Fellow blogger Habitually Chic recently returned from her first visit to KC. Reading her take really inspired some good ole hometown pride in me. Rarely do the East Coasters get to discover what a gem this little town is. Architecturally, it's probably the best I've seen in America - and there's the bar bq. The old parts combine the best of Europe and both of our coasts due to a few 1920s guys' sharp thinking and eyes. This is a shot of the Country Club Plaza, the area modeled after Seville, Spain. At Christmas, they line all those Moorish buildings in lights and it's quite spectacular.
Most of these homes line Ward Parkway (or are right off it), a grand, very well planned avenue on the Missouri side, divided by a wide median filled grandly with ponds, fountains and such. The guy who owns Applebee's build a shameful McMansion next door to this gem with a retractable glass roof-covered center atrium on the corner of 55th. Luckily, most of the architecture in this area and Old Mission Hills (on the Kansas side) is original from the '20s. Merchant Ivory did a lovely job showing off the town in the 1990 film Mr. & Mrs. Bridge.
This house was built for KC real estate god J.C. Nichols so he could house dignitaries and other visitors. It's set up as a series of suites. If you're ever visiting KC, don't expect to diet. You must try Bryant's for the BBQ (and the burnt ends at Rosedale are the best that've ever touched my tongue); they choke their own chickens at Stroud's; they practically iron the steak burgers at Winstead's, the great diner where we'd go after all our music programs in grade school and where I had my 7th birthday; for a thicker burger, the Westport Flea Market is key (and you can shop, to boot!).
For shopping, I never miss a trip down to Antiquities and Oddities Architectural Salvage on Broadway. It's now an anchor for the Crossroads art district downtown, which is filled with some great interiors stores. George Terbovich is my favorite little spot in town for chic tchotchkes, books and Diptyque candles. If you're around in late April, try to pop to my grade school for its big annual fund raiser Clothesline Sale where you can pick up the hand-me-downs from some of the people who live in these houses. And if you can pack a vegetable into that otherwise wild eating schedule, the now fancy 150-year old City Market is great for such things.