) is the largest city in Missouri
by population and area. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 495,327 in 2019,
making it the 38th most-populous city in the United States
. It is the most populated municipality and historic core city of the Kansas City metropolitan area
, which straddles the Kansas
state line and has a combined statistical area
(CSA) population of 2,487,053. Most of the city lies within Jackson County
, but portions spill into Clay
, and Platte
counties. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River
port at its confluence with the Kansas River
coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850, the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory
. Confusion between the two ensued, and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon after.
Kansas City, Missouri, was incorporated as a town on June 1, 1850, and as a city on March 28, 1853. The territory
, straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, was considered a good place to build settlements.
Exploration and settlement
The first documented European visitor to the eventual site of Kansas City was Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont
, who was also the first European to explore the lower Missouri River. Criticized for his response to the Native American
attack on Fort Détroit
, he had deserted his post as fort commander and was avoiding French authorities. Bourgmont lived with a Native American wife in a village about 90 miles (140 km) east near Brunswick, Missouri
, where he illegally traded furs
To clear his name, he wrote Exact Description of Louisiana, of Its Harbors, Lands and Rivers, and Names of the Indian Tribes That Occupy It, and the Commerce and Advantages to Be Derived Therefrom for the Establishment of a Colony
in 1713 followed in 1714 by The Route to Be Taken to Ascend the Missouri River
. In the documents, he describes the junction of the "Grande Riv[ière] des Cansez" and Missouri River, making him the first to adopt those names. French cartographer Guillaume Delisle
used the descriptions to make the area's first reasonably accurate map.
The Spanish took over the region in the Treaty of Paris
in 1763, but were not to play a major role other than taxing and licensing Missouri River ship traffic. The French continued their fur trade
under Spanish license. The Chouteau
family operated under Spanish license at St. Louis
, in the lower Missouri Valley
as early as 1765 and in 1821 the Chouteaus reached Kansas City, where François Chouteau
established Chouteau's Landing.
After the 1804 Louisiana Purchase
, Lewis and Clark
visited the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, noting it was a good place to build a fort. In 1831, a group of Mormons
from New York settled in what would become the city. They built the first school within Kansas City's current boundaries, but were forced out by mob violence
in 1833, and their settlement remained vacant.
In 1833 John McCoy
, son of Baptist
missionary Isaac McCoy
, established West Port
along the Santa Fe Trail
, 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) away from the river. In 1834 McCoy established Westport Landing
on a bend in the Missouri to serve as a landing point for West Port. Soon after, the Kansas Town Company, a group of investors, began to settle the area, taking their name from an English spelling of "Cansez." The 1837 Great Plains smallpox epidemic
, which began when a ship carrying an infected person landed at Fort Leavenworth
, a short distance to the north, devastated Plains Indian
villages along the Missouri River, while white settlements were still sparse.
Kansas City in 1843, as depicted in a history of Oregon.
On February 22, 1853, the City of Kansas was created with a newly elected mayor. It had an area of 0.70 square miles (1.8 km2
) and a population of 2,500. The boundary lines at that time extended from the middle of the Missouri River south to what is now Ninth Street, and from Bluff Street on the west to a point between Holmes Road and Charlotte Street on the east.
American Civil War
During the Civil War, the city and its immediate surroundings were the focus of intense military activity. Although the First Battle of Independence
in August 1862 resulted in a Confederate States Army
victory, the Confederates were unable to leverage their win in any significant fashion, as Kansas City was occupied by Union troops and proved too heavily fortified to assault. The Second Battle of Independence
, which occurred on October 21–22, 1864, as part of Sterling Price
's Missouri expedition of 1864
, also resulted in a Confederate triumph. Once again their victory proved hollow, as Price was decisively defeated in the pivotal Battle of Westport
the next day, effectively ending Confederate efforts to regain Missouri.
General Thomas Ewing
, in response to a successful raid on nearby Lawrence, Kansas
, led by William Quantrill
, issued General Order No. 11
, forcing the eviction of residents in four western Missouri counties – including Jackson – except those living in the city and nearby communities and those whose allegiance to the Union was certified by Ewing.
After the Civil War, Kansas City grew rapidly, largely losing its Southern identity. The selection of the city over Leavenworth, Kansas
, for the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad
bridge over the Missouri River brought about significant growth. The population exploded after 1869, when the Hannibal Bridge, designed by Octave Chanute
, opened. The boom prompted a name change to Kansas City in 1889, and the city limits to be extended south and east. Westport became part of Kansas City on December 2, 1897. In 1900, Kansas City was the 22nd largest city in the country, with a population of 163,752 residents.
Junction of Main and Delaware Streets in 1898
Kansas City, guided by architect George Kessler
, became a forefront example of the City Beautiful
movement, offering a network of boulevards and parks.
New neighborhoods, like Southmoreland
and the Rockhill District were conceived to accommodate the city’s largest residencies of palatial proportions.
20th century streetcar system
The Kansas City streetcar system
once had hundreds of miles of streetcars running through the city and was one of the largest systems in the country.
In 1903 the 8th Street Tunnel was built as an underground streetcar system through the city. The last run of the streetcar was on June 23, 1957 but the tunnel still exists.
