City Guide: Kansas City in 24 Hours

Over Memorial Day Weekend, the S.O. and I found ourselves in Kansas City, Missouri for a wedding. Having never been, we wanted to be sure we explored this heartland city after dancing the night away with family.

If you only have 24 hours in Kansas City, here are the top places to check out!

Need more ideas? Head on over to and @visitKC on Instagram to get inspired for your trip to Kansas City!

In the Morning:

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que

The morning is for BBQ: Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, that is. Joe’s sits inside an old gas station and serves up world famous bbq all day long. It looks unassuming enough… until you see the line stretch around the entire building.

If you’re worried about the gas station setting, hear me out: it is the best dang bbq you’ll ever experience. Don’t believe me? Anthony Bourdain listed it as one of 13 places to eat before you die. 

The key is to go in the morning, since the line only gets longer throughout the day. We got there around 10:45 AM and people were already queued up outside. But don’t worry — the line moves quickly. Joe’s has their service down to a science. You’ll order at the counter, and by the time you get to the cashier, your food is waiting for you. We even were able to find a table for our group of seven. It’s just the magic of Joe’s.

Wayward Tip: Be sure to order the Z-man sandwich, if only for a bite. 

In the Afternoon:

After you’ve eaten your body weight in BBQ, head on over to Country Club Plaza, Kansas City’s renowned outdoor shopping center that features of 804,000 square feet of retail space. The Plaza boasts a combination of local and luxury brands, with fashion icons like Burberry, Michael Kors, St. John, and Tiffany & Co. calling it home.

We spent at least an hour meandering around The Plaza, popping in and out of various shops (both to browse and to escape the heat).

After you get your shopping fill, you’ll want to head over to Union Station.

Union Station is part train station, part museum, part exhibit, and part science center. The structure itself is beautiful, and the options inside are great for all ages. We got a kick out of Science City, a hands-on science center that teaches the fundamentals of science in an interactive way.

If you’re not the hands-on science type, there’s still plenty to do. You can check out the latest exhibition (Mummies of the World was there in May), stroll around the station, or pop into the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium for one of their shows.

In the Evening:

Chances are, you’ve probably just now worked up an appetite after you huge meal at Joe’s KC BBQ. If that’s the case, head on over to Power & Light District, which is in the heart of downtown Kansas City.

Power & Light definitely has a nightlife vibe, with chic restaurants, trendy bars, and music lounges. For a fancier evening, grab a bite to eat at one of the exquisite steakhouses in the area. If you want to stay on the casual side, pop into of the bars for a night of music and good beer.Just make sure you leave some time to just wander around the epicenter of the city — it’s tree-lit sidewalks make for a nice evening stroll.

Wayward Tip: There are tons of amazing restaurants in the Power & Light District. Make sure you do your homework beforehand and grab a reservation, especially it’s the weekend. 

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