An urban sprawl amidst the vast Great Plains, Missouri’s capital city is the home of BBQ, jazz, and what used to be called the American Dream. A city where stretching suburbs spill into prime downtown real estate, Kansas City is a truly unique destination. The same amount of water fountains as Rome and one of the world’s best Jazz scenes make the city is one of the most inviting in the USA and with a blossoming art community and world-class museums, there really is something for everyone here.
The city is also the gay capital of the state. The main gay district in Kansas City is the Crossroads Art District, a quirky and eclectic part of the city that is home to a range of LGBT+ organizations as well as numerous gay bars, clubs, and cafes. Kansas City has held pride festivals since 1975 and these attract tens of thousands of LGBT+ individuals annually.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The first thing you’ll notice when you approach the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is the large shuttlecocks installation that sits on the front lawn. The two overgrown sculptures were installed in 1996 and represent the museum’s cutting edge approach to art curation. Home to more than 34,500 artifacts, artworks, and permanent installations, the museum has one of the most extensive and culturally varied collections in the USA, with pieces sourced from every continent. Over 5,000 years of history is preserved at the Nelson-Atkins and the collection of Asian art is regarded as world-class.
A rotating selection of exhibitions and experiences means that there is always something fresh and innovative to discover at the museum. The building is vast, and if you’re getting tired of exploring the endless galleries, why not head to one of the on-site restaurants. Rozzelle Court is an Italian themed restaurant within the museum that offers lunch and dinner and the museum is also home to a small cafe and gift shop. If you’re looking for a creative, innovative, and inspiring attraction, then look no further than the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Whilst Kansas City can’t compete with the gay scenes of LA, Chicago, or Miami, there is still a good-sized selection of gay bars and clubs spread throughout the city. For decades, Missouri’s largest city has been a mecca for LGBT+ young people, who face prejudice, discrimination, and danger in their rural or suburban homes. As such, the gay venues in the city tend to be tight-knit and intimate spaces that foster an atmosphere of inclusion, warmth, and openness.
Woody’s is one of Kansas City’s most popular gay bars, offering a traditional sports bar atmosphere with an added gay twist. A diverse crowd is drawn to Woody’s by the generously sized drinks, great deals, and lively atmosphere. The bar gets very busy on Fridays and Saturdays as local gay guys flock through its doors to enjoy the various themed events and parties. Sidestreet Bar is one of the city’s longest-running gay bars. With the epicenter of the bar being the large outside patio area, Sidestreet is the perfect place to have an afternoon drink and people watch from the safety of an inclusive and welcoming gay bar. The venue is located in the Midtown area of Kansas City, meaning many of the top tourist attractions are within easy walking distance.
Boulevard Brewing Company
Founded in 1989, the Boulevard Brewing Company started out as a small batch brewery and has now grown into the largest specialty brewery in the Midwest, with Boulevard brewed beers selling across the USA. No trip to Kansas City is complete without a visit to the home of this iconic brand. Occupying a century-old brick warehouse, when the brewery was first opened, production was completed through a vintage Bavarian brewery, today the same process is used, albeit with a few extra bells and whistles.
Visitors to Kansas City can take an immersive and fascinating guided tour of the brewery, during which the entire facility is opened up and guests can learn about the company’s strange history as well as the process of brewing specialty beer. The tour starts and ends with free beer and visitors are encouraged to sample throughout. After the tour, be sure to visit the gift shop and cafe, which sells an assortment of refreshments, snacks, and souvenirs. Throughout the year, a number of events and festivals are held at the brewery, so be sure to check what’s on before you visit.
No matter if you’re a baseball fan or not, any visitor will enjoy the exhilarating Kauffman Stadium. The home of the Kansas City Royals, the Stadium has been designed with fan experience at the forefront, and there is a myriad of exciting and fun-filled attractions here. Baseball games can be caught throughout the week at the park and offer an authentic and traditional Kansas City sports experience, complete with hotdogs, and beer.
The stadium is home to a number of impressive fountain displays and there is also a 360-degree walkway, meaning you can catch the action from any spot, or if you get bored of the baseball, head over to one of the numerous eateries and restaurants that are located in the stadium and span a range of cuisines and tastes. After an extensive renovation in 2009, the Kauffman Stadium is now home to a large interactive museum and a baseball hall of fame, making it a rounded and worthwhile attraction.
Country Club Plaza
Spanning 15 blocks and illuminated year-round with an enormous amount of lights, the Country Club Plaza isn’t any outdoor mall. Whilst most shopping experiences require a decent amount of walking, at the Country Club Plaza, there is a number of ways you can get around, from gondola rides down the canal to a horse-drawn carriage- the location truly is a fairytale experience. The plaza is heavily inspired by Spanish architecture, and an atmosphere of wonder and beauty is created by the lush greenery and numerous fountains. The location of the plaza is great for travelers who want to fully explore the city, as two of Kansas City’s top museums are situated within quick walking distance.
It’s at the Country Club Plaza that you’ll find some of the city’s best upmarket restaurants, cafes and eateries. In recent years, Kansas City has welcomed the emergence of a flourishing culinary scene, with restaurants like Gram and Dun, pushing the boundaries of edible entertainment.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Kansas City