At the start of the 20th century, political machines
gained clout in the city, with the one led by Tom Pendergast
dominating the city by 1925. Several important buildings and structures were built during this time, including the Kansas City City Hall
and the Jackson County Courthouse. The machine fell in 1939 when Pendergast, riddled with health problems, pleaded guilty to tax evasion after long federal investigations. His biographers have summed up Pendergast's uniqueness:
Pendergast may bear comparison to various big-city bosses, but his open alliance with hardened criminals, his cynical subversion of the democratic process, his monarchistic style of living, his increasingly insatiable gambling habit, his grasping for a business empire, and his promotion of Kansas City as a wide-open town with every kind of vice imaginable, combined with his professed compassion for the poor and very real role as city builder, made him bigger than life, difficult to characterize.
Kansas City's suburban development began with a streetcar system in the early decades of the 20th century. The city's first suburbs were in the neighborhoods of Pendleton Heights and Quality Hill. After World War II
, many relatively affluent residents left for suburbs in Johnson County, Kansas
, and eastern Jackson County, Missouri. Many also went north of the Missouri River
, where Kansas City had incorporated areas between the 1940s and 1970s.
Troost dividing wall and white flight
, once the eastern edge of Kansas City, Mo. and a residential corridor nicknamed Millionaire Row, is now widely seen as one of the city's most prominent racial and economic dividing lines due to urban decay, which was caused by white flight
During the civil rights era the city blocked people of color from moving to homes west of Troost Avenue, causing the areas east of Troost to have one of the worst murder rates in the country. This led to the dominating economic success of the neighboring Johnson County
In 1950, African Americans represented 12.2% of Kansas City's population.
The sprawling characteristics of the city and its environs today mainly took shape after 1960s race riots. The April 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
was a catalyst for the 1968 Kansas City riot
. At this time, slums were forming in the inner city, and many who could afford to do so left for the suburbs and outer edges of the city. The post-World War II idea of suburbs and the "American Dream" also contributed to the sprawl of the area. The city's population continued to grow, but the inner city declined. The city's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic whites,
declined from 89.5% in 1930 to 54.9% in 2010.
In 1940, the city had about 400,000 residents; by 2000, it was home to only about 180,000. From 1940 to 1960, the city more than doubled its physical size, while increasing its population by only about 75,000. By 1970, the city covered approximately 316 square miles (820 km2), more than five times its size in 1940.
Hyatt Regency walkway collapse
Downtown Kansas City re-development
Downtown Kansas City during the day from the lawn of Liberty Memorial.
Downtown at dusk.
In the 21st century, the Kansas City area has undergone extensive redevelopment, with more than $6 billion in improvements to the downtown area on the Missouri side. One of the main goals is to attract convention and tourist dollars, office workers, and residents to downtown KCMO. Among the projects include the redevelopment of the Power & Light District
, located in the area to the east of the Power & Light Building (the former headquarters of the Kansas City Power & Light Company, which is now based in the district's northern end), into a retail and entertainment district; and the Sprint Center, an 18,500-seat arena that opened in 2007, funded by a 2004 ballot initiative involving a tax on car rentals and hotels, designed to meet the stadium specifications for a possible future NBA or NHL franchise,
and was renamed T-Mobile Center
in 2020; Kemper Arena, which was replaced by Sprint Center, fell into disrepair and was sold to private developers. By 2018, the arena was being converted to a sports complex under the name Hy-Vee Arena
The Kauffman Performing Arts Center opened in 2011 providing a new, modern home to the KC Orchestra and Ballet. In 2015, an 800-room Hyatt Convention Center Hotel was announced for a site next to the Performance Arts Center & Bartle Hall. Construction was scheduled to start in early 2018 with Loews as the operator.
From 2007 to 2017, downtown residential population in Kansas City quadrupled and continues to grow. The area has grown from almost 4,000 residents in the early 2000s to nearly 30,000 as of 2017. Kansas City's downtown ranks as the 6th-fastest-growing downtown in America with the population expected to grow by more than 40% by 2022. Conversions of office buildings such as the Power & Light Building and the Commerce Bank Tower into residential and hotel space has helped to fulfill the demand. New apartment complexes like One, Two, and Three Lights, River Market West, and 503 Main have begun to reshape Kansas City's skyline. Strong demand has led to occupancy rates in the upper 90%.
While the residential population of downtown has boomed, the office population has dropped significantly from the early 2000s to the mid 2010s. AMC and other top employers moved their operations to modern office buildings in the suburbs. High office vacancy plagued downtown, leading to the neglect of many office buildings. By the mid 2010s, many office buildings were converted to residential uses and the Class A vacancy rate plunged to 12% in 2017. Swiss Re, Virgin Mobile, AutoAlert, and others have begun to move operations to downtown Kansas City from the suburbs as well as expensive coastal cities.
The area has seen additional development through various transportation projects, including improvements to the Grandview Triangle
, which intersects Interstates 435 and 470, and U.S. Route 71
, a thoroughfare long notorious for fatal accidents.
