Downtown Kansas City during the day

Explore downtown Kansas City. (Photo: Marriott International)

Weekend Getaways

Discover Kansas City, Missouri, Over a Long Weekend

In Kansas City, Missouri, boredom isn’t really a thing. The astounding number of museums — which span topics ranging from the banking system to World War I — could keep you busy for days. Pair these indoor attractions with the natural beauty found in the city’s public gardens and parks, and you’ve got the easygoing energy of a city that knows it has a lot to offer. The arts scene is a real draw for locals and visitors alike.

You’ve got a great weekend on tap when you add a pint (or two) of locally brewed beer and the city’s own slow-smoked barbecue style, featuring a dry rub and a savory, tomato-based sauce.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Friday: Get Outdoors

Get a taste of the Midwest’s most spectacular outdoor spaces by heading to Overland Park. While the neighborhood is technically located right outside Kansas City, it’s definitely worth the trip.

Once there, you’ll find the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, which spans 300 acres. Inside the gardens, guests can gaze upon lush flowers and other vegetation no matter the season, as well as a permanent sculpture collection. Just make sure to take your time in the garden, as there are more than 800 species of plants to see and lots of information about each one.

After viewing the plants, you can take to the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens’ 5 miles of hiking trails. There are challenging routes that snake through the area’s limestone bluffs, but also a half-mile asphalt “country road” trail that’s ideal for those looking for a more leisurely stroll.

And if you want a longer ride, check out the nearby Indian Creek Hike & Bike Trail, which travels on for more than 25 miles.

Whiskey flight in different tasting glasses
A whiskey tasting is a great nighttime activity. (Photo: Getty Images)

Looking to take things inside for a while? Overland Park is also home to plenty of cultural attractions, including the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Prairiefire, where you can hurtle into space (via virtual reality).

There’s also a booming restaurant scene. Try the Brass Onion, a comfort-food spot, or Overland Park Grill by J. Alexander’s, serving up burgers, steaks and seafood. For a nightcap, stop in at the Yeti Pub & Coffee House, which has both craft beers and rare whiskeys on the menu.

Saturday: Take in the Arts

Modern art in a gallery
Take in some incredible art. (Photo: Getty Images)

Now that you’ve seen Kansas City’s natural spaces, head to the Crossroads Arts District. Home to more than 400 artists and 100 independent studios, the neighborhood is absolutely buzzing with creativity.

Explore its plentiful galleries and professional design studios, including Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, a community-focused organization showcasing local talent; Blue Gallery, for modern art by emerging artists; and Cerbera Gallery, offering pieces you can buy right off the walls.

Next, hit the shops. Stop by Raygun, a clothing and home goods shop; Dear Society, which is filled with womenswear and vintage items; and Birdies, an upscale boutique for those looking for designer undergarments.

Before you leave, check out the neighborhood’s stellar cafés and restaurants. You’ll feel right at home at PT’s at the Crossroads, a coffee bar and light snack stop that showcases local artists’ work on its walls. Or try Mildred’s Food & Drink, a café serving locally roasted coffees and heartier bites.

For a full meal, head to Affäre, a modern dining venue with a German twist. No matter where you dine, don’t skip out on a late-night drink stop at the Border Brewing Company, a taproom that pours its own craft beers. And for live music, pop into the nearby Green Lady Lounge.

Sunday: Take History Lessons (That Are Actually Fun)

On your last day in Kansas City, make your way to the Crown Center District. The neighborhood is home to several must-see attractions and museums, beginning with the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Here, you can learn about how the bank processes millions of dollars each day. Pick up an actual gold bar (be careful — it’s way heavier than it looks) and view the Harry S. Truman coin collection.

National World War I Museum and Memorial on a sunny day
Pay a visit to the National World War I Museum & Memorial. (Photo: Getty Images)

Next, head over to the National World War I Museum & Memorial, where you can pay your respects at the Liberty Memorial, take in the exhibitions and educational programs and browse the more than 330,000 artifacts and documents collected from that time period.

Finally, end your museum hopping with a little bit of learning at Union Station. Here, you can wander through the 300 exhibits at Science City, a space focused on hands-on learning; catch an educational show at the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; or check out the Model Train Gallery, which features 8,000 square feet of tracks.

After playing all day, you’ve likely worked up an appetite. Two good spots: Burnt End BBQ for some ribs or a hefty sandwich and the Fritz Railroad Restaurant, a quirky spot that delivers meals straight to your table aboard the tiny train that winds through the restaurant. For fancier fare, stop into Pierpont’s, a restaurant that serves wine tastings alongside its fine-dining options.