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Guidebook for Kansas City

Stephen

Guidebook for Kansas City

Food Scene
Kansas City has some amazing food, so we hope you have an adventurous palate. I am putting coffee shops in a separate category, because I love them and we have a lot of good ones! The first few entries are right around the corner at 17th & Jefferson, then they spread out across the city. Bon Appetit!
Neighborhood gastro-pub, with great burgers and small plates. Open until 9pm weeknights, and 10pm on weekends. Brunch hours on Sunday. If you appreciate a unique beer, try a glass of Boulevard Tank 7, brewed just a few blocks away, in the beer garden here, or anywhere you see it on tap while you’re in KC.
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The Westside Local
1663 Summit Street
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Neighborhood gastro-pub, with great burgers and small plates. Open until 9pm weeknights, and 10pm on weekends. Brunch hours on Sunday. If you appreciate a unique beer, try a glass of Boulevard Tank 7, brewed just a few blocks away, in the beer garden here, or anywhere you see it on tap while you’re in KC.
Los Alamos Cocina y Market - a somewhat spare little neighborhood bodega has a surprisingly good buffet style restaurant serving up authentic Mexican style breakfast and lunch. Great tamales. Great salsa verde!
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Los Alamos Cocina
1667 Summit Street
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Los Alamos Cocina y Market - a somewhat spare little neighborhood bodega has a surprisingly good buffet style restaurant serving up authentic Mexican style breakfast and lunch. Great tamales. Great salsa verde!
A European style bread bakery, with a few fancy pastries and local cheeses on hand. Only open Thursday-Saturday, with limited hours and availability, so check their website and call in your order the night before if there’s something you know you want. Favorites: orchard bread, ciabatta, olive loaf, levain, and the amazing kouign aman pastry! In the summer, look for their cheese slipper nights for a super-popular, worth-the-wait-in-line-but-get-there-early-so-they-dont-run-out snack. Check out their website for details. A really unique neighborhood shop!
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Fervere
1702 Summit Street
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A European style bread bakery, with a few fancy pastries and local cheeses on hand. Only open Thursday-Saturday, with limited hours and availability, so check their website and call in your order the night before if there’s something you know you want. Favorites: orchard bread, ciabatta, olive loaf, levain, and the amazing kouign aman pastry! In the summer, look for their cheese slipper nights for a super-popular, worth-the-wait-in-line-but-get-there-early-so-they-dont-run-out snack. Check out their website for details. A really unique neighborhood shop!
Coffee and crepes, sweet or savory, open for breakfast and lunch.
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Chez Elle Crêperie and Coffeehouse
1713 Summit Street
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Coffee and crepes, sweet or savory, open for breakfast and lunch.
A farm to table restaurant supporting organic and local farms. Eclectic menu and open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Closes at 2pm Sundays.)
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blue bird bistro
1700 Summit Street
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A farm to table restaurant supporting organic and local farms. Eclectic menu and open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Closes at 2pm Sundays.)
New addition to the WestSide North End neighborhood. Open early, with a charming tree-shaded patio overlooking the garden across 17th street. Coffee, pastries, and Eastern Mediterranean fare.
Clay & Fire
815 West 17 Street
New addition to the WestSide North End neighborhood. Open early, with a charming tree-shaded patio overlooking the garden across 17th street. Coffee, pastries, and Eastern Mediterranean fare.
How the best crepes in the city landed 2 blocks from my home is a story you benefit from if you are a fan of the continental thin pan fried delicacy. Sweet ones and savory ones with fresh and well-curated ingredients in a magical and beautiful space. Make time for a crepe here!
Seven Swans Creperie
1815 Charlotte St
How the best crepes in the city landed 2 blocks from my home is a story you benefit from if you are a fan of the continental thin pan fried delicacy. Sweet ones and savory ones with fresh and well-curated ingredients in a magical and beautiful space. Make time for a crepe here!
