Fun Ideas for Families in Kansas City

Discover the land of BBQ, sports history and family fun.

You’ve probably heard of Kansas City’s famous barbecue, especially if you’ve watched Ted Lasso. Star Jason Sudeikis often pays homage to his favorite smoked meats slow cooked near his hometown. Plus, the Kansas City Chiefs are the latest Super Bowl champions and its star quarterback is having a big moment. In addition to its mouthwatering meats and professional sports teams, Kansas City has a lot to offer for family fun. Read on for recommendations on what to do in KC with kids in our family guide to Kansas City, Missouri.

Getting there

First of all, getting to Kansas City has gotten easier. Kansas City International Airport received a $1.5 billion update in 2023, making it modern, clean and easy to travel through. Another fun option is train travel. Amtrak recently added a connection from Chicago to Kansas City called the Missouri River Runner. You can even stop in St. Louis or other towns along the way. It’s not a bad road trip if you decide to drive.

What to eat in Kansas City

Once you’re in KC, you simply must eat BBQ and lots of it. The city’s signature cuisine is served with a thick, sweet sauce, not to be confused with the Carolina vinegar-based variety.

Jack Stack serves a ‘Cue for Two combo that includes fall-off-the-bone spare ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and smoked turkey. Jack Stack’s sides are famously craveable. Cheesy corn bake boasts the creamy consistency of mac and cheese, but with corn instead of noodles. Just try to stop yourself from eating it. (Hint: You can’t.)

Jack Stack, Photo by Cortney Fries

Q39 serves the stickiest, juiciest jumbo chicken wings with chipotle barbecue sauce. They know they’re good because they call them The Best Wings on the Planet. The Mr. Burns burnt end sandwich comes highly recommended. It’s topped with onion straws and pepper jack cheese. Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue is legendary. If you visit the original location, there are pictures of Obama and celebrities like Steven Spielberg eating there. Arthur Bryant’s is known for its ribs, burnt ends and brisket, but I was enamored by the sausage sandwich. Sliced sausage is served on two soft pieces of white bread. It’s sensational dipped in the savory sauce.

If you are gluten-free, Billie’s Grocery is the restaurant for you. Featuring brunch, bowls and cases of gloriously gluten-free baked goods, it’s healthy, organic and delicious. Our daughter loved the gluten-free chicken and waffles so much that we visited twice in one weekend!

Chez Elle Creperie & Coffeehouse serves sweet and savory crepes that satisfy the whole family. See if you can choose between a soft crepe stuffed with ham, Swiss cheese, asparagus tips and Hollandaise sauce or Nutella and bananas topped with whipped cream. Talk about the perfect treat to top off a fun-filled family getaway.

Fun for families in Kansas City

Kansas City Family Guide
Photo Credit: Cortney Fries

You’re going to want to work off all that ‘cue. Start with a visit to College Basketball Experience. There, you can shoot hoops and play basketball games while music pumps you up. Walk the iconic Country Club Plaza to view flowing fountains and shops and restaurants set in Spanish architecture. See the new Sobela Aquarium at the Kansas City Zoo. Learn important baseball history at The Negro League Baseball Museum. Ride roller coasters and splash down water slides at Worlds of Fun. The Zambezi Zinger was reimagined for the park’s 50th anniversary, and it is a fast blast around the Serengeti-themed track. Buy a meal deal to tide you over for the day. We found the pizza, salads and fruit to be quite good.

Kansas City Family Guide
Photo Credit: Cortney Fries

Cheer on the Kansas City Royals baseball team. Not only can you see a great game and eat a wide variety of tasty foods (like the BBQ Reese’s sandwich with, you guessed it, peanut butter cups and pulled pork), but you can also add on some pretty awesome fan experiences, such as touring the stadium, watching batting practice or viewing fireworks on the field after a Friday night game. It’s pretty incredible to walk out onto the grass and turn your eyes to the sky for an intimate view of fireworks flashing in the evening sky.

Shop the City Market for weekend farmers market finds like produce and custom KC shirts. Catch a Kansas City Current women’s soccer game and inspire your little kicker. They’re currently building the first women’s professional sports stadium in the world, which will open on the Berkley Riverfront in early 2024. Score tickets to take part in history and watch this bold, ambitious team in action.

Kansas City Family Guide
Photo Credit: Visit KC

Where to stay with kids 

Stay at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, conveniently located in an 85-acre entertainment district. Families appreciate the connecting rooms and lovely outdoor pool area, with a tunnel to a hot tub. Book a Summer Stay & Play package to receive Golden Tickets to nearby attractions, like LEGOLAND, Science City, Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing The Exhibit, SEA LIFE Kansas City and the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

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Cortney Fries
Cortney Fries
An award-winning travel journalist, Cortney Fries (pronounced "freeze") has been writing about family travel for over a decade. She knows that parents planning trips are looking for all members to have fun and make lasting memories. Cortney believes that you should definitely try anything that makes you slightly nervous.


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