20 Kansas City Landmarks to Visit

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A city skyline and a grassy hill under a cloudy sky
Kansas is a unique destination with an array of famous landmarks to see

Kansas City is a popular city break destination for more reasons than one. From the Missouri River that splits the city into two different states to its history as the birthplace of jazz, there's something interesting for everyone to see and experience.

However, when planning a trip to the "Heart of America," it can be challenging to figure out what needs a spot at the top of your itinerary. For example, art lovers should check out the Nelson–Atkins Museum, while people who love a good view will want to head to the top of city hall.

Whether you're planning an upcoming trip or are just interested in what this Missouri–Kansas hotspot offers, keep reading. Here are 20 Kansas City landmarks you won't want to miss.

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20 Landmarks in Kansas City, Missouri

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Kansas City, Missouri, Landmarks

A large concrete building with a fountain in the foreground under a blue sky
Union Station's Renaissance Revival design is a must-see for architecture enthusiasts

Union Station Kansas City

Kansas City's Union Station has been a city landmark for over 100 years. Constructed in a Renaissance Revival style, its architecture stands out from that of the surrounding buildings, making it a popular tourist site.

While visiting the station, you can stop at multiple on-site attractions. It has an interactive science center, a planetarium, a model train gallery, multiple theaters, and rotating museum exhibits.

Washington Square Park

Named after the statue of George Washington located on the grounds, Washington Square Park is a five-acre expanse of greenery. It's the perfect place to go if you're looking for peace and quiet. It's not uncommon to see people picnicking or relaxing on a park bench to get away from the bustle of the rest of the city.

While the park is beautiful all year, the best time to visit this Kansas City and Washington Square Park is in the springtime. The months of March through May will give you the best chance of seeing its numerous trees in bloom.

A fountain with sculptures of men riding horses next to trees and buildings
Country Club Plaza is one of the Kansas City landmarks known for its architecture

Country Club Plaza

Kansas City's Country Club Plaza is one of the last recognizable remnants of the city's prestigious and exclusive Country Club District, which was developed in the early-1900s. The shopping center opened in 1923 and revolutionized how future commercial areas were designed.

An on-site parking lot was constructed to accommodate shoppers from around the Kansas City region, not just those who resided in the surrounding neighborhoods. It was also the first shopping complex with a unified architectural style to make it instantly recognizable.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fountain

Since the 1980s, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fountain has been a symbol of Kansas City's patriotism. The monument features a decorative fountain and a memorial wall.

The titular fountain has five inter-connected pools of increasing size, meant to symbolize the nation's growth. The large wall backdrop honors the city's veterans who lost their lives fighting for their country.

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A giant sculpture of a shuttlecock in front of a concrete building with pillars
The Nelson–Atkins Museum of Art's shuttlecocks are the gallery's most iconic feature

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

One of the most interesting Missouri landmarks in Kansas City to visit is the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Though most famous for the pair of shuttlecock sculptures on its lawn, also called "badminton birdies," its indoor collection is just as impressive.

The attraction houses over 40,000 artworks that come from every inhabited continent. It's the perfect place to brush up on your art knowledge!

Charles E. Whittaker U.S. Courthouse

The Charles E. Whittaker U.S. Courthouse has become one of the most important Kansas City monuments to the city's history. As of 2023, Charles E. Whittaker remains the only Missouri judge to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

This courthouse was built in the decades following his death to honor his memory and career and officially opened to the public in 1998.

Katherine Welles/Shutterstock.com
A modernist-style stadium with an empty parking lot in front
Arrowhead Stadium is now officially called the "GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium"

Arrowhead Stadium

Although only built in 1972, Arrowhead Stadium has become an important cultural and sporting landmark in Kansas City over the last 50 years or so. Since many professional stadiums around the country tend to get replaced after a few decades of use, Arrowhead is one of the oldest in use in the U.S.

Though primarily used as the home stadium for the local NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs, it's also used for college football. It'll even be used for a few soccer games in the 2026 World Cup.

Frank Bott House - Frank Lloyd Wright

The Bott House isn't just one of the most iconic Kansas City landmarks. It's also a rare example of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's work that features a red tile bearing his signature, which can be found by the front door.

Although the house is visually interesting in and of itself, its location also adds to its charm. From the residence, you get a one-of-a-kind, uninterrupted view of the city's skyline.

A modernist-style, dome-shaped steel structure next to a blue sky
The Kauffman Center aims to be a cultural hub for communities in Kansas City

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has played an essential role in Kansas City's recent history. In the late 2000s, plans were made to revitalize the downtown area by adding a much-needed cultural hub, with the Kauffman Center as one of the key features.

Today, the center is a non-profit organization for the arts and is the home of the city's symphony, ballet, and lyrical opera.

Crown Center

The Crown Center is one of the most popular shopping and entertainment districts in Kansas City. Named after the mall that made it such a bustling part of the city, the area hosts a multitude of attractions for visitors of all ages.

