Top 12 Attractions in Kansas City

Kansas City offers visitors plenty to see and do, from world-class museums and green urban parks to lively entertainment districts and family-friendly attractions. Nicknamed the “City of Fountains”, Kansas City delights with over 200 fountains plus a vibrant barbecue scene, jazz heritage, and exciting sports culture.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of ArtA premier art museum with collections from around the world, featuring sculpture gardens and the iconic Shuttlecocks.
Country Club PlazaAmerica’s first shopping center, known for its Spanish-Moorish architecture and outdoor dining.
National WWI Museum and MemorialA leading history museum showcasing WWI through interactive exhibits and memorials.
Kauffman StadiumThe home of the Kansas City Royals, offering games and tours.
The Plaza at Crown CenterA hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment, featuring attractions like LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
American Jazz MuseumCelebrates Kansas City’s jazz heritage with artifacts and live music in the 18th & Vine Jazz District.
Loose ParkA city oasis with botanical gardens, trails, and a historic rose garden.
City Market Kansas CityThe oldest operating farmer’s market, offering local goods, boutiques, and seasonal events.
Powell GardensA 970-acre botanical garden with themed landscapes and children’s discovery areas.
Arabia Steamboat MuseumDisplays preserved cargo from an 1856 steamboat, providing insight into 1800s American life.
Harry S. Truman Presidential LibraryExplores Truman’s life and presidency, with interactive exhibits and historical artifacts.

Iconic sights, history and heartland hospitality make Kansas City a popular Midwest destination. These top 12 attractions should feature on every Kansas City travel itinerary.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Name and Location: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is located in Kansas City, Missouri. It occupies a 10-acre campus between 45th and Oak Streets, east of the Country Club Plaza.

History and Significance: The museum was built in 1933 by the Nelson-Atkins Foundation to house the extensive art collections originally owned by newspaper barons William Rockhill Nelson and Mary Atkins. It has since expanded through major acquisitions and architectural additions and is regarded as one of the finest general art museums in the country.

What to Expect: Visitors can view an impressive collection of over 40,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of Asian, American, and European history. From Egyptian mummies to contemporary installations, the museum offers a diverse mix of art and culture across multiple buildings and sculpture gardens.

Visitor Information: The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, and is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission to the permanent collection is free but special exhibitions require purchased tickets. Onsite parking is available.

Prominently located on the east side, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art deserves its reputation as one of the finest general art museums in the country. The Nelson-Atkins impresses with impressive permanent collections showcasing 5,000 years of art from around the world. Wander sculpture-dotted grounds, see Monet’s Waterlilies up-close then marvel at the expansive Asian art collection. Must-sees include the Sphinx Gates flanking the Kirkwood Hall entrance, the Bloch Building’s innovative architecture and the Shuttlecocks lawn sculpture. After admiring the 35-foot badminton birdies, refuel at the Rozelle Court Café inside this world-class museum.

Country Club Plaza

Name and Location: Country Club Plaza, often referred to as The Plaza, is an upscale shopping district centered at the intersection of 47th Street and Broadway in Kansas City, Missouri.

History and Significance: Developed in 1922, Country Club Plaza was the first suburban shopping center in the United States. Its Spanish-inspired architecture and design has made it a Kansas City landmark. Over time, it has transformed into a vibrant district with high-end retail, restaurants, office space and residential living.

What to Expect: Shoppers and visitors can stroll through 15 blocks of stores, boutiques and restaurants set amid fountains and courtyards modeled after Seville, Spain. Horse-drawn carriages offer rides and the district sparkles with Christmas lights from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

Visitor Information: Most stores and restaurants have varying business hours but are generally open late. Garage parking is available throughout the Plaza and is free for the first two hours.

Dubbed America’s first shopping center, the unique Spanish-Moorish architecture of Country Club Plaza remains a Kansas City icon after 100 years. Today the lively district sees locals and visitors browse boutiques, dine al fresco beside fanciful fountains and admire stunning architecture like the 700-foot long Seville Light Display with thousands of lights. Horse-drawn carriages clop down streets lined by porcelain-tiled towers and tile-roofed courtyards filled with flowers. Catch a film at the classic Plaza Cinema then enjoy the scenic stroll back to your accommodations after spending an afternoon exploring Country Club Plaza’s charms.

National WWI Museum and Memorial

Name and Location: The National World War I Museum and Memorial is located at 2 Memorial Drive in Kansas City, Missouri, near the historic Union Station site.

