The Show Me State or the state of Missouri may not be the largest in terms of the landmass in the US. However, there is no doubting that it is one of the major attractions in the nation. It’s always worth it dropping by Missouri every once in a while but if you want to make the most out of your trip to the state, then may we suggest getting to Kansas City which is the largest city in Missouri. The city itself straddles the Kansas-Missouri state line so you’re bound to get the best of both states when visiting it. There’s a lot more to love in Kansas other than its landmass however and that’s what we are going to tackle today.
One of the reasons to visit Kansas City is its strong jazz and barbecue scene. This basically means that you can enjoy your fill while enjoying your time around amazing music.
- 1 How to Get to Kansas City
- 2 Getting Around Kansas City
- 3 Best Time to Visit Kansas City
- 4 Things to Do in Kansas City Museums
- 4.1 See the past at the National World War I Museum
- 4.2 Learn about African American baseball at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
- 4.3 Learn about jazz at the American Jazz Museum
- 4.4 Appreciate Art at Nelson Atkins Museum
- 4.5 See the hall of famers at the College Basketball Experience
- 4.6 Learn about steamboats
- 4.7 Find rare toys at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
- 4.8 See how pilots are trained at the National Airline History Museum
- 4.9 Take home a bag of money from the Money Museum
- 4.10 Go down 650 feet below the earth’s surface
- 4.11 Reminisce your favorite Wizard of OZ scenes
- 4.12 Get your mind blown at the Museum of Illusions
How to Get to Kansas City
Whether you are getting to Kansas City from within the US or from international destinations, the trip will be relatively easy thanks to the Kansas City International Airport which serves as the central hub for flights in the Missouri-Kansas area. The airport is conveniently located at the northwest of Downtown Kansas City making it very accessible for travelers and locals alike.
The airport handles flights from various US and international airlines including Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Icelandair, United Express, United Airlines, and more. These allow for easy access to Kansas City from major cities like Los Angeles, Detroit, Las Vegas, Chicago, and several others more.
There are other options to take as well. First is by train via Amtrak. The recently renovated Union Station at Main and Pershing serves as the primary station of Amtrak in Kansas through a line service that goes between Chicago and Los Angeles. Eastbound trains depart at around 7:30 in the morning and westbound trains depart at around 11 AM.
If you are taking a car along for the trip, it’s worth noting that Interstate Highway 435 circles the city of Kansas perfectly. You can take this to get to various parts of Kansas City. Most notably, you may want to look for I-70 which goes east to St. Louis and west to Denver. Other highways to look for are I-49, which runs through the midtown area and US 71 which basically follows the same route as I-29 which passes through Kansas from the northwest.
Traveling on a budget? Then don’t fret as you can take the Greyhound bus to get to the city. The buses arrive and depart from the depot at 10th and Troost every day.
Getting Around Kansas City
Majority of the top attractions in Kansas City are within its premises. As the city itself is well-developed, it is easy to get around as the roads and streets are numbered. That being said, we prefer renting a car to get around the city. This is the most affordable and most convenient way especially if you are traveling in a group.
You can book cars ahead of your flight from companies like Budget Rental and Hertz. Alternatively, there are several rental companies waiting for you at the airport as well so you don’t really have to book unless you are traveling during peak season.
Another convenient way to drive is by taking a Lyft or an Uber which is available in the city. However, this is expensive fare so keep your budget in mind before considering this. On this topic, the city is abundant with taxis especially in the airport area so you should not have trouble getting around.
Several commuting options are available as well. One of the best bus services around the Kansas City area is Ride KC. It is easily accessible within the urban area and it can get you to most of the tourist destinations in the area. This includes Crown Center, Westport, the Plaza, Brookside, and Waldo. The standard fare in Ride KC buses is $1.50 per trip. You can also purchase a One Day Pass for $5 within the buses themselves.
Another easy commuting option is via streetcar. Streetcar services are readily available at Downtown Kansas City. It runs to northern and southern destinations but mostly it passes through Main Street. The streetcar will pick up passengers every 20 minutes at 2 block intervals. If you are looking for restaurants to eat at or stores to buy stuff in, the streetcar will be your companion.
Best Time to Visit Kansas City
The best time to visit Kansas City according to travelers would be from November to December. This is a weak season for tourism aside from Christmas week so you can enjoy short lines at attractions and the best rates at hotels. However, it snows in Kansas City during the winter so be sure to bring warm clothing.
