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Trip Report A quick trip to Kansas CIty

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My 18 yo daughter's about to head off to her summer job in Yellowstone Park and then to the Pacific NW for college, so a little time together was in order. I had asked for a week off from work for last minute college visits, no longer needed because her choice of schools was easy. We hadn't been to Kansas City for a few years, and it's my favorite city in MO. Plus my brother and his family live there.

Train transportation is easy from here in St. Louis, and would have been a reasonable $104 RT for both of us-- $40 more to have taken our bicycles. There's an express Greyhound that's even quicker. In the end we took the car so we could visit Columbia and so she could get more highway driving practice.

Hannah wanted to stay in the Plaza area rather then downtown, and I could have gone either way. I booked a Plaza Area room for three nights on Hotwire, 3* , for $65. It showed WiFi and fitness room as the amenities, and turned out to be Holiday Inn on the Plaza.

The morning of our trip arrived along with an unexpected 2 day delay for Hannah. I chose to wait until we could go together rather than going ahead separately, which meant losing the price of the hotel those two nights. We decided to stay an additional night and have one full day there.

THE HOTELS

HI on the Plaza was just right for us: comfortable, luxurious feel, easy 5 min downhill to the Plaza. There was a slight hitch because I hadn't notified them about the first two nights, so the clerk upgraded us to a Plaza view. Nice, overlooking Seville Tower.

I tried Hotwire for the 2nd night, hoping to get the same hotel, but we ended up with the HI Westport, same star level and amenities, for $59. Though this one was more highly recommended on the sites, we preferred the one on the Plaza. There was a decent breakfast included, and the staff was very pleasant, but it all felt flimsier. For instance, we were on the top floor, and they had a bucket in the hallway to catch rainwater. Though there is a great art supply store across the street, we were less charmed with the area and didn't feel as comfortable walking there at night. It's a couple of blocks west of the main Westport entertainment area and shares a parking lot with the Flea Market.

EATING OUT

VIetnamese:

My brother and his wife took me up on my "the more ethnic the better" statement and took us to the Vietnam Cafe at 6th and Campbell, in Columbus Park area nestled north of downtown:

http://tinyurl.com/264f6he

This neighborhood, according to my brother, has been Irish, then Italian, and now seems to be Vietnamese. A Vietnamese Magazine office is across from the restaurant , and on the opposite corner an Italianate Catholic church with della Robbia style medallions on the facade.

The food was delicious and inexpensive. Try the Ginger Chicken.

Breakfast:

We had breakfast twice at the Classic Cup on 47th St in the Plaza: once because it was so good the first time, and then again to treat my brother.
If you go, get window seats in case the bearded man wearing the complete Wonder Woman outfit rides by on his bicycle, as he did twice Thursday morning, on the sidewalk, yet.

Classic Cup was filled with suits early on a weekday morning, a power breakfast spot. The food was very good; my eggs were poached just as I had asked. The scones are excellent, and the coffee kept coming.

Lunch at the Nelson:

I love that courtyard, musty smell and all. We had a lovely lunch there. Free refills on tea and coffee.

Good Old Winstead's

No trip to KC feels complete to me without one trip to Winstead's; call me a traditionalist. Late Wed night after we'd eaten and then visited old friends, and we'd strolled through the Plaza and wondered why there weren't more people out on that beautiful night, we walked to Winsteads to split a limeade. The little section open then was filled with young people chatting pleasantly in their booths. It felt like an excellent hangout.

Thursday it rained all day so we went back after the museums to refresh. They were handing out samples of a new possible funnel cake mouthful called Fun Bites. Just right for teatime treat. Hannah loves the retro feel there, and I punched in some classic tunes on the jukebox.

MUSEUMS:

The Kemper contemporary art museum is across the street from the HI Plaza. Very impressive collection and architecture. Recommended, and free.

I hadn't been to the Nelson since they completed the new wing, and it's just wonderful. Also, now, free. I could spend days there. I only wish there were more benches to sit on and sketch, or that they offered folding stools; next time I'll bring my own.

MUSIC

Wednesday night we heard a middle aged man busking on the Plaza with a teenage looking girl. They were terrific, especially her. Normally I'm not crazy about recorded backup music, but they pulled it off, I think.

Thursday was a rainy night, so we didn't expect much street action. After dinner at my brother's we walked around Westport a little, saw some ethnic restaurants that looked good, then went back to the Plaza. The little faux Irish Little Dublin Pub looked like a possibility, was loud anyway, but they carded Hannah and wouldn't let us in.

Next we walked across Brush Creek to the Intercontinental Hotel (formerly Alameda Plaza back when I haunted the area). I'd hoped the Rooftop Bar would be open, but it seems to be available now only for private events. The real payoff was the Oak Room Bar. We walked right in like rich folks and got to hear an excellent jazz quartet plus female vocalist. We split my amaretto sour and enjoyed one of the highlights of our trip.

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