History and Significance: Dedicated in 1926 as the Liberty Memorial, it was originally built to honor Kansas City residents who died fighting in World War I. In 2004, Congress declared it the nation’s official WWI museum and President George W. Bush presided over ceremonies marking it as a national memorial in 2006.

What to Expect: Visitors enter a massive 217-foot tower housing exhibits that descend to the lowest point before ascending back up and eventually leading outside to the memorial courtyard. Immersive galleries with artifacts, interactive displays, films and more recount the Great War’s history.

Visitor Information: The museum is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Timed entry tickets are required and can be purchased online in advance. Parking is available on-site for a fee.

Honoring Kansas City’s pivotal role during World War I’s earlier years, the National WWI Museum and Memorial ranks among America’s leading history museums and the nation’s most visible WWI memorial. Located at the former site of wartime supply production, its restored building and new museum wing cover over 91,000 square feet holding interactive exhibits using cutting-edge technology to chronicle WWI’s history. Guests also take in the large-scale Doughboy statue and 217’ Liberty Memorial Tower with observation deck views high above the Kansas City skyline. Its extraordinary collections make the National WWI Museum a key Kansas City stop.

Kauffman Stadium

Name and Location: Kauffman Stadium is a baseball park located in Kansas City, Missouri, that is home to the Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball team. The address is 1 Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129.

History and Significance: Originally named Royals Stadium, the ballpark opened in 1973 and was renovated between 2007-2009. It hosts over 2 million fans per season and is best known for its iconic water spectacles and adorned crown graphics. It was the site of the 2012 All-Star Game and the 2015 World Series.

What to Expect: Visitors can catch Royals games April through September and enjoy amenities like a kids zone, sports bar and museum. Fountains play when players hit home runs and fireworks light up the sky on Friday home games. The stadium offers tours on non-game days.

Visitor Information: Game tickets start around $15. Non-game day tours run $7-15. The Kauffman Stadium Express I-70 East shuttle provides round trip rides from downtown hotels to the ballpark on game days. Parking passes can be prepurchased online.

As home to the Kansas City Royals major league baseball team and part of Truman Complex sports campus, family-friendly Kauffman Stadium hosts over 80 games a year from April into October. Baseball lovers can catch exciting MLB action from their seats while admiring amenities like dazzling fountains beyond center field, Royals Hall of Fame exhibits and a high-tech HD scoreboard. Or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Royals’ 40,000 square foot clubhouse and press box on non-game days. This beloved downtown Kansas City stadium buzzes with excitement during home games with spectators cheering over signature ballpark fare from barbecue to craft beers. Baseball makes memories at Kauffman Stadium.

The Plaza at Crown Center

Name and Location: The Plaza at Crown Center is an urban, open-air shopping and entertainment complex located within the Crown Center real estate development in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri bounded by Main, Grand, Pershing and 25th Streets.

History and Significance: Opened progressively between 1971 and 1978, the Plaza was part of Hallmark Cards CEO Donald J. Hall’s visionary mixed-use Crown Center project meant to revitalize a decaying downtown neighborhood. It continues to attract visitors through well-known stores, attractions like LegoLand, and seasonal events under signature skywalks.

What to Expect: Shoppers can visit 80+ stores and specialty boutiques as well as casual and fine dining options. Family entertainment spans a movie theater, comedy club and aquarium. Pedestrian walkways connect the Plaza directly into Crown Center offices, residences and two historic hotels.

Visitor Information: Plaza retail hours vary but stores typically open by 10 AM daily. Parking garages offer free visitor parking for the first three hours and affordable rates thereafter. Security officers patrol the pedestrian walkways.

Situated between soaring skyscrapers in downtown Kansas City, the Plaza at Crown Center enchants visitors with open-air shopping, gardens, and live entertainment options across over 85 acres. Must-see Plaza sights include the iconic Hallmark Visitors Center displaying the behind-the-scenes workings of Hallmark’s greeting card operations, LEGOLAND Discovery Center for family fun and SEA LIFE Aquarium Kansas City revealing shark and jellyfish habitats. Enjoy classic American dining at Fritz’s then catch the nightly water, music and lights show spectacular across Crown Center Square’s fountains.

