American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
Exploring Kansas City with a Longtime Expert, Part 2
In the first part of my interview with Diana Lambdin Meyer – who, with her husband, photographer Bruce N. Meyer, created the Kansas City Uncovered mobile app ($2.99) for Sutro Media – we discussed Kansas City's numerous fountains, varied museums, and assorted outdoor diversions, plus the differences between Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. Of course, Diana and Bruce have explored a lot more than that in their app, which is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices and filled with photos, maps, and recommendations on what to see, do, and eat in KCMO – a place they've called home for more than 25 years.
If you're curious about some of the other activities and attractions that the City of Fountains has to offer, take a look at the second part of my interview with Diana:
American Nomad: You've already described a few of Kansas City's best outdoor diversions. Alternatively, which indoor attractions would you most recommend for first-time visitors to Kansas City?
Diana Lambdin Meyer: Well, I love history, so I always send people to the National WWI Museum. It's the only national museum outside of Washington, D.C. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is also a great story, something that young people today just can't get their heads around. People really should venture to Independence to the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.
For those who don't “do” museums, the College Basketball Experience downtown celebrates the birth of the NCAA here and allows people to get a little sweaty while learning about basketball.
AN: After a bit of sightseeing, where can shoppers find the best local goods and artwork?
DLM: I love the Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City. All of the shops are independently owned and many of them feature products created in the Midwest. Westport is also good for independent shops. That's where I would go to find one-of-a-kind clothing and jewelry items. Kansas City's First Friday event in the Crossroads Arts District is one of the biggest in the country – something like 10,000 people out enjoying art, good food.
AN: Once you're done shopping, where can you catch the city's best views?
DLM: There are two places to go to get some spectacular views. One is in the Briarcliff shopping center north of the river. Sit on the patio of Trezo Mare, and you'll be mesmerized by how beautiful the skyline is at sunset. But you should also go up in the top of the Liberty Memorial. It's 217-feet high and you can see where the rivers merge and bend, and all of the beautiful buildings downtown. If you're having trouble understanding the state line issue, this perspective will help.
AN: Like New Orleans (my hometown), Kansas City is well known for its jazz scene and nightlife. So, do you have any favorite hotspots for the after-hours crowd?
DLM: The American Jazz Museum is a place any serious music lover must visit. It's located in the 18th & Vine Jazz District where Kansas City jazz flourished in the 1920s. There are two places in 18th & Vine to enjoy jazz. One is The Blue Room, which is a part of the American Jazz Museum, and the other is the Mutual Musicians Foundation, which doesn't open until midnight.
AN: Kansas City is also celebrated for its delectable barbecue, so how does KC barbecue differ from that of other well-known places (such as Memphis), and what's your favorite barbecue joint?
DLM: I get asked that question a lot and the answer is – “It depends.” Arthur Bryant's has so much history and is the reason Kansas City has developed its barbecue culture. Gates is another legendary spot, and no one has done more for our city than Ollie Gates. There are barbecue joints that play jazz and some that actually use white linen tablecloths, but my favorite for burnt ends is a place called Danny Edward's BBQ on Southwest Boulevard. It's only open for lunch.
AN: For a different travel experience, which accommodations, restaurants, and diversions would you most recommend for couples trying to spend a romantic weekend in Kansas City?
DLM: Southmoreland on the Plaza is simply spectacular for couples. It's located just two blocks from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where the Rozelle Court Restaurant has been named the city's best place to sneak a kiss. And then take a carriage ride through the Plaza or a gondola ride along Brush Creek.
If you're still curious about Kansas City, stay tuned for the third – and final – part of my interview with Diana. In the meantime, you can check out her adventures at MojoTraveler.com or peruse her guidebooks, such as Day Trips from Kansas City (2012), Myths and Mysteries of Kansas (2012), and A Kid's Guide to Kansas City (2005). In addition, feel free to consult Katy Ryan's Moon Kansas City guide as well as her informative author Q&A.
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below, contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com, or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.
Photo of Kansas City barbecue courtesy of Bruce N. Meyer / Text © 2013 Laura Martone