Blake’s Guide to Your Kansas City Staycation
When the snow starts to melt and the city starts to recover from the all-too-frequent weather delays, it might be time to start thinking about spring in Kansas City. Spring is often thought to be the perfect time to sell your house, but it’s also the perfect time to get outdoors and spend time in your city.
Rather than hitting the road for a long weekend, avoid the traffic and save the drive time. Here’s how you can plan your perfect Kansas City staycation.
What is a Staycation?
A staycation is a mini-break in your hometown. Some choose to clear their schedule and stay home for a few days, but I love to be a tourist in my own city and book a hotel. Simply put, a staycation is a vacation without any of the travel. Take time off work, turn off your cell phone, and pack your favorite book. It’s time to relax.
This is your easy way to take a well-needed break and indulge in everything Kansas City has to offer. Seriously, when was the last time you went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum?
Where to Stay For Your Kansas City Staycation
As a Kansas City ambassador and advocate, you know how much I love living here. It takes time and effort to get to know the city, and as with any relationship, there’s a courtship that has to take place. I’ve taken the time to “staycation” in some of the wonderful hotels KC has to offer.
- The Crossroads Hotel is located in the heart of the Crossroads and is a jewel in the midst of local culture. I love supporting local businesses, and booking a room here for First Fridays is a great way to see everything, eat everything, and not worry about driving home at the end of the night. As well as staying in their new accommodations, you can enjoy a rooftop bar and outstanding restaurant and bar in the lobby. It’s iconic in Kansas City as it’s the only rooftop bar with a view of all four directions.
The Crossroads Hotel is also dog-friendly so Buddy and Sparky are more than welcome to join us for our family staycation in the Crossroads.
- Hotel Phillips is known as the classic Kansas City Hotel. This 217 room when it became part of the Hilton’s upscale Curio Collection. Located close to the Power and Light district, and walking distance from a plethora of bars and restaurants. You’re also close enough to the Kauffman Center to enjoy a show. Also nearby is the Webster House, which offers guests an amazing curated section of gifts, clothing, jewelry, and 18th and 19th-century European antiques. The Webster House has a variety of options for an intimate and classic dining experience.
- The Westin Crown Center lives up to the reputation you’d expect from this national brand. Located next to Union Station and connected with the sky bridge, this is the perfect location for a family-friendly staycation. Enjoy everything Union Station has to offer including the beautiful architecture, brunch at the iconic Harvey’s restaurant, o Science City for the kids, or shopping at one of my favorite locations, Halls. You can spend an entire weekend based at Crown Center and Union Station without needing to drive anywhere at all. Crown Center is also the home to LegoLand, the Sea Life Center, and there’s a Crayola Restaurant for a novel dining experience.
- The Raphael on the Plaza is a Kansas City icon. This luxury, European-style boutique hotel boasts amazing views of the Plaza, and often has live music in the evening. Make it a Plaza Staycation and walk the Country Club Plaza or enjoy a lazy brunch at any one of the Plaza’s outstanding restaurants. Some of our best outdoor patios are located on the Plaza, and with spring beginning to break, there’s no better time to enjoy them.
Your Staycation Night out on the Town
What would your staycation be without dinner and drinks? You need to make the most of your night(s) on the town. Treat yourself to something special, somewhere new, somewhere you wouldn’t think to usually go.
- If you’re looking for a rustic French bar and chic, cocktail lounge, ÇaVa is an amazing champagne lounge, a great location to start, or end, your night. Howard Hanna is the owner and chef. He also owns another restaurant in the Crossroads Art District named The Rieger. Both should be on your staycation to-do list! At ÇaVa, you can enjoy beautiful dishes paired with fantastic sparkling champagne which, in the words of their crew, “doesn’t have to cost you a month’s rent.”
- Beneath the historic Rieger Hotel is the candle-lit Manifesto, a nationally recognized, award-winning speakeasy-style bar. Reservations are essential if you want to enjoy cocktails here, and I strongly recommend it. The mixologists’ attention to detail shows in everything they do. You won’t be disappointed!
- If you’re looking for classy, low key and intimate you may enjoy Pierpont’s at Union Station. With 50% off wine on Sundays, you can find out for yourself why they’ve been awarded Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” for three consecutive years. Don’t forget this Kansas City staple. It doesn’t get as much attention or recognition as some of our newer restaurants.
- Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen is another highlight in our city’s culinary scene. Enjoy some of the finest wine, cheese boards, and an excellent chef-curated menu. And if you’re feeling lazy after a long day, you can get wine, cheese and food delivered from Tannin via GrubHub.
- Ragazza, located near the Nelson Atkins Museum on Main Street is walking distance from both Westport and the Plaza. This classic Italian restaurant promises a trendy local vibe and fresh Italian ingredients – it’s hard to get a seat so plan ahead! I’m sure you’ll meet Laura, the owner, and if you’re like me, you’ll love their Italian meatballs and great wine.
- Julep is a very creative cocktail bar located in Westport. They have great quality bar appetizers (my personal favorite is the crab dip!) They also have very talented mixologists so you can confidently order your favorite drink or try something totally new. Julep will have you covered either way.
