guide to downtown
Downtown KC, MO, isn't the webmaster's usual stomping ground, but after
20 years in the metro area, I have picked up a little info which I hope
will help you enjoy SMOFcon. This will be far from a comprehensive list,
but will be a place to start you on your explorations.
Kansas City's downtown isn't very dynamic after business hours, but
there there are a number of attractions and interesting restaurants with
walking distance of the hotel.
The Hotel Philips is near the south edge of KC's downtown, in an area
currently bounded by the construction of an $835 million entertainment
district zone to the southeast and Barrel Hall Convention center to the
west. Most of your walking exploration will be to the north.
You are unlikely to be able to hail a taxi on the street, but service
can be ordered by calling Checker Cab (816) 444-4444, Yellow Cab (816)
471-5000, or Advanced Suburban Taxi (913) 209-9393. Bus
service (816) 221-0660 is available to the City Market, Crown Center (connected
to Union Station), Liberty Memorial, Nelson-Atkins and Crown Center ($1.25
Places to visit within walking distance...
Kansas City Public Library
- 3 blocks north on Broadway is the main branch of the Kansas City Public
Library. They moved into the current building about 4 years ago and the
former bank building is gorgeous. The Huge book spines along the edge of
the parking garage provide a popular photo opportunity. 4 W 10th St. (816)
Arabia Steamboat Museum. This
museum in the city market has been a big hit with everyone I have taken
there. Joe Haldeman called it "It's a remarkable time capsule of 19th-century
everyday life" and took 11 paragraphs to describe it. The museum exhibits
the frontier bound cargo recovered from the Arabia steamboat that sank
in the Missouri River in 1856. The excavation in 1989 recovered 200 tons
of supplies, including clothing and shoes, medicines, guns, bottled fruits
and vegetables, jewelry and perfume. Includes a theater presentation, guided
tours and a working preservation lab. Monday-Saturday 10AM-5:30PM, Sunday
noon-5PM. 400 Grand Boulevard (816) 471-1856.
Architecture. The area north of the Philip's Hotel has many beautiful
buildings from the 1880s to the 19340s. Take your time walking and look
up above the street level. This area inspired "everything is up to date
in Kansas City" and many of those buildings are still there.
Folgers aroma. You may not have to travel to enjoy the smell
of coffee. Since 1908, Folgers has has been roasting coffee at 701 Broadway
Boulevard in downtown Kansas City. If the weather is right, the area smells
wonderful, even to a non coffee drinker like myself.
Kansas City Ballet presents:
"The Nutcracker" at the Midland Theatre. 1228 Main St. (816) 931-2232.
The Phoenix Piano Bar &
Grill has live jazz nightly. 8th & Central (816) 472-0001.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
10,000 square foot museum with interactive displays, artifacts, photographs,
and a popular museum store. Sharing the building with the jazz museum.
1616 E 18th St. (816) 221-1920
American Jazz Museum
18th and Vine is the place where Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Big Joe Turner,
and hundreds of others developed the music of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.
Includes the Blue Room, which is a museum by day and a great working jazz
club by night. And because of the exhibits, the bar has no smoking. 1616
E 18th St. (816) 784-1117
Tours a little farther away at the Country Club Plaza, but I bet
some of you have been dying to take a segway tour. 446 West 47th Street
The Nelson-Atkins Museum
of Art is one of the country's premier art institutions. Three
miles from the Philips hotel, it has prestigious collections of European
and American art, but it is known above all for its magnificent collection
of Asian art, notably the arts of China, which has made it one of the
nation's centers for the study of Chinese art. The Museum also is home
to outstanding collections of ancient art, decorative arts and the
arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Tuesday–Thursday 10AM-4PM, Friday
10AM-9PM, Saturday 10AM-5PM, Sunday noon-5PM. Admission free, except for
special exhibits. 4525 Oak Street (816) 751-1ART.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary
Art is a smaller museum featuring art from the past 95 years. Café
Sebastienne in the museum is a nice place for lunch or dinner when
the museum is open. Free admission and free wifi. Tuesday–Thursday 10AM-4PM,
Friday-Saturday 10AM-9PM, Sunday 11AM-5PM. 4420 Warwick Boulevard (816)
Visitors Center is much more interesting than you might suspect.
