Located on the edges of Kansas and Missouri, Kansas City boasts an array of fountains, iconic landmarks, and vibrant neighborhoods. Many diverse features contribute to the things Kansas City is known for, including elements that make it a must-visit gem in the United States.
What Is Kansas City Known For?
Kansas City is famous for its multicultural heritage, jazz roots, and beautiful fountains, earning it the nickname “City of Fountains.” These elegant water features can be found throughout the city, adding charm and beauty to public spaces.
Kansas City is also famous for its mouthwatering barbecue and distinctive architecture that boasts buildings like the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Union Station, and others.
History, Culture, And Traditions
Kansas City is known for being a melting point of several cultures, hence its multicultural heritage. This cultural diversity is largely due to the high level of immigration the city experienced in its formative years.
Kansas City boasts cultural influences from African, African American, German, Irish, Italian, Latino, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian, and so many others. You will see this reflected in its cuisine, music, cultural practices, and day-to-day life.
Here are some activities you can engage in to explore the rich tapestry of Kansas’ multicultural fabric.
Visit Independence Avenue to explore the wide array of Mexican restaurants, explore the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to learn more about Africans’ contribution to Kansas City’s Baseball culture, and take a stroll along the Argentine walls to view the stunning Hispanic motifs.
If you’ve been looking for a vacation spot where you can learn about and experience different cultures, look no further than this vibrant metropolitan city.
City Of Fountains
Kansas City is famous for its array of stunning fountains; hence, it is no wonder how it got its nickname as the city of fountains.
The fountains in KC were initially built to serve as drinking spots for animals traveling through the city. However, as the city grew, the locals started erecting fountains with more purposes in mind. Some were constructed to provide healthy drinking water, while others served as design elements.
Today, there are over 200 fountains in Kansas City, all stunning and in impeccable shape.
If you want to explore these fountains, we suggest you start from the Plaza District, which features some of the city’s most iconic fountains.
From the iconic J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain featuring the four equestrian figures that represent the four great rivers of the world, to the Fountain of Neptune showcasing the Roman god of the sea and his companions, there are a plethora of breathtaking fountains waiting for you to explore. Don’t miss the Firefighters Fountain, which pays homage to 6 brave firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty
In other parts of the world, barbecue may just be a meal option, but in Kansas City, it is way more than that. Barbecue in Kansas City is something akin to a cultural and traditional identity.
Barbecue history in KC started when a man named Henry Perry started barbecuing and serving food in newspapers, and the rest is history. Today, it’s one of the signature foods of Missouri.
The Barbecue culture in KC has grown so much that if you ask different locals their favorite barbecue restaurants, you’ll get different answers because of how many good barbecue restaurants are available.
Aside from barbecue, these restaurants also offer various toppings, sides, meat options, as well as flavorful sauces.
Some of the barbecue hot spots Kansas City is known for include Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, Gates Bar-B-Q, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, B.B.’s Lawnside Bar-B-Q, and so on.
Whatever your taste in barbecue is, you can be sure that a visit to Kansas City will give you a scintillating experience that you won’t forget in a hurry.
It is simply impossible to talk about Kansas City without mentioning its jazz heritage as it is an integral part of the city’s history and culture.
The early 20th century was a turning point for the music industry in Kansas and saw the emergence and development of the jazz music genre in the city.
The 12th and 18th districts also helped to facilitate this development as the districts were a melting pot of cultural and musical influences and a bustling nightlife center filled with jazz clubs, dance halls, and theaters.
The city also produced legendary Jazz legends like Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Mary Lou Williams who helped to further preach the gospel of jazz across different parts of the world.
Kansas City’s jazz heritage stands as a testament to the city’s musical innovation and cultural diversity. If you want to know more about the city’s Jazz heritage, be sure to include a visit to the American Jazz Museum and the Mutual Musicians Foundation on your itinerary.
Districts And Areas
Downtown Kansas City
Downtown KC embodies some of the most popular neighborhoods in the city. It is the central metropolitan district and is recognized as one of America’s Best downtowns by Forbes magazine.
The area boasts several of the iconic restaurants, buildings, and shopping malls Kansas City is known for. Its stunning skyline is punctuated by impressive high-rise buildings that house businesses.
Here, you will also find the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts ballet, opera, and symphony performances. In addition, the River Market area is where you get a diverse range of fresh produce and unique shops.
18th And Vine District
This is one of Kansas City’s most famous areas, and it played a vital role in the growth and development of jazz music in the city.
In the early 20th century, it was a vibrant nightlife location and thriving hub for live dance centers that featured live jazz music. Famous clubs such as the Blue Room attracted legendary musicians like Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and Big Joe Turner.
Some of these clubs are still in existence. You can explore them alongside the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum which honors the legacy of African American baseball players and The American Jazz Museum which celebrates the rich history of jazz music.
Landmarks And Architecture
Country Club Plaza
The Country Club Plaza, often referred to as “The Plaza,” is one of the most iconic and picturesque districts Kansas City is famous for.
The plaza is known for its Spanish-inspired unique architecture characterized by stucco facades, ornate details, fountains, courtyards, and vibrant colors.
It also offers an impeccable outdoor shopping experience. Stroll through its beautifully landscaped streets to explore the array of high-end and designer boutiques, offering fashion, jewelry, accessories, cosmetics, and home decor.
You can also enjoy a variety of dining options, from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. As a tourist exploring Kansas City, the Country Club Plaza is a must-visit location.
Swope Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, known for its vast green spaces, recreational facilities, natural beauty, and cultural attractions.
Spanning over 1,800 acres, the park offers a diverse range of landscapes, including open fields, wooded areas, rolling hills, and serene water features. The abundance of green spaces makes it a popular spot for picnics, sports, and outdoor relaxation.
It also features attractions like the Kansas City Zoo, which is home to a diverse collection of animals from around the world. The zoo also offers educational programs, interactive exhibits, and conservation initiatives.
If you want to engage in nature or outdoor activities while in Kansas City, Swope Park is the place to be.
The Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts
Located in the heart of Kansas City, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is an architectural masterpiece and a cultural gem that boasts world-class performances of music and theater. The design is characterized by its bold, sweeping curves and glass facades.
The center is home to two distinct performance halls: the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and the Helzberg Hall. Both venues are tailored to provide an exceptional auditory experience, ensuring that audiences enjoy the utmost clarity and richness of sound.
The center also features a grand lobby and atrium where visitors can gather to socialize and explore the building. For fans of the performing arts, this is one of the most exciting landmarks in Missouri.
Famous People From Kansas City
Walt Disney, the famed founder of Disney, spent most of his formative years in Kansas City, and this had a lasting impact on his imagination and career.
It was in Kansas City that Walt Disney started creating his cartoons and sketches. He later proceeded to become the paperboy for The Kansas City Star, which facilitated his journey into the theater world where he later opened his first studio, Laugh-O-Gram.
While Walt Disney’s most famous achievements occurred in Hollywood, his time in Kansas City was crucial in shaping his artistic talents. It fostered his love for animation and taught him valuable lessons about entrepreneurship.
Exploring Other Things Kansas City Is Known For
With its blend of jazz, barbecue, and scenic fountains, Kansas City offers a vibrant cultural experience for visitors and residents. The unique multifaceted heritage is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and other daily aspects within the city
Kansas City is famous for many other things such as craft breweries, strip steak, and areas such as the National WWI Museum, River Market District, Blue Springs, and Lee’s Summit. It is simply impossible to run out of things to do in Kansas City with all the diverse attractions.