Downtown Kansas City is mostly the economic heart of the city, with very little to see and do by itself. There are almost no hotels here, except a few business hotels, and no attractions of great interest. The downtown core is bordered by a ring of Interstate highways (670, 70, and 35).
The interest here lies in the architecture of its many buildings, which some term "Little Manhattan." The city is home to many impressive buildings, from art deco to more modern types.
There are a couple things of interest downtown, easily seen on the following walking tour of the downtown core:
Start your walk at the transit center of downtown, at 12th and Main. Here you'll find a nice fountain, but a bit tarnished from vandalism. Begin walking west down 12th Street, passing the Marriott Hotel on your right. In front of the Marriott is the beautiful centerpiece of downtown, Allis Plaza. The huge fountain in front of the plaza, modeled as a row of short spouts, spilling down onto a small staircase, is very beautiful and something to be appreciated. Check out the statue in the center of the Plaza, of a soldier on horseback.
From Allis Plaza, walk another block west on 12th. On your left you will see the gigantic Kansas City Convention Center, and Bartle Hall. Choose for yourself whether to detour to visit this great center. When you're ready to move on, begin walking north on Broadway Blvd through Kansas City's theatre district, admiring some of the old theatres along the way. Turn left onto 9th Street and walk 4 blocks to Jefferson, then another block on your right to Clark's Point, where the Lewis and Clark statue sits, overlooking the bluffs of the Missouri River. Read about their accomplishments exploring the Missouri, then continue a block east on 8th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. Turn left here and walk north a block to 7th Street, then it's a long 1/2 mile walk to Walnut Street.
At Walnut, turn north and walk 4 blocks or so to the River Market district, the perfect place to rest your tired feet and enjoy a lunch or a cold brew at the River Market Brewing Company. Wander around the shops here and admire the old buildings, then head back down Walnut, until you reach 8th street. Here, turn left (east) and walk to Oak Street, then make a right and walk south on Oak. You will pass some of Kansas City's most impressive legal buildings, like the Whitaker Federal Courthouse and the Kansas City Municipal Courthouse. When you reach 12th street, head back west, passing City Hall, until you reach your origin point at 12th and Main Street.
This walking trip covers the main sights of downtown Kansas City, and shouldn't take you more than 2-3 hours. It's around 3 miles in length, and it's the perfect way to get acquainted with the city center.
Discover Downtown Kansas City online at: www.downtownkc.org