Go See KC
Experience the Best of Kansas City on a discovery of the best places to visit to appreciate your love for local landmarks, history, arts, creativity, shopping, adventure, and fun!
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The Country Club Plaza, the first shopping district designed for shoppers traveling by automobile, is the pride of Kansas City. The architecture, inspired by Seville, Spain, makes for one of the prettiest places in the metro and is home to many of the city’s most beautiful fountains and ideal backdrops for family photos. With dozens of shops, restaurants and a movie theater where theater-goers can catch new films and even splurge on a VIP experience, this is a favorite attraction for locals and visitors alike. The district is especially beautiful in the spring and summer as flowers are in bloom and the tradition of outdoor concerts in the courtyards resumes.
Spend a day at Crown Center enjoying family-friendly attractions, great shops and restaurants. Kaleidoscope is one of the best free kid-friendly destinations in Kansas City. Imaginations know no limit at this hands-on art center. Sea Life features a huge tropical ocean tank with a walk-through underwater tunnel and an exciting journey from the fresh waters of the Missouri River to the deep, dark abyss of the Atlantic Ocean. The Legoland Discovery Center provides a range of interactive play areas, including a 4D cinema, classes, an exciting Lego ride and exhibits. The Coterie produces professional children’s theater year-round. This summer, enjoy the free Thomas the Train Exhibit for young children.
One of Kansas City’s finest museums is the National World War I Museum and Memorial. After exploring the galleries, you may take a tour to the top for breathtaking views of the city’s ever-changing and improving skyline. One of the most notable landmarks you’ll see is Union Station, home to Kansas City’s Science City, with loads of hands-on science exhibits for children, and the newly updated Gottlieb Planetarium, one of the largest 360-degree domed screens in the Midwest. Nearby, make a stop at the Money Museum, a free museum where visitors leave with a souvenir bag of shredded cash. While you’re downtown, take a ride on the KC Streetcar to help you explore the area.
Go Enjoy the Outdoors
Meet exotic animals at the Kansas City Zoo in Swope Park, where Berlin the polar bear, the Helzberg Penguin Plaza, Sumatran Tiger Exhibit and the Tropics are favorite attractions. Ride the train, carousel, boat, tram and Sky Safari to enjoy terrific views of the animals. This summer, take part in Jazzoo, the premier fundraising event of the year for the zoo, plus the summer safari is a seasonal favorite kids love. Year-round check out the zoo’s calendar for special events, including animal shows, summer safaris and more. You can enjoy other attractions at Swope Park, including Lakeside Nature Center, Swope Park Soccer Village and the Battle of Westport Museum.
This is the prettiest time of year to explore one of our botanical gardens. Powell Gardens is home to a beautiful island garden, rock wall garden, conservatory, the Heartland Harvest Garden and acres of trails overlooking beautiful flowers, plants and prairie. This summer, enjoy their Gardens of Myth exhibit, attend Booms & Blooms over the fourth of July, the Festival of Butterflies in August and other summer events. The Overland Park Arboretum is home to a Monet garden, a whimsical train garden and beautiful trails to explore. This summer, enjoy Enchanted Forest. Discover the mystical domains of gnomes, fairies, trolls, elves, sprites and other garden creatures along a trail in the woodland gardens.
We’re proud of our agricultural heritage in Kansas City, and local attractions celebrate that heritage with a dash of education and a lot of fun. Children enjoy the chance to feed baby goats, ride a pedal tractor and learn how to milk a cow at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. The farmstead is a top pick for local moms who take their tots to encounter goats, chickens, ponies, cows, bunnies, pigs, horses, bison, prairie dogs and more. The Agricultural Hall of Fame is home to a small "farm community" where visitors can explore a blacksmith shop, general store, farmhouse, train rides and museum with hands-on exhibits, including ones on Kansas' early pioneers in agriculture, farm tools, beekeeping and poultry.
Go on a Daring Adventure
Enjoy both Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun for the price of one ticket. Worlds of Fun boasts seven world-class roller coasters, an amazing kids section with Planet Snoopy, classic amusement park rides and live shows. This year, they introduce two new thrill rides: Mustang Runner, featuring three arms with seven gondolas per arm turning one direction while the base of the ride spins the other way, and Falcon’s Flight, a hair-raising thrill at nearly 100 feet above the ground that spins and rises at the same time. Oceans of Fun offers fantastic attractions, including Aruba Tuba, Surf City Wave Pool, Buccaneer Bay, Coconut Cove and Splash Island, a 4,200-square-foot interactive water attraction!
