Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri (Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

City Market in Kansas City, Missouri (George Denniston, Jr.)

Aerial view of Kansas City, Missouri (Corbis)


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What to do in Kansas City

New Orleans may be the birthplace of jazz, but “America’s music” grew up in Kansas City. When Prohibition closed bars across the nation, liquor flowed freely in Paris of the Plains, attracting musicians who couldn’t get work elsewhere. Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and Big Joe Turner pushed K. C.’s jazz—which began as a mix of blues and ragtime—to new levels. Their spirit lives on in the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District: The American Jazz Museum enshrines the greats in a rare collection of memorabilia and recreates a famed nightspot once located in the Street Hotel. The basement of the Majestic Restaurant, a former speakeasy, hosts live performances by the likes of Queen Bey, Joe Cartwright, and Angela Hagenbach. After hours, the Mutual Musicians Foundation hosts all-night jam sessions, preserving a tradition that just refuses to end.

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Traveler Reviews of Kansas City

Lacy rates Kansas City
I feel like Kansas City gets a bad reputation. It's in the middle of the U.S.- right smack dab in the center of the "fly over" states. Surprisingly, it has a lot of culture, and a killer food scene. There is an excellent nightlife scene, with bars that play more something other than country music. Gasp! If you are to do one thing in while in KC, it should be to get some KC BBQ. There's a reason why they're known for their saucy meat!
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