In 2013, construction began on a two-mile streetcar
line in downtown Kansas City (funded by a $102 million ballot initiative that was passed in 2012) that runs between the River Market and Union Station, it began operation in May 2016. In 2017, voters approved the formation of a TDD to expand the streetcar line south 3.5 miles from Union Station to UMKC's Volker Campus. Additionally in 2017, the KC Port Authority began engineering studies for a Port Authority funded streetcar expansion north to Berkley Riverfront Park. Citywide, voter support for rail projects continues to grow with numerous light rail projects in the works.
In 2016, Jackson County, Missouri, acquired unused rail lines as part of a long-term commuter rail plan. For the time being, the line is being converted to a trail while county officials negotiate with railroads for access to tracks in Downtown Kansas City.
On November 7, 2017, Kansas City, Missouri, voters overwhelmingly approved a new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport
by a 75% to 25% margin. The new single terminal will replace the three existing "Clover Leafs" at KCI Airport and is expected to open in October 2022.
The city has an area of 319.03 square miles (826.28 km2
), of which, 314.95 square miles (815.72 km2
) is land and 4.08 square miles (10.57 km2
) is water.
Bluffs overlook the rivers and river bottom areas. Kansas City proper is bowl-shaped and is surrounded to the north and south by glacier
cliffs. Kansas City is at the confluence between the Dakota
and Minnesota ice lobes during the maximum late Independence glaciation of the Pleistocene epoch
. The Kansas and Missouri rivers cut wide valleys into the terrain when the glaciers melted and drained. A partially filled spillway valley crosses the central city. This valley is an eastward continuation of the Turkey Creek Valley. It is the closest major city to the geographic center of the contiguous United States, or "Lower 48".
Kansas City, Missouri, comprises more than 240
neighborhoods, some with histories as independent cities or as the sites of major events.
Kansas City hosts more than 200 working fountains, especially on the Country Club Plaza. Designs range from French-inspired traditional to modern. Highlights include the Black Marble H&R Block fountain in front of Union Station, which features synchronized water jets; the Nichols Bronze Horses at the corner of Main and J.C. Nichols Parkway at the entrance to the Plaza Shopping District; and the fountain at Hallmark Cards
World Headquarters in Crown Center
The Town of Kansas Bridge offers a connection for foot and bike traffic from the Riverfront Heritage Trail (starting at Berkley Riverfront Park) to the River Market.
Since its inception in 1857, City Market
has been one of the largest and most enduring public farmers' markets in the American Midwest, linking growers and small businesses to the community. More than 30 full-time merchants operate year-round and offer specialty foods, fresh meats and seafood, restaurants and cafes, floral, home accessories and more.
The City Market is also home to the Arabia Steamboat Museum
, which houses artifacts from a steamboat that sank near Kansas City in 1856.
Downtown Kansas City and the Crossroads Arts District as viewed from Liberty Memorial in 2016.
Downtown Kansas City
is an area of 2.9 square miles (7.5 km2
) bounded by the Missouri River to the north, 31st Street to the south, Troost Avenue
to the East, and State Line Road to the west. Areas near Downtown Kansas City include the 39th Street District
, which is known as Restaurant Row,
and features one of Kansas City's largest selections of independently owned restaurants and boutique shops. It is a center of literary and visual arts, and bohemian culture
. Crown Center
is the headquarters of Hallmark Cards
and a major downtown shopping and entertainment complex. It is connected to Union Station by a series of covered walkways. The Country Club Plaza
, or simply "the Plaza", is an upscale, outdoor shopping and entertainment district. It was the first suburban shopping district in the United States,
designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile,
and is surrounded by apartments and condominiums, including a number of high rise buildings. The associated Country Club District
to the south includes the Sunset Hill and Brookside
neighborhoods, and is traversed by Ward Parkway
, a landscaped boulevard known for its statuary, fountains and large, historic homes. Kansas City's Union Station
is home to Science City
, restaurants, shopping, theaters, and the city's Amtrak
The city's tallest buildings and characteristic skyline are roughly contained inside the downtown freeway loop
(shaded in red). Downtown Kansas City itself is established by city ordinance
to stretch from the Missouri River south to 31st Street (beyond the bottom of this map), and from State Line Rd. to Troost Ave.
After years of neglect and seas of parking lots, Downtown Kansas City is undergoing a period of change with over $6 billion in development since 2000. Many residential properties recently have been or are under redevelopment in three surrounding warehouse loft districts and the Central Business District. The Power & Light District
, a new, nine-block entertainment district comprising numerous restaurants, bars, and retail shops, was developed by the Cordish Company
. Its first tenant opened on November 9, 2007. It is anchored by the T-Mobile Center
, a 19,000-seat sports and entertainment complex.
Kansas City lies in the Midwestern United States
, near the geographic center of the country, at the confluence of the Missouri
and Kansas rivers
. The city lies in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical
but is interchangeable with the humid continental climate
due to roughly 104 air frosts on average per annum.
The city is part of USDA plant hardiness zones
5b and 6a.
