the Map Fest http://www.middleofthemapfest.com/ Year one was in 2011 and it has gotten bigger and better every year since. Of special note to those interested in the arts, The Forum is an awesome meeting of the minds!

    Design People of Note:
    Walt Disney – worked at Hallmark and had his first studio here, where the story is he befriended a little mouse in the building, and inspiration struck
    Tad Carpenter http://tadcarpenter.com/ – I always love when I see my coastal friends posting his work on pinterest :)

  • Good start, but I am surprised that The Crossroads District, River Market, & West Bottoms are not on the list, as they are definitely noteworthy… so many lovely shops, restaurants, etc.

    Crossroads- Food & Drinks: Manifesto, Rieger Hotel, Michael Smith, Pizza Bella, Extra Virgin, La Bodega, Affaire, Grunauer
    Music: Green Lady Lounge, Mutual Musicians Foundation (east of Crossroads)
    Coffee: Yj’s
    Shops: Hammerpress, Birdies (lingerie), Peggy Noland (Fashion), Hadley Johnson (Fashion), Black Bamboo (Home), Christopher Elbow (Chocolate), Badseed market (Produce) Cellar Rat (Wine)

    Events: First Fridays

    Rivermarket: Food & Drinks: The Farmhouse, Le Fou Frog, Vietnam Cafe, Happy Gillis
    Bakery: Bloom Bakery, Baby Cakes
    Coffee: Quay Coffee
    Shops: River Market Antique & their sister store 600 Central a little further south
    Events: Weekend Farmer’s Markets

    West Bottoms:
    Food & Drinks: Voltaire, Genesse Royale
    Winery: Amigoni Urban Winery
    Events/Shops: First Friday Antique Shops- Featuring warehouse after warehouse of antiques and home decor- Bella Patina & Good JuJu, etc. Lots of food trucks also show up for the event.

    The list of course could even go on from there……

  • Great places listed here!
    For the Bunker, check out the basement for (sometimes) great shoes on sale. And yes, you’re allowed down there :)
    Other places if anyone is interested:
    Po’s Dumpling Bar- Great food overall and they offer some “different” dishes you might not have tried before.
    Mudpie- A house-turned-bakery-slash-coffeehouse with such a creative atmosphere. The entire house is still accessible, with a playroom for kids upstairs. Everything is vegan and delicious. Located on 39th.
    Word has it that the Google Fiber employees (the office is located just down the street) loved Mudpie so much, it was the “guinea pig” and first outside establishment to host Google Fiber. Cool, huh?
    Prospero’s- A great used bookshop just down the stret from Mudpie that boasts two stories, a leaning tower of books to the ceiling–if you’re adventurous, try pushing it over–clear panels in the floorboards, vinyl in the basement, AND the owner is so sweet and welcoming!

  • I would love to go to Kansas! I haven’t been to much of the states. I have made it my goal to visit each state. Kansas look like a great place to visit.

    Alena |

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