The Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association (11th and Main Sts., Ste. 2200, 816/221-5242, www.visitkc.com , 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) is an informative one-stop resource for local literature, maps, and other guides. Most bookstores, both locally owned and national chains, carry a wide range of foldout maps and heftier atlases.
The Kansas Travel and Tourism Division (www.travelks.com ) and Missouri Division of Tourism (www.visitmo.com ) also provide helpful information on Kansas City , as well as other statewide attractions and destinations. Before you go, request free guides to help in your advance trip planning.
The Kansas City Public Library (www.kclibrary.org ) system operates 12 branches throughout the city, including downtown’s central branch (14 W. 10th St., 816/701-3400, www.kclibrary.org , 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Wed., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Thurs., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat., 1–5 p.m. Sun.) located in the heart of the Library District.
The University of Missouri–Kansas City (816/235-1000, www.umkc.edu ) welcomed its first class in 1933 and has since expanded to Kansas City ’s largest university. Three campuses—Volker, Hospital Hill, and Northland—offer more than 50 majors or programs. UMKC is celebrated for its dental, business, and urban planning programs, as well as its quarterly Communiversity series, a variety of classes and instructional workshops open to the public.
Prominent alumni include James B. Steele, Vanity Fair contributing editor and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist; Kay Waldo Barnes, Kansas City’s first female mayor; Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States; Brett L. Ferguson, the first black oral surgeon to graduate from UMKC; and Tom Condon, former Kansas City Chiefs  right guard and current sports agent representing 75 active NFL players.
Other prominent higher education institutions include Avila University (800/462-8452, www.avila.edu ), a small Catholic university; Park University (816/741-2000, www.park.edu ), which specializes in continuing education; and Rockhurst University (816/501-4000, www.rockhurst.edu ), a Jesuit institution.
The University of Kansas (785/864-5823, www.ku.edu ) operates several satellite campuses throughout Kansas City, including the Edwards Campus (12600 Quivira Rd., Overland Park, Kansas, 785/864-4790, www.continuinged.ku.edu ) and the University of Kansas Medical Center (3901 Rainbow Blvd., 913/588-4488, www.continuinged.ku.edu ).