When Kansas City comes to mind, most people will think of The Wizard of Oz, great barbecue, and jazz. While you can count on finding those things in the city (minus Toto and Dorothy), there are so many other things to do and see. The perfect Kansas City itinerary consists of a little bit of everything, both traditional and new, so that you can enjoy all that the city has to offer. That means sampling the best barbecue in town but also checking out the new and hip areas, like the Power and Lights District. This itinerary will highlight the top attractions to hit for those wondering what to do in Kansas City in two days.
Best Time to Visit Kansas City Itinerary
Kansas City is a lot like other Midwest and northern cities, meaning it has all four seasons with lots of sunshine in the summer and lots of snow in the winter. The best time to visit Kansas City really depends on what you are looking to experience. Summer and fall are great for going to watch baseball and football games, catching concerts at outdoor venues, and enjoying rooftop cocktails. Winter still offers plenty of unique things to do, like taking the family ice-skating, visiting museums, and having a tipple at the Kansas City Brewfest hosted every winter at Union Station. To get the best of Kansas City, though, you should visit on a weekend when the city is in full swing and there are more events going on.
How to Get Around Kansas City
When planning a trip to Kansas City, you may be wondering the best way to get around. Renting a car is an option, and so is using public transit, especially if you are staying close to Downtown. There are plenty of transportation options, like buses, shared bikes, and electric scooters, and there is even a free streetcar. It will be more worthwhile to rent a car if you are looking to head outside of the Downtown area. We recommend using RentalCars.com. It filters hundreds of car rental sites and compares prices to make sure you are getting the best deal possible for a weekend trip to Kansas City.
Where to Stay in Kansas City
If you only have 48 hours in Kansas City, it is best to stay near the Downtown area, close to main attractions and public transport. Location is important when you have such a short time in the city so that you avoid wasting time traveling to and from attractions. There are a couple of districts in the city center that are perfect for staying in.
The Crossroads District is one of the best places to stay in Kansas City; nestled in between Union Station and the Power and Lights District, it offers close proximity to main attractions and nightlife. The area has a hip vibe and is surrounded by both new and old buildings with a mixture of hip cafés, quirky shops, breweries, and bars. Hands-down the best place to stay in the Crossroads District is the luxurious Loews Kansas City Hotel. Its modern and spacious rooms make for a great stay, and it is also pet-friendly and has a bar, a fitness center, and a pool.
Now, if you are looking to stay within walking distance to one of the most popular nightlife areas or the convention center, then consider staying in the Power and Lights District or the Financial District. These areas are filled with all types of bars, restaurants, and fun activities like ax-throwing and fun places like the Sprint Center and the Visit KC visitor center. You won’t find a more beautiful and higher-rated hotel in this area than the Hotel Kansas City in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. It features an Old-World feel with stunning wood accents throughout paired with modern and luxurious finishes.
On the other side of the Crossroads closer to Union Station, there are plenty of high-end hotels and upscale restaurants in a quieter area that is still close to the city’s top attractions. The best hotel in this area is the Crossroads Hotel. It boasts an incredible rooftop restaurant as well as a downstairs bar with a pool table and comfortable lounge chairs where you can relax with a drink.
For more accommodation options in Kansas City check out Booking.com. They continuously offer the best rates and their custom service is on point.
The Perfect Weekend in Kansas City
You might be surprised by how many attractions and unique places there are to visit in Kansas City. What might shock you more is that you can hit most of these attractions in one weekend! Two days is plenty of time to check out top museums, listen to some jazz, and check out other fun things in the city.
Kansas City Itinerary: Day 1
On the first of your two days in Kansas City, it’s time to spend the morning soaking up some art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The museum is massive and houses African, European, and Native American collections. There is also an incredible temple wall in the Chinese collection, a beautiful courtyard restaurant, and the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden with the iconic large shuttlecock. Visitors can get to the museum via bus from Downtown or in their rental car; the museum offers a large underground parking garage.
After spending the morning strolling past colorful artworks and sculptures, it’s time to get lunch, and Ponak’s Mexican Kitchen and Bar is the place to get it! It has mouthwatering, award-winning food and was even recognized for serving Kansas City’s Best Margarita 2020 by The Pitch. Seriously, the margaritas are amazing. Visitors can order a whole pitcher for the table while diving into some authentic Mexican grub, like tacos, enchiladas, and tamales.
