One day-Kansas City or Topeka?

Old Jul 19th, 2002, 07:58 AM
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One day-Kansas City or Topeka?

Ok, I will be visiting family in Kansas and since my wife and I don't want to spend more time than we have to on their farm, we want to spend one day in either Topeka or Kansas City. The question is, which one? I tried a search for Kansas City and the options seem to be this:

Go to the Plaza, eat barbeque
Go to the Plaza, eat steak
Go to the Plaza, eat hamburgers

I need a little more than this to go on. Our interests are varied, we are both cultural people going to a cultural black hole, enjoy museams, architecture, the outdoors, sports, live music.

So which is better, Topeka or KC? Give me your thoughts on it.
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 08:19 AM
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While KC might not exactly be NYC, I've gotta tell you that Topeka is the last place anyone would want to spend any time, leisure or otherwise. It has a very high crime rate, drug sales and use is rampant, and there is nothing of any cultural significance to offset these negatives.

Go to the Nelson Atkins museum of Art in KC. Or take in a game at the K. Or go visit the Truman library and museum. Or check out the zoo and IMAX. Or head over to 18th and Vine for a tour of the historic jazz district, and check out the Negro Leagues museum while you are there.

There is plenty to see in KC besides the Plaza.....
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 08:31 AM
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If you are interested in Presidential can visit Independence, MO (part of metro KCMO) and learn all about Harry Truman. His Library is there and I believe one of his homes at one time as well.

Not sure if that helps. Never been to Topeka...don't even know what is there.

Old Jul 19th, 2002, 08:32 AM
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I suggest checking out Harry Truman's home and Presidential library in Independence (KC suburb). We went there some years ago just for something to do and ended up enthralled with both.

I think if you go to KC with the right attitude you'll have a great time. It's a beautiful city (certain parts).
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 08:37 AM
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Two minds with a single thought--looks like we both posted the Harry Truman info. at the same time!
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 08:58 AM
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As with most state capitals, the only reason they exist is because the government. Otherwise the town would have folded long ago. KC is the definite choice over Topeka.

The Plaza is a nice outdoor shopping area and there are several outdoor concerts around Crown Center and the different parks. I would think that there's an official tourism website, unfortunately don't have the address.
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 09:02 AM
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If it were me, I'd visit the Nelson-Atkins museum of art..Skip the zoo--it's in sad shape--and the Negro League Museum (one day! If you had another I'd travel a little further and see Powell Gardens). KC masterpiece has good BBQ. It's where President Bush eats when he is in town.
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 09:11 AM
Rich Daley
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I agree on skipping the zoo. Unfortunately it is very poorly maintained and is depressing to see the animals in such an environment.

For a great zoo, hit Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. It's a great zoo in the heart of a wonderful city park on the lakefront and it's free.
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 09:30 AM
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Thanks for all the responses, this is great! So far what I have gathered:

Don't go to Topeka unless I want to get shot or score some drugs

Only go to the Plaza and eat either a) barbeque, b) steak, c) hamburger and then explore other areas of the city (except the zoo didn't seem to be too popular). The Truman library and home sound interesting as do 18th and Vine. Of course a lot of this depends on the weather as I know Kansas can be a little warm in the summer. Thanks again!
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 10:15 AM
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The Nelson Atkins art museum is the best cultural item in KC.
Lucky for you, bored, it's right next to the Plaza!
So you can eat burgers and schlump right on over.
BTW, Clinton always ate at Gates BBQ (also, right next to the Plaza). KC Masterpiece is the McDonald's of local BBQ establishments.

PS: Topeka is to culture what Carrot Top is to live entertainment. Ever wonder why Annette Bening never returns?
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 10:25 AM
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Carter always went to Arthur Bryants. My parents loved that place, but it always grossed me out. Looked like the place had caught fire just before you arrived.
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 11:19 AM
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I wouldn't go out of my way to see the is just shopping. No big whoop. See the Nelson...if you have time the Negro Leage Museum..18th & VINE? Kinda scary to me. I prefer KC Masterpiece. Love my Bushie!
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 11:29 AM
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Success! I want to thank everyone for all the useful info! There seems to be more to do than I would have thought and have actually composed a two day itenarary that we will try and do:

Day 1:
Arrive lunch time grab a bite to eat at the Plaza and spend some time walking around looking at the shops (after all I will be with my wife).