Includes original art by Norman Rockwell, Grandma Moses and Winston Churchill;
Hallmark Hall of Fame displays; and craftspeople at work. My favorite exhibit
is their commercials from other countries. Tuesday-Friday 9AM-5PM, Saturday
9:30AM-4:30PM. In Crown Center. (816) 274-3613.
Built in 1914, Union Station
served as an important link in cross continental travel during the glory
days of rail traffic. During it's peak, more than 75,000 trains per year
stopped at Union Station. Today Union Station houses Science City, KC
Rail Experience, restaurants, a planetarium, Imax Theater, and
the City Center Stage. In 1933, Kansas City's Union Station was the site
of the Union Station Massacre. 30 W Pershing Road, attached by walkway
to Crown Center. Open seven days a week.
- The National World War One Museum is just completing a multi year
expansion and renovation. The grand opening will be one week before SMOFcon.
Spectacular view of the downtown. The photo at the top of this page was
taken from the Memorial. Tuesday-Sunday 10AM-5PM. 100 W 26th St. (816)
Kansas City has four casinos, the closest is the Isle
of Capri, which is less than a mile away from the hotel. 1800 East
Front Street (816) 855-7777.
Center Ice Terrace - outdoors. $6 (free for adults over age 60)
Skate rental is $2, or bring your own. Sunday-Thursday 10AM-9PM. Friday-Saturday
10AM-11PM. (816) 274-8411.
Nothing much within walking distance. The nearest shopping districts
Crown Center which
contains shops, restaurants, Hallmark
Visitors Center, ice skating, movie theater and two live theaters
in a three level retail center.
Country Club Plaza
which was so popular during the Nebula Award Weekend is a couple of miles
farther south, but on the bus
route. The plaza is known for its 80 miles of Christmas
Lights, and over 200,000 people are at the Plaza for the first lighting
of the season on Thanksgiving evening..
In or next to the hotel
Phillips Chop House in the Phillips Hotel has a good reputation and
recently received this positive
review from the Kansas City, Star. I haven't had a meal there since
they changed to the current format, and look forward to trying them during
SMOFcon. It is open evenings, only, and closed on Sunday.
in the hotel is 12 Baltimore Bar and Cafe, which is open 6:30AM-1AM
Monday-Saturday, and 6:30AM-11PM Sunday. 12 Baltimore serves a reasonably
brunch. Free Wifi.
|City Center Square in the block east of the hotel has a superior
food court including Bumble Fish sushi, KoKo Teriyaki and
Joe's BBQ. Unfortunately most of these restaurants close at 5 or 6PM
Friday. Saturday the only places open in the food court are McDonald's
and Starbuck's, and they both close at 3PM.
|One block farther east is the Mango
Room at 12th & Baltimore. Open 11AM - 10PM Monday through Saturday,
the Mango Room serves Caribbean Southern fusion. Excellent red beans and
rice, great jerked chicken. Reservations can be made at the club's website.
smoke free 1111 Main St. (816) 268-4600
|A few doors farther north is Planet
Sub. Inspired by Yellow Sub in Lawrence, Kansas, this Kansas and
Missouri submarine sandwich chain bakes its bread daily. Open 7AM-6PM Monday-Friday,
1111 Main St., (816) 471-7827
Farther away but still within walking distance
Majestic Steakhouse is one of the area's top steakhouses, though
I think it is overpriced. The 1911 building is beautiful and listed on
the national registry of historic places. Live jazz, seven days a week.
This memorable restaurant is smoker friendly. 931 Broadway St. (816) 471-8484
|The Savoy Grill
has operated continuously since 1903. This seafood and steak restaurant
is particularly known for its lobster and the lobster newburg. The best
seating is in the smoking room, including booth number 4 which was Harry
favorite. 4 other presidents, W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, Lillian Russell,
Sara Bernhardt, and John D. Rockefeller have dined at the Savoy. The movies
"Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" and "Cross of Fire" filmed scenes in the Savoy. 219
W. 9th St. (816) 842-3890.
City Market area at the north side of the downtown is about has far
as most people will be willing to walk. It has many food options open on
Market BBQ is known for smoky flavorful meats. The sauce has
less flavor than many, but contains no preservatives and is made fresh
every couple of days. This place was better when Winslow was still alive,
but is still worth a visit. They deliver. 20 East 5th St.
