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Kansas City Cool

What to Do in Kansas City

People from the east coast seem surprised when I say that Kansas City is a cool city. But it’s true. Kansas City is happening. It’s artsy, with good music, theatre and food. Local and sustainable food is serious here. The Crossroads Arts Section is the center of a creative revitalization. We spent 24 hours in Kansas City recently. Here are our recommendations.

Stay at the Jefferson House Bed & Breakfast



In the Westside neighborhood on a bluff overlooking downtown, within walking distance or a short car ride to the Crossroads Arts section, Jefferson House is a grand old brick house lovingly restored by Peter and Theresa, a transplanted English couple. The Mulkey Suite is furnished with substantial antique furniture, decorated with engravings and quirky touches. Breakfast, made by Theresa and served on her homemade pottery, was scotch eggs, salad, fruit and awesome Fervere Artisan Bread, baked a block away. Fervere makes organic, multi-grained breads. We loved the heirloom polenta bread made from locally grown heirloom corn.

Eat in the Westside neighborhood


Blue Bird Bistro, Westside, Kansas City, Mo.

Our flight from New York arrived around lunch time on a quiet Monday. A couple blocks from the Jefferson is Westside’s main streets, which have a high concentration of good restaurants. We ate at Blue Bird Bistro, a laid-back place  serving “MidAmerican Artisan” breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Local ingredients are important; the menu lists local farms and hosts dinners with the farmers. I had Pork & Polenta, a hearty eggs Benedict of local eggs and organic butter, over slow-cooked local pork and polenta.


Blue Bird’s pork & polenta eggs Benedict

Biscuits and mushroom gravy can be ordered with crumbled bison sausage. At dinner, pork is simmered with organic cherries, onions and roasted garlic, and served on a  jalapeño corn cake with sautéed organic green beans.  Other lauded restaurants in Westside are Westside Local, which has a beer garden offering house cocktails that expand the culinary vocabulary (Byrrh & Bubbles? I looked it up.). At the higher-end, more ambitious Novel,  wild Alaskan halibut is seared and served with cauliflower, lump crab jam (I wonder what that is!) and Thai kaffir lime.

Explore Crossroads Arts District

With galleries, shops, restaurants, breweries, music and theatre, the  Crossroads Arts District is a lively neighborhood.


Green Lady Lounge is the spot for live jazz. With scarlet walls, retro hanging lampshades and curved booths, this place is totally cool. It’s open 7 days a week, no cover charge, and the music plays till 3 in the morning. It’s packed on weekends.

For cocktails and snacks, we found a convivial scene at The Rieger, a historic hotel transformed into a New American bar and restaurant. First time I’ve ever had tomatillo in a cocktail.

Crossroads Art District is also home to Living Room Theatre. Although I didn’t have time to see a performance there in Kansas City, I  met up with a troupe of actors from the Living Room Theatre the following day in Independence Kansas.  How lucky was I to have such talented actors from Living Room Theatre read one of my plays at the William Inge Festival! The quality of the acting through out the festival from Living Room Theatre actors was top-notch.

So, have I convinced you?  Kansas City is cool.

Where are your favorite places to eat and things to do in Kansas City?



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