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Kansas City is a city covering parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties in Missouri, USA. Situated at the junction of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, it lies along the boundary between Missouri and Kansas, and is directly opposite Kansas City, Kansas. Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, is just south of the Missouri River.

Kansas City, Kansas is nestled right up against the confluence of the Missouri River and the Kansas River, known locally as the "Kaw."

Kansas City, Missouri

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The title of the cookbook published by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (Barbecue...It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore) gives visitors an idea of what to expect when surveying the town's restaurant options. Kansas City, home to dry-rub BBQ, is bursting with barbecue. Subtle and sweet, tangy and hot, there's a strain of sauce for every palate. While early pioneers may have moved westward from Kansas City, you can blaze a BBQ trail from one smoky spot to the next without ever leaving town. After a fiery feast, cool down with some smooth jazz in the city where Count Basie, Charlie "Bird" Parker and others did some of their own best cooking. Stroll down to the American Jazz Museum for exhibits, a studio replica, and evenings of live jazz.

Known as the City of Fountains, Kansas City is a town split between two states. Kansas City has been home to many U.S. icons, such as Hallmark greeting cards, Russell Stover candies and Mr. Walt Disney.

The Kansas City of today boasts one of the finest museums between Chicago and California in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The city's 200-plus fountains add to its cosmopolitan character, as do the clubs and shops of Westport and Country Club Plaza. And happily, the syncopated rhythms of jazz continue to drive the city and provide an enjoyable link to its past.

Kansas City said goodbye to a significant part of its history when it closed its enormous stockyards in 1991, and the decision produced a symbolic shift in the city's economy. Today, the former cow town boasts an expanding telecommunications industry as well as growth in tourism, banking, finance and the service sectors.

Kansas City sprouted on the southern bank of the Missouri River, but the city now extends in all directions, including across the Kansas-Missouri border. Visitors will find the majority of attractions on the Missouri side of the city, which lies on the east side of State Line Road. Most of the initial growth was south of the Missouri River, and this area remains the heart of Kansas City.

East-west streets are numbered, with the numbers increasing as you travel south from the river. The River Market area is just south of the Missouri (Second-Fifth streets). Just south of that is the downtown area, with its art-deco skyscrapers . A little east of downtown is the historic 18th and Vine District, birthplace of the city's jazz scene.

South of downtown is the trendy Westport area, home to some of the oldest buildings in the city. It falls roughly between 40th and 43rd streets. Country Club Plaza, an upscale shopping and entertainment district, is bordered by 47th Street on the north and Brush Creek (a well-lit walking area with fountains, waterfalls and boat rides) on the south. Continuing south, the neighborhood surrounding the University of Missouri-Kansas City is known as Brookside, a leafy area that extends through the streets numbered in the 50s and 60s. Still farther south is the up-and-coming Waldo District.


The extensive Powell Gardens; the River Market/City Market area; the restored grandeur of Union Station, which includes the interactive exhibits at Science City; the 19th-century Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art all add to the pleasure of a visit to Kansas City.

Kansas City has a nice mix of historical sites, cultural museums and pleasant public spaces. One of the best places to start a tour of the city is the 18th and Vine Historic District. This historically significant African-American neighborhood was a hotbed of jazz players in the first half of the 20th century: a legacy that is chronicled in places like the American Jazz Museum.

About 30 blocks northwest of 18th and Vine is the Country Club Plaza area. A pair of art museums lies just east of the Plaza: the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, renowned for its outstanding collection of Asian art, and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, with notable works by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

Just north of Kansas City is Fort Leavenworth. In operation since 1827, it is the longest operating fort west of the Mississippi River. Its museum and monuments allow visitors from the 21st century to touch the Old West.

There's more history on display in Independence, a suburb just east of Kansas City that was the home of 33rd U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The Truman Library and the former president's home pay homage to one of Missouri's favorite sons. Another lovely place east of the city is Powell Gardens, a large botanical garden with picturesque waterfalls. There are more mansions just off the parkway in the area called Mission Hills, home to many local celebrities and sports stars.

Kansas City is a city of carefully preserved memories and of the ultimate in urban planning and economic progress. It has fulfilled the words of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s song from Oklahoma: “Everything’s up to date in Kansas City!”
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