Schlitterbahn Waterpark is a favorite outdoor summer destination with an incredible interconnected river system transporting visitors through miles of rapids, currents and tidal waves. The water slides, water coaster and Boogie Bahn surf ride are favorites. Great Wolf Lodge, an 84-degree indoor water park, boasts more than 38,000 square feet of water-packed excitement, including jaw-dropping slides for thrill seekers and zero-depth entry areas for little ones. Kansas City is also home to many wonderful spraygrounds. Spraygrounds are water playgrounds where children can run and play through sprinklers and sprays on a safe surface. You’ll find them all here.
Test your puzzle solving skills at one of the city’s many escape room entertainment venues. You’ll find Escape Room at Paradise Park and Union Station, Breakout KC in the Rivermarket district, the Exit Room in Lee’s Summit and more. Players are given one hour to solve puzzles and unravel codes to escape a real-life scenario.
For those who want a daring adventure, head to Go Ape KC, located in Swope Park. This attraction offers treetop and private group adventures. The two- to three-hour obstacle course includes 40 crossings that feature rope bridges, five zip lines, Tarzan swings and net bridges.
Go Create Things
BYOB paint-your-own-canvas shops are very popular across the city, each offering diverse calendars with a variety of masterpieces you can create by following simple step-by-step instructions. One of our favorites, Thirsty Palette in Leawood, offers adult and kid projects. Customers sign up for a class, bring their own beverage and spend an evening creating a personal work of art to take home and display. Create family keepsakes at Paint, Glaze & Fire or Ceramic Cafe and more paint-your-own pottery shops across Kansas City.
If you love to cook, try a class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City, offering more than 450 contemporary classes and demonstrations. Function Junction at Crown Center is a haven for kitchen gadgets and tools, and they offer hands-on workshops to hone your cooking skills. A Thyme for Everything is a quaint shop in Lee’s Summit’s historic downtown shopping district that offers cooking classes for children and adults. Savory Spice in Brookside is a spice shop with every seasoning imaginable and a great course offering to add flavor to your cuisine. For something unique, head to Local Pig, where you can sign up for culinary classes to learn a variety of skills, including the fine art of butchering.
For fun, vintage art, connect with Eat Drink & Stitch, where you can participate in embroidery happy hours, workshops and parties. Restoration Emporium is an eclectic shop selling vintage and repurposed art. They also offer workshops to learn how to paint signs, make wreaths and craft using repurposed materials. The New Dime Store in Brookside offers an array of craft classes, often inspired by the season or holiday. The Studio in historic Overland Park is the place for knitting, crochet and needlepoint classes. Nearby, creative juices flow at Pintervention, a studio specializing in all those Pinterest-inspired projects you want to try, but never get around to creating.
Go Appreciate the Arts
Kansas City is home to many remarkable art galleries, with three of her finest open to the public for free! The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, one of the largest galleries in the United States, maintains a permanent collection representing art from throughout history and around the world. Visitors enjoy the galleries and, on sunny days, picnic or stroll the landscaped museum grounds and sculpture garden. For modern art enthusiasts, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art exhibit permanent and temporary collections with special events and workshops for families.
Live theater is a centerpiece of summer in Kansas City. Take the family to a live outdoor production at Starlight Theatre. Little Mermaid, Mama Mia! and An American in Paris are a few of the favorites coming this summer. Catch the free Kansas City Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet June 13-July 2 at Southmoreland Park. Live outdoor music is a tradition at the Providence Medical Center Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, with summer concerts including Funk Fest and Yallapalooza. Mesner Puppets is a professional puppet company with live shows throughout the year. Children also enjoy the Puppetry Arts Institute in Independence, a fun local museum with puppets from around the world, puppet making workshops and shows on Saturdays.
One of Kansas City’s original favorites is the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, which recently underwent a magical transformation. From the first glimpse, visitors know they’re entering a charming world of toys with interactive exhibits taking them on a stroll down memory lane. They encounter treasures from Grandma’s attic, a vast collection of dollhouses, miniatures and toys of yesteryear. Toys enjoyed by generations are waiting to be discovered. This is a favorite attraction for families before heading downtown to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts to enjoy a live show from the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera, Kansas City Symphony and touring productions.
Go on a Historic Outing
“The Man from Missouri,” the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman hails from Independence. You can learn about his childhood at the Truman Farm, his humble lifestyle at the Truman Home in Independence and his presidency at the Truman Presidential Library. There, visitors participate in interactive exhibits, including a replica Truman Oval Office; they also explore Truman artifacts and special exhibits. Visit other historic sites including Vaile Mansion, the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, the Jail Museum, and the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence. For a truly historic experience, take a wagon tour with Pioneer Trails Adventures.