In the center of North America
, far removed from a significant body of water, there is significant potential for extreme hot and cold swings throughout the year. The warmest month is July, with a 24-hour average temperature of 81.0 °F (27.2 °C). The summer months are hot and humid, with moist air riding up from the Gulf of Mexico
, and high temperatures surpass 100 °F (38 °C) on 5.6 days of the year, and 90 °F (32 °C) on 47 days.
The coldest month of the year is January, with an average temperature of 31.0 °F (−0.6 °C). Winters are cold, with 22 days where the high temperature is at or below 32 °F (0 °C) and 2.5 nights with a low at or below 0 °F (−18 °C).
The official record highest temperature is 113 °F (45 °C), set on August 14, 1936 at Downtown Airport, while the official record lowest is −23 °F (−31 °C), set on December 22 and 23, 1989.
Normal seasonal snowfall is 13.4 inches (34 cm) at Downtown Airport and 18.8 in (48 cm) at Kansas City International Airport. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 31 to April 4, while for measurable (0.1 in or 0.25 cm) snowfall, it is November 27 to March 16 as measured at Kansas City International Airport.
Precipitation, both in frequency and total accumulation, shows a marked uptick in late spring and summer.
Kansas City is located in "Tornado Alley
", a broad region where cold air from Canada collides with warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the formation of powerful storms, especially during the spring. The Kansas City metropolitan area has experienced several significant outbreaks of tornadoes
in the past, including the Ruskin Heights tornado in 1957
and the May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence
. The region can also experience ice storms
during the winter months, such as the 2002 ice storm
during which hundreds of thousands of residents lost power for days and (in some cases) weeks.
Kansas City and its outlying areas are also subject to flooding, including the Great Floods of 1951
Map of racial distribution in Kansas City, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)
According to the 2010 census, the racial composition of Kansas City was as follows:
Kansas City has the second largest Somali
populations in the United States. The Latino/Hispanic population of Kansas City, which is heavily Mexican and Central American
, is spread throughout the metropolitan area, with some concentration in the northeast part of the city and southwest of downtown. The Asian population, mostly Southeast Asian, is partly concentrated within the northeast side to the Columbus Park neighborhood in the Greater Downtown area, a historically Italian American neighborhood
, the UMKC area and in River Market, in northern Kansas City.
The Historic Kansas City boundary is roughly 58 square miles (150 km2) and has a population density of about 5,000 people per sq. mi. It runs from the Missouri River to the north, 79th Street to the south, the Blue River to the east, and State Line Road to the west. During the 1960s and 1970s, Kansas City annexed large amounts of land, which are largely undeveloped to this day.
Between the 2000 and 2010 Census counts, the urban core of Kansas City continued to drop significantly in population. The areas of Greater Downtown in the center city, and sections near I-435 and I-470 in the south, and Highway 152 in the north are the only areas of Kansas City, Missouri, to have seen an increase in population, with the Northland seeing the greatest population growth.
Even so, the population of Kansas City as a whole from 2000 to 2010 increased by 4.1%.
As of 2016 all employment growth in the area since 2000 has been in neighboring Kansas
, mostly in Johnson County
The federal government is the largest employer in the Kansas City metro area. More than 146 federal agencies maintain a presence there. Kansas City is one of ten regional office cities for the US government.
The Internal Revenue Service
maintains a large service center in Kansas City that occupies nearly 1.4 million square feet (130,000 m2
It is one of only two sites to process paper returns.
The IRS has approximately 2,700 full-time employees in Kansas City, growing to 4,000 during tax season. The General Services Administration
has more than 800 employees. Most are at the Bannister Federal Complex
in South Kansas City. The Bannister Complex was also home to the Kansas City Plant
, which is a National Nuclear Security Administration
facility operated by Honeywell
. The Kansas City Plant has since been moved to a new location on Botts Road. Honeywell
employs nearly 2,700 at the Kansas City Plant, which produces and assembles 85% of the non-nuclear components of the United States nuclear bomb
The Social Security Administration
has more than 1,700 employees in the Kansas City area, with more than 1,200 at its downtown Mid-America Program Service Center (MAMPSC).
The United States Postal Service
operates post offices in Kansas City. The Kansas City Main Post Office is at 300 West Pershing Road.
In 2019, the US Department of Agriculture
relocated two federal research labs, ERS
, to the metro area. This move was considered controversial at the time of announcement, and resulted in multiple people leaving the agencies. The new location for these agencies will be in the downtown area.
's oblong headquarters in downtown Kansas City.
The business community is serviced by two major business magazines, the Kansas City Business Journal
(published weekly) and Ingram's Magazine
(published monthly), as well as other publications, including a local society
journal, the Independent
Three international law firms, Lathrop & Gage, Stinson Leonard Street, and Shook, Hardy & Bacon
are based in the city.