Once you’ve filled up on some good food, it’s time to work off your lunch with a stroll through Penn Valley Park. This 176-acre hillside park offers incredible views of the Downtown skyline and is one of the best places to visit in Kansas City to unwind away from the crowds. Walk through the park and head to the National WWI Museum and Memorial for a visit to the only public museum in the USA that is dedicated to World War I. It features a collection of artillery, weapons, photographs, and more. There are even interactive tables where visitors can see the inner workings of a Lewis machine gun, design their own patriotic war posters, and learn how different camouflages work in certain settings.
After an afternoon at the museum, it’s time to get spruced up and head to the Power and Lights District for the evening. The area is a hub for restaurants and fun entertainment. KC Live is an entire two-story block with restaurants and bars that transforms its shared courtyard into an outdoor venue to host concerts during the summer and events throughout the year. If there isn’t a concert playing during your time there, you can instead catch a college basketball game at the T-Mobile Center, bar hop to different cocktail lounges, or warm up your ax-throwing arm for a game at Blade and Timber. This area has no shortage of fun to be had and plenty of restaurants to enjoy dinner during your weekend in Kansas City.
Kansas City Itinerary: Day 2
Get yourself a good, hardy breakfast because the second day of this Kansas City travel itinerary is packed with fun! In the morning, head over to West 47th Street, where you will find tons of familiar brands and boutique shops. The shopping area is located on Brush Creek, about a 10-minute drive from Downtown Kansas City and less than a 30-minute ride by bus. Grab lunch at one of the many nearby restaurants, including chains like the Cheesecake Factory and local favorites.
After a morning of shopping, it’s time to head to one of the best things to do in Kansas City, a tour and tasting of the most popular brewery Boulevard Brewery. Visitors should purchase their tickets in advance as the tours are quite popular. During the tour, you will get to visit sampling rooms to taste local favorites and see how beer is made and packaged. Perhaps the best part of the tour is the views from the upstairs tasting terrace, where guests can get a great picture in front of the Boulevard brick tower and enjoy skyline views of Downtown Kansas City. After the tour is complete, head through the gift shop to the Rec Deck to enjoy more of the brewery’s famous beers and play shuffleboard or foosball. There is also a beer hall where you can sit and enjoy a cold pint and some snacks afterwards.
Continue a relaxing afternoon of games and great views by heading to Percheron Rooftop Bar above the Crossroads Hotel. This rooftop bar has unbeatable views of the city skyline and an upscale casual vibe. Enjoy a cocktail and a snack or get competitive with a game of cornhole.
For dinner, it’s time to dig into some good old Kansas City barbecue at one of the best sit-down barbecue joints in town, Jack Stacks. There are a few locations scattered throughout the city, including two Downtown. However, if you want to get the absolute best barbecue in the city, you will have to drive to the original Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que located in a gas station near the Westwood area. It may sound weird that the best barbecue is in a gas station, but trust us, this location is where you will find the absolute best pulled pork, brisket, and ribs you’ve ever had.
Now that you’ve had your fill of Kansas City barbecue, it’s time to visit The Blue Room, where visitors of all ages are encouraged to come and listen to classic American Jazz. The venue hosts concerts and weekly open jam sessions four nights a week and is attached to the American Jazz Museum.
Kansas City Itinerary: Alternative Options
We know everyone travels differently and has varying interests; we have added this section so that you can discover other city highlights and attractions to visit during your two days in Kansas City.
- Catch a Game: Go watch the Kansas City Chiefs or Royals play a game.
- Old Westport: Westport is a great area for bar hopping. It is a popular area for college students and young working adults to frequent, and there are plenty of live bands to see.
- Kansas City Zoo: Visit the penguins and rhinos at the zoo!
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City: This theme park offers rides and interactive experiences for all ages.
- Bar-K: This large off-leash dog park has a trained group of supervisors and a bar.
- Taps on Main: Pour your own craft beer at this semi-self-serve bar offering over 35 beers.
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: This museum spotlights the history of Black Americans in baseball, from players in the segregated leagues in the 1920s to Jackie Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers debut in 1947.
- Crown Center: Show off your skating skills at this outdoor ice rink located in an entertainment and shopping complex.
That’s Kansas City in two days! Enjoy nightlife, museums, live music, and more, all in one weekend with this itinerary. Just remember that clicking your heels won’t actually take you to Kansas; you will have to find another mode of transportation!