One great part about being a performer is the opportunity to travel to new places when getting cast in a show. This year, Taylor was cast in a production of West Side Story that ended up bringing him (and when scheduling allowed, me) to Houston, Kansas City, Atlanta, and Chicago. Taylor was in Kansas City for the shortest amount of time, but we explored nonetheless!
Kansas City pleasantly surprised both of us with the amount of culture, food, and coffee it had to offer. Here are some of our favorite highlights:
McLain’s is a family owned bakery and coffee shop that is located in walking distance from where the cast of West Side Story was housed in the Waldo neighborhood.
With such delicious menu options like the Market Bowl (scrambled eggs, avocado, potatoes, cheese, breakfast meat of choice) or seasonal pastries (warm cinnamon rolls), complimented with wonderfully made espresso (when we were there in September, they had the official drink of fall: the pumpkin spice latte), we couldn’t stay away!
What drew us most to this establishment wasn’t the food, but the fact that it is local and family-owned. Even before I was able to visit from NYC, Taylor would go every morning and have a conversation with one of the sweet employees, and often the person taking his order was one of the owners! McLain’s is the definition of charming, and is highly recommended by yours truly.
The American Jazz Museum is located in the heart of the historic 18th & Vine District of Kansas City, which is one of the places jazz got its start. It provides visitors with a chance to learn more about the greats like Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie, to name a few!
Kansas City jazz developed during the 1920s and 1930s, due to most transcontinental trips at the time requiring a stop in the middle of the country. This gave jazz a chance to be developed in KC by people from all over the US. One of the coolest elements of the museum were the different artifacts: posters advertising a concert, a variety of instruments used by the aforementioned legends, plus educational and interactive spots where you can break down different building blocks of what makes jazz “jazz”.
Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to visit the actual museum, but we did go to the top of the memorial, and which boasts the best view of the city! Liberty Tower, built in 1926, stands at a proud 265 feet in the heart of downtown. You can also get a perfect view of the historic Union Station, which was one of the main railroad hubs in the late 1800s into the turn of the century.
On the banks of the Missouri River, City Market sits in the area where Kansas City was first founded. Since 1857, City Market has been one of the largest open-air farmer’s markets in the country! It was there we found the most delicious mango-jalapeno jam. Shout out to San-Man Gardens!
Even though we only went here once, I had to include it, as it has a very random and awesome element…a CEREAL BAR! Thou Mayest is a hip little coffee nook in the Crossroads district, and you can order a bowl of your favorite childhood sugary cereal. Need I say more?
Kansas City is definitely on the list to visit again. Maybe in the summer so we can catch those beautiful sunflowers! Any suggestions for our next trip to KC?