Did you know that you can fly from Chicago to Kansas City in just about an hour? It’s a quick, easy, and affordable destination for a weekend getaway. I first discovered Kansas City a year and a half ago when I attended Go Blog Social. The conference kept me busy, so I didn’t have time to explore neighborhoods other than the trendy Power & Light District, and I hoped that I would find a reason to go back to see more of the city. Lucky for me, Visit KC reached out and asked if I would be interested in visiting for the weekend of the Plaza Art Fair and sharing my experience with my readers. I jumped at the opportunity and last week, Charles and I spent three days eating and exploring Kansas City. I need to emphasize how perfect the weather was – each day was sunny and 82 degrees – a full 10+ degrees warmer than Chicago. We took full advantage of the warm weather and the breadth of activities Kansas City has to offer.
We flew out on Thursday on an 8:45am flight, and were outside the Kansas City airport waiting for an Uber by 10am. I was amazed by how quick the trip was. We checked into the freshly renovated, and centrally located, Sheraton Suites in Country Club Plaza and went to see the city.
The Country Club Plaza area is known for shopping. The 15 block area has a mix of high end retailers and locally owned boutiques, with plenty of restaurants mixed in. After splurging on a bit of shopping – something I rarely do in Chicago since the shopping areas are always so congested, we grabbed a quick bite at Zoe’s Kitchen and walked to the Nelson – Atkins Museum.
We started by exploring the museum’s sculpture garden. Claes Oldenburg’s playful sculptures of shuttlecocks (American’s call them birdies) are the centerpiece of the outdoor sculptures, as they sit directly in front of the museum.
The outdoor sculpture garden is spread out across the museum’s vast grounds and includes 32 works. At the very least visitors should make time to view the sculptures and a relaxing walk around the museum.
Since I studied art history, I cannot resist an art museum. We climbed the stairs, entered the large museum, and were greeted by an enthusiastic docent. That is when I realized – there was no front desk, no signs indicating price, and nowhere to pay. This gorgeous museum is FREE! It’s also an easy to manage size with a variety of exhibitions from an impressive Egyptian Art collection, and works by American masters.
It was a hot and sunny day in Kansas City, so we hit the pool and made plans for our evening. The folks at Visit KC suggesting going to the Westport neighborhood and pointed out Normal Human, a locally owned tee shirt shop. Charles is always on the hunt for unique tees, so we set out to visit Normal Human and wander around Westport.
Normal Human was a fine suggestion, I found a tee for myself that says “I’d rather be eating BBQ” and Charles picked up a few less food related tees.
Next up, Charles wanted a beer so we stopped into Beer Kitchen. It is a more upscale gastropub, and a local hangout. We sat at the bar, ordered drinks and quickly befriended Will the bartender. Charles tried some local brews while I enjoyed a beer cocktail made with PBR and a homemade rosemary lemonade, it was thirst quenching and a fun way to turn PBR into something a little fancier.
Once we finished our drinks we walked down the street to Char Bar, a newish bbq joint that the guys at Normal Human assured us was well worth our time. Charles and I feasted on large portions of BBQ. I ordered the burger per our server’s recommendation, but worried that I picked something that wouldnt be indicative of KC’s BBQ culture. But, this was not just an ordinary burger. The CBGB is a mix of smoked brisket and beef topped with a gouda schemer, duke’s mayo, smoked bacon, and caramelized onions. It was one of the best and most memorable burgers of my life. It was loaded with smokey bbq flavor, and the gouda added a richness.
Charles went for traditional bbq and ordered the Holy Trinity: ribs, brisket, and burnt ends. We shared the macaroni and cheese which was exceptional, the blend of cheeses – cheddar, provolone, mozzarella, American, and Parmesan was perfectly balanced.
Char Bar has a large patio with seating and lawn games, and Charles and I challenged each other to a game of bocce after our meal. The pressure was on since other Char Bar patrons were cheering us on. Things got a little competitive, and I lost.
We ended our night a Ça Va, another recommendation we picked up at Normal Human. Ça Va is a champagne and jazz bar with live jazz on Thursday nights. This romantic lounge has a completely different atmosphere than the bustling bars beside it. The jazz band was delightful, as was the rosé, and it was a perfect end to a very active first day in KC.
This post was sponsored by Visit KC, but the opinions expressed are my own – and I am seriously in LOVE with Kansas City!!