– The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has a stellar collection of more than 35,000 works, including renowned European paintings and Asian ceramics and furniture. Free to visit, the building is easily identified by the four 19-foot-tall aluminum-and-fiberglass shuttlecock sculptures on its 22-acre lawn. Temporary exhibitions (past ones include Picasso and the relics of ancient Egypt) are worth planning a trip around but require an entry fee and are best booked in advance.
– Kansas City’s excellent National World War I Museum and Memorial is the United States’ official museum dedicated to remembering and understanding the Great War. Here, visitors can browse important artifacts, documents, and interactive displays.
– Designed by famed architect Moshe Safdie, the curiously shell-shaped Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is where the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera take to the stage. Secure tickets ahead of time to experience a slice of KC’s classical culture. Afterward, head into the surrounding Crossroads district to continue an art-filled evening at the neighborhood’s many galleries, boutiques, and bars.
– Tap into Kansas City’s still-thriving jazz scene in the Historic Jazz District at 18th and Vine Streets. The Blue Room, inside the American Jazz Museum, puts on weekly jam sessions and big-band nights. Around the corner, the Mutual Musicians Foundation has been hosting late-night music sessions in a former union hall since the 1930s. Performers start after midnight and continue into the wee hours.
– Shoppers flock to the Country Club Plaza, a 15-block outdoor district opened in 1923 and built in Moorish revival style with mosaic tilework and fountains. Luxury brands like Tiffany & Co. and Coach have stores here, but for souvenirs, stop by the Made in KC Marketplace.