Living history museums are a favorite local attraction, with several historic sites telling the area’s history through reenactments and hands-on education. Shawnee Town 1929 tells of life in Johnson County in the 1920s through a village where families explore living history firsthand. Summer programs offer hands-on opportunities to crank ice cream, make crafts, play games and experience the past firsthand. Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm in Johnson County brings 1850s farming to life with tours and programs all year, including stagecoach rides, family programs and a working blacksmith shop. Throughout the summer, enjoy free living history programs on Thursday evenings.
One of Kansas City’s most famous historic neighborhoods is 18th and Vine. Two museums in the district celebrate the city’s past. Visitors can experience Kansas City jazz and celebrate our finest musicians at the American Jazz Museum and enjoy a live concert at the Gem or the Blue Room. Then, head next door and visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, where you’ll discover the history of American baseball from the African-American perspective, beginning in 1863, and get to know many famous local baseball stars. Measure up against the life-size bronze statues of players in mid-game on the baseball diamond.
Go Spend a Day Shopping
Head west to Legends Outlets for a day of shopping and local attractions. The shopping center commemorates local celebrities with banners, statues and artwork. You even can walk the Yellow Brick Road, a tribute to Kansas’ literary fame in The Wizard of Oz. Play your favorite arcades and enjoy delicious food at Dave and Buster’s or dine with dinosaurs at T-Rex. Grab a burger at Five Guys, watch phenomenal knife skills in action at the Japanese steakhouse STIX or try one of the 130 beers on tap at Yard House. Shop at one of the Legends’ many top merchants or catch a film at the AMC movie theater.
Downtown Lee’s Summit has been awarded the "Great American Main Street Award," and it's easy to see why! This shopping district is one of the most vibrant in the area. Start with a discovery of the area’s history at the Lee's Summit Historical Society Museum, housed in a 1905 train depot in the heart of downtown. The area offers restaurants ranging from upscale to the local diner. Visit shops and boutiques, including bookstores, hobby shops, clothing boutiques, art galleries, cooking stores and more. At Paradise Park in Lee’s Summit, your family will enjoy laser tag, rock wall climbing, miniature golf, the Foam Factory, bumper cars, an arcade and more.
Downtown Olathe comes to life every month at Fourth Fridays in the Johnson County Square, 100 W. Park St., next to the Johnson County Courthouse. The eclectic shopping and dining district becomes a community party with live music, entertainment, giveaways and activities for all ages. Favorite local food trucks head out for the event, where you can sample everything from a barbecue sundae to the best walking tacos and waffles in town. Local shops are open late. Kids love the Mad Science demonstrations, balloon artists, face painting and bubble station.
Go Play the Day Away
At Paradise Park your family can enjoy a variety of fun activities, including an all-new laser tag experience, Escape Room, bumper cars, go-karts, batting cages, miniature golf, a rock wall and arcade games. The favorite attraction for little tykes is the Children’s EduTainment Center, with everything from a miniature grocery store and bank, to an indoor water play exhibit and art center with face paints and special projects with children in mind. Dine at the Paradise Café, where you can enjoy pizza, nachos and sandwiches. Be sure to check out their special events, including character meet-and-greets, Iive concerts and outdoor summer theater and more.
For traditional family fun, visit one of Kansas City’s family fun centers. Miniature golf, go-karts and arcades are all the rage at Cool Crest. Aaron’s Fun Center in Belton offers bowling, arcades and miniature golf. Little Monkey Bizness is the ultimate indoor attraction for tiny tots, with indoor play equipment and a hands-on art room. Main Event boasts two locations with bowling, billiards, laser tag, arcades, obstacle courses and more. Urban Air in Overland Park is an indoor trampoline park with special play hours and packages for all ages from toddlers to teens. And, Jump City in Belton is an indoor playground with moon bounces and inflatables for young children.
Adults enjoy arcades too. Tapcade KC is an arcade-themed restaurant in the Crossroads also featuring the Screenland theater, where you can catch classic films on the big screen. Up-Down is an arcade bar in the Crossroads with arcade video games, pinball and skee-ball. The T3 Arcade in Lenexa is an arcade bar with amazing tacos and a collection of retro and reality video games. SoPro Gaming in Overland Park is the place to participate in social professional gaming. With a variety of consoles, gaming systems and games to try, this is every gamer’s paradise.