It’s hard to put your finger on it exactly, but I think it’s safe to say that Kansas City, Mo., is experiencing a Renaissance of sorts. This cow town that straddles a border with Kansas City, Kan., has really come into itself over the past few years—and the nation is taking notice.
Maybe it was the Kansas City Royals winning the 2015 World Series. Or, perhaps it’s the excitement for the KC Streetcar, which just opened in May and runs from the River Market to Union Station. Maybe it’s the ever-popular First Friday in the Crossroads Arts District every month or the blossoming vintage and antiques scene in the West Bottoms.
Whatever it is, Kansas City is happening. Whether you’re visiting Kansas City or you’ve been here all your life, it’s time to start exploring this city. I’ve lived here five years and I feel like I’m just now starting to discover everything Kansas City has to offer.
That’s why I’m starting this new blog series; to share the hidden gems, the local favorites and the places you have to check out in Kansas City.
Here’s what I’ve been exploring this month.
First Friday: Art Starts at the KC Library
Building on the momentum from the KC Streetcar, the Kansas City Public Library recently started hosting its own First Friday event. The Art Starts at the Library event is held in conjunction with First Friday, and the library is encouraging visitors to start their First Friday fun at the Central Library by enjoying its art galleries, live music on the rooftop and (I almost want to keep this one a secret) a complimentary bar.
If you haven’t seen the Central Library’s rooftop terrace, that’s reason enough to check out this First Friday event.
Brown & Loe Opens
A new bistro-style restaurant has opened in the River Market. Brown & Loe, 429 Walnut St., sits just outside the entrance to City Market square and occupies the long-vacant Merchants Bank Building.
Featuring Southern-inspired upscale American cuisine, the restaurant is open for brunch, lunch and dinner. The atmosphere feels elegant, but still friendly. If you love old buildings, like me, you’ll go gaga over the original marble from the building’s bank days and its other historic architectural details. It has a beautiful dark wood bar that runs the length of the building and a patio just next to Dutch Flowers, which is perfect as the weather cools down.
If you want to know more about Brown & Loe, look out for my piece on my dining experience there in the Fall 2016 issue of VintageKC magazine.
Day Trip to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
If you’re looking to get out into nature without traveling too far from Kansas City, I highly recommend Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. The highlights of this park include the Devil’s Icebox, which is a sinkhole where you can view an underground stream, and a natural rock bridge. There are also several hiking trails that are fun to explore.
The park sits just south of Columbia, Mo., and is about a two-hour drive from Kansas City.
I love traveling the world (more tips on that to come!) but I also think you can explore close to home if you have the right mindset. And, if you want more travel tips for Kansas City, be sure to check back here every month.