Kansas City is an amazing city. While there is so much to do and see over a full weekend or even a week, there is no reason you can't get your fair share of KC in just a few hours. While waiting for my flight, there was no way I was going to hang out in the super small MCI airport. I decided to rent a car and hit the hot spots I've heard about before and some I just discovered.
Joe's has a few locations now, but this original location is in a gas station. No better fuel for the soul (see what I did there?) than smoked meat. If you're in Kansas City for longer than a layover, get more meat to-go for the next day. It comes frozen with directions on how to make it just as delicious as in house.
The line took an hour at 2pm on a Friday. It was way worth it being that I'm not in KC often, but if you can help it, get there early. It looks packed, because it is, but you will never have to wait for a table. They have some magic system that ensures you will always have a seat available when your food is ready. Having said this, there is a strict "No Saving Tables Prior to Ordering" Rule. Don't be that person.
Pulled Pork is my all time favorite and Joe's did not disappoint. I mixed in some awesome brisket as well. Try both BBQ sauces that are on each table. One is sweet and the other is spicy.
This place is classic with their famous "HI, MAY I HELP YOU?!" from just about every employee behind the counter as soon as you step foot in the door. If you don't know what you want right away (like me) they will continue to ask "HI, MAY I HELP YOU?!". It's a fun concept and they are never rude about it. They learned real quick I was a first timer, so they were super nice after they let the whole restaurant know it was my first time.
Pulled pork sandwich (again) and burnt ends without the bun. I had to save room for the good stuff am I right?
With any tour, the most important part is the tour guide. A terrible tour guide can almost always guarantee a terrible tour. The flipside is true of a great tour guide. My tour guide (pictured above) was incredible and had us cracking up for all 45 minutes of the free walking tour. It didn't hurt that 30 seconds into the tour we had our first beer sample.
This part of the tour had me drooling like a kid in a candy store. The massive production was so cool to watch and to imagine all the fun times that will be had with those thousands of bottles.
When you go to a brewery, you go to drink. The tasting room at the end of the tour supplies 2 samples of any of the selections on tap. There are usually two beers on tap here that are exclusive to the tasting room as they are testing out the reaction and popularity of it before full scale production. Pro tip: If you volunteer at the start of the tour when asked, you will be the caboose of the tour and ensure everyone is out of each room prior to moving to the next, but you will be rewarded with a full pint of your choice in addition to the two samples.
After the tasting room, you get to the bar where the Boulevard selection is unlike anywhere else (obviously). It's a great pregame prior to hitting the gift shop and not feeling so bad after buying everything in sight.
Country Club Plaza
This place is Heaven on Earth if you're a big time shopper. Huge brands line the shopping center that spans for several blocks. If you're not a shopper, there are still plenty of restaurants to suit your mood.
This is an attractive plaza that is perfect for walking around with friends or family especially during the nicely decorated holiday season.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City holds a Money Museum that is no cost to enter. This is a close drive to any of the other activities above and interesting to learn a few things about the history of money in the United States, how it's made, destroyed, and more.
This is not a bad activity if you still have some time to kill. It can take you anywhere from 20 minutes to 90, depending on how much you want to browse and read. You even get ~$165 for FREE on your way out! Too bad it's of the shredded variety.