We’ve all seen those articles online about doing things “like the locals” and we all buy the bull shit that those articles feed us. I mean, say you’re travelling to Philly for the weekend, you check out all of these lists and think “Wow! This sounds EXACTLY like things Philly-peeps would do! I’m going to do them!”. When we see the articles related to our city, though, we read it and scoff and realize it’s just an ad for the touristy spots. Well, I’m here to help you visit Kansas City and live like a local for the weekend. Let me be your KC guide. … I promise I won’t say that again. Okay, maybe just once more.
You aren’t living like a Kansas Citian (yes?) until you’ve experienced rush hour traffic on I-435 or I-35. So on your way in on Friday (because you’re spending a weekend in KC, of course) just aim for the 4:45-6pm time slot and you’ll get to sit in the steamy car fumes. If you’re lucky, you’ll get stuck closer to downtown or the Country Club Plaza area and get a nice whiff of hot garbage. Yum! Don’t forget to throw up the bird every once in a while and passive-aggressively cut off the person who cut you off earlier.
While you’re in the car, might as well drive around KC looking at all the fountains! Let’s start at the Plaza, but wait! There’s a sale at H&M and God knows there’s no H&M’s around where you live, so let’s go on and spend all of your extra ‘souvenir cash’ on cheap clothes and plastic jewelry. By the time you’re done, it’s too dark to see the fountains, so let’s grab a bite at Panera Bread because you’re too tired to wait an hour and a half for a seat to open at Buca di Beppo. You also need a good night’s sleep! There are so many things to do tomorrow!
3. Farmer’s Market
It has been told that KC has great farmer’s markets, especially since so many people are eating organic now, so plan on heading down to City Market and maybe try to stop by the Overland Park farmer’s market later after your 5K (don’t worry, I’ll get to that). Once in City Market, you actually buy some groceries and little knick knacks from the parking lot-wide garage sale…whoops, I mean “vintage sale”, but ultimately end up driving halfway across town (aproox. 45 minutes) to go to Whole Foods. After shopping, don’t forget to stop by the Opera House or The Farmhouse for breakfast and coffee. DO NOT go to Starbucks for coffee. Hipsters have worked WAY too hard on making dumpy coffee shops super “unpopular” (which equals popular to them) to have visitors go to mainstream coffee places.
In order to live like a true KC resident, you should be super hungover on this day from drinking WAY too much by yourself the night before. You can choose whatever 5K you’d like to do. I think obstacle races are making their way to the top popular spot in KC, so do one of those. Wake up at about 7am in order to get to your race at 8am. You already picked up your packet the day before. Oh! Don’t forget the tulle tutu you made the night before or your ironic banana costume. Tell yourself you’ll run it, go ahead, tell yourself you won’t feel like you’re dying and wish you hadn’t drank the entire night and went to bed at 3am. This is what we do. KC people LOVE rubbing it in other’s faces that they have done 6,723 5Ks and are training for a half marathon. You end up walking it anyway, though, because walking is healthier than running anyway.
5. Boulevard Tour
You plan a Boulevard Tour and you’ve heard that you need to get there early to get the free tickets. By the time you get there after your race, though, you find out that all of the free tickets are gone by the vultures who show up at 3am to get FREE tickets…. FREE, people! Come on! Plus, you’ve freakin’ toured this stupid brewery 50 times before! I know you’re just on that tour reciting lines with the tour guide! Okay, I’m rambling. Anyway, it’s okay, you know how the brewing process works anyway, so you’re fine to forgo this little adventure. Plus, you’ll have more beer than you know what to do with soon!
6. Beer Fest
That’s right. We (us KC-nites… that’s not right either, is it?) LOVE beer fests! These are by far our favorite weekend activity, besides complaining about our extremely hot temperatures (or cold/snowy dependent on which season you’re traveling in). Drop $60 if you want the VIP treatment (early entrance and free food…. yes, worth it) or $30 for general admission, but seriously, getting in early to a beer fest is the equivalent of you being the lioness who takes down the gazelle – you get the choicest bits and first choice. This beer fest is a chance for you try out our local beers and find out which ones you like, but instead you get super trashed and can’t distinguish different tastes anymore.
Now that you’re good and trashed, get a cab (ya, it’ll cost out the asshole but you’re trashed! You’d NEVER think about driving under the influence…) and head to the field! You get to choose which team you want to watch lose, unless you decide to go to Sporting Park, where you’ll see our team win. At the Speedway… well, you’re on your own, we say we go here, but we actually don’t know what goes on out there for real. Don’t forget to pack a lot of beer and hang out in the parking lot until about 4th quarter, then go in and complain about the lines for beer and the prices. Don’t forget to pick up a Royal’s shirt that you can’t find anywhere else!
8. Brewery Opening
Plan on attending a brewery opening, there’s usually always one happening; some home brewer FINALLY figured out how to make a tolerable lager and found an old record store in which to sell his brews out of. You may actually end up here, in which case, congratulations! Not many Kansas City dwellers actually make it to the opening, we go a couple weeks after when the crowds aren’t as bad. The night of our planned opening, we usually just end up going to Power and Light and throw snotty looks at the idiotic girls who are wearing skimpy skirts in the winter.
9. Nelson Atkin’s Museum
Everyone goes to the Nelson. This isn’t just a tourist trap that is never-changing. The Nelson always has new attractions and exhibits. That’s not the main reason to go here though. It’s probably the biggest patch of grass you are allowed to be on in the “good parts” of the city. So go there, take a nap, take a picture with the Shuttlecocks (which I regret to say I still have yet to do), and maybe fly a kite.
Kansas City is SO PROUD of the BBQ. It’s sweeter than Texas, so you really can’t compare. Some people like sweet BBQ, some people like smoky, neither is right or wrong. So, even if you’re from Texas, come try our BBQ. Everyone tells you to try OK Joe’s barbecue, but only the kind from the gas station, which is a weird thing to say to someone who doesn’t know… the first OK Joe’s was served out of a gas station and is said to be the best. Once you see the line, though, well…. you just go to Jack Stack or Gate’s or Arthur Bryant’s and enjoy it a lot but still dream that OK Joe’s is probably so much better and would be orgasmic but you can’t even attempt to dream of what it tastes like because the line is just too long to wait even though you HAVE to go at some point in your life…
Ya, I like Arthur Bryant’s, go there.
Andddd that’s how you experience KC like a local. Don’t forget to swear a lot, skip your mustache trimming, and wear your best thick-rimmed glasses.
By the way, don’t forget to bring your bicycle. That should have been your mode of transportation this entire time anyway! Well, except during rush hour; you wouldn’t have lived.
See you in KC!