Living Kansas City

I’ll be moving soon. Only have a few months left. New role at work. New responsibility. I’ll actually be living on my own for the first time*.

*As I type this, I realize this is not actually true. When I was a freshman in college, I lived with my brother to save money. And then he moved out the last couple months. Geez. That was a while ago.

Sure, moving to Lawrence, Kan., a place I have already lived for four years of my life is not exactly moving to Chicago or Dallas or Denver. But nonetheless, I’m moving, leaving Kansas City*, heading one county over.

*Another technicality: Lawrence, depending on whom you talk to, is sometimes considered part of the Kansas City metro area. I don’t think of it like that.

Maybe I’ll post a more sweeping, self-indulgent, navel-gazing look at the move in a couple months. But for now, I have, probably, four months-ish left in Kansas City before I permanently move back to Lawrence.

So here it is, my list of things one should do in Kansas City if you only have five months left. (Barbecue not included.)

The Caddyshack

Hanging on the edge of Columbus Park, just a few blocks from the City Market, the Shack is the kind of place you can play Seger on the jukebox, shoot pool and sit in an office chair while eating some of the best pizza in the city. This is a dive bar, with regulars at the well, and golf trophies on the wall, and bartenders that remember what you want when you walk in the door.


Run in Loose Park

If you can help it, don’t start in Loose Park. Start in Westport, or on the Plaza, or start at 63rd and Ward Parkway. I’ve written about this before, but there’s something purely Kansas City about running in Loose Park. It’s big, but not too big. There’s a little pond, but it’s mostly rolling grass. There’s a couple tennis courts. The paths and sidewalks are always full. And the people, well, the people look nice.


Eat at Fritz’s

If you want to go back in time while you eat a cheeseburger, most people would recommend Winstead’s — the double Winstead, the Skyscraper, the circular booth.

But I suggest you go to Fritz’s — the original Fritz’s on 18th street in Kansas City, Kan. Fritz’s is this crazy little place where you order by phone, and they bring you the food by this model-type train that runs high along the wall. It is, of course, a place for kids. I love it there.


Go to the NAIA basketball tournament

32 teams. Seven days. One site. Municipal Auditorium is the building where Wilt Chamberlain faced off against North Carolina in the ’57 championship game, where Wooden won his first NCAA title at UCLA, where Tony Dumas once nurtured a career that would include a cup of coffee in the NBA.

And it’s also home to the NAIA basketball tournament in March. My suggestion: Go the first day. Starts at 9 a.m. Runs past midnight. Eight different games. With players you’ve never heard of. Nothing else, you can go to the Shack after.


… And now, the big finish. Order a slice of pizza and sit at the bar at Grinders. Listen to jazz at the Blue Room on a Monday night. Order a cheap beer at Breit’s. Do the same at Hoopers. Listen to the Goodfoot at the Levee. Take a walk by the Liberty Memorial. Visit John’s Space Age Donuts on a Sunday morning. Go to a show at the Record Bar. And then, when the place closes at 1, finish the night at the Shack.

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One thought on “Living Kansas City

  1. rachel b says:

    rus, why haven’t i been invited to venture any of these locations with you when i’m home? seriously, i’m at such a loss of where anything interesting in kc is anymore, so next time i’m back, please… let’s at least go shoot pool and eat pizza. i hear i’m pretty good at both of those things.

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