For example, you can head to the Hallmark Visitor's Center, which shows how it went from a local brand to an international icon. There's also a theater, an ice rink, and numerous restaurants.

Historical Landmarks in Kansas City

A store sign that has a G-clef and reads "18th Vine District"
The 18th and Vine Historic District is home to many live jazz clubs

18th and Vine Historic District

One of the most prominent points of interest in Kansas City is its 18th and Vine Historic District. In the 1920s, many African-Americans moved to Kansas City from smaller towns. Many of these men and women settled into homes and businesses in this East Kansas City neighborhood.

This district was also an important location for music development and is often cited as where jazz music was invented in the 1920s.

Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site

Thomas Hart Benton was a major figure in American art, first due to his natural style but later because of his murals that were influenced by Native American art practices. Therefore, it's not surprising that his home has become an important Kansas City monument.

By visiting Benton's home and studio, you can get a peek into his life. Since leaving the estate to the city in 1975 when he passed away, very little has been changed in order to keep his memory alive.

Jon Kraft/Shutterstock.com
A white house surrounded by trees and grass
Truman Farm was home to the 33rd president, Harry S. Truman

Truman Farm Home

Before becoming the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman was successful in the agricultural field. In 1906, Truman moved into the farm home that had previously belonged to his grandfather, Solomon Young.

For the next 11 years, until 1917, Truman called the farm home and made a career as a dirt farmer, often employing locals to help make the property a success. Today, the Truman Farm Home, also called the Solomon Young Farm, is a National Historic Landmark.

Community Christian Church

Community Christian Church is an important pillar in the local Christian community. However, people of all beliefs can appreciate the building since it was designed by the architectural genius Frank Lloyd Wright.

The church is a prime example of Wright's Usonian style, which was meant to embody his vision for the country's future. Yet, of the 552 Wright designs that were built, only 60 followed this style.

James Kirkikis/Shutterstock.com
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is one of the most important Kansas City landmarks
One building houses the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

In East Downtown Kansas City, you can find the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which highlights the obstacles African–American athletes faced while participating in the sport. The exhibits are displayed chronologically to cover a nearly 30-year period from the start of the league to Jackie Robinson's debut in a Major League team.

Since it was opened by former league members, it offers visitors an authentic look at these players' vital role in developing "America's Pastime" into what it is today.

Shoal Creek Living History Museum

Another of many sites worth visiting on Kansas City's Missouri side is the Shoal Creek Living History Museum. This 80-acre park is meant to preserve the state's history and create a life-size representation of frontier life in the city.

Multiple authentic log cabins are scattered along the park's trails. Additionally, numerous reenactments are held throughout the year, and it's a popular venue for weddings and educational events.

A tall concrete obelisk next to a rectangular building
The official World War I Museum and Memorial can be found in Kansas City

National WWI Museum and Memorial and Liberty Memorial Tower

In 1926, the First World War was still fresh in the minds of many Americans. For that reason, the first iteration of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, the Liberty Memorial Tower, was opened.

Over the years, the museum has undergone numerous updates, including new additions to the exhibits, making it one of the most impressive monuments in Kansas City and the country. Its extensive collection inspired Congress to designate it as the country's official World War I memorial.

Kansas City City Hall

Measuring over 440 feet from the ground to its very top, Kansas City's City Hall is one of the tallest in the country, and it's one of the tallest towers in the city. For that reason, it's not surprising that its observation deck is a popular place to go to enjoy a scenic view of the area.

Even if you're not a fan of heights, the building is worth visiting. You can stay on the sidewalk and admire the Neo-Classical style used in its design and marvel at the fact that it took less than two years to build!

A walkway and lampposts beside a river with a bridge in the background
There are many places to see the Missouri River in KC, like Berkley Riverfront Park

Missouri River

One of Kansas City's most interesting facts is that it spans two different states. The Missouri River cuts through the area, creating the Kansas–Missouri border.

Even though the river is the longest in the country, measuring over 2,300 miles, and flows through an impressive ten states, this is the only section that divides an entire city. You can see this remarkable body of water up close by taking a stroll on the Riverfront Heritage Trail near downtown.

American Jazz Museum

One of the Kansas City historical sites that best preserves the local culture is the American Jazz Museum. Kansas City is one of the original places connected to the creation of jazz music (hence the Kansas City nickname of the Cradle of Jazz), which took the U.S. by storm between the 1920s and 1940s.

Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and other pivotal figures in the genre are honored in the museum's multiple exhibits. The attraction also hosts up to 200 performances and events each year to showcase new as well as established musicians.

In Summary

Whether you're a sports fan, arts and culture enthusiast, or history buff, it's clear that Kansas City has no shortage of landmarks to visit. This Midwest metropolis is not only the "Heart of America" for its geographic location, but it's also an intersection of cultures from all over the country.

Hopefully, reading about the cultural and historical sites in Kansas City has inspired you to plan a trip of your own. So, go on and see all the wonderful things the city has to offer!

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 FORMER WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!

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