- Located in the Crossroads district, Tom’s Town Distillery, brings an authentic art deco vibe that makes you feel like you’re sipping your gin in the 1920s. I love the furniture and decor which create an atmosphere like nowhere else in Kansas City. If you go here, please try my favorite, the Royal Gold Old Fashioned – you won’t be disappointed!
Where to find the perfect Staycation Brunch
- If you’re thinking of spending your day enjoying the art and culture of Westport, Westport Cafe is a great first stop to fuel up for the day. I love the French influence, specialist brunch dishes, and the lemon ricotta pancakes are incredible!
- With classic home goodness and an eclectic menu, You Say Tomato is a great, casual brunch restaurant near Crown Center. It always has great desserts that you can order by the slice. If you’re hungry and looking to try something amazing, order the Beirock, a pastry filled with ground beef and cabbage.
- If the Plaza is your destination, Rye is a great place for a lazy start to your day. This stylish traditional American Brunch restaurant is both classy and homely. Their cinnamon rolls and hot breakfast meals to die for! If you read my Valentine’s day blog post, you’ll know how much I appreciate a good cinnamon roll!
Daytime Tourism and Activities in Kansas City
Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn from a tourist visiting KC? Every time I take a client on a relocation tour I’m impressed with how much the city has grown and evolved. Here are some of my favorite spots to be a tourist in KC.
- The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art is home to ancient relics and modern art rivaling the Guggenheim. You can expect to see a timeless collection including works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Klimt, Warhol, and Titian to name just a few. If you’re planning an early Spring staycation, you might even catch the “Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt” exhibition that runs through the end of March 2020. Plus, your staycation wouldn’t be complete without a selfie with the massive shuttlecock on the lawn. Don’t forget, there’s an underground parking garage (free for members of the museum!) which makes this an easy destination.
- Loose Park is the third largest park in Kansas City and offers amazing views of a lake. It contains a shelter house, Civil War markers, tennis courts, a splash park, picnic areas, and a Rose Garden. This is the perfect activity for a warm day.
- The World War I Museum is the nation’s official museum dedicated to World War I. This award-winning facility immerses you in an experience that promises to be both exciting and insightful. As well as experiencing the exhibit, you can go to the top of the Liberty Memorial for some of the best views of the city.
- The River Market has undergone one of the most amazing transformations Kansas City has seen in recent years. Take the free streetcar from Union Station or Power and Light, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants, and local businesses. The Arabia Steamboat Museum is well worth a visit, and the KC Soda Co. in the River Market always fills me with a childhood sense of nostalgia.
- Are you looking for a great city mini-break activity that doesn’t involve walking? You’ve got to try the Kansas City Gangster Tour. Hop on a bus to tour around KC and get ready to take in a ton of history. If you’ve lived here for many years, but know nothing of our history, this tour is definitely something you need to do. There are some fun Real Estate tidbits that I particularly enjoyed on this tour.
A Segway Tour of Kansas City is another great way to get around the city and discover the city. With six different routes to choose from, Kansas City Segway Tours provides an excellent option for your Staycation.
Arts and Film
Make your staycation complete with a show or performance. This can be the perfect way to end the day, or shelter from the weather if it’s not as warm as we’d hope for Spring. If you’re looking for last-minute tickets, take a look at SeatGeek, even if the box office is sold out.
- The Folly Theater is a historic destination for Kansas City’s performing arts, located in the heart of downtown KC, it’s easily accessible from everywhere. Check out their 2020 Jazz Series.
- If you’re searching for world-class performance and a night to remember, booking a concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a must-do. Home to the Kansas City Ballet, The Kansas City Symphony, and the Lyric Opera, there are concerts for every taste, all held in one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls.
- If you’re a movie lover but looking for something unique, book your staycation around a show at the Alamo Drafthouse. The Alamo offers a dine-in, drink-in cinema with a strong audience-etiquette policy to make sure there are no disturbances from cell phones. They often have themed pre-shows that promise a movie night with a difference. As well as the latest releases, Alamo also holds movie parties for cult classics and Hollywood hits of the past.
- If you’ve never taken advantage of living in a city that’s one of the historic homes of jazz, use your staycation as an opportunity to explore one of the things that makes our city so special. We have dozens of amazing jazz bars, but let me recommend the Green Lady Lounge for authentic, night to remember, incredible jazz! Located in the Crossroads district.
- So you’ve seen Kansas City, but have you ever really SEEN Kansas City? See your hometown from an entirely different perspective when you take a helicopter tour of the city. With helicopter tours of downtown Kansas City, the Plaza and special night time and holiday tours, booking a helicopter tour is a way to really take your mini-break staycation to a vacation of the year level.
A staycation is an amazing opportunity to appreciate our city like never before and with so much less planning needed than a traditional vacation. A staycation can make you love and discover your home in ways you don’t usually get to.
If you’re like me, and full of Kansas City pride, jump on it and find yourself relaxing, reconnecting, smiling, laughing and dancing in our hometown by creating your own personal Kansas City staycation. Give me your feedback, is there something I missed?