Kansas City will take on Cincinnati for a spot in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday. Fans and visitors to Bengal from all over are expected to invest tens of millions of dollars in the local economy, the tourists told us. We are not going to tell Who Dey Nation how to spend their hard earned money. But Cincinnati fans should know: Kansas City is so much more than world-class barbecue.
Kathy Nelson is president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation, the agency that won the 2023 NFL Draft and the 2026 FIFA World Cup. She is also the first woman to serve as president and chief executive officer of Visit KC , the regional tourism office. She says the financial windfall from Sunday’s game and the activities leading up to it are nothing to sneeze at.
Over the weekend, people will be eating, drinking, making hotel reservations, renting vehicles and more, to the tune of about $13 million, Nelson told us. The economic benefit of hosting the game here – and not at a neutral gaming site in Atlanta, thankfully – is considerable.
Out-of-town visitors aren’t the only ones footing the bill. Locals spend money too, Nelson noted. Sunday’s game is “a big win for us,” he said.
While the game should get its fair share of attention here and elsewhere throughout the NFL, there are plenty of things to do before kickoff Sunday night: from a cornucopia of restaurants to the city’s renowned jazz venues and world-class museums .
Sites like Union Station and the renowned National WWI Museum and Memorial should be mandatory stops. A few miles east of Independence is the recently renovated Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Visitors may also want to inquire about guided tours of the Truman Home on North Delaware Street in Independence.
Restaurants, cafes, cocktails
Fine dining and libations on your mind? We have it covered in Missouri and just across the state line in Kansas. This year, Kansas City-area restaurants and chefs were named semifinalists for seven James Beard Awards, one of the most prestigious honors in the food industry.
Michael Corvino of the Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Nick Goellner of The Antler Room, and Pam Liberda of Waldo Thai are nominees for Best Chef in the Midwest. Their cooking skills — and extensive menus — are outstanding, according to food aficionados. The Town Co.’s Johnny Leach advanced in the Outstanding Chef category and an Outstanding Bakery nod went to Yoli Tortilleria and its corn and flour tortillas that hit the tables in Kansas City restaurants.
Craft beer and coffee? Try the Rochester Brewing and Roasting Company near the Crossroads Arts District. For added caffeine to fuel you up for Sunday night’s game, the baristas at Cafe Corazon — with its house-made whipped cream — and Messenger Coffee Company whip up a latte.
Only alcohol? Our recommendations include nearby Torn Label Brewing and Casual Animal Brewing; downtown distilleries like Tom’s Town Distilling Co., Lifted Spirits Distillery; West Bottoms Whiskey Co. and North Kansas City’s Restless Spirits Distilling Company for traditional whiskey cocktails.
And there are many other options, too numerous to list. Suffice it to say, Kansas City knows how to party.
If you choose to indulge, drink responsibly and don’t drive yourself. Check out the daily service for the Kansas City Streetcar. Running from River Market to Union Station, our fantastic starting line is a safe and reliable transportation option, and it’s free.
We didn’t forget to mention the BBQ. A quick Google search will reveal more choices than one could handle. We’re partial to the tender brisket, burnt ends bursting with flavor, delicious ribs that fall off the bone, and all the delicious side dishes. In Kansas City, there’s no shortage of joints to visit, that goes without saying.
There are plenty of other culinary options too, of course. Top-notch pizza, mashed and juicy burgers, Mexican restaurants (authentic and Tex-Mex) abound. For homemade tamales and other Mexican cuisine, we suggest a trip down Southwest Boulevard or the Taco Trail in Kansas City, Kansas.
Let’s not forget our vegan friends. Check out Cafe Gratitude in Crossroads, Blue Nile Cafe in River Market, and Blue Bird Bistro on Kansas City’s Westside.
Soul food lovers, we’ve got you covered too. You must sample Peachtree restaurants (two locations) or Niecie’s Restaurant on Troost Avenue, both tried and true and locally owned.
Legoland, Nelson-Atkins, 18th & Vine jazz
Are you looking for family events? Kansas City is brimming with things for kids to do. The Legoland Discovery Center and ice skating at the Crown Center are sure to please you. Science City at Union Station is an excellent attraction, as is the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. And we can’t forget the Negro Leagues Baseball and American Jazz museums, located next door to each other in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District.
Speaking of jazz, all-night sessions can be found at the Green Lady Lounge on Grand Boulevard, and the Mutual Musicians Foundation near 18th & Vine says the party isn’t over until the sun comes up.
After all that, you might think we’re paying little attention to the big game. Surely not. Sunday’s game marks the fifth straight year that Kansas City will host the AFC championship. Only two other teams in NFL history have accomplished this. The record result is no small feat. And success on the pitch never gets old.
But our hope is that the Who Dey crew and visiting football fans from far and wide will enjoy the sights and sounds of our great city before and after Sunday’s game. We invite Bengali boosters to explore our city with empty stomachs and open minds and don’t forget their wallets.