A good neighborhood family Mexican restaurant. Pretty standard menu, with good food and a nice view of the Kauffman Center across Broadway.
Los Tules
1656 Broadway St
A good neighborhood family Mexican restaurant. Pretty standard menu, with good food and a nice view of the Kauffman Center across Broadway.
Not to be confused with the local brewery, very good food and drink in this pub-like space.
Blvd Tavern
320 Southwest Blvd
Not to be confused with the local brewery, very good food and drink in this pub-like space.
Vegan menu with invention and flavor. Wonderful smoothies and shakes! One of the few places I’ll include on this list that isn’t strictly local, but pretty special anyway!
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Cafe Gratitude Kansas City
333 Southwest Boulevard
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Vegan menu with invention and flavor. Wonderful smoothies and shakes! One of the few places I’ll include on this list that isn’t strictly local, but pretty special anyway!
Wunderbar! Upscale Austrian fare in a beautifully repurposed freight house, which is shared by Lidia's and Fiorella's Jack Stack.
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Grünauer
101 West 22nd Street
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Wunderbar! Upscale Austrian fare in a beautifully repurposed freight house, which is shared by Lidia's and Fiorella's Jack Stack.
Celeb Chef Lidia Bastianach’s local branch of her Northern Italian empire.
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Lidia’s
101 West 22nd Street
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Celeb Chef Lidia Bastianach’s local branch of her Northern Italian empire.
A local chain of fine dining barbecue. Their BBQ smoked salmon is outstanding!
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Jack Stack Barbecue | Freight House
101 West 22nd Street
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A local chain of fine dining barbecue. Their BBQ smoked salmon is outstanding!
Local organic ingredient focused housemade burgers (with housemade american cheese and condiments!), salads, and rotating entrees. Really good food!
Howard's Grocery, Cafe and Catering
1708 Oak St
Local organic ingredient focused housemade burgers (with housemade american cheese and condiments!), salads, and rotating entrees. Really good food!
Locally made Mexican ice creams, popsicles, snacks and smoothies!
Paletería Tropicana
830 Southwest Blvd
Locally made Mexican ice creams, popsicles, snacks and smoothies!
Venezuelan style savory pastries, empanadas, arepas, and pastellitos. Tasty little fried food packets with squirt bottles of great house salsas.
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Empanada Madness
906 Southwest Blvd
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Venezuelan style savory pastries, empanadas, arepas, and pastellitos. Tasty little fried food packets with squirt bottles of great house salsas.
Buffet lunch and sit-down dinners at this Ethiopian restaurant are flavorful and filling. Served with Ethiopian flatware: injera, a soft, spongey flatbread used to pick up delicious bits of spiced meats and vegetables. Meat or Veggie combo is a home run. Accompany with gingebel: pineapple ginger juice to assist with the digestion of this tasty adventure. A personal favorite!
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Blue Nile Cafe
20 East 5th Street
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Buffet lunch and sit-down dinners at this Ethiopian restaurant are flavorful and filling. Served with Ethiopian flatware: injera, a soft, spongey flatbread used to pick up delicious bits of spiced meats and vegetables. Meat or Veggie combo is a home run. Accompany with gingebel: pineapple ginger juice to assist with the digestion of this tasty adventure. A personal favorite!
One of my favorite meals in town is their combo bun: #V4 on the menu: rice noodle salad with lemongrass pork, grilled shrimp and sliced eggroll. Pour on the sriracha and fish sauce. Heaven.
Nguyen Pho and Grill
500 Grand Blvd
One of my favorite meals in town is their combo bun: #V4 on the menu: rice noodle salad with lemongrass pork, grilled shrimp and sliced eggroll. Pour on the sriracha and fish sauce. Heaven.
More delicious home-style Vietnamese food at this busy and casual Columbus Park neighborhood eatery.
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Vietnam Cafe
522 Campbell Street
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More delicious home-style Vietnamese food at this busy and casual Columbus Park neighborhood eatery.
