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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I fell madly in love with Kansas City after one visit

Beautiful street art in front of the skyline
I wanted to go *somewhere* for Labor Day weekend, so I decided to check out destinations on Southwest Airlines.  Traveling to Kansas City (KC) appeared to be the best deal with decent flight times.  I will admit, I didn't know anything about KC and never really thought about traveling there.

I did a few Google searches and discovered the city has a lot to offer, so I booked.  I chose an excellent Airbnb host that I recommend  He has a remarkable home and is a great person to talk travel with!

His unique way of displaying travel photos

My first stop after getting settled was Prospero's Bookstore and the 39th Street West District.  Color me happy, because they were within walking distance.  Prospero's is so cool that it deserved its own blog post -

This pretty church caught my eye

Coolest fish I ever laid eyes on

39th Street West is an excellent area filled with unique shops, restaurants and bars.   I filled up at three fabulous eateries during my visit - Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill, Aladdin Cafe and Mud Pie Vegan Bakery (you can find their websites at the 39th Street link).

Crispy tofu and veggies at Genghis Khan

Cauliflower zahra at Aladdin Cafe

Savory scone, cupcake and latte at Mud Pie

This area was close enough for me to walk to the Country Club Plaza, which is a massive shopping mall.  I didn't even know where to begin to tackle it, so I just wandered.  I'm not much of a shopper and get overwhelmed at places like this.  If you love to shop though, you will be in heaven!

Sister Cities International Bridge near Country Club Plaza

One of the things KC is known for is fountains, and I came upon quite a few.  The city may not be known for its street art, but I sure made some startling discoveries! 

Muse of the Missouri

Boy and Frog  

J C Nichols Memorial

The city is also known for BBQ and jazz.  I didn't really experience any true BBQ, since I'm a vegetarian; however, I did have one glorious night of jazz at the Majestic Restaurant.  The venue has free nightly shows!  I would have paid good money for the band that I saw, the Mark Lowrey Trio, because they were first-rate.

If you want to experience some Hispanic culture, the West Side is the place to go.  The main arterial is Southwest Boulevard, where you have your pick of a plethora of authentic restaurants and grocers.  I had a delicious lunch at El Patron.  In addition, the phenomenal Boulevard Brewery can be found on this road, which also deserved its own blog post -

Avocado & bean burritos at El Patron
Take your pick of restaurants

So colorful

If you are a coffee lover like myself, I recommend the factory tour at The Roasterie.  Who knew coffee could be so fascinating?  Get ready for take-off at this fun, free tour.

Love the exterior
You check-in and get a ticket for the tour

Cafe Gratitude deserves a superior nod because it's just that wonderful.  I ate there twice and wish it could have been more.  You will feel the love the minute you walk through the door.   The organic and plant-based food is spectacular to look at and taste.  Be sure to see what's at the bottom of your dish:)

"I am Pure" kale salad

"I am Humble" Indian dish

Even the sink is special
I also recommend the quirky YJ's Snack Bar.  I didn't have the chance to eat here; however, I made two latte pit stops.  It's a great place to chill and look at all the cool trinkets scattered around including the restroom!.

See what I mean?

Look at all the sauces!

I ventured on foot all the way down to the City Market only to be disappointed that much of it was closed due to the holiday weekend.  It was still a good place for a stroll, and I can imagine how fantastic it is when it's fully open and bustling.

No trip to KC would be complete without seeing the central library.  I didn't get an opportunity to go inside, but the outside was satisfying enough.  The only drawback is the abundance of trees now taking over the unique exterior, so it was tough to take photos.

Please trim those trees

Kansas City is such an amazing city full of fantastic restaurants, art, culture and very friendly people!  This is a city where strangers actually smile on the street and say hello.  I'm so enamored that it's a place I could call home.

Spied these caped crusaders in an alley

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