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Welcome to Kansas City

Kansas City

Straddling the Missouri River and the state line dividing Kansas and Missouri, Kansas City is famous for its stockyards, jazz, barbecues and juicy steak. It is vibrant and diverse, a distinctly American city with a European flavour. It has Parisian tree-lined boulevards, parks, Spanish-style architecture, and hundreds of fountains reminiscent of Rome that are incorporated into the design of nearly every commercial building, giving it its nickname 'The City of Fountains'. Almost all points of interest to visitors are on the Missouri side of the city, while a sprawl of dreary suburbs occupies the section in the state of Kansas.

Established as a fur trading post in 1821, Kansas City served as a convenient point of departure for pioneer wagon trains heading west over the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails. Railroads and the construction of the Hannibal Bridge across the Missouri River established the city as a bustling business community and one of the world's leading cattle centres. Today the city is the nation's barbecue capital with more than 60 restaurants offering grilled specialities. After World War I Kansas City became the focus of jazz, where musicians like Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington played in the nightclubs of the 18th and Vine District.

For family entertainment the adjacent theme parks of the Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, with hundreds of rides, live entertainment and water attractions are popular, while the Moorish-style architecture and dazzling fountains of the Country Club Plaza is home to America's first shopping centre and has a host of retail stores, fine dining and nightlife. Riverboat casinos are a popular diversion, and the restored downtown waterfront district hosts the colourful River Market with merchants offering a wide variety of produce and gifts.

The city's frontier history can be explored in Liberty where the Jesse James Bank Museum is the site of the country's first daylight bank robbery, or in St Joseph, the birthplace of the historic Pony Express that tells the story of its riders who were recruited to 'face death daily'. More modern history can be traced in Independence, associated with the 33rd US president, Harry Truman.

Information & Facts


Due to the location of Kansas City, which lies at the confluence of the Missouri River and the Kansas River, the climate is a humid continental one. Experiencing extremes of hot and cold, summer weather in Kansas City can be very humid, with moist air riding up from the Gulf of Mexico. July and August are the hottest months when temperatures can reach as high as 100F (38C). During the winter months from November to February, the days can be anything from mild to bitterly cold. Located in 'Tornado Alley', Kansas City has had many severe outbreaks of tornados as well as ice storms. During the winter months, Kansas City and its outlying areas are also subject to flooding and travellers should visit either during spring or autumn when temperatures and weather conditions are more bearable.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

In the 1920s the neighbourhood of 18th and Vine was the heart of the jazz scene and today the museum complex houses the celebrated American Jazz Museum, the Blue Room Jazz Club and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The Jazz Museum honours jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker and visitors can experience the rich culture and history through dozens of exhibits and an interactive studio. The fascinating history of the Negro Leagues is documented in the Baseball Museum and exhibits, video presentations and memorabilia reveal stories about baseball stars like Buck and Paige.

The National World War I Museum in Kansas City is America's official museum dedicated to the Great War. Housed within the Liberty Memorial, its state-of-the-art facilities provide visitors with the chance to explore the nation's most extensive assembly of WWI artefacts, photography, art and narratives ever brought together in a single collection. The museum's mission is to inspire thought, dialogue and learning, in order to make the experiences of the World War I era meaningful and relevant to present and future generations. Visitors enter the museum across a glass bridge above a field of 9,000 poppies (each one representing 1,000 war combatant deaths), and inside, the museum boasts two theatres, exhibitions with period artefacts (including a tank, uniforms, guns, maps, and photographs of major forces) in cutting edge interactive displays, an enormous research centre and a library. In the face of a barrage of fascinating audio-visual stimulation, visitors to the National World War I Museum are sure to leave having had an unforgettable experience.

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