The following companies are headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri:
According to the city's Fiscal Year 2014–15 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,
the top ten principal employers are as follows:
Abbreviations and nicknames
There were only two theaters in Kansas City when David Austin Latchaw
, originally from rural Pennsylvania
, moved to Kansas City in 1886. Latchaw maintained friendly relations with a number of actors such as Otis Skinner
, Richard Mansfield
, Maude Adams
, Margaret Anglin
, John Drew
, Minnie Maddern Fiske
, Julia Marlowe
, E. H. Sothern
, and Robert Mantell
Theater troupes in the 1870s toured the state performing in cities or small towns springing up along the railroad lines. Rail transport had made touring easy allowing theater troupes to travel with costumes, props and sets. As theater grew in popularity after the mid-1880s that number increased and by 1912 ten new theaters had been built in Kansas City.
The Kansas City Repertory Theatre
is the metropolitan area's top professional theatre company. The Starlight Theatre
is an 8,105-seat outdoor theatre designed by Edward Delk
. The Kansas City Symphony
was founded by R. Crosby Kemper Jr.
in 1982 to replace the defunct Kansas City Philharmonic, which was founded in 1933. The symphony performs at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
. Michael Stern
is the symphony's music director and lead conductor. Lyric Opera of Kansas City, founded in 1958, performs at the Kauffman Center, offers one American contemporary opera production during its season, consisting of either four or five productions. The Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City performs at the downtown Folly Theater
and at the UMKC Performing Arts Center. Every summer from mid-June to early July, The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival performs at Southmoreland Park near the Nelson-Atkins Museum
; the festival was founded by Marilyn Strauss in 1993.
The Kansas City Ballet
, founded in 1957 by Tatiana Dokoudovska, is a ballet troupe comprising 25 professional dancers and apprentices. Between 1986 and 2000, it combined with Dance St. Louis to form the State Ballet of Missouri, although it remained in Kansas City. From 1980 to 1995, the Ballet was run by dancer and choreographer Todd Bolender
. Today, the Ballet offers an annual repertory split into three seasons, performing classical to contemporary ballets.
The Ballet also performs at the Kauffman Center. Kansas City is home to The Kansas City Chorale
, a professional 24-voice chorus conducted by Charles Bruffy. The chorus performs an annual concert series and a concert in Phoenix
each year with their sister choir, the Phoenix Chorale. The Chorale has made nine recordings (three with the Phoenix Chorale).
Entrance of the American Jazz Museum
Kansas City jazz in the 1930s marked the transition from big bands to the bebop influence of the 1940s. The 1979 documentary The Last of the Blue Devils
portrays this era in interviews and performances by local jazz notables. In the 1970s, Kansas City attempted to resurrect the glory of the jazz era in a family-friendly atmosphere. In the 1970s, an effort to open jazz clubs in the River Quay area of City Market along the Missouri ended in a gang war
. Three of the new clubs were blown up in what ultimately ended Kansas City mob influence in Las Vegas
casinos. The annual "Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival" attracts top jazz stars and large out-of-town audiences. It was rated Kansas City's "best festival." by Pitch.com.
Live music venues are found throughout the city, with the highest concentration in the Westport entertainment district centered on Broadway and Westport Road near the Country Club Plaza
, as well as the 18th and Vine area's flourish for jazz music. A variety of music genres can be heard or have originated there, including musicians Janelle Monáe
, Puddle of Mudd
, Isaac James
, The Get Up Kids
, Flee The Seen
, The Life and Times
, Reggie and the Full Effect
, The Casket Lottery
, The Gadjits
, The Rainmakers
, The Elders
, Blackpool Lights
, The Republic Tigers
, Tech N9ne
, Krizz Kaliko
, Kutt Calhoun
, Skatterman & Snug Brim
, Mac Lethal
, Ces Cru
, and Solè
. As of 2003, the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra
, a big band jazz orchestra, performs in the metropolitan area.
In 2018, UNESCO
named Kansas City as a "City of Music", making it the only city in the United States with that distinction. The city's funding of $7 million for improvements to the 18th and Vine
Jazz District in 2016, coupled with the city's rich musical heritage, contributed to the designation.
The Kansas City Convention Center
The large community of Irish-Americans numbers over 50,000.
The Irish were the first large immigrant group to settle in Kansas City and founded its first newspaper.
The Irish community includes bands, dancers, Irish stores, newspapers and the Kansas City Irish Center
at Drexel Hall in Midtown. The first book that detailed the history of the Irish in Kansas City was Missouri Irish: Irish Settlers on the American Frontier
, published in 1984. The Kansas City Irish Fest is held over Labor Day weekend every year in Crown Center and Washington Park.
The Kansas City Strip cut of steak is similar to the New York Strip cut, and is sometimes referred to just as a strip steak
. Along with Texas
, and South Carolina
, Kansas City is lauded as a "world capital of barbecue". More than 90 barbecue restaurants
operate in the metropolitan area. The American Royal
each fall hosts what it claims is the world's biggest barbecue contest.
