Recently, my family and I had the pleasure of visiting Kansas City, Missouri, and we ended up falling in love with the place. The city is exactly the right size, with enough going on to be interesting but far fewer crowds than a big city like NYC, Chicago, or San Francisco.
Additionally, the history behind the city is interesting, and the arts scene is alive and well. Lastly, we really loved that the city felt so family-friendly. We were able to easily find things to do and places to go with our son, and never once felt out of place because we had a young child with us.
If you’re looking for a new destination to add to your travel bucket list, this is one I would recommend for sure. Not sure what to do once you get there? Here are my suggestions.
Where to stay in Kansas City
Before you can go out and explore the city, you’ll need a place to park your RV. Unfortunately, there aren’t many camping options in Kansas City itself. However, there are plenty of options in the surrounding areas. While I definitely cannot recommend the park we stayed in thanks to our worst camping experience yet, plenty of friends have given awesome suggestions for our next visit.
Looking into these is a great place to start:
- Walnut Grove RV Park — This park is located in Merriman, KS, and is the closest park to the downtown area. It is definitely no-frills—i.e. gravel sites with no amenities—but it offers full hookups, a great location, and it’s clean and well-kept.
- Longview Lake County Park — Easily the best county park camping in the area, Longview Lake is the place to go if you want to have a big site, a beautiful view, and a traditional camping experience. While it is a bit further from the city, the nice park makes the longer drive worthwhile for many.
- Kansas City East KOA — A well-reviewed park with wonderful accommodations, this KOA is a great place to spend a vacation. The rates are a bit higher, but you also get more out of your stay thanks to more amenities and activities. It’s a straight shot into the city too, meaning a nice, easy drive.
What to do
Of course, you’ll want to do some exploring once you get all settled in. Lucky for you, there are tons of awesome attractions in the area. We saw several, and can’t wait to go back for more.
Here are my recommendations:
- Union Station — A gorgeous building with a rich history, Union Station is home to several great restaurants, a free train exhibit, and many different attractions.
- Science City — Science City is located within Union Station, and is a fabulous science museum for adults and children alike. This museum is included in the ASTC reciprocal program.
- Crown Center — Home to numerous shops, restaurants, and attractions, Crown Center is an excellent place to spend a day or two. The Sea Life Aquarium here—which is discounted for members of the AZA reciprocal program—is small but fun, as is the Legoland Discovery Center. Those with young children should also check out Kaleidoscope, a free, time-limited attraction where kids can make art and express themselves however they wish.
- Kansas City Zoo — No matter how old you get, a zoo day is always cause for excitement, and the Kansas City Zoo is one of the better ones out there. Definitely make a point of stopping here, and if you’re a member of the AZA reciprocal program, be sure to bring your membership card.
- National WWI Museum and Memorial — History buffs, and especially those who are interested in military history, will enjoy the National WWI Museum and Memorial. This attraction is very well done and manages to be interesting while also remaining respectful.
- Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum — Another great option for those interested in history is the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Believe it or not, it’s interesting for both children and adults, and a fabulous way to learn about our 33rd president.
What to eat
Obviously, you’ll want to eat plenty of barbecue in a city that’s quite literally famous for it. However, there are so many options that choosing just a few can be overwhelming.
On top of that, the city has tons of other amazing food joints, meaning you’ll probably be doing everything you can to squeeze as many meals into your stay as possible.
Here are some recommendations of excellent places to eat while in Kansas City:
- Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que — This place serves simple yet delicious BBQ, often with lines out the door. Try the “Z-Man” sandwich.
- Q39 Barbecue — This is a more modern, upscale BBQ restaurant. Get the burnt ends!
- Beer Kitchen — Here you’ll find American comfort food with a twist, as well as amazing craft beers.
- Kitty’s Cafe — This cafe serves burgers, breakfast, and pork loin sandwiches. All well reviewed, all delicious.
Getting around town
Finally, we should chat about how to get around Kansas City. All in all, this is one of the more drivable cities we’ve been to.
That said, we did have some issues parking our ¾-ton truck in the garages because we were too tall. Therefore, if you drive a larger vehicle, you might want to research parking options beforehand and stick to lots rather than covered parking.
If you prefer public transportation, that is also an option. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority runs a pretty thorough bus system that can get you almost anywhere you need to go, and many of the buses even have Wi-Fi available, which is a major bonus for those who want to work while they ride. The park-and-ride option is also awesome if you need a place to park your car while you see the city.
A visit to Kansas City is an awesome way to see a bit more of this incredible country. Have you been before? We’d love to hear about your favorite parts in the comments below!