For those of you who don’t travel much, towns definitely have their own vibe. For the individual this is largely subjective, and the criteria for a “good” vibe vary wildly. One of the reasons Lee and I like the way we travel is we try hard to spend enough time in a place to get a good feel for the vibe. Grocery stores, local radio, and traffic patterns are simple ways for us to determine if we like a city. Also there are two kinds of likes. Places that are nice to visit and places we would actually want to live in. The second category is MUCH smaller and only a few places have struck that note with us. I am happy to say Kansas City has made the list!!
So how did they get on the list for us? First and foremost people are nice here. Right from the beginning we noticed a distinct lack of rudeness that unfortunately is the default for many places we have been. In general people also drive pretty courteously, which is a big deal for Lee in particular as he is running us around when we are visiting a city. The town also has its own distinct look and feel which is really important to us. We visit tons of places that look like “anywhere USA” and Kansas City has managed to be friendly, have services, and still maintain a unique look and feel. It’s helped by the fact that there are many districts in the city and all of these have their own personality.
It’s a great combination of history, arts, and sports which is rare to find in a city this size. It even has it’s own ballet company and beautiful orchestra hall for additional culture.
Both the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals are based here and have a beautiful area right outside of town for their stadiums. When we travel I love seeing football stadiums and Lee and I were able to get up close one Sunday and take some pictures.
During our visit we have at least driven through all of the different districts, but my favorite by fair is the Power and Light district. It has really cool architecture and the lighting fixtures all look like old electrical fixtures.
One of the great things about the city is people are living in all the districts, even the ones that are more run down. It’s a vital city and there are shops, grocery stores, and gas stations to support it. One of my favorite areas was City Market which is a huge open air market that has specialty shops for many different ethnicities. It is a culturally mixed town and very LGBTQ friendly as well and we saw all kinds of folks hanging out together wherever we went. Lee picked up some very inexpensive bulk middle eastern spices that he liked so much he went back a second time for more.
My main disappointment with the city during our visit was food. That’s probably because I don’t really like BBQ, but Lee had it a few times from different places and loved it. We did go to an old family owned steak place and it was OK, but not as good as many other places I have been. There are lots of choices though and many are locally owned which is great.
There are lots of great locally owned shops including Prospero Books, a used book store. We love going to book stores when we are visiting a new town and this one was really cool. It was three floors and the decorations were great.
Speaking of books, the outside of the downtown library parking garage is a wall of giant books that I absolutely loved.
And finally did I mention this is the city of fountains?? There are over 100 of them throughout the city and we stopped and saw several.
My absolute favorite though was a memorial to local firefighters who had lost their life in the line of duty and the memorial recognized those men from the 1890’s until present day. It was made using fire hose nozzles and was extremely well done.
All in all it is a really cool town and as I said I really like the vibe. We spent two weeks in KC and there was plenty to do which you will hear about in upcoming posts.
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