Where's the cool stuff in KCMo?
April 27, 2007 8:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm attending (as my first real vacation in 20 years) the Heinlein Centennial in KCMo in July. What to do; what to do?

I'm a photographer, so I'll be looking for interesting things to take pictures of, in my Copious Free Time, and I'll be taking the bus trip to Butler (Heinlein's birthplace) as well, so that city and the likely travel route are also in play.

And, of course, first vacation in 20 years. :-)

Anyone from there, spent any time there, also going to the event? The convention itself is downtown, the 6th, 7th, and 8th; we're getting in some time on the 5th, and coming back on the 9th.
posted by baylink to Travel & Transportation around Kansas City, MO (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know anything about Heinlein or the town of Butler, but I grew up in KC and want to visit again soon myself. A few things:

If you want to see art, the Nelson-Atkins museum (the city's primary museum) is opening its new, highly anticipated contemporary wing in June, with several new buildings built by architect Steven Holl. There's also the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Society for Contemporary Photography, and many other galleries. Check out the local alt-weekly, Pitch, for listings and such.

Walking around the Plaza and Westport areas are good for general shopping/sightseeing days. Both are a little south of downtown and Crown Center, where your convention is. The Plaza is modeled after Seville, Spain, and has lovely buildings & fountains; Westport was a bit more hip (at least the last time I lived there, more than a decade ago). I loved the Jerusalem Cafe on Westport Road.
posted by lisa g at 10:05 AM on April 27, 2007


Here is a piece from this week's New Yorker about the new Nelson-Atkins buildings. Looks good for photography (the south lawn also has lots of Henry Moore & Claes Oldenberg sculptures).
posted by lisa g at 10:10 AM on April 27, 2007


KC has some great Jazz bars, the names and locations of which I can't remember. Someone hope me?
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 10:12 AM on April 27, 2007


Also: As with all things you haven't done in a while, don't get too stressed out if it's not as amazing as you expect. KC is a nice city, but if you haven't travelled in a while, any city might be a let down. Just relax, have a good time, and don't sweat the details too much.

(Definitely visit the Plaza - it's a great location.)
posted by heresiarch at 10:50 AM on April 27, 2007


I recommend the Liberty Memorial and any of the Truman-related places (his presidential library in Independence; Truman Farm Home in Grandview, etc.)
posted by candyland at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2007


As a KC native, it's sometimes hard to look at KC as a tourist would - a lot of the things that some tourists view as interesting I tend to view as old hat or boring - but here's my thoughts.
- Bring your appetite; there's a lot of good food to be eaten around here. Jack Stack BBQ, Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, Gates BBQ (sensing a trend? - BBQ is a KC "specialty"), and many other non-BBQ places as well.
I'm sure there are other things I'm leaving out - if you have any specific questions, feel free to e-mail me at the address in my profile.
- Your visit will intersect with First Friday in the Crossroads Art District.
- Others have recommended the Plaza, the Nelson-Atkins; I'll agree with those and add the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Union Station, the Kansas City Museum (a little old-school, but I feel obligated to recommend it since it's just down the street from my house), and The Liberty Memorial WWI museum. (Conveniently, Union Station and Liberty Memorial are right across the street from the conference hotel.)
- The KC River Market on Saturday and Sunday mornings has some great photo opportunities. In July you'd want to get there early, because it'll probably start getting hot out around 10am.
- There's not really much between KC and Butler - just highway and countryside.
posted by jferg at 11:51 AM on April 27, 2007


Oh, other things I forgot to mention yesterday:
- KC has casinos now, if you're in to that.
- Worlds of Fun isn't bad, as amusement parks go.
posted by jferg at 9:40 AM on April 28, 2007


Great links, jferg; and thanks to Lisa G for the pointer to Pitch -- I'm almost embarassed about the once and former Creative Loafing after seeing that and the Stranger, which someone was so kind as to send me a paper copy of once a couple years ago -- it was an entire fiction issue...
posted by baylink at 8:30 PM on April 28, 2007


Flipping through my list of old favorited posts; left a hanging chad here: that was our very own Mars Saxman who sent me that copy of the Stranger...
posted by baylink at 3:24 PM on March 2, 2008


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