Classic Kansas City-style barbecue was an inner-city phenomenon that evolved from the pit of Henry Perry
, a migrant from Memphis
who is generally credited with opening the city's first barbecue stand in 1921, and blossomed in the 18th and Vine
neighborhood. Arthur Bryant's
took over the Perry restaurant and added sugar
to his sauce to sweeten the recipe a bit. In 1946 one of Perry's cooks, George W. Gates, opened Gates Bar-B-Q, later Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q
when his son Ollie joined the family business. Bryant's and Gates are the two definitive Kansas City barbecue restaurants; native Kansas Citian and essayist Calvin Trillin famously called Bryant's "the single best restaurant in the world" in an essay he wrote for Playboy
magazine in the 1960s. Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue
is also well regarded. In 1977, Rich Davis
, a psychiatrist, test-marketed his own concoction called K.C. Soul Style Barbecue Sauce. He renamed it KC Masterpiece
, and in 1986, he sold the recipe to the Kingsford
division of Clorox
. Davis retained rights to operate restaurants using the name and sauce, whose recipe popularized the use of molasses as a sweetener in Kansas City-style barbecue sauces.
Kansas City has several James Beard Award
-winning/nominated chefs and restaurants. Winning chefs include Michael Smith, Celina Tio
, Colby Garrelts, Debbie Gold, Jonathan Justus and Martin Heuser. A majority of the Beard Award-winning restaurants are in the Crossroads district, downtown and in Westport.
Points of interest
The Latter-Day Saints Temple in Kansas City.
The proportion of Kansas City area residents with a known religious affiliation is 50.75%. The most common religious denominations in the area are:
The following table lists the professional teams in the Kansas City metropolitan area:
Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Kansas City Royals, 1985 and 2015 World Series Champions.
baseball franchise played in the city from 1955, after moving from Philadelphia
, to 1967, when the team relocated to Oakland, California
. The city's Major League Baseball franchise, the Royals, started play in 1969, and are the only major league sports franchise in Kansas City that has not relocated or changed its name. The Royals were the first American League
expansion team to reach the playoffs, in 1976
, to reach the World Series in 1980
, and to win the World Series in 1985
. The Royals returned to the World Series in 2014
and won in 2015
. The Kansas City Royals have 1 Kansas City based player in the MLB Baseball Hall Of Fame, George Brett
The rose garden in Loose Park
, Kansas City's third largest public park.
Parks and boulevards
J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain
, by Henri-Léon Gréber
, in Mill Creek Park, adjacent to the Country Club Plaza.
Kansas City has 132 miles (212 km) of boulevards and parkways, 214 urban parks, 49 ornamental fountains, 152 ball diamonds, 10 community centers, 105 tennis courts, 5 golf courses, 5 museums and attractions, 30 pools, and 47 park shelters.
These amenities are found across the city. Much of the system, designed by George E. Kessler
, was constructed from 1893 to 1915.
Cliff Drive, in Kessler Park on the North Bluffs, is a designated State Scenic Byway. It extends 4.27 miles (6.87 km) from The Paseo and Independence Avenue through Indian Mound on Gladstone Boulevard at Belmont Boulevard, with many historical points and architectural landmarks.
is one of the nation's largest city parks, comprising 1,805 acres (3 sq mi), more than twice the size of New York City's Central Park
It features a zoo
, a woodland nature and wildlife rescue center, 2 golf courses, 2 lakes, an amphitheatre
, a day-camp, and numerous picnic grounds. Hodge Park, in the Northland, covers 1,029 acres (416 ha) (1.61 sq. mi.). This park includes the 80-acre (320,000 m2
) Shoal Creek Living History Museum, a village of more than 20 historical buildings dating from 1807 to 1885. Berkely Riverfront Park
, 955 acres (3.86 km2
) on the banks of the Missouri River
on the north edge of downtown, holds annual Independence Day
celebrations and other festivals.
A program went underway to replace many of the fast-growing sweetgum
trees with hardwood
Civil Engineering Landmark
In 1974, the Kansas City Park and Boulevard System was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers
(ASCE) as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark
The nomination noted that this park system was among "...the first to integrate the aesthetics of landscape architecture with the practicality of city planning, stimulating other metropolitan areas to undertake similar projects."
The park's plan developed by civil engineer George Kessler
included some of the "...first specifications for pavements, gutters, curbs, and walks. Other engineering advances included retaining walls, earth dams, subsurface drains, and an impoundment lake - all part of Kansas City's legacy that has influenced urban planning in cities throughout North America."
Law and government
City Hall, Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City is home to the largest municipal government
in the state of Missouri. The city has a council/manager form of government. The role of city manager
has diminished over the years. The non-elective office of city manager was created following excesses during the Pendergast days.
The mayor is the head of the Kansas City City Council
, which has 12 members (one member for each district, plus one at large member per district). The mayor is the presiding member, though he or she only votes in the event of a tie. By charter, Kansas City has a "weak-mayor" system, in which most of the power is formally vested in the city council. However, in practice, the mayor is very influential in drafting and guiding public policy.
Kansas City holds city elections in every fourth odd numbered year. The last citywide election was held in May 2015. The officials took office in August 2015 and will hold the position until 2019.
The Mayor, City Council, and City Manager are listed below:
National political conventions
Police respond to a shooting in the Crossroads
area during the early hours of New Years Day 2016.
