Kansas City, which straddles two states and the “Big Muddy” Missouri River, was once the last stop before heading west on the Overland, Santa Fe, Mormon and Oregon Trails. Today’s Kansas City melds the best of old frontier with blossoming cultural amenities.
Arabia Steamboat Museum
Still an archeological work in progress, this museum displays many artifacts—including a six-ton paddlewheel and 10,000 calico buttons—from the Arabia after it sank into the Missouri’s mud in 1856.
400 Grand Blvd. (816) 471-1856; www.1856.com
Ten acres of wetlands and gardens surround a green-built center for urban conservation and education.
4750 Troost Ave. (816) 759-7300; www.mdc.mo.gov/areas/kcmetro/discovery
Blue Bird Bistro
This trendy eatery serves locally and sustainably grown organic foods and natural meats. Specials include vegetarian meals and an all-natural version of KC’s signature dish: barbecue.
1700 Summit St. (816) 221-7559; www.kansascitymenus.com/bluebirdbistro
This café serves up delectable vegan and vegetarian options. Try the spinach and mushroom loaf with tomato-basil coulis.
707 West 47th St. (816) 561-5415; www.edenalley.com
Bijin Salon & Day Spa
Who could resist an herbal linen body wrap or a brown-sugar scrub? Pamper yourself with soothing treatments using all-natural, environmentally friendly products.
71st and Mission Rd. Prairie Village, KS. (913) 671-7777; www.bijinsalon.com
Shawnee Mission Park
Minutes from Kansas City, this popular park has 1,250 acres of forest and parkland, miles of trails, a lake and swim beach, and live fresh-air theatre in summer.
7900 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS. (913) 831-3355; www.jcprd.com
Southmoreland on the Plaza
This stately B&B features hypoallergenic and fragrance-free in-room amenities, and the hosts accommodate vegetarian preferences with advance notice. There’s even a suite with a delightful “treetop” deck.
116 East 46th St. (816) 531-7979; www.southmoreland.com
For more information, check www.visitkc.com