1. Being The “Heart Of America”
Source: Flickr user Amanda Warren
But that central location makes it pretty darn convenient to get the heck out of town, too.
2. Border Wars
Source: Flickr user Theresa Wysocki
KCMO barely acknowledges, much less wants to be associated with, the other Kansas City in Kansas. To which KCK says, go jump in the river!
3. Arguing About BBQ
Source: Flickr user Anna Majkowska
Put 10 Kansas Citians together in one room and you'll probably get 12 different opinions on who's got the best barbeque in town. For the record it’s Oklahoma Joe’s (original location), best smoked ribs you’ll ever eat in a gas station (or anywhere else).
4. Burnt Ends
B.B.'s Lawnside BarB-Q via Facebook
These yummy, fatty little nuggets with a smoky, crispy crust are much, much tastier than they sound.
5. Juicy Hunks Of Bovine Flesh
Source: Jess and Jim’s via Facebook
This former stockyard town also serves up a heck of a great steak. Stop by Jess and Jim’s for a KC strip, the cut they made famous...or perhaps vice-versa. Either way, it’s a guaranteed meatgasm on a plate.
6. Really, Really Big Food
Source: Papa Bob's BBQ via Facebook
Yet another type of food that's huge in KC is anything, well, huge. There's the 75 oz. sirloin at Jess and Jim's, the 5-patty Super Flea burger from Westport Flea Market, the 4 lb. El Gigante burrito at Amigo's, the 26” Minsky's Monster pizza, and the truly gigantic Ultimate Destroyer from Papa Bob's Bar-B-Que.
7. All That Jazz
Source: Knuckleheads Saloon via Facebook
18th and Vine may not be the cradle of jazz, but it's at least the toddler crib of this all-American musical genre.
8. Hating The Raiders—And The Broncos….
Source: Raider Haters of America via Facebook
If you're a Chiefs fan, you just hate the Raiders—as well you should. You also love to loathe those whiny Super Bowl losing crybabies in orange and blue.
9. And Also The Yankees
Source: Facebook user Mary Hirsch
The Royals/Yankees rivalry ain't what it used to be back in the day, but with the Royals' recent successes, they may just be poised to give those Bronx Bombers a run for their money once again.
10. Surprisingly Enough, They Love Soccer, Too
Source: Sporting Kansas City via Facebook
Even with professional baseball and football franchises in town, KC still finds a place in its heart for its very own MLS club, Sporting Kansas City.
11. And Even NASCAR
Source: Kansas Speedway via Facebook
While NASCAR racing is stereotypically associated with the deep south, the sport is expanding its reach into the Midwest, and Kansas Speedway is one of the region's largest tracks.
12. Being A Pop Culture Reference
Kansas City has been immortalized in music ranging from the Lieber and Stoller song about all the “crazy little women” to Tech N9ne's "It's Alive." It has also featured in such movie classics as the Betty Boop cartoon “Kitty from Kansas City” and Raquel Welch's roller derby epic “The Kansas City Bomber.”
13. Stroud's Pan-Fried Chicken
Source: Stroud's North via Facebook
Michael Stern of “Road Food” declared Stroud’s the most delicious fried chicken in America, and few in KC would disagree. You've just gotta love a place where they proudly proclaim “We choke our own chickens!”
14. Farm-Fresh Ears Of Corn
Source: Flickr user bengarrison
What goes better with fried chicken than fresh-picked, steamed (or even deep-fried) corn on the cob? When corn is in season, KC's numerous farmers markets are all ears.
15. Getting Plenty Of Fiber...Google Fiber, That Is
Source: Flickr user UCFFool
KC is one of the first cities to get Google's new super-fast high speed Internet, and they love it!
16. Being Big Ol’ Book Worms
Source: The Kansas City Public Library via Facebook
Kansas City has not only been the setting for books ranging from history to mystery to the cheesiest of romances, but it also ranks among the top 13 most literate cities in the U.S.
17. Water Fountains Everywhere
Source: Wikimedia user Charvex
The City of Fountains, they call it, because KC's got more of them than just about anywhere else on earth—probably. There were over 200, at last count, but no-one seems to know an exact figure.