A bit of a drive, about 20 minutes or so, this is some authentic Cantonese food in Overland Park, KS. Dim sum all day. Open late on weekends, sometimes it is just the ticket.
ABC Cafe
10001 W 87th St
A bit of a drive, about 20 minutes or so, this is some authentic Cantonese food in Overland Park, KS. Dim sum all day. Open late on weekends, sometimes it is just the ticket.
High quality fresh fish with giant slices, this is among the best sushi you will find in Kansas City.
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Bob Wasabi Kitchen
1726 W 39th St
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High quality fresh fish with giant slices, this is among the best sushi you will find in Kansas City.
Local foodie favorite for inventive menu and crafty beverages.
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The Antler Room
2506 Holmes St
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Local foodie favorite for inventive menu and crafty beverages.
More BBQ from the other side of State Line. This casual indoor/outdoor venue started out selling various fruitwoods for other people's smokers, and practiced the art of BBQ during the downtime. Then they figured out they were pretty good at what they were doing and decided to share. Lucky us.
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Woodyard Bar-B-Que
3001 Merriam Lane
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More BBQ from the other side of State Line. This casual indoor/outdoor venue started out selling various fruitwoods for other people's smokers, and practiced the art of BBQ during the downtime. Then they figured out they were pretty good at what they were doing and decided to share. Lucky us.
Local venture from the folks who made Hank’s Charcuterie in Lawrence, KS. An intimate affair with food and drink, a few blocks south on Summit St.
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Fox and Pearl
815 W 17 St
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Local venture from the folks who made Hank’s Charcuterie in Lawrence, KS. An intimate affair with food and drink, a few blocks south on Summit St.
Christopher Elbow is a treasure trove of glimmering confectionary gems awaiting your discovery. This world class purveyor of chocolates is conveniently located just a few blocks away in the Crossroads, near 18th and McGee. Highly recommended for chocolate lovers.
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Christopher Elbow Chocolates
1819 McGee Street
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Christopher Elbow is a treasure trove of glimmering confectionary gems awaiting your discovery. This world class purveyor of chocolates is conveniently located just a few blocks away in the Crossroads, near 18th and McGee. Highly recommended for chocolate lovers.
Sweet little neighborhood breakfast and lunch spot known for great food in a quirky little spot!
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Happy Gillis
549 Gillis Street
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Sweet little neighborhood breakfast and lunch spot known for great food in a quirky little spot!
Formerly Oklahoma Joe's, this is a legendary BBQ restaurant still comfortably smoking up a little gas station in Kansas City, KS. It is extremely good food (the Z-Man, pulled pork sandwich with an onion ring topper is a classic). Expect a long line just about any time you go. But it does move along, and you'll get what you came for.
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Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que
3002 West 47th Avenue
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Formerly Oklahoma Joe's, this is a legendary BBQ restaurant still comfortably smoking up a little gas station in Kansas City, KS. It is extremely good food (the Z-Man, pulled pork sandwich with an onion ring topper is a classic). Expect a long line just about any time you go. But it does move along, and you'll get what you came for.
Sightseeing
An iconic Kansas City monument to "the war to end all wars", Liberty Memorial is situated in the midst of a wonderful park, with loops of walking/running trails, and some of the best views of the city. If it is nearing dusk, and you notice it is clear with scattered clouds, especially in the west, head up there for a spectacular sunset.
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Liberty Memorial
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An iconic Kansas City monument to "the war to end all wars", Liberty Memorial is situated in the midst of a wonderful park, with loops of walking/running trails, and some of the best views of the city. If it is nearing dusk, and you notice it is clear with scattered clouds, especially in the west, head up there for a spectacular sunset.
Enormous early 20th century train station beautifully restored now houses our Post Office, the Science City interactive museum, an IMAX theater, various rotating traveling exhibits, restaurants, coffee and gift shops. Head to the very end of the Grand Hall to see the magical miniature train display. Union Station is the southernmost stop on the downtown streetcar line, and connects by skytunnel to the Crown Center shops and all the way to the Sheraton Hotel on McGee for an indoor hike around the area.