Kansas City, MO 64106 (816) 471-RIBS
Cascone's Grill has one of the most popular breakfasts in town.
Also known for their Italian sausage, spaghetti, cheeseburgers and hot
beef sandwiches. Tuesday-Saturday 6AM-2PM 17 E 5th St.
Blue Nile Cafe is KC's best Ethiopian restaurant Tuesday-Saturday
11AM-3PM, 5-9PM 20 E 5th St. (816) 283-0990.
Hien Vuong - This simple Vietnamese restaurant services up huge
dishes of inexpensive but good food. Huge menu, but only about 10 tables.
417 Main St. (816) 842-1020
Tikka House is the newest Indian restaurant in town. I haven't
tired it yet and it hasn't yet developed a reputation. Only about 3 tables.
Middle Eastern Cafe and grocery. Serving lunch seven days a week from 10:30
until 2:00. Grocery open 9AM-5PM. 209 Main 421-6727
Carollo Groceria Italiana - meat market, grocery and deli. On
weekends they cook sausages and other meats on outdoor grills (816) 474-1860
10-6 Monday-Friday 7-4:30 Sat, 9-4 Sunday
Harry's County Club
40's honkey tonk one block from the City Market. great chili with warm
corn bread. Live music Wednesday - Saturday 112 Missouri Avenue Open
11-1:30AM Monday- Saturday (816) 421-3505
Succotash is known for its breakfasts, and for comfort food.
15 East Third Street 816-421-2807
- At Crown Center. Arguably Kansas City's finest restaurant, the American
has won many national honors. The lunch is a special value, with any three
courses for $24. Open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner seven days a week.
25th & Grand (816) 545.8000.
Kansas City's most famous BBQ restaurant. Step up to the counter for large
servings of french fries cooked in lard, and well cooked meats. I've seen
people take half a sandwich home with them and still have enough meat for
two people. Operating since the 1930s. Calvin Trillin says this is the
best restaurant anywhere. Go only to the original location at 18th and
Brooklyn for the best experience. Monday-Thursday 10AM-9:30PM, Friday-Saturday
10AM-10PM, Sunday 11AM-8PM. 1727 Brooklyn Avenue 816-231-1123.
|Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue
in the Freight House District just south of the downtown is popular with
several of the people attending SMOFcon. I think it is over-rated and over
priced. 101 W. 22nd St. (916) 472-7427
|Garozzo's is a very popular
Italian restaurant. Michael Garozzo came to Kansas City from "The Hill"
in St. Louis and created a restaurant that out does The Hill. I recommend
the chicken spedeni and the stuffed artichokes. Or order the 3 way pasta
and have enough food to feed a small family. 526 Harrison (816) 221-2455
|Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill
This is the farthest location from the hotel, that is included in this
guide. Genghis Khan is the restaurant by which other Mongolian BBQ's are
measured. If you get there early, they deal very well with large groups.
During local science fiction conventions, we have given them 30 minutes
notice that we were on our way with 30 people, showed up with 40, and still
been well taken care of. 11AM-9:30PM Monday-Thursday, noon-10:30PM
Friday & Saturday. 3906 Bell (816) 753-2600
Good Italian food, large servings and good service. In the same building
as Fiorella's Jack Stack. 101 West 22nd Street (816) 221-3722
Tules Restaurante & Cantina small, authentic Mexican restaurant
with great food. Almost within walking distance, but not as pleasant an
area to walk through. 1656 Broadway St. (816) 421-9229
Restaurant This popular Mexican restaurant is the closest
of many Mexican Restaurants along Southwest Boulevard. Asking Kansas City
natives which one is the best, is like asking which BBQ restaurant is the
best. Other contenders along Southwest Boulevard include Ponak's, Margarita's
and Taqueria Mexico. 207 Southwest Boulevard (816) 474-7696
Joe's Bar-B-Q Good ribs, good fries and great smoked chicken
wings. Nothing fancy. 101 Southwest Boulevard (816) 421-2282
Topic Sandwich Shops These two, small, classic dives are only 2 blocks
apart. Open 24 hours, they serve great burgers, breakfasts and chili. This
is where you go if you have to have a burger at 3 in the morning. Almost
within walking distance of the hotel, but not as pleasant an area to walk
through. 2021 Broadway St. (816) 842-2298, 1900 Baltimore Avenue (816)