Betsy's best bets for Kansas City visitors

Posted on Mar 20, 2013 in News and Sports

img_about_staff_betsyTraveling to Kansas City for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this weekend? We asked Betsy Winetroub, assistant director of Kansas City programs for the Alumni Association, to share her top picks of places to see and things to do in the Kansas City area– when you’re not watching basketball, of course. Without further ado, here are Betsy’s best bets.


Country Club Plaza fountain via www.kualumni.org1. My very favorite restaurant in Kansas City is Il Centro. The food is amazing, they have a fabulous wine list, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the vibe is quaint and local. Love it! It was also chosen by Zagat as the best Italian food in Kansas City.

2. If you are in Kansas City for the first time, you have to experience the Country Club Plaza. When the weather is nice, the patio at Gram & Dun is hard to beat with their fireplaces and great outdoor seating. You also might try Classic Cup for dinner– it’s a Kansas City staple!

3. If you are enjoying the games and staying downtown, La Bodega is a great spot for a group. Their tapas and sangria are the best in town.

4. When you’re in Kansas City, don’t forget to try our classic barbecue! Arthur Bryant’s, Gates Bar-B-Q and Oklahoma Joe’s are all personal favorites.


Bartle Hall in Kansas City via www.kualumni.org1. Luckily for basketball fans, you never have to leave the Power & Light district. Makers Mark is fun if you want a little food with your glass of wine, and PBR Big Sky Bar is a blast for country music, dancing and bull riding if you’re feeling really crazy! Note: PBR stands for Professional Bull Riders, Inc., not Pabst Blue Ribbon.

2. If you are looking for something more low-key, Manifesto in the Regier Hotel Grill & Exchange is a fun experience. The 48-seat cocktail bar specializes in hand-crafted drinks in a speakeasy environment. But plan ahead; you have to call or text in advance for reservations.

3. On the Plaza, O’Dowd’s is a safe bet for a good time. The crowd can be younger, but there’s usually live music on the weekends and the upstairs patio is great for people watching.

Music and Dancing

1. During the tournament, there is sure to be live music in the Power & Light district. The Dubliner usually has a fun Irish band or sometimes even a great 80’s cover band.

2. For traditional Kansas City jazz, you have to go to the Phoenix Jazz Club in the River Market area. Go early and roam the neighborhood.

3. In the Plaza area, The Levee is fun for live music and dancing. It’s situated between the Plaza and Old Westport in historic midtown.


Union Station, Kansas City via www.kualumni.org1. Kansas City is fortunate to have one of the country’s best encyclopedic art museums. Spend some time wandering the beautiful sculpture park or the architecture of the Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

2. The National WWI Museum at the Liberty Memorial is also worth a stop. The Museum sits on top of a beautiful hill overlooking downtown Kansas City and is an amazing historical experience.

3. If the kids are with you, Union Station and Science City will provide hours of food, fun, and learning.

4. Give yourself a little extra time and travel 45 minutes to beautiful Lawrence! Beside the University of Kansas campus, downtown Lawrence has some of the best restaurants, shopping and entertainment around.

Thanks to Betsy for her list of must-see, must-do attractions in the Kansas City area! What would you add to the list? Email us at

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