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Union Station Kansas City
30 West Pershing Road
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Enormous early 20th century train station beautifully restored now houses our Post Office, the Science City interactive museum, an IMAX theater, various rotating traveling exhibits, restaurants, coffee and gift shops. Head to the very end of the Grand Hall to see the magical miniature train display. Union Station is the southernmost stop on the downtown streetcar line, and connects by skytunnel to the Crown Center shops and all the way to the Sheraton Hotel on McGee for an indoor hike around the area.
Arts & Culture
An amazing collection of International art and crafts from a vast range of human eras housed in some impressive Neoclassical and Modern architecture. The surrounding sculpture garden is a joy to walk around on days that aren't too hot or cold! This art museum is free to the public apart from some special exhibitions.
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The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
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An amazing collection of International art and crafts from a vast range of human eras housed in some impressive Neoclassical and Modern architecture. The surrounding sculpture garden is a joy to walk around on days that aren't too hot or cold! This art museum is free to the public apart from some special exhibitions.
A fascinating museum exhibiting the recovered cargo of a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in 1856, was lost for 132 years, and was rediscovered and unearthed in 1988.
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Arabia Steamboat Museum
400 Grand Boulevard
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A fascinating museum exhibiting the recovered cargo of a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in 1856, was lost for 132 years, and was rediscovered and unearthed in 1988.
Part of the contemporary art scene in Kansas City, this compact museum near the Nelson Atkins Museum and the Kansas City Art Institute campus features rotating exhibits and the wonderful Cafe Sebastienne for stylish dining and brunch surrounded by art. This museum is free to the public!
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Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
4420 Warwick Boulevard
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Part of the contemporary art scene in Kansas City, this compact museum near the Nelson Atkins Museum and the Kansas City Art Institute campus features rotating exhibits and the wonderful Cafe Sebastienne for stylish dining and brunch surrounded by art. This museum is free to the public!
Live performance venue featuring classical music, dance, and more. Just a couple of blocks from the WestSide Brick Barn Studio!
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Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
1601 Broadway Boulevard
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Live performance venue featuring classical music, dance, and more. Just a couple of blocks from the WestSide Brick Barn Studio!
On the First Friday of each month, the crossroads becomes a bit of a scene. It started out when the few art galleries that brought the area back to life in the mid-1990s would have openings and parties for their artists. Now, there are street performers, food trucks, vendors, and more along with the art openings, restaurants and breweries, and the magic of having the city come alive when humans populate the sidewalks. Things are liveliest between 6pm-9pm. Best to walk from here, because traffic and parking can be a challenge.
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First Fridays!!!
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On the First Friday of each month, the crossroads becomes a bit of a scene. It started out when the few art galleries that brought the area back to life in the mid-1990s would have openings and parties for their artists. Now, there are street performers, food trucks, vendors, and more along with the art openings, restaurants and breweries, and the magic of having the city come alive when humans populate the sidewalks. Things are liveliest between 6pm-9pm. Best to walk from here, because traffic and parking can be a challenge.
Shopping
Little neighborhood boutique just around the corner, with products by local makers and designers. Take home a little Kansas City style!
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Westside Storey
1701 Summit St
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Little neighborhood boutique just around the corner, with products by local makers and designers. Take home a little Kansas City style!
An early 20th Century Shopping district designed to reflect shades of Seville, Spain, this outdoor mall features blocks of boutiques, restaurants, fountains and sculptures. At once trendy and charming, like any good tourist destination.
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Plaza Area
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An early 20th Century Shopping district designed to reflect shades of Seville, Spain, this outdoor mall features blocks of boutiques, restaurants, fountains and sculptures. At once trendy and charming, like any good tourist destination.
The largest farmers market in the area, with commercial vendors and restaurants along the edges open all week, and regional growers and resellers set up in the central stalls on Saturdays and Sundays during the growing seasons. A bustling urban scene that is one of my favorites in Kansas City.