American Jazz Museum

Name and Location: The American Jazz Museum is located at 1616 East 18th Street in the heart of the 18th and Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, Missouri. It shares a building with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

History and Significance: Established in 1997, the museum is dedicated to preserving the rich history of America’s true art form – jazz. Through interactive exhibits, films, recordings and more, it honors prolific Kansas City jazz legends like Count Basie and Charlie Parker who helped pioneer the musical genre.

What to Expect: Guests can view collections chronicling key jazz eras and styles via photographs, instruments, costumes and other artifacts. Interactive touchscreens allow visitors to digitally explore elements of jazz. Live music often plays in the Blue Room performance theater.

Visitor Information: The museum is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Adult tickets are $10, senior/military $7, students $7 and children free. A combo ticket can be purchased along with the Negro Leagues Museum.

As a former jazz hub rivalling New Orleans and New York City during its 1930s heyday, Kansas City rightfully honors its swinging musical legacy with the American Jazz Museum located in the lively 18th & Vine Jazz District. This intriguing museum transports you back in time through artifacts like saxophones by KC jazz legend Charlie Parker along with vintage photographs, album covers and concert posters. Interactive exhibits allow playing instruments or mixing your own jazz tunes. Catch a live afternoon jam session then stroll next door to the attached Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to continue your journey into Kansas City’s rich cultural history.

Loose Park

Name and Location: Loose Park is a municipal park covering 75 acres between 51st and 55th Streets on Kansas City, Missouri’s South Side. The address is 5200 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64112.

History and Significance: Originally the private estate of Kansas City philanthropists Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Loose, the grounds were donated to the city as a public park upon Mrs. Loose’s death in 1938 per her will. Loose’s gifting of the park followed a long history of donations to the Kansas City park system.

What to Expect: Loose Park offers visitors sprawling green space, 25 acres of forested areas, walking trails, a fishing lake, picnic sites, a sprayground, gymnasium, rose gardens and a Revolutionary War memorial site on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily 5am to 11pm. Admission is free. Parking lots provide ample free parking during daylight hours. Restrooms and water fountains are onsite. It hosts community events like movie nights and fitness programs during summer.

Escape city life surrounded by nature within gorgeous 75-acre Loose Park featuring gorgeous botanical gardens, walking trails, a placid lake and plenty of wide open green spaces. Built in the 1930s on what was once Kansas City founder John Calvin McCoy family homestead from the city’s earliest history, today Loose Park provides ample room for picnics, playgrounds for the kids as well as space for lawn sports from soccer to kite-flying. The once private estate even has a historic Rose Garden showcasing over 2,000 plants. Enjoy a break at the casual park café before resuming your relaxing stroll through flower beds and beneath towering trees in this city sanctuary.

City Market Kansas City

Name and Location: The City Market Kansas City is located at 20 E 5th St, Kansas City, MO 64106 spanning six downtown city blocks bound by Grand Blvd and Missouri Ave.

History and Significance: City Market originated as an open-air farmers market in 1857. destroyed by floods and fire multiple times, the current Belfonte-era warehouse buildings reopened as a retail and specialty food market in 2014. The revitalized Market showcases local purveyors and restaurants.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore the indoor-outdoor market daily sampling fresh produce, meats, baked goods and other specialty food items for sale or sit-down dining. Themed events fill vendor stalls on weekends. Farmers line up on Saturday mornings.

Visitor Information: City Market is open daily with shops opening as early as 7 AM. Some restaurants and bars stay open into the evening hours. Parking garages offer $2 hourly parking and street parking is also available nearby.

As Kansas City oldest functioning farmer’s market operating since 1857, City Market Kansas City now spreads over 6 covered city blocks packed with specialty boutiques, cafes, and local artist vendors housed in an atmospheric aging brick warehouse district. Visitors can still spot farmers selling just-picked produce and flowers from covered sidewalk stalls while others browse antiques, crafted gifts and bottled local wares inside spacious industrial halls echoing with character. Enjoyable any time of year, City Market buzzes with extra excitement during seasonal events like flower festivals, craft fairs and ethnic culture celebrations embracing Kansas City’s traditions.

Powell Gardens

Name and Location: Powell Gardens is a botanical garden situated on 970 acres at 1609 NW US Highway 50 Kingsville, Missouri next to Kansas City. The address is 1609 NW US Highway 50 Kingsville, MO 64061.

History and Significance: Established in the late 1990s by Louisa and John Powell, Powell Gardens features a series of specialized garden spaces that have made it one of the Heartland’s top 10 public gardens. Its contemporary landscaped grounds seamlessly connect guests to nature through design.

