Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Sun February 14 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | February 14, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    You Could Always Go to Kansas City

    You Could Always Go to Kansas City

    Photos by Worldwide Scott unless otherwise indicated

    From what I can tell, Kansas City is nowhere near the top of anyone's dream U.S. destinations. When people talk to me about where they want to go in America, they pretty much wax poetic about New York, Miami, the Grand Canyon, Route 66, San Francisco, and musical meccas like Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans.

    No one I've met yet has said Kansas City — but you could always still go there.

    In fact, Kansas City is one of my favorite cities in the entire United States, and here are a few of the many reasons why.

    Barbecue & Beats

    First and foremost, nowhere else combines the quintessentially American flavors of sticky sweet barbecue and music quite like Kansas City (okay, maybe Memphis, but that's the only other place). One of the four recognized anchors of American barbecue, Kansas City's busy cattle stockyards and transient population gave birth to a lip-smacking legend. Leading joints like Gate's, Joe's and Arthur Bryant's along with a host of newer up-and-coming spots will have your taste buds dancing.

    READ MORE: Take a Twitter Tour of Lawrence, Kansas

    As far as actual dancing, while Prohibition was putting a damper on the fun in many places around the country, Kansas City was home to one of the most rollicking eras in the history of jazz music. During this time, KC was an “anything goes” kind of place run by a mayor connected to the mob who basically turned a blind eye to anything under the sun that earned money or political favors.

    This resulted in jazz clubs in the 18th & Vine neighborhood that stayed open until the wee hours of the morning — unheard of in other towns — and a sizzling scene that gave birth to artists like Count Basie and Charlie Parker. Today, you can visit the American Jazz Museum, located in the heart of this district.

    Head of the Trails

    One of the most iconic images we have of the American West are covered wagons packed full of pioneers, and many of these pioneer journeys began in Kansas City. Nearby Independence, Missouri was the start of the Oregon Trail (yes, that Oregon Trail) along with the Santa Fe and California Trails.

    Eventually, the Westport district of Kansas City eclipsed Independence to become the hub for trappers and trailblazers heading west, and much of this history can still be viewed — and felt — today, including a cool covered wagon replica in Westport.

    Multitude of Museums

    Our national World War I museum is in Kansas City, and educates all on the background of the Great War and the details of American involvement, with its Liberty Tower and eternal flame now an iconic image of the city.

    Sports fans are spoiled for choice with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and NCAA College Basketball Experience and Hall of Fame, while music fans flock to the aforementioned Jazz Museum. And if you're into art, there's the Nelson-Atkins museum and its famous giant shuttlecocks set upon the front lawn — a definite photo opportunity.

    Frolicking Fountains

    Photo via Flickr/seligmanwaite

    Fountains, fountains, fountains. They are everywhere in Kansas City, apparently in numbers second only to Rome. The misty fountains and wide boulevards of the city add an unexpected elegance to KC, and it's one more reason why I love this place (and think you will too).

    READ MORE: The Top 5 Public Libraries Worth Exploring on Vacation

    Oh, and there's so much more, I didn't even mention the amazing Boulevard Beer that is brewed in KC or the beautiful Country Club Plaza outdoor shopping area and its gorgeous Christmas lights, or the how the Royals just won the World Series or how it's so cool how Kansas City is split right down the middle by the Kansas/Missouri state line, or Starlight Theatre or... 


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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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