Kansas City, Missouri, or KCMO for short, is a vibrant and diverse city that offers a rich history, culture, and cuisine. Located in the heart of the country, Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri and the 37th most populous city in the United States1 It is also the urban core of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which spans across two states and has a population of over 2.3 million people.
A City of Many Names
Kansas City has been called by many names throughout its history. It was originally founded as the Town of Kansas in 1850, named after the Kansas River that flows nearby. However, this name caused confusion with the neighboring territory of Kansas, which was organized four years later. To avoid this, the city was renamed as the City of Kansas in 1853, and then as Kansas City in 1889.
Kansas City has also earned several nicknames over the years, such as the City of Fountains, the Paris of the Plains, and the Heart of America. The City of Fountains refers to the fact that Kansas City has more fountains than any other city in the world except Rome, with over 200 public fountains. The Paris of the Plains alludes to the city’s cultural and architectural influence from France, as well as its reputation for jazz music and nightlife in the 1920s and 1930s. The Heart of America reflects the city’s central location and its role as a crossroads of commerce, culture, and innovation.
A City of Many Attractions
Kansas City has something for everyone, whether it is art, history, sports, or entertainment. Some of the most popular attractions in the city include:
- The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which houses over 40,000 works of art from various cultures and periods, including a renowned collection of Asian art and a sculpture park.
- The National World War I Museum and Memorial, which is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the Great War and its impact. It features a 217-foot tower, a glass bridge, and a comprehensive exhibition of artifacts, documents, and stories.
- The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which is a stunning architectural masterpiece that hosts a variety of performances, from opera and ballet to symphony and theater. It is home to the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Ballet.
- The Kansas City Zoo, which is one of the largest and most awarded zoos in the country, with over 1,700 animals and 200 acres of natural habitats. It features a penguin plaza, a polar bear passage, a tiger trail, and a chimpanzee forest.
- The Country Club Plaza, which is the nation’s first outdoor shopping center and a landmark of Kansas City. It is modeled after the architecture and design of Seville, Spain, and features over 150 shops, restaurants, and statues.
A City of Many Flavors
Kansas City is also famous for its cuisine, especially its barbecue. Kansas City barbecue is characterized by its use of various meats, such as beef, pork, chicken, and turkey, and its signature sauce, which is thick, sweet, and tangy. Some of the most renowned barbecue restaurants in the city include Arthur Bryant’s, Gates Bar-B-Q, Jack Stack Barbecue, and Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que.
Kansas City is not only about barbecue, though. It also offers a diverse and delicious array of other cuisines, such as Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Indian, and Ethiopian. Some of the best places to try these cuisines include Port Fonda, Lidia’s, Bo Lings, Swagat, and Blue Nile Cafe.
Kansas City is also a hub for craft beer, coffee, and chocolate. Some of the local breweries that produce quality beers include Boulevard Brewing Company, KC Bier Co., Torn Label Brewing Company, and Cinder Block Brewery. Some of the local coffee roasters that brew excellent coffee include The Roasterie, Thou Mayest, Messenger Coffee, and Oddly Correct. Some of the local chocolatiers that create delicious chocolate include Christopher Elbow, André’s Confiserie Suisse, Panache Chocolatier, and Annedore’s Fine Chocolates.
A City of Many People
Kansas City is a city of many people, with a diverse and dynamic population. According to the 2020 census, the city had a population of 508,090, of which 54.9% were white, 28.7% were black, 10.5% were Hispanic or Latino, 3.2% were Asian, 0.5% were Native American, and 2.2% were other races or two or more races.
Kansas City is also a city of many cultures, with a rich and varied heritage. The city has been influenced by various ethnic groups, such as the Native Americans, the French, the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, the Mexicans, and the African Americans. The city celebrates its diversity with various festivals, events, and organizations, such as the Ethnic Enrichment Festival, the Kansas City Irish Fest, the Oktoberfest, the Cinco de Mayo, and the Juneteenth.
Kansas City is also a city of many talents, with a thriving and creative community. The city has produced many famous and influential people, such as Walt Disney, Ernest Hemingway, Harry S. Truman, Charlie Parker, Thomas Hart Benton, and Janelle Monáe. The city also supports and nurtures many artists, musicians, writers, and entrepreneurs, who contribute to the city’s culture and economy.
Kansas City, Missouri, is a city that has a lot to offer, from its history and culture to its attractions and cuisine. It is a city that is proud of its past, present, and future, and welcomes visitors and residents alike. It is a city that is truly the heart of America.