I can honestly say I never thought I would ever want to visit the MidWest. However, it is really the only part of the US that I had not seen up until last week. My husband had to fly out for training and I needed a change of scenery! It didn’t hurt that my cousin, Casey, and her family live in Oklahoma, six hours from KCMO.
If you haven’t visited KC, I strongly recommend a trip! I saw some hilarious reactions when the locals found out I actually left Florida to come to KC willingly! They have a great culture, wonderful city, and beautiful environment overall. All photos in this post are mine and most of the places we visited are cited so if you’re interested in checking them out, click the links for more info!
We flew in early on Sunday so Dave could actually see the area with me. We stayed close to the airport so we could pick up his coworkers who arrived early, handle government rental logistics, etc. That said, we drove around the northern half of the city for a couple of hours to get the lay of the land and ended back at Zona Rosa’s Stone Canyon Pizza. We went with the restaurant’s namesake and ordered the Stone Canyon Choice. So good! We wanted to go back later in the week but there was too much else to explore in the city!
On Monday I ventured to the Power & Light District downtown by myself! This is definitely more of a night time place, which I knew, but I also knew that our evening schedule that week would not allow us to go together. So, I flew solo during the days and took our personal rental care here:
I came without a detailed plan, which is very different from my typical MO. I stumbled across a parking garage, left the Chrysler 200 (worst car ever) there, and logged some serious pedestrian mileage that day. With the help of Yelp! I wandered a couple of blocks north to Cosentino’s Downtown Market. Oh my goodness, y’all. I did no less than four laps around this section of the market before finally making my lunch choices.
Random but perfect for that day! A bowl of clam chowder, spicy tuna sushi, and a cookies and cream torte cake, all made on site. If I worked in downtown KC, I’d have no qualms about where to go out to lunch.
Notice that there’s a gym above Cosentino’s…with very good reason!
After I got my fill, I checked out KC’s River Market. This was part of the plan all along! I pinned a few sites I wanted to see in KC but I originally scheduled this for a Friday. While there are a few vendors open during the week, I’d love to return here on a weekend to get the full effect. It reminded me of Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
From the market, I had to see the Missouri River. Again, without a plan, I headed in what I thought was the right direction. There was some construction, so I had to walk a few more blocks north but I found this great bridge to an overlook, which actually has a staircase and elevator to take you down to the Kansas City Riverfront Heritage Trail. Here, I was able to chase the river for a bit before I turned around and headed back to the car. It would be a great walk with a dog!
You can see the USGS flood markers on the right side of the picture. The river (on the left side of the photo) rose all the way up to those three markers during the floods of 1951 at the bottom, 1844 in the middle, and 1993 at the top. I’m an emergency management student…this is the kind of stuff I look for on my vacations, people!
At the top of the overlook, I demonstrated my ability to take/mess up a panoramic shot. There was just too much to see to cut it off any sooner. Here we are, bridge to bridge.
Did I mention there were trains rumbling by the entire time? Hey Union Pacific!
Who needs to go to Paris to lock their love?! So cool, KC!
Baseball. This town loves pro sports and especially the Kansas City Royals. Too bad they don’t love hockey as much as baseball, then I’d be in heaven!
They do have the perfect space for a hockey team…just sayin’! The Sprint Center books tons of performers but they don’t have a pro sports team there…yet.
Okay back to the food! You go to KC, you eat Barbecue. It’s just what you do. When you do it, go here! When you go here, make a reservation! We showed up unannounced for dinner and waited about thirty minutes. This restaurant is on the Kansas side but I think the Missouri side figured out it’s there, too. Dave was so hangry, he went next door to order an app while I continued our wait. Wouldn’t you know it, I was seated and munching on our Q39 appetizer before he finally came back from the other place with the spinach & artichoke dip in a to-go container! Did I mention my word of the year is patience? It’s finally clicking!
Mac & Cheese app: good but I’d be interested in trying something different next time.
Holy dinner. I ordered the southwest brisket sandwich wih fries. I couldn’t finish it so I was happy to take it home for lunch a few days later!
Dave decided to go big with the Judges Plate: Q spare ribs, sliced brisket, and pulled pork. Fries and seasonal veggies on the side. It was really tough to get him to wait long enough for me to take this photo.
Another reason KC rocks: freestanding Caribou coffee shops. I had no idea this was possible. Game changer.
The next night we broke out! Breakout Kansas City was no match for this variety of current and former government employees. I will just say that the last time half of that group went, they didn’t make it out in time. Maybe they were just waiting for their other half…haaaa! If you are unfamiliar with a break out or escape room, you get locked into a room with a few of your friends and have to solve puzzles and unlock locks to get out. Don’t worry about safety, there’s someone watching you by camera the entire time, fire extinguishers in each room, and you can always call for a time out to get out of the room in case you’re anxious, need a bathroom break, etc. You get three clues to help you along the way if you get stuck. You can ask for additional clues but they will add on to your overall time. Our unique backgrounds helped get us out of Szechuan Secret (19% success rate) in 57 minutes and 19 seconds with our complimentary three clues. Boo ya.
Afterwards we victory danced our way to Il Lazzarone, a Neopolitan Pizzeria. I didn’t take pictures, I was too hungry. But the Margherita and Margherita D.O.C. pizzas were to die for. The beer and wine list is extensive so the possibilities are endless. (Photo from Left: Dave, Me, Alex, Brad, Rebecca, Steve)
So about that whole pro sports thing? Sporting Kansas City is another dream team. Unforunately KC lost to the Colorado Rapids but we had a great time learning all the chants in the member’s section. I was happy to learn that many of the chants were similar to chants used by Sticks of Fire at the Tampa Bay Lightning games.
Sporting selfie (from the left): Rebecca, Brad, me, Dave. We had a blast, clearly!
On Thursday, I hit up the KC Zoo by myself. This is one of my favorites. It was well designed for school groups and the army of strollers I encountered. It’s very spread out but you can jump on the train or gondolas to help you get through the park. I chose to walk, of course, and I covered the whole place in just over two hours. If I visited with someone else, I would have stayed at least twice as long but with no one to talk to, it’s easy to be efficient 😉 Here are some of my favorite photos:
Nachos. In the background, you see more soccer players. Jalapeno Brothers is dedicated to soccer and they LOVE Sporting KC. I love their nachos.
Delicious food brought to you by morning gym sessions. Thank you Residence Inn KC Airport for providing free breakfast every morning, a gym, and a great staff. Thank you also to the awesome people of KC, I’ll definitely be back! Off to Oklahoma!