Another excellent time to visit the city is from August to October. This is the sweet spot for the temperature in Kansas as summer has just ended and the winter is yet to set in. Again, there are very few tourists in the area so you’ll be able to get affordable rates in hotels.
If you want to avoid unreasonable rates at hotels and crowded streets, do not visit the city during the summer as this is when both the locals and tourists come out to enjoy the city.
Things to Do in Kansas City Museums
There are a lot of activities and attractions waiting for every tourist in Kansas. Trust us, you’ll never get bored in this place as this city has plenty of stuff to offer for everyone. But one of the things you shouldn’t miss in Kansas is its museums. Yes, unlike other cities, this place has countless museums that you will not get to see anywhere else in the world. From the most fun to the most unique, Kansas probably has all of the types of museums that you will surely love regardless of your age. In case you are wondering what awaits you, here are some of the things that you can get to see and things do to in Kansas City museums.
1See the past at the National World War I Museum
Kansas’ World War I Museum is one of the unique and best of its kind that serves as a powerful reminder of the combat in the trenches in World War I. Housed in a rather modern building with a nice glass walkway over a field of red poppies, here, you can get to see informative displays, as well as cabinets full of uniforms and weapons that were once used during the first world war and seeing them all is one of the best things to do in Kansas City museums. But aside from the displays that will amaze and educate you about the significant event in the past, the views from this place is also worth talking about. This is because this is well situated in the city where you can get to see gorgeous panoramic views that the city has to offer as well.
2Learn about African American baseball at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Racial segregation, even in the past is rampant. There was racial segregation in sports too that an all-African American baseball team was formed and you can get to know more about them if you’ll head to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Seeing it is one of the unique things to do in Kansas City museums as this is only one of the few museums of its kind that explores the world of baseball back in the days when it was racially segregated. See how its players started and get to know more about the eventual integration in the said sports. It’s a unique experience that you don’t want to miss, especially if you are a baseball fan. In case, you want to see it, you can find it at the 18th and Vine Complex in Downtown Kansas.
3Learn about jazz at the American Jazz Museum
Kansas is famed for jazz music. That said, one of the best things to do in Kansas City museums is to learn about the music genre that it is known for, and you can do that at the American Jazz Museum. As its name suggests, here, you’ll find anything and everything related to jazz. Located downtown, this museum houses stories about the history of jazz in the city including the different styles of it. You can also get to see different instruments used for jazz plus get to know famous musicians who once resided in Kansas City such as Charlie Parker who actually lived and played in the streets of Kansas. On top of that, there are interactive displays and activities waiting for you. So whether you are a music lover, fascinated about jazz, or just want to get to know the genre, this place is one of the best ones in Kansas that we highly recommend.
4Appreciate Art at Nelson Atkins Museum
If you are an art lover, exploring the Nelson Atkins Museum is one of the highly recommended things to do in Kansas City museums. Here, you can get to see an impressive collection of Asian artwork of the past and even of the present. Compare them and be amazed by how they were made and appreciate all of them even more or whatnot, it’s really a nice thing to see. You can also get to see compelling photographs and paintings from Europe. But the artworks that it houses aren’t the only ones that you should see as the Nelson Atkins Museum’s architectural design is quite impressive as well. In fact, many locals and tourists alike frequent this place to marvel at its impressive neoclassical design that seems to appear like a chandelier emerging from the surrounding greenery as well.
5See the hall of famers at the College Basketball Experience
Its name might confuse you a bit but the College Basketball Experience is actually a museum and to see it is one of the best things to do in Kansas City museums, especially if you’re a basketball fan. This is because this place is filled to the brim with memorabilia that will give every basketball fan a thrill. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the sports, you’re still going to enjoy it as you can enjoy having a go at free throws and even commentate as others have a go. Who knows, your visit to the College Basketball Experience visit might make you love the sport.
6Learn about steamboats
This might be an odd thing to do but learning about steamboats from its parts to even the stories of its passengers is one of the cool things to do in Kansas City museums. Named as the Arabia Steamboat Museum, this place houses a whopping 200 tons of salvaged items from the Missouri River when the Arabia steamboat sank in 1856. During the tour, you will also get to know how the steamboat sank and how the items on display were recovered. The museum claims to have the largest single collection of pre-Civil War artifacts in the world so it is a place that you shouldn’t miss adding to your travel itinerary in case you are traveling to Kansas City.
