Home to a strange combination of the US national tax headquarters and a heady, traditional dose of jazz, Kansas City is well remembered for the likes of Charlie Parker and his inimitable sax sounds. These days there's a modern, artistic edge to Kansas culture, nicely blended with a heady sports scene and a lively nightlife.
Fans of the presidential can check out Harry Truman’s house; the 33rd president’s Victorian home was once referred to as ‘the Summer White House’, and is still in a very similar state to how he left it, home to plenty in the way of period antiques and family heirlooms, and limits tours to a intimate eight at a time (arrive early). 18th and vine is the place to go to get into the swing of things. Once a prohibition-defying district that welcomed Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, jazz fans will be swept off their feet by the astounding heritage of venues like The Blue Room, and will find the recent reclamation of the district (and the accompanying Jazz Museum and even a Negro Leagues American Baseball Museum – their name not mine! – charming distractions).
The city’s historic Union Station has now been renovated to its 1914 form, and is full of the drama of that particular era’s, with a stunning marble entry hall overlooked by the stars and stripes, and now home to a modern day entertainment centre, too. There’s plenty of more of-the-minute entertainment to be had, in fact, in the form of the 200-acre, multi-environ zoological park and ‘Worlds of Fun’, an Around the World in 80 Days themed park that allows visitors to ‘travel’ to every continent in the world without ever leaving the parks walls.
The jazzy side of Kansas might have been surpassed by its more straight-edged tax influences recently, but this is still a soulful city, home to plenty of intriguing draws and a quirky, playful historical side. Grab your BBQ forks, have a hearty meal and then head off to 18th and vine to soak up the ambience of a district that once meant the world.
Overland Park is the second largest city in Kansas and a suburb of Kansas City. Located just south south west the population runs about 200,000. It is constantly rated as one of the top ten …