Whether the sun is shining or snowflakes are flying, there's plenty to do during a winter getaway in Kansas City. Boutique hotels offer great art and architecture as well as a comfortable bed, and award-winning restaurants will keep you well-fed. Winter is the perfect time to explore a museum. Art, history, music and more – Kansas City has a spot sure to capture your imagination.
The Crossroads Hotel combines intriguing history with modern decor. The hotel is located in the pre-Prohibition Pabst Brewing Depot – later used by political boss Tom Pendergast for his office and, according to legend, his bootleg liquor operation in the 1920s. Tapping into Kansas City's creative community, the hotel features the talents of local artists, designers and purveyors. A public gallery includes work from artists with historic ties to the city.
Located in the historic Savoy Hotel and Grill building, the 21c Museum Hotel fits well with the area's vibrant art scene. The hotel features contemporary furnishings and original artwork and is part of North America's only multi-venue museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting 21st century art. Open to the public year-round, the hotel museum offers guided tours at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Fontaine, named for Kansas City's many beautiful fountains, is located in the heart of the Country Club Plaza, the city's historic upscale shopping district. The hotel boasts custom tile mosaics inset into marble floors, intricately carved wood paneling, original artwork and hand-blown Venetian glass chandeliers.
Rye, located in the Country Club Plaza shopping district, offers progressive American cuisine, sourcing many of its ingredients from farmers in the Kansas City region. The brunch menu offers crepes, an omelet of the day, huevos rancheros and more. Dinner selections include the restaurant's famous fried chicken, roasted rainbow trout, and shrimp and grits. Indulge in a specialty desert such as salted maple chocolate tart or a sweet potato blondie with brown sugar ice cream.
Kansas City's reputation for great barbecue is well deserved. Check out longtime favorites like Arthur Bryant's, Jack Stack or Gates or explore a newer place like Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements that serves up traditional barbecue, a variety of sides and salads, and several vegetarian options including grilled pimento cheese with fried green tomato and avocado on sourdough bread. You can sample burnt ends – Kansas City's claim to barbecue fame – at all four places.
Farina specializes in modern hand-crafted Italian fare featuring fresh produce and meat raised by local farmers. The restaurant was developed by Michael Smith, one of the first James Beard awarding-winning chefs to come to Kansas City more than a decade ago. He opened Farina in February 2019 in the city's Crossroads Arts District. In addition to pasta specialties, the restaurant serves beef short ribs, rib eye and Kansa City strip steaks, and seafood flown in daily.
The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum of Art is recognized internationally as one of the finest art museums in the United States. The collection of nearly 40,000 works includes African, American, American Indian, Chinese, Japanese and modern art. The Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park features more than 35 sculptures, including the iconic giant shuttlecocks.
The Arabia Steamboat Museum displays the cargo of a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in 1856. Excavation of the boat in the late 1980s proved to be a modern-day treasure hunt. From clothing and fine china to carpenter's tools and children's toys, the cargo reveals what life was like on the American frontier.
The National World War I Museum and Memorial tells the story of the war through the eyes of those who lived it. The interactive museum houses more than 55,000 objects and is the only American museum dedicated solely to preserve the personal experiences and history of World War I. The museum is located beneath Kansas City's iconic Liberty Tower Memorial, built in 1926.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum uses video, memorabilia and artifacts to recount the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on social advancement in the United States. The centerpiece of the museum is 10 life-size bronze sculptures of some of the greatest players in the Negro Leagues taking their position on a mock baseball diamond. The museum is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues in 2020.
Written by Liz Coleman