Kansas City still causes confusion. Is it in Kansas? Or Missouri? Actually it's in both. The city is split down the middle by the state line. Residents disagree on whose side is better. They're definitely different. The Missouri side has all the urban accoutrements, including the pro sports teams, the museums and galleries, and the vibrant metropolitan buzz. The Kansas side is more suburban.
Kansas City trivia: there are more than 200 working fountains here and thus the nickname, City of Fountains. The most notable of them is the majestic J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in Country Club Plaza. Other cool fountains include the black marble H&R Block fountain fronting Union Station and the walk-through fountain at Hallmark Cards world headquarters at Crown Center. There are also a lot of family-friendly parks that are great for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. Loose Park, with its charming pond, is one of the most popular. Shawnee Mission is huge, with a lake, trails and abundant wildlife. For culture, check out the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (always free entry), the pioneer-focused National Frontier Trails Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which has a great store full of unique souvenirs. For chief-executive history, stop in at the Truman Presidential Museum and Library, where you can see his famous "The buck stops here!" sign. For more on that era, visit the National WWII Museum at the landmark Liberty Memorial.
Dining and Nightlife
If you like barbecue you're in the right place. Kansas City is known as the world capital of barbecue and it has over 100 barbecue restaurants, ranging from trucks to white-tablecloth places. The KC style is slow-smoked over wood and covered in a sweet sauce. Some of the best barbecue joints are Arthur Bryant's, Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q, and Rosedale Barbecue. After dinner, you can take in a show at one of the many performing arts venues in the metropolis, which include the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and the Starlight Theatre (the second-largest in the U.S.). Visitors looking for live music should swing by the historic Westport entertainment district or the 18th and Vine Jazz District. For wilder nightlife, the Missouri Riverfront has been transformed into a little Las Vegas, with flashing neon signs, nightclubs and riverboat casinos.
The shopping capital of Kansas City is Country Club Plaza, which attracts more than 10 million visitors every year. Other major malls in the area include the Great Mall of the Great Plains, Ward Parkway Center and Oak Park Mall (the largest in the city). The vibrant River Market has myriad shops offering a wide array of products, from fresh meat to bicycles, as well as restaurants, coffee shops and regular events.