A WEEKEND TO REMEMBER Kansas City MO, Western MO, St. Joseph MO.
Kansas City is one of the most entertaining and beautiful places in Missouri. My partner and I didn’t know what to expect, but we couldn’t wait to discover all that we could see, eat and do while in town for the weekend.
Get ready — we cover a lot in a short amount of time. But have no fear, our itinerary is both manageable and so much fun.
Please keep in mind that although we sampled a lot of the libations KC has to offer, we always drank responsibility, called a rideshare or had a designated driver.
We kicked off our Kansas City, MO, weekend with a coffee and lovely breakfast at Messenger Coffee Co. + Ibis Bakery in the thriving Crossroads Arts District. We had a good brekkie with the freshest coffee and food before heading off to explore the neighborhood.
Crossroads Arts District is a lively neighborhood, drawing in people who want to shop, eat and see incredible art. It is home to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts as well as more than 30 art galleries, loads of coffee bars, brewpubs and locally owned shops. The first Friday of every month is filled with free art shows and food trucks for everyone to enjoy.
Next on our tour – Casual Animal Brewing Co. On the outside, this local brewery looks like an unassuming warehouse, but the inside is filled with soaring ceilings and hanging plants. We sipped on a delicious local beer and enjoyed great snacks with our brews.
Keeping with our brewery theme, we visited Boulevard Brewing Company, a top-notch place where we really loved the craft beers. This brewery is popular for a reason – their modern twists tap into a beer-lover’s wild side. Beers ranged from traditional lagers, IPAs and American saison ales to barrel-aged stouts and sour ales mixed with berries. In addition to sipping their inspired beers, we also took their brewery tour, which was just a short stroll from the main pub.
After multiple beer tastings, neighborhood tours and fun we were ready to dine at our hotel – 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City. The Savoy at 21c is definitely a place we’ll recommend to anyone heading to KCMO; the food was mouth-watering, the drinks were great and the ambiance helped us wind down after a long day exploring. It was the perfect end to our first day in KC.
On Saturday, we planned to just go with the flow and visit a few of the typical touristy places. Of course, when you’re in a gorgeous city on a Saturday, you can’t miss out on the farmers markets. There are several markets in Kansas City, but City Market is a unique and historic space filled with so many things to buy that I was truly stunned. After scouring through stalls for souvenirs, fresh produce and a few snacks (let’s be honest, who doesn’t love snacks?), we headed to Made in KC Trolley Cafe for a quick pick-me-up beverage.
Caffeination secured, we headed to Union Station Kansas City, a popular historic landmark and now home to Science City, the KC Rail Experience, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium and several other attractions. I really loved the architecture in the Grand Hall, particularly the massive windows, which lit up the entire station. We snapped a few photos for “the gram” and then headed to Percheron Rooftop.
Now, Percheron Rooftop Bar in the Crossroads Hotel was in a whole other league from what we had experienced so far. The flickering sunlight, the stunning view, and the classical benches with umbrellas were amazing, but we topped that off with tasty snacks and refreshing cocktails and the experience became simply outstanding. Note: This rooftop bar is closed during the winter months.
Throughout the day, we had been picking up small bites of food from stalls and vendors, but we got an intense craving for barbecue around dinner that we just couldn’t shake. We had barely walked into Q39 when we were teased by the mouthwatering smell of world-famous Kansas City barbecue. We immediately ordered deliciously tender and juicy meat (beef brisket, smoked and charred chicken, pulled pork, and ribs? Yes, please!), leaving with our craving satisfied.
By Sunday, we were feeling the need to spend some time in nature. We drove to Weston and St. Joseph, where we spent the entire day just frolicking about. As naturalists, we'd had our eye on Weston Bend State Park for a long time, and I’m so happy we finally ticked that off our list.
Weston Bend State Park was serene and calm; the opposite of the hustle and bustle in Kansas City. There is something quite appealing about getting to spend your day in a scenic park, munching on a light snack under the shade of luscious green trees and letting the pleasant breeze run across your face. We really connected with Mother Nature and were a little reluctant to leave the park, but we had plans and more nature to explore.
We wandered to Holladay Distillery; I know it sounds like we hit the pubs a lot, but when you’re in Kansas City, you can’t help but get a taste of their craft beer and distillery scene. Holladay Distillery did not disappoint, as we could taste the passion and love put into the Ben Holladay Bourbon with every sip.
We continued our drive to St. Joseph (about 30 minutes from Weston and an hour from Kansas City), where we hit the Missouri River scenic overlook. Light gray clouds were billowing in a mellow mood over the blue sky, and the lookout gave us a bird’s-eye view of the city. Although St. Joseph is a smaller town compared to KC, we had a number of options to explore.
First up, we visited the Patee House Museum. Built in 1858 as a luxury hotel, it also served as the headquarters for the Pony Express, and later, the Provost Marshal’s office for the Union Army during the Civil War. Also located on the museum property is the home where outlaw Jesse James was shot in 1883. Both the museum and the home are available to tour.
Our last stop in St. Joseph was Krug Park. This 165-acre park offers visitors flower-filled gardens, a gazebo overlooking the pond, picnic areas, playgrounds and a natural-bowl amphitheater. There is also a “castle” building, which was never completed due to the economic crash of the late 1920s, but is now used as a picnic area and backdrop for weddings.
Leaving St. Joseph, we ended our trip with one last night in Kansas City. While the weekend was too short to explore all the Kansas City area had to offer, we were still able to squeeze in some of the best things to do and places to eat. Our taste buds might have had the best time of all, as every single restaurant we visited was exceptional and the street food was top notch.
So, while our trip was all too short, and we really wished we could stay longer, I will say, we have a list of things to do in Kansas City when we return, and if you’re ever looking for a change of scenery, visiting KCMO is probably one of the best trips you can plan.