Blog Post Type: Expert Opinion Piece
If you’re a Midwestern art lover, don’t let Kansas City slip under your radar. KC keeps a low profile, but the city has galleries, fountains, monuments, a bustling train station, and one of the most successful art walks in flyover country. Kansas City’s affordable hotels will pamper you within an inch of your life, and you’ll be so glad you discovered this Midwestern gem.
Why Kansas City?
Image via Flickr by proforged
Maybe it’s the Hallmark company that’s attracted so many artistic souls to KC. The greeting card giant employs 800 people, most of them artists, designers, writers and poets. The city has more than 200 fountains, which puts it in the same league as Rome. The only WWI monument in the US is here as well. The new Power & Light District is a walkable downtown entertainment zone, with restaurants, shops, and music. Add a vibrant jazz community and a citywide fascination with creating the perfect barbecue, and you have the makings of a fantastic weekend getaway.
When to Visit
Winter and summer are equally harsh in this part of the US. It’s best to come between April and June, or September through November to avoid blizzards or heat stroke. September is the Plaza Art Fair, a major event worth planning around.
Plan your trip for the first weekend of the month to enjoy the First Friday Art Walk in the Crossroads district. The Art Walk in KC has been going strong for years. You’ll see dazzling street performances, watch potters and glass blowers at work, and stroll through the gallery openings. The restaurants in the Crossroads District offer appetizers and drink specials during First Friday, too. You won’t want to drive within the district, so park nearby and take the free trolley.
Where to Stay
For classic charm on a budget, the Hotel Phillips is a good choice. It’s near the Crossroads District, decorated in art deco style, and live music on site at the 12 Baltimore Bar & Café.
To make your art vacation into a spa weekend, stay at the Q Hotel & Spa. A delicious breakfast, pillow top beds, and a shuttle from the Amtrak station will guarantee you a stress-free, delightful weekend. Insider tip: Ask for a room on the higher floor so you can enjoy the views.
Splurge on a room at the Hilton President, an easy walk to the Power & Light District and not far from the Art Walk. The President is an older property, with lots of charm and personality and great service.
Image via Flickr by Loco Steve
Coming by car is a good idea, since you’ll need it to get around the city. However, there’s so much charm in the beautifully renovated KC Central Station, some people opt to take the train then rent a car, or take taxis as needed.
Kansas City is a surprising Midwestern find. Discover this clean, graceful, art-loving city for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
Have you been to the First Friday Art Walk in Kansas City? Tell us about it!
Guest post by:
In May 2013, Lauren sold everything she owned that didn’t fit in a backpack and took off to travel the world as a nomadic writer.She regularly produces articles for CBS and Time Warner, and is designing journals and study materials for dance and yoga students, among other projects.