What to Expect: Visitors tour rotating themed flower gardens, water features, architecture elements that complement biomes like prairie grasses or a small fruit tree orchard. The Chapel garden hosts over 50 weddings annually. Seasonal festivals include summer concerts.

Visitor Information: Powell Gardens admission runs $5 to $12 by age with annual passes available. Open year-round Tuesday-Sunday, hours vary by season. Ample free parking. Guests are welcome to bring lunches and pets on leashes. Golf cart rentals assist visitors with limited mobility.

Covering 970 acres outside metropolitan Kansas City, Powell Gardens immerses guests in lush themed garden landscapes from aromatic rose to rocking wildflower gardens plus scenic vistas from lush meadow trails. Kids gravitate towards the hands-on Children’s Discovery Garden with its storybook-themed sections and play cottage while adults admire the sophisticated landscaping across areas like the water-wise Perennial Garden and colorful Viburnum Garden tailored for four season visual interest. Make time for waterlily-dotted pools within the serene Island Garden before observing songbirds flitting through the native shrubs and grasses planted at Heartland Harvest Garden.

Arabia Steamboat Museum

Name and Location: The Arabia Steamboat Museum is located at 400 Grand Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri, situated near the City Market and the Missouri River.

History and Significance: The museum houses artifacts recovered from the 1856 sinking of the steamboat Arabia near Kansas City, dubbed America’s Pompeii due to the pristine condition of excavated cargo lost in mud for over a century. Its collection chronicles early American life.

What to Expect: Visitors walk through the remains of the salvaged steamboat and view preserved items pulled from the wreck encapsulating mid-19th century goods like tools, dishware, pioneer foods and Personal belongings providing insights into daily frontier life.

Visitor Information: The museum is open Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday Noon-6pm. Adults are $14.50, youth $7.25 and under 6 years free. Tours run daily on the hour 10am-4pm with additional evening tours select days. Discounted online tickets are available. Parking located off Grand Blvd.

One morning in 1888, the mighty Steamboat Arabia sank near Kansas City carrying over 200 tons luxury goods destined for frontier general stores. Lost for 130 years, its excavated cargo now fills the immersive Arabia Steamboat Museum providing a one-of-a-kind glimpse into American life in the 1800s. Peer through glass floor panels to see preserved wood from the sunken steamboat then continue exploring the vast the collections. Over 4,000 artifacts include everyday items lost to time like cutoff boots, elegant china sets, bottled medicines and handcrafted tools that bring alive Kansas City’s storied river heritage.

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library

Name and Location: The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library is located at 500 W US Hwy 24, Independence, MO 64050 right outside Kansas City.

History and Significance: Completed in 1957, the Truman Library was the nation’s first presidential library. It houses President Harry S. Truman’s papers from his 1945-1953 presidency that saw the end of WWII, start of the Cold War and Korean War, among other defining 20th century moments.

What to Expect: Visitors explore museum exhibits following Truman’s life from rural Missouri through the White House. Highlights include a replica Oval Office, the Berlin Wall Gallery tracing Cold War conflicts, and a courtyard grave site for Truman and his wife Bess.

Visitor Information: The library is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Tickets range from $8-14 for adults depending on exhibits. Guided audio tours are available to rent. Onsite parking is free. A nearby cafe serves sandwiches, soups and baked goods.

Pay tribute to humble Independence, Missouri native and influential US President Harry S. Truman with an enriching visit to the Truman Presidential Library just outside downtown Kansas City. This popular attraction features interactive galleries covering Truman’s life from rural upbringing to White House years narrated with Truman’s own voice plus eyewitness accounts reconstructing milestone world events. Visitors also tour Truman’s home, stroll the flower-filled grounds and touchdown in a retired MD-3 airplane called “The Independence” located inside. Enjoy lunch beside fountains on the museum terrace after learning about Truman’s lasting local and global impact.


Certainly Kansas City’s superb museums, fascinating heritage sites, fantastic parks and vibrant urban energy impress visitors who find Midwestern hospitality in abundance at every turn. Beyond the top attractions covered here, Kansas City also shines through buzzing neighborhoods filled with jazz music history, artistic culture and barbecue around every corner. From sports outings to airy garden strolls, families, couples and solo travelers uncover memorable experiences embracing the city’s distinctive character with this guide to the very best sights to fill your trip itinerary.

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