Photo Credit: Bruce N. Meyer
For more than a century, Kansas City, Missouri has presented
a modest Midwestern image of itself. The home of Hallmark Cards, the birthplace
of the NCAA and where a young cartoonist named Walt Disney first drew a rather popular
mouse. What could be more all-American than that?
However, those who’ve been recently know Kansas City is now
the fastest city in the US, destination for the largest First Friday art event
in the nation and home to at least a half-dozen restaurants and chefs regularly
named as finalists or winners in James Beard Foundation competitions.
Today’s Kansas City is a creative, edgy destination for the
21st century that continues to embrace all of the wholesome richness of
The mural on the wall of the Google Fiber Showroom on
Westport Road in Kansas City identifies this city as the fastest in the nation.
This is ground zero for Google Fiber, the lightning bolt that is gigabit
internet. That’s about 100 times faster than what most of you reading this will
experience with broadband service.
The showroom is basically a huge, cozy living room where you
can sit and watch TV brought to you through Google Fiber. You can play with
laptops and tablets provided, or bring your own and sit at the counters with
dozens of electrical outlets to keep you charged.
Technically, Google Fiber is a residential service, but
several businesses in the immediate vicinity, such as Mud Pie Bakery or
Cupini’s Restaurant and Wine Bar, have fiber to provide additional showcase
opportunities. Sip coffee or wine, have some lunch or dinner and surf all day
at super high speeds.
The Crossroad Arts District is the hottest destination in
this metro area of nearly two million, particularly on the first Friday of every
month. Nearly 10,000 people ramble through the 20 block area, enjoying street
performers, about 70 art galleries, recording studios and concert venues.
Guided tours on Saturdays offer the best opportunities to make a fabulous
purchase. However you define art, you’ll find it in abundance in the Crossroads
With nearly 100 barbecue restaurants, the BBQ Hall of Fame
and the world’s most prestigious barbecue competition, Kansas City has a solid
reputation as a destination for foodies. But take a look at recent lists of
James Beard Foundation honorees and you’ll find names like Colby Garrelts,
Michael Smith, Debbie Gold and Howard Hanna make the list. And they make their
livings and reputations right here in KC.
A flourishing food truck business and rich farm-to-table
opportunities keep Kansas City’s name popping up in the top epicurean
magazines, blogs and websites. Urban wineries, the state’s largest independent
microbrewery, and a piping hot coffee culture satisfy all flavors.
Fans of the fine arts recognize Kansas City as home to the
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which houses one of the world’s finest collections
of Asian art. History addicts appreciate the detailed, yet comprehensible
explanation of the Great War at the National World War I Museum at Liberty
Memorial. Sports fans find the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum an incredible look
back at our national pastime, and music lovers jam next door at the American
Jazz Museum in the 18th & Vine Historic District.
Throw in a visit to the Puppetry Arts Institute, the Toy and
Miniature Museum, and a really unexpected museum dedicated to the art of
Victorian Hair Weaving, and wow – a high-speed getaway to Kansas City will
forever change the way you look at America’s Heartland.
Have you been to Kansas City? What was your favorite
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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A Midwest farm girl at heart, Diana Lambdin Meyer caught the roaming bug early in life. Diana married well - to a photographer who also has the travel bug and whose work in still and video complements her words. Now based in the Kansas City area, Diana is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers who makes a full-time living on the road and at the keyboard. Read about Diana's adventures on her blog, Mojotraveler or follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.
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