All You Need to Know About Kansas City

By Brenna Swanston

Your biggest questions about the City of Fountains, answered

All You Need to Know About Kansas City

It's hard to pick what Kansas City, Miss. is best known for. Potential answers include everything from jazz history to delicious barbecue to the city's famous fountains – there's a little something there for everyone. Keep reading to find the answers to your biggest questions about Kansas City.

Q: What is there to do in Kansas City?

A: Hit a few museums. If you're into world history, the National World War I Museum and Memorial shares the story of the 65 million men and women who served in the military during the first world war through photographs, eyewitness accounts and historical objects. Admission is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $14 for students with ID, $14 for veterans, $10 for kids ages 6 to 17 and $8 to active duty military.

If art is more your thing, the City of Fountains has plenty to offer – and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art offers it for free admission. It has nearly 35,000 pieces on display, including pieces from badminton birdie sculptures to ancient Chinese tombs.

And if you're a jazz fan, you won't find a dull moment in Kansas City. Take an educational approach at the American Jazz Museum, where admission runs $8 for adults and $3 for children under 12. The museum exhibits interactive galleries and educational presentations as well as its own working jazz club, called the Blue Room.

You can also catch live jazz all over the city. For example, Jazz, a Louisiana Kitchen hosts live music every evening along with a menu stocked with cajun and creole meal options, aiming to recreate New Orleans' atmosphere.

Q: In what state is Kansas City?

A: This question isn't quite the no-brainer you might think, because Kansas City's metropolitan area straddles the border between Kansas and Missouri. Technically speaking, there are two separate cities in the area, both called Kansas City – one's in Kansas, one is in Missouri and they're divided by a river. Each Kansas City has its own city council and mayor, but they share the same metro area.

Q: In what county is Kansas City, Miss.?

A: Kansas City, Miss. – or KCMO, as it's known – is located in Jackson County. Jackson County is home to Kansas City as well as 17 other municipalities. The county is about 607 square miles, and approximately 654,000 people live there.

Q: How far is Kansas City, Miss. to St. Louis, Miss.?

A: Kansas City, Miss. is located about 250 miles west of St. Louis, Miss. The drive takes three hours and 40 minutes without traffic via I-70 E, or five hours on I-70 E and I-44 E.

Greyhound runs regular buses between the two cities, and the trip ranges from four hours to four hours and 45 minutes. Amtrak also runs between the cities, and that trip takes five hours and 40 minutes. Flights take less than an hour.

Q: What's the weather like in Kansas City?

A: Kansas City enjoys big, Midwestern skies, usually decorated by dynamic fluffy clouds, and distinct hot and cold seasons.

The hot season spans from the end of May to the middle of September, with the average daily highs reaching 80 degrees F. These summers are muggy and humid, with the most rain of the year occurring in June.

At the end of November, Kansas City cools down dramatically, and the cold season lasts through February. On average, daily high temperatures don't climb above 50 degrees F, and usually hit lows of 24 degrees F. Snowfall is typical during this whole span of time, but the area is snow-free from mid-March to the end of November.

Q: In what timezone is Kansas City?

A: Kansas City is located in the Central Time Zone, which is usually six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (with the exception of discrepancies in time changes for Daylight Savings). The time in Kansas City is two hours ahead of Pacific Time and one hour behind Eastern Time.

Q: How old is Kansas City?

A: The first non-Native American settlement in the Kansas City area was established in 1821 by French native Francois Chouteau. He established a trading post on the waterway of what's now known as the Northeast Industrial District in Kansas City. After that settlement was flooded in 1826, he built another on what's now Troost Avenue.

Just 24 years later, in 1850, the city was incorporated and granted a charter by Jackson County under the name the Town of Kansas, likely inspired by the local Kansa Indian tribe. In 1853, the name changed to the City of Kansas, and in 1889, it changed again to Kansas City.

Q: Where is there to eat in Kansas City?

A: As previously mentioned, Kansas City cuisine is all about barbecue – in fact, it's the self-proclaimed "barbecue capital of the world." The city is home to more than 100 barbecue restaurants, as well as barbecue festivals and competitions.

A few of the can't-miss barbecue spots include:

  • Arthur Bryant's Barbecue, located on Brooklyn Avenue. It's open for dinner and lunch, and meals range in price from $10 to $20.
  • B.B.'s Lawn Side Bar-B-Q was featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives as well as Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. The Travel Channel also picked the spot as one of the top five must-see places in Kansas City. It's open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, with meal prices ranging from $10 to $20.
  • Gates Bar-B-Q has locations both in midtown and in southeast Kansas City. It's open daily for dinner and lunch, with meal prices ranging from $10 to $20.