In the early 20th century under Pendergast, Kansas City became the country's "most wide open town". While this would give rise to Kansas City Jazz
, it also led to the rise of the Kansas City mob
(initially under Johnny Lazia
), as well as the arrival of organized crime
. In the 1970s, the Kansas City mob was involved in a gang war over control of the River Quay
entertainment district, in which three buildings were bombed and several gangsters were killed. Police investigations gained after boss Nick Civella
was recorded discussing gambling bets on Super Bowl IV
(where the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings). The war and investigation led to the end of mob control of the Stardust Casino
, which was the basis for the film Casino
, though the production minimizes the Kansas City connections.
Colleges and universities
Many universities, colleges, and seminaries are in the Kansas City metropolitan area, including:
Primary and secondary schools
Kansas City is served by 16 school districts including 10 public school districts, with a significant portion being nationally ranked.
There are also numerous private schools; Catholic schools in Kansas City are governed by the Diocese of Kansas City
The following Public School Districts serve Kansas City:
Libraries and archives
- Linda Hall Library − internationally recognized independent library of science, engineering and technology, housing over one million volumes.
- Mid-Continent Public Library − largest public library system in Missouri, and among the largest collections in America.
- Kansas City Public Library − oldest library system in Kansas City.
- University of Missouri-Kansas City Libraries − four collections: Leon E. Bloch Law Library and Miller Nichols Library, both on Volker Campus; and Health Sciences Library and Dental Library, both on Hospital Hill in Kansas City.
- Rockhurst University Greenlease Library
- The Black Archives of Mid-America− research center of the African American experience in the central Midwest.
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Central Plains Region − one of 18 national records facilities, holding millions of archival records and microfilms for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska in a new facility adjacent to Union Station, which was opened to the general public in 2008.
The Kansas City Star's new printing facility, which opened in 2006.
The Kansas City Star
is the area's primary newspaper. William Rockhill Nelson
and his partner, Samuel Morss, first published the evening paper on September 18, 1880. The Star
competed with the morning Kansas City Times
before acquiring that publication in 1901. The "Times" name was discontinued in March 1990, when the morning paper was renamed the "Star".
The city is served by two major faith-oriented newspapers: The Kansas City Metro Voice
, serving the Christian community, and the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle
, serving the Jewish community. It is the headquarters of the National Catholic Reporter
, an independent Catholic newspaper.
Tower on West 31st on Union Hill.
The Kansas City media market (ranked 32nd by Arbitron
and 31st by Nielsen
) includes 10 television stations, 30 FM and 21 AM radio stations. Kansas City broadcasting jobs have been a stepping stone for national television and radio personalities, notably Walter Cronkite
and Mancow Muller
WDAF radio (now at 106.5 FM; original 610 AM frequency now occupied by KCSP
) signed on in 1927 as an affiliate of the NBC Red Network
, under the ownership of The Star.
In 1949, the Star
signed on WDAF-TV
as an affiliate of the NBC
television network. The Star
sold off the WDAF stations in 1957, following an antitrust
investigation by the United States government (reportedly launched at Truman's behest, following a long-standing feud with the Star
) over the newspaper's ownership of television and radio stations. KCMO
radio (originally at 810 AM, now at 710 AM) signed on KCMO-TV (now KCTV
) in 1953. The respective owners of WHB
(then at 710 AM, now at 810 AM) and KMBC radio (980 AM, now KMBZ
), Cook Paint and Varnish Company and the Midland Broadcasting Company, signed on WHB-TV/KMBC-TV
as a time-share arrangement on VHF channel 9 in 1953; KMBC-TV took over channel 9 full-time in June 1954, after Cook Paint and Varnish purchased Midland Broadcasting's stations.
The major broadcast television networks have affiliates in the Kansas City market (covering 32 counties in northwestern Missouri, with the exception of counties in the far northwestern part of the state that are within the adjacent Saint Joseph
market, and northeastern Kansas); including WDAF-TV
29 (The CW
) and KSMO-TV
). Other television stations in the market include Saint Joseph-based KTAJ-TV
), Kansas City, Kansas-based TV25.tv (consisting of three locally owned stations throughout northeast Kansas, led by KCKS-LD
25, affiliated with several digital multicast
networks), Lawrence, Kansas-based KMCI-TV
), Spanish-language station KUKC-LD
), Spanish-language station KGKC
), and KPXE-TV
50 (Ion Television
Kansas City has been a locale for film and television productions. Between 1931 and 1982 Kansas City was home to the Calvin Company
, a large movie production company that specialized in promotional and sales short films and commercials for corporations, as well as educational films for schools and the government. Calvin was an important venue for Kansas City arts, training local filmmakers who went on to Hollywood careers
and also employing local actors, most of whom earned their main income in fields such as radio and television announcing. Kansas City native Robert Altman
directed movies at the Calvin Company, which led him to shoot his first feature film, The Delinquents
, in Kansas City using many local players.
The 1983 television movie The Day After
was filmed in Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas. The 1990s film Truman
, starring Gary Sinise
, was filmed in the city. Other films shot in or around Kansas City include Article 99
, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
, Kansas City
, Paper Moon
, In Cold Blood
, Ninth Street
, and Sometimes They Come Back
(in and around nearby Liberty, Missouri
). More recently, a scene in the controversial film Brüno
was filmed in downtown Kansas City's historic Hotel Phillips.
