Topeka native Shanley Cox made the move to KC three years ago and spends her time dishing about local cuisine on her blog, Eat it Kansas City. But this foodie knows the ins and outs of more than just the restaurant scene. Here are a few of Shanley’s favorite things about the “BBQ Capital of the World.”

Follow Shanley’s story on Twitter @EatitKC.

Kansas City is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Westport – Kansas City’s original entertainment district. Founded more than 150 years ago, Westport is the oldest established community in Kansas City, featuring an eclectic mix of local eateries, boutiques and bars built around remnants of the neighborhood’s historic past.

Shanley's pick for best museum: The Nelson-Atkins (Photograph by Krystal Pritchett, Flickr)

Shanley’s pick for best museum: The Nelson-Atkins (Photograph by Krystal Pritchett, Flickr)

Summer is the best time to visit my city because of our range of fun outdoor activities. We have everything from water parks to Major League baseball, music festivals, and movies in the park.

You can see my city best from the top of the Liberty Memorial at the National World War I Museum.

Locals know to skip Starbucks and check out the Roasterie instead.

The Best of Kansas City in Crown Center is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like President Harry S. Truman and comedians Jason Sudeikis and Paul Rudd have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art because the collection includes a wide variety of artifacts from ancient to modern times. You can pretty much walk through our world’s history – from the pyramids to Picasso – all in one day.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that it’s better to own or rent a car than to use public transportation.

Invest in fresh at the City Market. (Photograph by John Ong, Flickr)

Invest in fresh at the City Market. (Photograph by John Ong, Flickr)

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is the Country Club Plaza, 15 blocks full of unique dog-friendly restaurants and outdoor shopping.

My city really knows how to celebrate our barbecue roots because we host the American Royal World Series of Barbecue each year. This four-day food festival is the largest barbecue contest in the world and is listed in 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they drink locally brewed beer (no Bud Light for us!). Boulevard Brewing Company is a Kansas City staple and one of America’s largest craft breweries.

For a fancy night out, I get dinner and drinks at Bluestem Restaurant and listen to live jazz music at the Kill Devil Club.

Just outside my city, you can visit Jowler Creek Winery, a six-acre sustainable vineyard powered by green technology. (And they have an amazing Moscato.)

My city is known for being conservative, but it’s really more progressive and open-minded.

The best outdoor market in my city is the City Market.

Harvey’s in Union Station is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and the Jerusalem Café food truck is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read the Pitch or Ink magazine.

My city’s biggest sports event is Royals baseball. Watch it at Kauffman Stadium.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I rent a bicycle from Kansas City B-Cycle and choose a “tour card.” I like the antique tour that leads you to different vintage shops through the city.

Get the best view of the city at the Kauffman Center. (Photograph by Missouri Division of Tourism, Flickr)

Get the best view of the city at the Kauffman Center. (Photograph by Missouri Division of Tourism, Flickr)

To escape the crowds I go to Swope Park, one of the nation’s largest urban parks. With more than 1,800 acres, it’s more than twice the size of New York City’s Central Park and contains the Kansas City Zoo, Starlight Theatre, Lakeside Nature Center, and the Kansas City Community Gardens.

If my city were a celebrity, it’d be Ryan Gosling because, like Ryan, Kansas City is swoon-worthy with a sophisticated charm, girl.

The dish that represents my city best is anything with smoked meat and barbecue sauce, and the “Kansas Cooler” cocktail, made with Kansas Spirit Whiskey, ginger ale, and a squeeze of lime, is my city’s signature drink.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is my favorite building in town because not only is the building architecturally beautiful, but one side is made entirely of glass and offers the best view of the downtown area in the city.

The most random thing about my city is that it’s known as the “City of Fountains.” Who (besides locals) knew there are more than 200 fountains in the metro area, second only to Rome.

The Majestic is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out the “Boom Boom Room” at the Brooksider Bar and Grill.

The annual lights ceremony at the Country Club Plaza is a Thanksgiving must.  (Photograph by Missouri Division of Tourism, Flickr)

The annual lights ceremony at the Country Club Plaza is a Thanksgiving must. (Photograph by Missouri Division of Tourism, Flickr)

Having multiple barbecue stains on your shirt and being totally accepted for it could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should go to a Sporting Kansas City game – my city’s Major League Soccer team.

In the summer you should attend the Kansas City Fringe Festival, an 11-day cultural arts festival featuring live theater, performance art, film, and fashion.

In the fall you should watch the Country Club Plaza lighting ceremony, a local Thanksgiving tradition!

In the winter you should go ice skating at the Crown Center Ice Terrace.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the Legoland Discovery Center.

The best book about my city is Paris of the Plains: From Doughboys to Expressways, by John Simonson.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Kansas City,” by Wilbert Harrison.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because it offers Midwest manners with big-city flair.

Comments

  1. Mike Connor
    Kansas City Kansas
    August 22, 2013, 11:26 am

    Knowledgeable and well written. Nice job Shanley, tell Mom and Dad hi for me.

  2. Sher
    Kansas City
    August 22, 2013, 4:32 pm

    Love it, Shanley I’m in KC as well (about a year now) and there’s just so ! much to offer here. You mentioned a couple things I didn’t yet know, so now I have some more exploring to do. Now… off to follow your blog! :-)

  3. KCMO
    Kansas City, MISSOURI!
    August 22, 2013, 6:02 pm

    Since this is National Geographic, lets get some geography facts: The majority of the attractions listed in the article are in MISSOURI. Maybe 2 or 3 of those listed are on the Kansas side.

  4. AP
    KC
    August 23, 2013, 2:23 am

    lost ALL credibility when royals were put as “biggest sports event” laughable

  5. CD
    KCMP
    August 23, 2013, 4:37 pm

    Where are the CHIEFS?!?!?!

  6. Shelly E
    Rivermarket KC
    August 24, 2013, 9:49 am

    Not bad! W are working on the transportation. The streetcar will cut through downtown’s biggest entertainment attractions. I ride the bus occasionally, but I am in the minority of the majority. The Main Street MAX will get you to where you are going, but if I were traveling to KC, yes, I would rent a car. VERY few hotels charge for parking.

    As for the Royals, they are #1 in my heart and others are coming back to the ball field, but in KC more people would prefer to watch the Chiefs lose than the Royals. Sporting KC (Futbol aka soccer) is the big up & comer here.

    Swope Park? While impressive, people don’t go here for the same perceived reasons they don’t ride the bus.

  7. KCMO
    Kansas City MO
    April 8, 10:50 am

    Not bad… except that most of these seem to be things you *could* get from a guide book… (authentic souvenirs at Crown Center? If you think KC has anything to do with the Wizard of Oz, sure… but turns out, it doesn’t) and the biggest sporting event in KC *by far* is football. Having lived in baseball nation (Boston), but being a *lifelong* KC native, football is CHIEF in KC (Land of the brave… home of the CHIEFS!).