10 Kansas City Nicknames You Should Know

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Red brick buildings and a modern skyscraper next to trees and a road
Many monikers for Kansas City relate to its culture and place in history

Kansas City is a vibrant destination located in the Midwestern United States. Despite its name, Kansas City is actually in Missouri, on the border with the state of Kansas. The city is home to many attractions, scenic outdoor spaces, and nationally-known sports teams, like the Kansas City Chiefs and Sporting Kansas City. Interestingly, the region also has an array of alternate names.

Kansas City nicknames include historical names, like Paris of the Plains, and those relating to its modern culture, such as the BBQ Capital of the World and the Cradle of Jazz. Want to learn more about the monikers for Kansas City? Keep reading for 10 fascinating nicknames and their origins.

10 Nicknames for Kansas City

A water fountain with statues of horses near trees and a tower
Kansas City is famous for having lots of stunning water fountains

City of Fountains

City of Fountains is a well-known moniker among locals, with many non-residents also recognizing it. Its origins are simple; it was created as the city has a lot of water fountains.

A fun Missouri fact is that Kansas City has the most fountains of any city in the United States. There are around 200 registered fountains, including famous ones like the Fountain in Mill Creek Park and the Fountain Basin at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum.


Cowtown is a nickname associated with a few places in the United States, mainly those that have a large cattle industry. Therefore, you might be surprised to hear that Kansas City is sometimes called Cowtown.

While not known today for a cattle industry (or really having any cows across the Kansas City region), there was a thriving cattle industry in the 1800s. This industry peaked around the 1920s and slowly decreased over the next few decades. However, you can still see an ode to this industry in Mulkey Square Park, which features a large bull sculpture!

James Kirkikis/Shutterstock.com
Cradle of Jazz is one of the Kansas City nicknames
Many famous jazz musicians started their career in Kansas City

Cradle of Jazz

Unless you're a big fan of jazz, you may not know that the genre has many connections to this city, leading to the Kansas City nickname of the Cradle of Jazz. After getting its start in New Orleans (the Jazz Capital of the World), the genre of jazz spread to other cities in the 1920s and 1930s, including Kansas City.

As Kansas City jazz bands increased and improvised on what was developed in New Orleans, a new style of jazz called Kansas City jazz was created. You can learn more about jazz history in the city by visiting the American Museum of Jazz, a famous Kansas City landmark.


K.C. or KC is an easy-to-understand nickname for Kansas City. This moniker is simply an abbreviation of the city name and is used frequently by locals and non-residents.

Many businesses in the city, including governmental organizations, also use this abbreviation in place of the full "Kansas City." These include the KC Port Authority and KC Orchestra and Ballet.

A cable bridge over a river near trees
Kansas City is near the Southwest states, hence the Gateway to the Southwest name

Gateway to the Southwest

The Gateway to the Southwest nickname is one that relates to the city's location. The Southwest includes all or part of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Kansas City is one of the largest cities near these areas, meaning many people travel through the city to reach the Southwest.

Its position on the Missouri River also made it a popular place to travel through in the past to reach the Southwest, when boats were a more important form of transport. While this isn't the most well-known moniker, it is sometimes used in relation to the area, especially when discussing reasons for people traveling through the greater Kansas City region.


This is a moniker similar to the previously mentioned KC. KCMO simply expands on the city abbreviation by adding the shortened version of the state of Missouri (MO).

While many businesses opt to incorporate the KC version in their name, some local media entities go with the KCMO option, like the KCMO (AM) radio station. This name is used less in general conversation than KC but is still recognizable by locals and most visitors.

A grassy area next to a city skyline and a large stone building
During the 1900s, the urban landscape of Kansas City is said to have resembled Paris

Paris of the Plains

One of the more unique monikers for Kansas City is Paris of the Plains. This name came about in the early 20th century and relates to how the city's many fountains and wide boulevards somewhat resemble Paris, France. In fact, it's believed that Kansas City has the most boulevards in the world after the French capital city.

It also relates to the area's cultural scene in the early 1900s. Many jazz clubs and other cultural establishments, like theaters, were considered some of the best in the country.

Soccer Capital of America

If you ask people about sports in Kansas City, many will mention the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team. However, the city also has many connections to soccer.

It has a Major League Soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and is home to the Kansas City Current of the National Women's Soccer League. Notably, the city is the location of the home stadium for the United States men's national soccer team. These facts have resulted in one of the most popular Kansas City names, the Soccer Capital of America.

Logan Bush/Shutterstock.com
A billboard on a bricked building saying "Arthur Bryant's Barbeque"
One of the well-known Kansas City nicknames is the BBQ Capital of the World

The BBQ Capital of the World

Another of the cultural nicknames for the city is the BBQ Capital of the World. This name exists for a few reasons. Firstly, the area has its own type of BBQ, called Kansas City barbeque. In addition, Kansas City claims to host the largest barbeque contest in the world every fall at the American Royal event.

One of the most renowned BBQ spots in the country, Arthur Bryant's Barbeque, is also located here. This eatery is where many recipes that are central to Kansas City-style barbeque were created. Some other cities do share this nickname, like the state of Texas and Memphis, Tennessee. However, locals will definitely say that the best BBQ is in Kansas City!

The Heart of America

Kansas City is located close to the population center of the US and the geographic center of the contiguous United States. This has led to it being called the Heart of America by many. Lots of local businesses use this moniker in their business name. Events, like the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, also carry the nickname.

In Conclusion

Kansas City has no shortage of fun and interesting alternate names. From abbreviations, like KC and KCMO, to names based on characteristics of the city, such as the City of Fountains, there are many monikers to learn about.

This article should have helped you understand the reasons behind some frequently used nicknames. It may have also taught you a few new monikers for Kansas City that you can use next time you're in the city.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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