a little over four years ago, my family moved from cedar rapids to kansas city. at the time i wasn’t too pleased with this decision. but since i was only just seventeen, i couldn’t really move out on my own, away from my parents, so i went with them. the first semester was basically spent passing the weekdays away at the library/playing guitar/watching movies, and on every two or three weekends i focused on getting back to cedar rapids. after the first semester i got a job and started jr. college, so i became a lot busier, but still focused on getting back to cr as much as i could. so in the two years i spent in kansas city before i moved back and started at iowa, i really didn’t get to know the city well at all. there was the occasional saturday afternoon drive where i would just take the car out and try to get lost around downtown kc area, but i never really discovered anything i thought was cool. i always thought the city was just kind of lame; too big, nothing to do.
FALSE. interesting how one night can change your whole outlook on something. i spent my evening with two native kansas citians and had a great night out. we started by hitting up oklahoma joe’s, a local kansas city bbq joint. i’m no great lover of barbeque, mainly because of my underexposure to it, but this place was great.
after dinner we drove downtown to crown center. gorgeous area. right around the headquarters of hallmark, so obviously the decorations were fabulous. they have a ice skating rink down there, a sweet playground with mini vehicles to play in, and this gorgeous square of water jets that shoot the water straight up. more on that later. across the street they have this mallesque building with different restaurants/shops, so we visited there. unfortunately hardly anything was open, so we mainly just walked around and looked at things. they have this restaurant called fritz’s railroad restaurant. apparently you sit down at a booth, all of which have little telephones you use to order your food. after it has been prepared, it is transported to you by model train, of which they have many riding around on tracks that hang from the ceiling. so cool. when your food gets to you, there is some gizmo that takes your food (in a box) and lowers it down from over your head onto the table. so cool. and they have hats, similar to the burger king crown, but they are way better train conductor hats. awesome. crown center also has a big hallmark store, and a sheridan’s frozen custard with a very friendly staff.
we headed down to the plaza and drove on through to westport. but the plaza is gorgeous. they still have the lights up, and driving through it’s just breathtaking. all of the architecture is modeled after towers and buildings in seville, spain (which i hope to visit in the next five months), so the whole area has a very european feel. very cool. a walk through the plaza is a fantastic way to spend an evening.
moving on to westport. this is a small business neighborhood close to the plaza which i had never really visited before. i had driven through before, but had no idea what i was missing. we parked and started walking up one of the few blocks that make up the area, and there were speakers on the light posts that was playing a jazzy little piano/horn number. so classy. there are a bunch of bars and restaurants along this area; we stopped in a bar called harpo’s for a quick drink. one of the more average joe type of bars in westport, we were able to sit in on wednesday night extreme team trivia. which actually sucked, instead of “pop culture” questions, as was advertised, the questions consisted mainly of crappy 80s songs and early 90s rap. two other places which i was told about but did not visit: jerusalem cafe (hookah bar) and blue room (jazz lounge). such a cool district.
after that we headed back home. but other highlights of kansas city which i have either visited or heard about:
- kansas city zoo. never actually been so i have no idea whether it is great or not.
- sprint center. brand new gigantic venue for sports/concerts/whathaveyou, made entirely of glass and has mini quicktrips inside. awesome.
- WWI museum. haven’t been yet, might go tomorrow with the fam. we’ll see how it is.
- skies. by far, classiest restaurant i’ve ever been too. it’s in a very slow-revolving disc at the top of a tall hotel in downtown kc. at night, the lights of the city are absolutely gorgeous and it takes about an hour for you to see the entire city. delicious food, wonderful live piano music, and just a sexy quiet atmosphere. absolutely love it.
- kansas city art museum. tons of cool stuff here, including a tremendous shuttlecock out on their front lawn. awesome.
and this barely scratches the surface. this is only some of the stuff that i know about, and i lived here halfheartedly for only two years. imagine all the stuff a real city patron knows about. it’s a shame i never gave this city a real chance, because it’s really a beautiful city with loads to offer. make the trip. you wont regret it.