No not that one, the one in Kansas City. The Country Club Plaza, aka The Plaza. For several square blocks you step out of the Midwest and directly into Seville, Spain. Sounds odd I know. And it gets better because the Plaza is nestled in the middle of some of the most gorgeous neighborhoods you’ll see in the country. One of those where every house or building you go by, you say to yourself, I could live there!
I don’t know all the history, but in 1967 Kansas City seemed to do some partnership with Seville, Spain to create this oasis on the prairie that today houses over 100 shops, restaurants, and businesses, standing by for your enjoyment.
So, what does one do on The Plaza? Here are the highlights from my long weekend visit this Spring.
Food (always my first topic)
It’s so easy to eat your way through a weekend in K.C. You have to eat barbecue when in this town and people have religion around what is there favorite. I grew up eating Gates BBQ when visiting but on the Plaza, I had delicious burnt ends at Jack Stack Barbecue. Sooo much food and the Bloody Mary’s, uh yum!
Other memorable meals or snacks on the plaza included lunch at the iconic Classic Cup Cafe, wine and nibbles at the chain of Cooper’s Hawk Winery, and late night snacks and drinks at the Intercontinental hotel.
I know, I lead with my stomach. But K.C. won’t disappoint. Don’t miss the follow-on K.C. post where I’ll expand my tour to just outside of the Plaza.
Architecture & History
You will find yourself wandering around and exploring the nooks and crannies of the Plaza. The buildings, the fountains, and the surprises will delight you at every turn.
Whatever you are looking for can be found on the Plaza. My most favorite find was a four-story Barnes & Noble bookstore that felt more like an antiquarium than a chain. I literally could have spent an entire day or weekend here – this will be worth coming back for.
Other finds to include on your short list are the Made in Kansas City Marketplace where you will fill your basket with interesting locally made products from art work to canned goods. And stop in at the bar for a quick drink. My best shopping find was a growing chain store called Alatar’d State that is packed with great gifts and clothes. It’s unique and I love their mission to give back. Don’t plan on rushing through either of these. One store that several people told me to visit that I did not get to on this trip is The Better Cheddar and yep, it’s a cheese shop. No need to say more.
I booked too late to stay at the Intercontinental which has been the place to stay for decades. I did enjoy happy hour and late night drinks and nibbles there. It is the hotel that visiting baseball teams stay at when the Royals have a home game, which was the case, and there were signs all around about no pictures and no autograph requests. I don’t know why I found that so odd and funny. Probably because I am terrible at recognizing athletes and actors. So, go with the Intercontinental if you are looking for a standard hotel. For a little more quirky experience, try the Marriott Courtyard Country Club Plaza. I still can’t figure out what these little doors are for outside of each room. Any ideas? Be nice!
On my next stay, I’m booking at the Raphael Hotel which is next to the Intercontinental. It is in a historic building and looks to have been beautifully restored. You have to see the entrance way lit up at night – it makes me want to plan a party there.
Brush Creek borders the Plaza
Take several strolls along the paths of Brush Creek. You need to see it in early morning and at night. Just beautiful.
You’ve probably figured out the Plaza is a walking experience so pack comfy shoes. In addition to Brush Creek, you will find connecting green spaces to explore. Kansas City is full of green space so walk off all of those culinary delights with a stroll through some adjoining neighborhoods. You won’t be disappointed.
I could go on and on about what I love about this town that I hope you add to your list of Midwest destinations. Happy travels!
Check out part two where we explore surrounding neighborhoods. https://dundeegirl.com/2019/05/31/kansas-city-cont/
A reader let me know that the Plaza started farther back then I thought, which makes sense because it looks really old. Check out more of the history here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_Club_Plaza