Kansas City may not have been on your radar before purchasing tickets to see Queen Bey for the final stop on her Renaissance World Tour, but it should have been because there is so much history and culture to see in the Midwestern city. We created this mini destination guide to help you indulge in iconic KC staples and support Black-owned businesses if you’re stopping in the city to celebrate the end of the year’s biggest tour.
Okay Ladies, Now Let’s Get Information
See what we did there? Adding a little bit of information and education to your trips never hurts. Kansas City houses some fantastic museums that highlight the contributions of Black folks across multiple industries. It all starts in The 18th and Vine District, an epicenter of our history and culture. Also known as the Jazz District, this area was a refuge for Black people amid housing restrictions and quickly filled with Black-owned businesses. Medical offices, restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs were all found here. Today, the area is still a bustling and thriving community.
America’s favorite pastime was not always the diverse and inclusive sport it is now. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum honors early players like Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, alongside other unsung heroes. It’s easily one of the best places to visit in the city.
In the same building, the American Jazz Museum regales by sharing what jazz looked like across the U.S., especially in Kansas City, with interactive exhibits, hands-on visuals, live music, and an opportunity to make your own jazz sound at mixing stations.
While it’s not in this district, art lovers should also make a stop at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. There are collections and exhibits from around the world. The real highlight here is The French collection. You can channel your inner Beyoncé during her video shoot at the Louvre for “APESH-T.” If you like murals, follow this trail for iconic shots around the city.
Drunk in Love
There’s no shortage of great places to grab a drink in Kansas City, but there’s one place in particular that you should support. The new kid on the block is Vine Street Brewing Co. They are Missouri’s first Black-owned brewery. Statistically, African Americans own less than one percent of craft breweries in the United States, so this is an incredible accomplishment. Round of applause! Their craft beers are a nod to the culture with charming names like “The Cookout” and “Black is Beautiful.”
All on Instagram Cake by the Pound
Queen of the Cones uniquely blends cheesecakes and waffle cones for a decadent dessert in flavors like maple bacon, caramel pecan, and peach cobbler.
Some of the best, most flavorful, and most decadent cookies in Kansas City can be found at Brown Suga Bakes. They mainly serve classics like oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip but each bite is an elevated piece of nostalgia.
I Got Hot Sauce in My Bag, Swag
Okay, you may not need your hot sauce, but you’ll want to check out a few of these bomb eateries and cafés.
Dubbed the best BBQ in Kansas City, Arthur Bryant’s has seen serving their classic burnt ends, an iconic dish, for decades. Even President Obama has eaten here!
Blue Nile Cafe is the oldest Ethiopian restaurant in the city and serves traditional dishes like berbere, mitmita, and Ethiopian butter.
For soul food and traditional Black comfort dishes, you’ll want to try Niecie’s Restaurant. Hint: order the fried chicken.
Ruby Jean’s Juicery is the go-to location for fresh and cold-pressed juices, smoothies, acai bowls, and healthy breakfast bites.
‘Cause We Like to Partaaaay
For the millennial Beyhive, you’ll find games from the 80s and 90s like Nintendo 64 consoles and life-size versions of games like Jenga and Connect Four at the Up-Down arcade bar.
You can’t come to a city known for its jazz scene and not check out Green Lady Lounge. The vibe and aesthetic encapsulate an authentic jazz club with live music from local bands and performers.
Get your grown and sexy on in the upscale lounge, Privee. New to the scene, recently opening in August, their drinks draw inspiration from Beyoncé’s latest album with cocktails named Virgo Groove, Cuff It, and Break My Soul.
Wake Up, Flawless
If you need rejuvenation and recovery, consider visiting The Laya Center, a Black-owned wellness center. What’s better than a spa day after a busy weekend of fun? You can also indulge in guided meditations.
Take a little bit of KC back home with you. The Black Pantry is a local shop offering apparel, home goods, jewelry, beauty, and more that are all Black owned.