A Local’s Guide to Kansas City

Anyone can experience a new city like a tourist. There are classic tourist traps everywhere, and no matter where you go, you are bound to fall into them. If you want to visit a new place and experience it like a local, then you’ve got to learn what the fan-favorite attractions are among the people who live in that city. Today, we’re here to give you that local insight into Kansas City. Specifically, we’re going to tell you about the best of the best things to do in and around Kansas City. From shopping around downtown Kansas City under towering Kansas City billboards to wandering through a steamboat museum and everything in between, you’ll find something that perfectly fits your preferences in this article, so keep on reading.

City Market 

Not many things will give you the authentic Kansas City feeling quite like the City Market will. This farmer’s market has everything you could wish for and more; quirky gift shops, delicious restaurants, petite cafes, and the list could go on and on. All the Kansas City locals love spending the day at City Market. Anyone could easily spend several hours there looking through the handmade crafts and taste-testing the delicious goodies. Plus, you can get all the fresh produce you need from the local Missouri and Kansas farmlands. The City Market is the ideal place to visit during your trip to Kansas City to experience this city like a local. 

Arabia Steamboat Museum 

Any history buff, local or not, would be thrilled to spend their day at the Arabia Steamboat Museum. This unique museum is home to artifacts gathered from Steamboat Arabia, which sank in the Mississippi River in the mid-1800s but was later found in a field after the river shifted. While going through the museum, you’ll learn all about how Arabia sank and was rediscovered and learn valuable pieces of Kansas City history. Make sure to check out the gift shop after your walk through the museum for non-touristy, antique souvenirs. 

Crossroads Art District 

The Crossroads Art District is a huge attraction to visitors and locals alike, especially on the first Friday of every month. On these special days, additional food trucks, art shows, and vendors set up shop around the art district, bringing in huge crowds. Strolling through this artsy neighborhood, you’ll find a ton of local contemporary art as well as niche, artsy shops, and cafes. To make the most out of your experience at the Crossroads Art District, try to plan to visit during a First Friday. 

The National World War I Museum and Memorial 

A not-so-hidden gem that can be found in Kansas City is the National WWI Museum and Memorial (and yes, it’s as impressive as it sounds). This museum does much more than serve as a house for WWI artifacts. Every few days, new living history exhibits and lectures will be available at the museum, so if you plan on going, make sure to head to their website and see which exhibits are currently happening in the museum. 

Union Station 

What used to be the largest station in Kansas City, Union Station is now the city’s hub for arts, entertainment, education, and so much more. Union Station was a functioning train station in the early years of the 1900s, but by the end of the 20th century, the station reopened as a center boasting museums, theaters, restaurants, and more. In addition to all the attractions it houses, Union Station also has stunning architecture, so even if you don’t want to visit an educational exhibit or performing arts center, you can go to Union Station to appreciate the beauty and history of the city. 

Also Read: 5 Best Backpacking Trails in the USA with Amazing Sceneries


In summary, here are some of the places you should visit in Kansas City for the true local experience:

  • City Market
  • Arabia Steamboat Museum
  • Crossroads Art District
  • The National World War I Museum and Memorial
  • Union Station 

When it comes to activities to do in this city, these five attractions are definitely on the less intense end of the tourist spectrum. You’ll find smaller crowds and be able to experience life in Kansas City without the pressure of tourist traps. Another great way to find local things to do is to see if any Kansas City billboards are advertising local events. These events often occur for only a limited amount of time and are not catered toward tourists, so rest assured that you’ll be getting the true Kansas City experience! We are so excited for you to have the time of your life in Kansas City.