7Find rare toys at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
Whether you are traveling with kids or you’re a kid at heart, this place is surely worth the drive. This is because, as its name suggests, this place is filled with toys and miniatures (approximately 72,000 objects). But what makes it really worth talking about is that the toys displayed are some of the world’s most valuable and rarest. Plus, it is one of the largest collections of antique and rare toys open to the public. Hence, it’s a place that you will not get to enjoy in other cities but here and it’s one of the best things to do in Kansas City museums. While you might not be able to play the toys and other miniatures displayed here, it still sure is fun to see them. The admission tickets to see these cool toys will cost you $5; it’s definitely a good value considering what awaits you inside.
8See how pilots are trained at the National Airline History Museum
Another one of the interesting things to do in Kansas City museums is to learn about the field of aviation, and you can do that if you head to the National Airline History Museum. Here, they have flight simulators on display that will give you an intriguing insight into what it was like to be trained as a pilot in the past and even in the present. On top of that, you can also get to learn the history of aviation and see anything and everything related to it such as the aviation vehicles (both flying and non-flying). It’s a unique and exciting experience so why not fly here and see what kind of adventures are waiting for you? It’s really one of the many museums in the city that you shouldn’t miss.
9Take home a bag of money from the Money Museum
Yes, you read it right. If you will visit the Money Museum, you can get to take home some money. However, you will not be able to spend them, though, as the money that you can take home are only for display as they are no longer in circulation. Still, it’s nice to add them to your collections. But the Money Museum isn’t just an attraction that you should visit merely because of that. Actually, this place also has gold bars, vaults, and coin collections on display that are nice to see too. Also, you can get to uncover the history of the museum as you tour it. On top of that, you can even get to see art projects made by budding artists looking to design the latest banknote.
10Go down 650 feet below the earth’s surface
Yes, it is possible to explore what’s beneath the earth’s surface 650 feet below if you’ll head to Strataca. It’s actually a unique salt mine museum that is built within one of the largest deposits of rock salt in the world. And you will not just enter a cave-like place but you can also get to enjoy a number of attractions. Here, they have a mining gallery where you can get to learn more about the mining process in the past and in the present. The place also has exhibits that will also amaze and educate you about how the museum contributes to NASA’s understanding of Mars and lets you see the oldest living organism on earth and more. But before you go, don’t forget to bring a jacket as it is 68º underground.
11Reminisce your favorite Wizard of OZ scenes
If you love the film Wizard of OZ or if you’re looking to introduce this film to your kids, visiting the Wizard of OZ Museum is what we highly recommend. As its name suggests this place is full of items related to the Wizard of OZ. From the first edition books of L. Frank Baum to the newest collectible pieces, this place has it all. It also has photos of your favorite artists and even figures of your favorite characters. Aside from memorabilia from the popular 1939 MGM musical starring Judy Garland, the museum also has silent films and one of which starred by none other than Oliver Hardy as the Tin Man and The Wiz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. It is really worth visiting, especially if you love Wizard of Oz.
12Get your mind blown at the Museum of Illusions
No matter how old you are, the Museum of Illusions will surely make your travel experience a lot better and unique. As its name suggests, this place will astound you with intriguing visual, sensory, and educational experience with plenty of new unexplored illusions that are worth remembering. On top of that, you can also get to play more than 80 various dilemma games that will surely intrigue, confuse, and let you have the most fun visit. It is also a perfect attraction if you’re traveling with your family and if you are traveling with kids. You’ll never get to see such kind of a museum so don’t forget to add this to your travel itinerary in case you’re going to Kansas City as well.
Kansas City sure has a lot of attractions to offer for everyone. Whether you want to party, relax, be thrilled, learn, or bond with your family, this place has almost everything that you could ask for. But among all of those, Kansas museums are some of the best attractions that this city has. This is because it has a lot of unique museums that will not just let you learn about the things around you but the city’s museums also have a lot of fun activities to offer that will surely make your every visit unique and memorable. That said, this place is really something that every traveler shouldn’t miss. However, some museums and other attractions in this city, needless to say, don’t always come for free. In spite of that, it is still worth the visit. That said, why not plan your itinerary for this city today? You will surely love it as much as we did.
Have you been to these museums already? Tell us in the comments section. We’d love to hear how was your experience.