After lunch and shopping go to the American Jazz Museam and the Negro Leauge museam for a tour there.

Followed up with whatever time is left in the day at the Nelson Art Gallery.

That night we will have dinner at one of the local barbeque joints (don't know which one yet)

Day 2
Head on over to Independence for some Presidential History tour as we will see both the house and the library.

I was actually born in Independence at the old sanitarium, so I thought I would try and find that building (although I hear it is just a regular hospitial now) to show the wife.

Thought the remainder of the day would be spent seeing something that we might have missed on the first day or wanted to see more of.

That night a different local barbeque joint.

Again, thanks for all the help!
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 11:30 AM
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A Royals game and burnt ends at Fiorella's Jack Stack are musts...
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 11:49 AM
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The Fairmont is right there at the Plaza if you are looking for a nice place to stay

Burnt ends..yes!
Old Jul 19th, 2002, 12:49 PM
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Calli, I'm still intrigued by the bushie comment.
Is the Fairmont a good place to go for those who love their bushies?
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 11:03 AM
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Dear bored,
If you are going to the Negro Basesball Hall of Fame, the best BarBQue in KC is Bryants BarBQue, and it's right down the street.(Don't go at night)If you have kids they will really enjoy the baseball hall of fame. I would also put the Nelson a little higher on my list of things to do.
One great thing to do in Topeka, if you're driving by anyway is visit the capital building. The mural by Curry is a must see. And speaking of regional art, Independence is famous for being the home of Thomas Hart Benton.
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 11:18 AM
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Hey, come back and tell us what you thought!

I moved away from Kansas City when I was a young adult. I'm not claiming it's the most exotic city in America, but I don't think it gets it's full dues, either. I hope you enjoyed yourself.

Ps. KC is home to some fantastic thunderstorms in the summer. Bad for walking, but you can go to one of those revolving restaurants at the top of a downtown building (can't remember the name for the life of me!) and enjoy the light show.
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 11:25 AM
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Hey Bored:
I was driving through Topeka this weekend and stopped off for some food.
I noticed the headlines on the local newspaper (I mean THE headline in large font) was "TOPEKA WELCOMES TARGET".
The accompanying photo showed a new Target retail store opening.


I almost laughed when I saw that and thought of your question.
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 02:26 PM
never bored
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Here are some of the things my family would consider if we had some time to spend in Kansas City:

-Book a room at The Raphael (lovely small hotel near the Plaza) The Raphael has imaginative packages - The Truman Doctrine Package is for those who were alive during the Truman administration! (1945- 1953)!
-Have lunch (or dinner) in The Raphael's very charming restaurant to get the KC vibe.
-Go to Williams Sonoma, Caswell Massey & Crabtree & Evelyn in the Plaza
-Have a drink or two (it might help cure the boredom) in one of the "patio restaurants" on the Plaza
-Visit the City Market. Buy fresh produce, art, antiques, or just stroll and enjoy. Eat BBQ here at Winslow's.
-While at the City Market visit the Arabia Steamboat Museum. Interesting story, fascinating museum.
-Visit the Kansas City Museum. Located in a beautiful mansion on a hilltop. Tiffany windows, a planetarium, great exhbits and a working soda fountain (complete with phosphates).
-Visit Science City in the beautiful Kansas City Union Station There are live shows and exhibits (Circus Magicus right now), cafes, and snack bars (my family's favorite is soda pop maker and root beer microbrewery: Fitz's Bottling Co).
-Visit Crown Center (near Union Station) for eclectic shopping and a visit to the Hallmark Cards Visitor Center.
-The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is not just a great museum by "Kansas" standards, it's a great museum. You can have an artful lunch there at Rozelle Court.
-There are so many great places to eat in Kansas City. You seem to favor "plain food" so here are our fairly non-adventurous but good Midwestern food favorites - Fiorella's Jack Stack for BBQ, Stephenson's Apple Farm, Italian Gardens, Cascones, The Colony Steakhouse.

We'd do lots more ( Toy & Miniature Museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County 1950's Model Home, a concert or theatre at the Uptown, the Midland or the Lyric or an all-out extravaganza at Sandstone - OZfest would probably satisfy your need for being "cultural") because we really LIKE to visit other places. A good attitude and some expectation that you WILL have fun goes a long way wherever you visit (including the farm!).

For lots more information about Kansas City, visit

My mama says that only the boring get bored.

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