Today, Kansas City is home to an active independent film community. The Independent Filmmaker's Coalition
is an organization dedicated to expanding and improving independent filmmaking in Kansas City. The city launched the KC Film Office in October 2014 with the goal of better marketing the city for prospective television shows and movies to be filmed there. The City Council passed several film tax incentives in February 2016 to take effect in May 2016; the KC Film Office is coordinating its efforts with the State of Missouri to reinstate film incentives on a statewide level.
Kansas City was named as a top city to live and work in as a movie maker in 2020.
Originally, Kansas City was the launching point for travelers on the Santa Fe
, and California
trails. Later, with the construction of the Hannibal Bridge
across the Missouri River
, it became the junction of 11 trunk railroads. More rail tonnage passes through the city than through any other U.S. city. Trans World Airlines
(TWA) located its headquarters in the city, and had ambitious plans to turn the city into an air hub.
Kansas City is a major meeting place for several of the nation's busiest highways.
Missouri and Kansas were the first states to start building interstates with Interstate 70
. Interstate 435
, which encircles the entire city, is the second longest beltway in the nation. (Interstate 275
around Cincinnati, Ohio
is the longest.) The Kansas City metro area has more limited-access highway lane-miles per capita than any other large US metro area, over 27% more than the second-place Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex
, over 50% more than the average American metropolitan area. From 2013 to 2017 the average commuting time was 21.8 minutes.
The Sierra Club
blames the extensive freeway network for excessive sprawl
and the decline of central Kansas City.
On the other hand, the relatively uncongested road network contributes significantly to Kansas City's position as one of America's largest logistics
Like most American cities, Kansas City's mass transit system was originally rail-based. From 1870 to 1957, Kansas City's streetcar system was among the top in the country, with over 300 miles (480 km) of track at its peak. The rapid sprawl in the following years led this private system to be shut down.
On December 28, 1965, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
(KCATA) was formed via a bi-state compact created by the Missouri and Kansas legislatures. The compact gave the KCATA responsibility for planning, construction, owning and operating passenger transportation systems and facilities within the seven-county area.
RideKC Bus and MAX
A newly branded RideKC Bus.
In July 2005, the KCATA launched Kansas City's first bus rapid transit
line, the Metro Area Express
(MAX). MAX links the River Market, Downtown, Union Station
, Crown Center and the Country Club Plaza.
MAX operates and is marketed more like a rail system than a local bus line. A unique identity was created for MAX, including 13 modern diesel buses and easily identifiable "stations". MAX features (real-time GPS
tracking of buses, available at every station), and stoplights automatically change in their favor if buses are behind schedule. In 2010, a second MAX line was added on Troost Avenue.
The city is planning another MAX line down Prospect Avenue.
The Prospect MAX line launched in 2019 and Mayor Quinton Lucas
announced the service would be fare-free indefinitely.
KC Streetcar departing the Library stop heading north to the River Market.
On December 12, 2012, a ballot initiative to construct a $102 million, 2-mile (3200 m) modern streetcar line in downtown Kansas City was approved by local voters.
The streetcar route runs along Main Street from the River Market
to Union Station
; it debuted on May 6, 2016.
A new non-profit corporation made up of private sector stakeholders and city appointees – the Kansas City Streetcar Authority
– operates and maintains the system. Unlike many similar systems around the U.S., no fare is to be charged initially.
Residents within the proposed Transportation Development District are determining the fate of the KC Streetcar's southern extension through Midtown and the Plaza to UMKC
. The Port Authority of Kansas City is also studying running an extension to Berkley Riverfront Park
In 2015, the KCATA, Unified Government Transit, Johnson County Transit, and IndeBus began merging from individual metro services into one coordinated transit service for the metropolitan area, called RideKC. The buses and other transit options are branded as RideKC Bus, RideKC MAX, RideKC Streetcar, and RideKC Bridj. RideKC Bridj is a micro transit service partnership between Ford Bridj and KCATA that began on March 7, 2016, much like a taxicab
service and with a mobile app
. The merger and full coordination is expected to be complete by 2019.
A 2015 study by Walk Score
ranked Kansas City as the 42nd most walkable out of the 50 largest U.S. cities.
As a whole, the city has a score of 34 out of 100. However, several of the more densely populated neighborhoods have much higher scores: Westport has a score of 91, the Downtown Loop has a score of 85, the Crossroads scored 85, and the Plaza scored 83.
Those ratings range from "A Walker's Paradise" to "Very Walkable". In April 2017, voters approved an $800 million general obligation bond, part of which is designated for sidewalk repairs and creating complete-streets.
According to the American Community Survey, 81.6 percent of working Kansas City residents commuted to work by driving alone, 7.9 percent carpooled, 2.7 percent used public transportation, and 1.7 percent walked to work. About 1.5 percent commuted by other means, including taxi, bicycle, or motorcycle. About 4.6 of working Kansas City residents worked at home.
In 2015, 11.4 percent of Kansas City households were without a car, which was virtually unchanged in 2016 (11.3 percent). The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Kansas City averaged 1.58 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8 per household.
Kansas City has 15 sister cities:
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