18. Being Surrounded By All The Public Art
Source: Flickr user Doug Wertman
KC's also big on random statues and sculptures and lots and lots of murals. Check out Hildreth Melere's mural of the city’s early days at Union Station’s Main Post Office, the Lewis and Clark mural at the Rivermarket, and the parking garage at the library’s Central Branch, which is all done up to look like a giant bookshelf. If you want to sneak a peep at Thomas Hart Benton’s Persephone, the nudie cutie an art historian once referred to as "one of the great works of American pornography”, you’ll have to visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art -- although technically this is still public, too, since admission to the museum is free.
19. Being Under The Watchful Eye Of The Scout
Source: Wikimedia user Macjohn4
This statue features a Native American on horseback looking out over the city from his stone pedestal in Penn Valley Park, and appears none too thrilled with what he sees.
20. Stuffing Their Faces With Oh-So-Tasty Gourmet Pizza
Source: Minsky's Pizza via Facebook
Kansas City was chosen by Travel and Leisure Magazine as one of America's best cities for pizza. They gave the nod to Minsky's and Pizzabella, but other local faves include Kelso's, Spin and Waldo Pizza. (Sadly, the waiters at Waldo's don't wear red striped shirts and bobble hats, but the jalapeno bacon topping is awesome!)
21. Kicking Back With A Boulevard Beer
Source: Facebook user kendrikmartin
Of course you gotta have beer to go with that pizza, and Boulevard is the
KC craft beer. Their Unfiltered Wheat is the midwest’s best-selling microbrew, for reasons that will become obvious once you take your first sip (or gulp).
Source: Flickr user Daniel Oines
Kansas City's got amazing artisan chocolatiers like Christopher Elbow, Panache and André’s Confiserie Suisse, but the city's also home to drugstore darling Russell Stover, savior of last-minute Valentine's shoppers.
23. And Donuts
Source: Donut King Official Facebook via Facebook
KC's also got a sweet spot for doughnuts. LaMar's was founded here, but other temples of hole-iness include Johnny's Donuts, Fluffy Fresh and Donut King.
Although KC's new streetcars are not quite as cool as the funky retro ones they used to have back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, people are getting pretty excited about the new downtown streetcar system scheduled to begin construction any second now
. That is, some
are excited. Others are up in arms. Still, who doesn't love a good civic controversy?
25. Art Deco
Source: Flickr user Noah Jeppson
Chicago may have its gilded age architecture, but KC's more of an art deco kind of town. The Power and Light Building, the city hall and county courthouse and 909 Walnut Street are all classic examples of this streamlined style.
26. Doin' It Cowboy Style
Source: Daniel Jeffries
Kansas City pays homage to its Wild West days with western wear stores like Nigro’s, Cavender’s and Sheplers, country and western bars and western art up the wazoo including a bull rider sculpture called “The Main Event” at the corner of 49th and Main and giant rooftop cowboy/cowgirl cutouts in the Power and Light District.
27. Outlaws And Gangsters
Source: Facebook user Traci Muller Rylands
KC may be more or less respectable now, but it’s had a pretty wild and woolly past. Robbed by the James Gang, governed by the corrupt Pendergast Machine...it even had its own mini-massacre where Pretty Boy Floyd and a few fellow gangsters shot it out with FBI agents at Union Station.
28. Plaza Lights
Source: Country Club Plaza via Facebook
15 freakin' blocks of holiday lights!!! Now that's
some serious hall-decking.
29. Swope Park
Source: Flickr user Steve Dean
Swope Park is big. Really big. Like, 1,805 acres big—which is more than twice the size of Central Park!! Bite on that, Big Apple.
30. The Auld Sod
Source: Flickr user Out.of.Focus
They've got a huge St. Patrick's Day parade, the Kansas City Irish Fest, the Kansas City Irish Center and more Irish pubs than you can shake a shillelagh at. Get your Guineess on at O’Dowd’s Little Dublin, Kelly’s Westport Inn or The Dubliner.
So what’s keeping you? The Paris of the Plains awaits! You might take a plane, you might take a train, but if you have to walk, you should be goin' just the same...Kansas City, here you come.
Feature Image Source: Kansas City Chiefs via Facebook