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River Market
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The largest farmers market in the area, with commercial vendors and restaurants along the edges open all week, and regional growers and resellers set up in the central stalls on Saturdays and Sundays during the growing seasons. A bustling urban scene that is one of my favorites in Kansas City.
Essentials
Locally owned natural food store for all your essential provisions!
Nature's Own Health Market
310 E 5th St
Locally owned natural food store for all your essential provisions!
Conventional grocery store in downtown fancy clothes. A pretty good salad bar, and dine-in section, they'll answer most of your grocery needs.
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Cosentino's Market
10 East 13th Street
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Conventional grocery store in downtown fancy clothes. A pretty good salad bar, and dine-in section, they'll answer most of your grocery needs.
It is a bit of a drive, 20 minutes or so, but some folks appreciate the unique selection and fresh produce available at the Trader Joe's empire, so I'm just letting you know we have one in Kansas City. Actually, we have 2, as there is another further South in Overland Park, KS.
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Trader Joe's
8600 Ward Parkway
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It is a bit of a drive, 20 minutes or so, but some folks appreciate the unique selection and fresh produce available at the Trader Joe's empire, so I'm just letting you know we have one in Kansas City. Actually, we have 2, as there is another further South in Overland Park, KS.
Near the City Market, this grocery store has a large selection of Asian products and ingredients from around the world. Sometimes it smells funny, but if you need some century duck eggs or jackfruit, this is your spot.
Chinatown Food Market
202 Grand Blvd
Near the City Market, this grocery store has a large selection of Asian products and ingredients from around the world. Sometimes it smells funny, but if you need some century duck eggs or jackfruit, this is your spot.
Great neighborhood art supply store with a little bit of everything.
Artist & Craftsman Supply Kansas City
229 Southwest Blvd
Great neighborhood art supply store with a little bit of everything.
Entertainment & Activities
Dine-in movie theater, a 15-20 minute walk away? Reserved seating, so check online ahead of just showing up during busier times. Despite the necessary interruption of food service during a movie, Alamo is known for being pretty serious about discouraging talking, texting or showing up late during a film. That might be what I like about it :) Also check the schedule daily for special screenings from art to schlock!
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Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
1400 Main Street
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Dine-in movie theater, a 15-20 minute walk away? Reserved seating, so check online ahead of just showing up during busier times. Despite the necessary interruption of food service during a movie, Alamo is known for being pretty serious about discouraging talking, texting or showing up late during a film. That might be what I like about it :) Also check the schedule daily for special screenings from art to schlock!
This board game pub is an unusual venue, has an astonishing variety of games, and a helpful staff that will help you identify exactly what you are wanting to play. They'll even hook you up with folks looking for others to play with. Food and drink and games. Roll the dice and give it a go!
Pawn and Pint
221 Southwest Blvd
This board game pub is an unusual venue, has an astonishing variety of games, and a helpful staff that will help you identify exactly what you are wanting to play. They'll even hook you up with folks looking for others to play with. Food and drink and games. Roll the dice and give it a go!
A large zoo with some wonderful exhibits and specimens. Education and conservation focused.
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Kansas City Zoo
6800 Zoo Drive
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A large zoo with some wonderful exhibits and specimens. Education and conservation focused.
Getting Around
KC B-Cycle. Not sure why all the stops aren't yet integrated with Google Maps, but kansascity.bcycle.com should show you all the details about our local bike rental program. The closest station is probably 19th & Wyandotte (closer than 12th street, listed here) in the crossroads, about a 10 minute walk away.
Kansas City B-cycle at 12th and Wyandotte
1198 Wyandotte Street
KC B-Cycle. Not sure why all the stops aren't yet integrated with Google Maps, but kansascity.bcycle.com should show you all the details about our local bike rental program. The closest station is probably 19th & Wyandotte (closer than 12th street, listed here) in the crossroads, about a 10 minute walk away.