Exploring Kansas City – A Pleasant Travel Surprise!

Union Station in downtown Kansas City
Image via Flickr by Dean Hoffman

We’re always looking for travel surprises, including off-the-beaten-path destinations, local favorites, and great values. Kansas City certainly hits the spot! While it may not top everyone’s US travel itinerary like Las Vegas or New York might, Kansas City’s diverse offerings, good value, and pleasant surprises make it well worth a visit!

Whether you choose to stay downtown or in a suburban hotel, there are plenty of great hotels in Kansas City that can help you stretch your travel budget or enjoy a splurge.

 

Must See in KC

National WWI Museum & Memorial
Image via Flickr by Sangre-La.com

Tops on our Kansas City list is Union Station. Built in 1914, this magnificent building has transitioned from full-time train station to neglected relic to vibrant hub of activity. Its architecture alone is worth a visit, and admission is free. Union Station is also home to a planetarium, an interactive science center, live theater, a movie theater, a train history exhibit, and a space for traveling museum exhibits. An urban success story, this station is still served by Amtrak trains and is accessible by public transportation.

Within easy walking distance of Union Station are the National World War I Museum and Memorial and the Federal Reserve Bank’s Money Museum. The WWI Museum offers impressive architecture and interpretive exhibits, while the Money Museum features interactive exhibits, self-guided audio and iPad tours, President Truman’s coin collection, $40 million on display, and free admission.

Northeast of Union Station is Kansas City’s Jazz District, home to barbecue, baseball, and blues. The corner of 18th and Vine is home to both the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. You can get a discounted combination ticket to both sites, which bring history alive with displays, artifacts, photographs, interactive exhibits, films, and performances. The live music and legendary barbecue here attract visitors from around the globe.

American Jazz Museum
Image via Flickr by Sangre-La.com

Family Fun

Fun in Kansas City isn’t limited to the downtown area. Those who venture a bit further away from the city center can view 35,000 works of art for free at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art or explore the well-preserved remains of an 1856 steamboat at the Arabia Steamboat Museum.

Families will enjoy checking out the antique toys at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures or getting an up-close look at a variety of aircraft at one of several airline museums. You’ll also have fun testing your basketball skills at the interactive College Basketball Experience, which includes the National College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Of course, no trip to Kansas City would be complete without exploring some of its namesake fountains, taking in a Royals game at Kauffman Stadium, or catching a Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium. Let us know your favorite Kansas City sights in the comments below. Enjoy your next visit to Kansas City, whether it’s for a week or a weekend!

Note:  This post was sponsored by IHG, although all opinions are are own.

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